Ranchotel: Amarillo’s Forgotten Landmark on Route 66
WARNING: Under no circumstances should you enter this property. By doing so you risk bodily harm and/or prosecution for trespassing on private property.
Along Route 66, you used to be able to find all kinds of cafes, gas stations, attractions, and tourist courts. One of the more iconic landmarks in Amarillo, Texas was the Ranchotel.
Many of us are familiar with the Ranchotel as it looks now. But it hasn't always been that way.
Ranchotel was built in 1940. It was the same U-shaped court that we see today, with the main office sitting in the middle of the property.
Ranchotel featured designs based on adobe traditions with squat chimneys and stucco walls, and rooms had décor that celebrated ranching.
The National Register of Historic Places lists the years of significance as being 1940 - 1945.
One could say that the best of times lasted until Route 66 was realigned. No longer sitting directly on the Mother Road, Ranchotel was eventually sold and the units were turned into apartments.
Originally, the units had been separated by garages. Those garages would be repurposed into living areas.
Ranchotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in '95. The NRHP listed the property as having a laundry, library, meeting room, women's dorm, infirmary, and quiet room along with the individual units.
At that time it was operating as a hostel for the area's homeless and was also used to provide hospice care for HIV/AIDS patients in the 90s.
It was added to the registry because several of the original features of the buildings were retained during renovations; features you can still see today.
Other hotels/tourist courts from the same era had fallen into disrepair, making Ranchotel unique by nature of its very existence.
Now, it has boarded up windows. Weeds have taken over the landscaping. It looks as if the only tenants that are there now would be squatters. It's an unfortunate state for the once iconic Western-themed tourist court on Route 66.