El Rancho Hotel & Motel

El Rancho Hotel, Gallup, New Mexico, is a historic hotel built by R.E. “Griff” Griffith,[2] the brother of film director D.W. Griffith. The pair encouraged early film production in the surrounding area.[2] It is located on old U.S. Route 66 and became the temporary home for many Hollywood movie stars.The rambling, three-story hotel building has a large portico with a central balcony reminiscent of the Southern Plantation style. The National Park Service describes it as having a “rusticated fantasy appearance.” Materials include brick, random ashlar stone, and roughewn wood with a wood shake roof and brick and stone chimneys. The lobby features a spectacular walk-in fireplace made of brick and random ashlar stone surrounded by twin stairways made of split logs that lead to the second floor guest rooms.[2] The slogan “Charm of Yesterday, Convenience of Tomorrow” is rendered in neon above the main entrance.[3]

El Rancho Hotel
Nocturnal Hotel El Rancho.jpg
El Rancho Hotel at night
El Rancho Hotel & Motel is located in New Mexico
El Rancho Hotel & Motel
El Rancho Hotel & Motel is located in the United States
El Rancho Hotel & Motel
Location100 E. 66th Ave.,
Gallup, New Mexico
Coordinates35°31′46″N 108°43′18″W / 35.52944°N 108.72167°W / 35.52944; -108.72167Coordinates: 35°31′46″N 108°43′18″W / 35.52944°N 108.72167°W / 35.52944; -108.72167
Area1 acre (0.40 ha)
Built1936 (1936)
ArchitectJoe Massagalia
Architectural styleRustic
MPSDowntown Gallup MRA
NRHP reference No.87002222[1]
NMSRCP No.1190
Significant dates
Added to NRHPJanuary 14, 1988
Designated NMSRCPSeptember 20, 1985
El Rancho Hotel lobby
Wide shot

It is on the Trails of the Ancients Byway, one of the designated New Mexico Scenic Byways.[4]


It opened in 1937 as a base for movie productions. Employees were trained by the Fred Harvey Company.[5]

With the opening of Interstate 40, the property fell into decline. Armand Ortega bought the hotel at a bankruptcy auction[6] and restored the property.[7][5] The Ortega family has a long history dealing in Native American jewelry and artwork in Santa Fe, New Mexico and has operated concessions for the National Park Service at Carlsbad Caverns National Park, White Sands National Park, Death Valley National Park, Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, Muir Woods National Monument, and others.[7]

Famous guests[8]Edit

Headquarters for filmsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c National Park Service (26 October 2020). "Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary ROUTE 66". National Park Service. Washington, DC.
  3. ^ Holmes, Sue Major (28 May 1989). "Old West's Stars Live Again at New Mexico Watering Hole". Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California.
  4. ^ Trail of the Ancients. Archived August 21, 2014, at the Wayback Machine New Mexico Tourism Department. Retrieved August 14, 2014.
  5. ^ a b El Rancho Hotel-Route 66: A Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary
  6. ^ The Hour (18 May 1989). "El Rancho Hotel Counts on Nostalgia in Revival". The Hour. Norwalk, Connecticut.
  7. ^ a b Santa Fe New Mexican (26 October 2020). "Ortega Family Enterprises". Santa Fe New Mexican. Santa Fe, New Mexico.
  8. ^ "Historic El Rancho Hotel on Route 66 in Gallup NM | Home of the Movie Stars | Western Movies". www.historicelranchohotel.com. Retrieved 2021-06-21.

External linksEdit