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Triangle Motel on Route 66 in Amarillo

The Triangle Motel sign, facing the 1956 alignment of Route 66/ US 60, in Amarillo, Potter County, Texas.

The research work I did for my blog post on the Ozark Trail reminded me of the time when I visited Amarillo, the Red River Valley's west-end, and took gads of photos of old motels.

One of my captures was the Triangle Motel, a motor court at a triangular intersection of US 66 (today, Triangle Drive & NE 8th Avenue - cut in two by the expanded airport; originally, the Ozark Trail) and US 60 (Amarillo Boulevard, which is also the 1956 alignment of US 66; originally, the Midland Trail). When Route 66 served as the main highway between Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California, the Triangle Motel on the east side of Amarillo (Potter County, Texas) was one of the first such establishments west-bound travelers encountered, and was definitely the first motel to beckon those who were driving into town from the city's airport.

Built in 1946 in the "art moderne style," the exterior of the Triangle Motel was originally stuccoed, but was modernized in 1952 with a yellow brick veneer facade. Each pastel-colored room featured an attached garage, refrigerated air, a view of flat fields, and access to a cafe that served breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Elderly married couples were hired to take care of the property and lived on-site in a manufactured home. After Interstate 40 usurped US 66 as the main thoroughfare, however, the motel saw a major uptick in crime. Several gun and drug deals took place, and in 1973 the caretakers were robbed. Eventually, the motel closed.

While it's no longer in service as a motor court--- and neither is Route 66 as an interstate highway --- the old Triangle Motel on US 66 in Amarillo still stands, worse for wear and missing some features. This remnant of the quintessential American road trip was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2012.

Post card
An undated postcard of the Triangle Motel in its original stucco along the original alignment of Route 66, today's Triangle Drive, in Amarillo, Potter County, Texas (Boston Public Library).
After the federal highways were bypassed by Interstate 40, the Triangle Motel was on the verge of closing. John Margolies took this photo of its last days in 1977 (LOC).
Motel courtyard overgrown
Today's view of the interior courtyard, which once held a fountain, at the Triangle Motel at Route 66/60 in Amarillo, Potter County, Texas.

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