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Have You Been To This Ghost Town in West Texas?

Credit: Atlas Obscura / Maggie
Credit: Atlas Obscura / Maggie

Before there was Interstate 40, folks traveling across country used Route 66. It was called the “Mother Road,” and in it’s prime, it was a hopping stretch of businesses, motels, and small communities. It was probably the most recognizable stretches of road in the country and it ran right through the middle of Amarillo. But as our nation was on the move and looking for faster ways to go from point A to B, the old road lost the battle to progress and the interstate.

The new interstate system left Route 66 obsolete, and with it, so went the businesses and towns along the roadside. One of those towns that held on as long as it could was Genrio. Located on Route 66 and straddling the Texas / New Mexico border, the town was gone by the late 1980’s.

In it’s hay day, if you were traveling between Amarillo and Albuquerque, Glenrio was the perfect place to stop, grab some gas, a bite to eat, even spend the night. The town’s economy depended on travelers. The actual population of full time residents was only a few dozen and there were no other industries to support the community. Glenrio was unique in the fact that it literally sat on the state border. In order to get mail to the town, it would arrive via the Rock Island Railroad train depot on the Texas side of town, then be transported to the post office in New Mexico. Feeling thirsty and wanted a beer, then you had to go to the New Mexico side since the Texas portion of town was in a dry county. Even getting gas required you to go across town; since Texas had a lower gas tax, all the service stations moved there. The movie “Grapes of Wrath” even shot a seen there!

Credit: Atlas Obscura / Peer Lawther
Credit: Atlas Obscura / Peer Lawther

Fast forward to today and the town is empty of people. The rail depot closed back in 1955 and then the interstate came through. There was no longer any reason to stop in Glenrio. That is unless you wanted to see a real ghost town. According to AtlasObscura, you can still see some of the iconic town structures standing. The Little Juarez Diner and the State Line Motel (which has a sign to reads “First in Texas” or “Last In Texas” depending on which way you go) are still there as well as Texaco service station.

Credit: Atlas Obscura / Barbara Brannon
Credit: Atlas Obscura / Barbara Brannon

Want to check this place out? Take I-40 West towards the New Mexico line. The last exit before the welcome to New Mexico sign will put you on Route 66. Follow the signs to cross back over the interstate, then you will be just outside of town. And don’t forget to share your pictures with us!

Credit: Google Maps
Credit: Google Maps

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