Rerouting Route 66 Through Tijeras Canyon

Albuquerque Historical Society - RT66 - Tijeras Canyon - 1937
US 66 Tijeras Canyon – 1937

Roger Zimmerman’s presentation at 2 pm on August 17, 2014 will review Route 66 folklore and provide personal reminisces of living near Route 66. The establishment of initial Federal highways in New Mexico will be introduced. Background on the creation of the Santa Rosa Cut-off from Santa Rosa to Moriarty (Retribution Road) will be examined and political pressures (Hannett’s Joke) and financial complications highlighted. Tradeoffs between increased traffic through Tijeras Canyon and problems associated with negotiating La Bajada Hill will be discussed. The eleven year transition period from the first alignment of Route 66 in 1926 to its final alignment in 1937 brought about significant changes in traffic flows, infrastructure developments, and geographical distributions that changed New Mexico forever. For example, the town of Buford was formed near Moriarty. The Santa Rosa Cut-off led to establishment of the Laguna Cut-off. Activities leading to the inauguration of this second cut-off will be presented. Finally, the aftermath of rerouting Route 66 will be evaluated.

The program will take place at the Albuquerque Museum. Parking is free in the lot south of the Albuquerque Museum. Admission to the Museum and AHS program is free.

Roger Zimmerman - Albuquerque Historical SocirtySpeaker Roger Zimmerman was born next to Route 66 and spent his early years near there. He was educated in the Gallup schools and attended New Mexico Military Institute before enrolling in college at the University of Colorado. After graduate school, he became a Professor of Civil Engineering and later Associate Dean of Engineering at New Mexico State University. He joined Sandia National Laboratories in 1980 and retired as a project leader and a Distinguished Member of the Technical Staff in 2000. History has been his hobby and he has written a book about an opera house in Gallup and has become involved in educational outreach activities associated with the Albuquerque Historical Society, where he serves as the current president.