Updated: Friday, 10 Jun 2011, 9:13 AM MDT
Published : Thursday, 09 Jun 2011, 10:26 PM MDT
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - It was a part of history, now it's just rubble. Another piece of Albuquerque memorabilia is gone. The Aztec Motel was once a booming tourist spot on Route 66, but now it is being demolished.
“It's disappointing,” Historic Preservation Planner Ed Boles said. “Because, when these folks bought the Aztec we believed and they believed, I think also, that they would be able to preserve it, so it's disappointing to see that they haven't been able to.”
Boles said the Aztec, which was built in 1932, was one of the five most important motels left out of the nearly 100 that used to line the stretch between downtown Albuquerque and Nob Hill.
“I wonder about 50 years from now how many of these buildings will remain at all,” said Boles.
The Aztec's owner, Jerry Landgraf, said it would have cost $1 million to restore it to its glory.
“Everything just kept falling apart to the point where we were spending more trying to maintain it than we were getting any kind of income out of it,” said Landgraf.
Soon after he bought the building five years ago, Landgraf realized it couldn't be saved.
“There were floor joists sitting on sewer pipes underneath the foundation to the extent there was a foundation,” he said.
He now plans to build shops or apartments on the site. Landgraf owns other old motels on Route 66 and he hopes to save those.
Boles said Albuquerque can't afford to lose anymore history:
“Whenever we lose a historic one, we are especially concerned about that loss because they aren't making any more of those.”
The Aztec used to have a lot of memorabilia hanging on the outside walls. Some was given to people who asked for specific pieces, but the owner said most were so damaged he just threw them out.
The city owns two other historic Central Avenue motels: El Vado and the De Anza. It plans to remodel both, starting with the De Anza.