Growing up I never really appreciated a lot of things about the little dusty Route 66 New Mexico town of Tucumcari I grew up in, including all those flashing neon lights. Visits back, I began to take notice that the color and lights started to vanish, piece by piece. I decided to start taking some images of those colorful signs that are still around but it seems many of those neon lights I grew up with are now becoming worth something, collector’s items. Yet the buildings, the many motels those signs promoted in town, are left often times to deteriorate. Local owners, history buffs, town officials, are all struggling to keep the small town history from disappearing into collector’s hands. Locals though can’t compete with deep pocket buyers throwing out their cash and hauling the colorful neon nostalgia somewhere else, away from the small town it came from. It’s also hard for local owners to cover the cost of repairing the old signs often times. Maybe some say it’s progress or maybe it’s just the way things go.
In any case, it leaves a less colorful view of what was once was a very vibrant past. The town will always have it’s unique, colorful stories and the history, collector’s can never take that away.