Luna Lodge, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
As traffic grew along Route 66 after World War II, so did the need for roadside businesses, including gas stations, restaurants, and motels. Evolving from the primitive campgrounds of the 1920s and the motor cabins of the 1930s, motels offered greater comforts such as private bathrooms, daily linen service, and eventually television, phones, and swimming pools. At the peak of Route 66 in 1955, 98 motels lined the Mother Road in Albuquerque. Today, fewer than 40 pre-1955 motels remain. Among these is the Luna Lodge. Built in 1949, the motel was one of the easternmost motels along Albuquerque’s commercial strip.
Luna Lodge consists of two one-story buildings and a third building with a two-story portion. The buildings have flat roofs, white stucco walls, and concrete foundations. Details reflect a modest use of the Southwest Vernacular style including a parapet, flared stucco hoods over the doors, and slightly articulated stucco sills. Classic features of the Pueblo Spanish Revival style are also featured, such as projecting wooden vigas (roof beams), blunted and rounded corners, irregular stuccoing, exposed lintels, and a stepped back roofline. The property is organized in a broken U-shape plan with 28 units surrounding a long interior courtyard that faces Central Avenue with an office and residence at the front of the property. A neon sign with a large arrow at the entrance points down toward the motel.
Luna Lodge faced an increasingly difficult economic time during the 1960s and 1970s. After Interstate 40 bypassed Albuquerque and as national chains with greater amenities competed with the smaller motels, the number of locally-owned motels gradually dwindled.
The Luna Lodge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998 and described as one of the best examples of a largely unaltered tourist court remaining along New Mexico Route 66. In 2006, the motel was documented for the Historic American Engineering Record by University of New Mexico, Historic Preservation and Regionalism students. The resulting drawings and photographs are archived at the Library of Congress in Washington, DC. In 2013, the Luna Lodge was rehabilitated by NewLife Homes. The $4.8 million project converted the hotel into 30 apartments for low- income individuals, many of whom have disabilities. In 2013, it won a national award for outstanding achievement in rehabilitation developments using the historic tax credit. Luna Lodge is located at 9119 East Central Ave. in Albuquerque, NM, and is currently operating as a housing facility