This colorful horse is just one of many examples of wall murals you can see in Tucumcari, New Mexico

Murals of Tucumcari

Tucumcari is a small town on highway 40 between Albuquerque (2.5 hours to the west) and Amarillo (1.5 hours to the east). Located along Route 66, Tucumcari used to offer more for tourists than it does now. While it is worth seeing the Dinosaur Museum and the Tucumcari Historical Museum, you don't want to miss the murals that adorn the town.

 

Painted on the sides of businesses, houses, and posts, these are very unique murals. While some play off the Route 66 theme, others reflect the history of the area, which mainly includes ranching. 

 

Some of the murals are ultra-realistic, while others are more playful. Most can be found along the main street through Tucumcari (Route 237, Tucumcari Blvd), as well as on the north side of First Street. Many of them can be spotted fairly quickly, while others are on side streets, in parking lots, or located well off the main part of the road. Make sure you look down obscure streets, on the side walls of markets and businesses, and in parking lots. One is even tucked on a wall inside a campground and one by the door of a tattoo parlor.

 

Several restaurants and hotels have maps of where the murals can be found, but in reality, these only capture a small fraction of the murals you can actually see. 

 

 

The next collection of murals are readily seen when driving through Tucumcari. Each is located on Tucumcari Blvd, the main street through town. Common New Mexico scenes are included, both historical and current.




Some of the murals are easily seen when you drive through town. If you spend some time poking around, you'll find many of the others. There are a few near the college campus and some on Aber Street. I wouldn't have found some of these without directions from people who live in Tucumcari.

 

Don't be shy about looking for them, and when you find some you like, feel free to snap as many pictures as you can. Keep in mind that some of these are painted on businesses that are open during the day; be respectful and don't block doors or driveways with your vehicle. 

 

So who made these? The Tucumcari Murals were painted by Doug Quarles, a former resident of the town. Quarles and his wife have since moved to Benson, Arizona, where he has been commissioned to begin work on a new set of murals, which depict the role of the railway in that part of the country.

 

So, just how popular are these murals? 


That's hard to say. They are certainly a big draw for traveller's looking to explore Route 66.


What is worth noting, though, is that this page has consistently shown to be the most popular on this entire website. From the beginning, that's always been true.


Enjoy the photos, but try to see these murals in person, as well.





While a few of the following murals can be found on Tucumcari Blvd, most of these are on side streets; near the post office or where the motels cluster.

The Texaco mural below is actually painted on the front of an existing business. This is also true of the woman standing in the doorway.


If you look at the bus mural, you can see the bricks of the wall sticking out.



While you're in Tucumcari, drive to the courthouse on Center Street. The 1939 Art Deco style courthouse is a four-story concrete, granite, and cast stone building with stone bas relief embellishment depicting farming, cowboys, and the railroad. 




You can see the etchings on the outside of the building. If you go inside, there is a large mural of Coronado titled, I, Francisco Vasquez de Coronado, Have Passed This Way and Left my Mark [the sun was coming through the windows when I took this photo]:




Want to learn about and see more murals along Route 66? Be sure to visit the website:


www.route66muralproject.com