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Fire destroys abandoned motel in Tucumcari September 4, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels.
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A suspected arson fire early Wednesday destroyed a long-closed motel known as the Payless Inn on Route 66 in Tucumcari, New Mexico, according to the Quay County Sun newspaper.

When firefighters arrived at the Payless Inn, 2000 W. Rte. 66 Blvd., three separate buildings on the property were engulfed in flames, Rigdon said.  The blaze leveled all three buildings.

At about 11 a.m. today, firefighters were still tending smoking ruins of the motel property. [...]

The Payless Inn is owned by Maggie Ventures, LLC., of Las Vegas, Nevada, according to Quay County Assessor’s Office information.  The property is valued at $155,155.  It had been devalued since 2013, when its value was assessed at $445,386.

Here’s a Google Street View of the motel, if you’re having trouble remembering it:


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The motel also once was known as the Taaj Hotels and Suites. The property was on the far west end of town, and had been closed for as long as I can remember. It was more than a mile from restaurants, gas stations and stores, in the center of Tucumcari; its relative isolation had to make it a tough go for any owner.

According to this postcard from the Illinois Digital Archives, the motel originally opened as the Sheraton Motor Inn, probably in the late 1960s or early 1970s. Here’s the text on the back of the postcard:

SHERATON MOTOR INN West Tucumcari Boulevard (I-40 U. S. 66 & U. S. 54) Tucumcari, New Mexico 88401 81 Bright new rooms in a convenient highway location, 1 1/2 miles from downtown Tucumcari. Air Conditioned, T.V. and Free Parking. Dining Room, Cocktail Lounge, Banquet Room, and function rooms to accommodate 150.

It was the second motel fire in Tucumcari in six weeks. The Hampton Inn on the east side of town was destroyed after a lightning strike ignited the second floor.

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