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Some Southwestern Sands, part 1 [Trackside New Mexico PA]

white-sands_01.jpg: White Sands National Monument, NM. Sep. 9, 2015

We happened to encounter several vintage motels named “Sands” during our vacation in New Mexico and Texas last year.

By searching “Sands Motel” at Google maps, we notice that Sands-Motels are unevenly located in United States: mostly on both seaboards and in the southwest. That is to say, these vintage Sands-Motels we saw are one of the vanishing icons of the southwest we should record.

Here are the examples we found near White Sands National Monument in New Mexico:

sands_carrizozo_02.jpg
sands_carrizozo_01.jpg: Carrizozo, NM. Sep. 9, 2015

SANDS MOTEL at 1400 Central Ave, Carrizozo, NM was built in 1952 according to the third operator of the motel we’ve met, Stephen and Gwen Dunne. It is one of the closest Sands-Motels from the White Sands National Monument.


sands_las-cruses_02.jpg
sands_las-cruses_01.jpg: Las Cruces, NM. Sep. 10, 2015
card_sands_las-cruces_02.jpg: postcard maybe printed in the 70’s

Sands MOTEL at 1655 S Main St, Las Cruses, NM was built in the 50’s. According to the postcard, Bill, Thelma & Wayne Pauley were the operators in the 70’s. Harry Bhakta might have succeeded in 1981[1]. It is also one of the closest Sands-Motels from the White Sands National Monument.


white sands motel_01.jpg: Alamogordo, NM. Sep. 9, 2015
card_ala-motel_alamogordo.jpg: postcard maybe printed in the 60’s

ALA MOTEL Water Well at 1101 S White Sands Blvd, Alamogordo, NM was owned and operated by Lefflie Russell(1915 – 1995) and Roberta(1913 – 2009) Larsen for more than 25 years[2]. The motel is still active as White Sands MOTEL, operated by Chuck Patel since 1989. It’s the closest Sands-Motel from the namesake White Sands National Monument.

[1] FindTheCompany web page;
[2] Roberta Larsen obituary;

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Some Southwestern Sands, part 2 [Trackside New Mexico PA]

sands_01.jpg: center of nowhere in TX. Sep. 12, 2015

We happened to encounter several vintage motels named “Sands” during our vacation in New Mexico and Texas last year.

By searching “Sands Motel” at Google maps, we notice that Sands-Motels are unevenly located in the United States: mostly on both seaboards and in the southwest. That is to say, these vintage Sands-Motels we saw are one of the vanishing icons of the southwest we should record.

Here are the examples located at the center of nowhere in the southwest:

sands_van-horn_02.jpg
sands_van-horn_01.jpg: Van Horn, TX. Sep. 10, 2015
card_sands_vanhorn_02.jpg: postcard maybe printed in the 60’s

SANDS MOTEL and Restaurant at 805 E Broadway, Van Horn, TX was built in the 50’s: approximately in 1955[1]. Some scenes in the 2005 movie Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada by Tommy Lee Jones were shot here at the restaurant.

Van Horn is located at the center of nowhere in Texas. The town is said to be the gateway to the Big Bend National Park and Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Unfortunately, however, the park entrances are 210 miles and 110 miles away from here.


sands_vaughn_02.jpg
sands-vaughn_01.jpg: Vaughn, NM. Sep. 12, 2015
card_sands_vaughn.jpg: postcard maybe printed in the 70’s

SANDS MOTEL and Cafe at 1183 W 8th St, Vaughn, NM was built in the early 60’s by Jack & Jean Cormany[2]. The iconic pointed-star is lost but the motel is still active.

I found a similar pointed-star sign in the town. It’s the remnant of Ranch House Cafe. Leopoldo and Emilia Parraz(1934 – 2014) Gutierrez operated the cafe from 1974 to the late 80’s[3]. Well known railroad photographer Jeff Brouws also caught the cafe in 1997[4].

Vaughn is located at the center of nowhere in New Mexico, where the BNSF Southern Transcon and UP Golden State Route cross.

ranch-house-cafe_01.jpg: Vaughn, NM. Sep. 12, 2015
ranch-house-cafe_02.jpg: postcard maybe printed in the 60’s

[1] Texas Historical Commission web page;
[2] City of Dust web page;
[3] Emilia P. Gutierrez obituary;
[4] photo of the cafe by Jeff Brouws;

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