Tee Pee Curios is such a magical and quirky piece of roadside architecture that I must confess; it gave me a thrill just to walk through the teepee door when I visited the store during the day but it also deserves a nighttime visit to truly appreciate its magnificent vintage neon.
One of New Mexico's last original curio shops along The Mother Road, Tee Pee Curios in Tucumcari, New Mexico, is a Historic Route 66 icon.
It originally opened in 1944 as a Gulf service station, grocery store, and souvenir shop. When US Route 66 was widened from two lanes to four in 1959, they removed their gas pumps and added the whimsical teepee entrance to the front of the building.
The neon sign was added sometime in the mid-1960s. It is, in my opinion, one of the best neon signs along Route 66 and one of nine neon signs to be restored during the 2003 New Mexico Route 66 Neon Sign Restoration Project. Did you notice the different spelling of TeePee on the sign? Mistake or intentional, no one seems to know. The longhorn skull neon was added around that time.
Copyright 2021 Susan Rissi Tregoning
December 13th, 2021
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