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Resurrecting Memories Of Route 66 Signs

August 18, 2017 - Megan Kamerick

Design for KWYK Radio in Farmington. Courtesy of Mark Childs

Route 66, which stretched from Chicago to Los Angeles, endures in the minds of many as a road that represented the freedom of jumping in a car and heading West for adventure. The signs along Route 66 were an integral part of that experience. Many of these distinctive signs along New Mexico stretches of Route 66 were created here in Albuquerque by Zeon Signs.

Ellen Babcock stumbled upon the designs for many of these signs while working with the nonprofit she founded, Friends of the Orphan Signs. Babcock is an associate professor of art and art history in the College of Fine Arts at the University of New Mexico. Her colleague, Mark Childs, professor of architecture and associate dean of research in the school of Architecture and Planning, suggested they do a book on the signs. That book, The Zeon Files, was published by UNM Press. The Center for Southwest Research at UNM has catalogued the collection of sketches and plans to scan them and make them available online.

Design for Eddie's Inferno. Courtesy of Mark Childs         Design for Bimbo's sign. Courtesy of Mark Childs