Travel Route 66 to Vega, Texas

Greetings from Vega, Texas

It is only about 50 miles from Amarillo to the New Mexico border, with the Old 66 Road passing through the small towns of Wildorado, Vega and Adrian. The highway is flat and straight as it leaves Amarillo.

Vega is a small rural town just 30 minutes west of Amarillo, and is the county seat and largest community in Oldham County. Vega is often referred to as the “Crossroads of the Nation” and has also been dubbed, “The Solar Capital of Texas” due to being in the 7th Sunniest Areas of the U.S. Its name is Spanish for "plain" or "meadow."

Route 66 Through Vega

Prior to Route 66’s designation in 1926, the town of Vega in the western portion of the Texas Panhandle was primarily an agricultural community. A segment of the Ozark Trail connected Vega to Amarillo to the east, and Tucumcari, New Mexico, to the west. When Route 66 was authorized, this Trail became part of the national highway. The highway extended directly through Vega, and new businesses emerged to serve the traveling public.

The popularization of the automobile brought new industry to Vega. Tourist courts, cafes, and gas stations sprang up. Vega and many other towns became dependent on the business that the Mother Road brought.

West Main Street in Vega was part of the original Route 66 alignment from 1926 to 1936. In 1936 Route 66 was re-routed to what is now Vega Boulevard (Business 40). Both alignments led west to Adrian, and then on to Glenrio. Remnants (dirt) of the original alignment west of town can be seen by the wary observer in person, and on satellite maps!

Route 66 Through Vega

Sign describing the location of Route 66 in Vega

Sign describing the location of Route 66 in Vega, Texas

 

Traffic remained heavy on Route 66 through Vega throughout the 1950s and 1960s.  During this same period, the desires for better and faster transportation coupled with advances in technology made the road obsolete.  Plans for an interstate through the Texas Panhandle were forming, and the new modern highway (I-40) was completed in the early 1970s. Vega and many other cities across the country began to dwindle when Interstate 40 bypassed them.

Vega Today

Today, Route 66 tourists still enjoy the history and nostalgia of the road which continue to provide glimpses of those earlier times. It offers travelers a variety of interesting attractions in Vega, such as the Milburn-Price Culture Museum, the Oldham County Courthouse, Dot's Mini Museum and the historic Magnolia Gas Station. The Oldham County Heritage Farm and Ranch Museum is also on Old Route 66 and offers visitors an outdoor display of antique farm machinery and equipment.

Yearly events include the Vega Bluegrass Festival, Comancheros de Vega Community Garage Sales, Easter Eggstravaganza, and the Oldham County Round-Up. Vega offers motels, a library (built in 1911 as a silent movie theater), RV parks, restaurants, a grocery store, several convenience stores, and many shops.

Map showing the location of Vega on U.S. Route 66 in Texas
Map showing the location of Vega on U.S. Route 66 in Texas

Access to Vega

Today, Vega is situated at the intersection of Interstate I-40 and U.S. Highway 385. Vega has three exits from Interstate I-40; all offer access to the Old Route 66:

  • Exit 35 on the west end of town (see photo below)
  • Exit 36 in the central part and the location of the Pilot Travel Center, Valero Gas Station & Allsup's, Days Inn by Wyndham and more services
  • Exit 37 on the east end of the town, the first Vega exit when traveling west from Amarillo

The Old Route 66 through Vega is now labeled as "Business 40".

Exit 35 from Interstate 40 at Vega, Texas, an access point to Route 66

Milburn-Price Culture Museum

The former Western Lumber Company building is home to the Milburn-Price Culture Museum, at 1005 Coke Street in Vega. The Museum is a non-profit organization that seeks to educate the public about the history and culture of the Oldham County area. Shown below is the sign and exterior of the Museum, one of the exhibit areas and lovely mural on the side of the building.

Also on display outside is the world's largest branding iron ... for the XIT Ranch!

Milburn-Price Culture Museum on Facebook

Sign and exterior view of the Milburn-Price Culture Museum in Vega, Texas, on Historic Route 66

Front entrance at the Milburn-Price Culture Museum in Vega, Texas, on Historic Route 66
XIT branding iron at the Milburn-Price Culture Museum in Vega, Texas, on Historic Route 66 Front entrance at the Milburn-Price Culture Museum in Vega, Texas, on Historic Route 66
Mural on the side of the Milburn-Price Culture Museum in Vega, Texas, on Historic Route 66

Oldham County Courthouse

Route 66 Roadside Attraction: Circa 1915 Oldham County Courthouse in Vega, Texas

Route 66 Roadside Attraction: Circa 1915 Oldham County Courthouse in Vega, Texas Route 66 Roadside Attraction: Circa 1915 Oldham County Courthouse in Vega, Texas

Magnolia Gas Station

The circa 1920s Magnolia Gas Station is located at 222 North Main Street in Vega. It was restored by the Oldham County Chamber of Commerce and the City of Vega with partial funding from National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.

The circa 1920s Magnolia Gas Station at 222 North Main Street in Vega, Texas The circa 1920s Magnolia Gas Station at 222 North Main Street in Vega, Texas
The circa 1920s Magnolia Gas Station at 222 North Main Street in Vega, Texas Interior of the 1920s Magnolia Gas Station at 222 North Main Street in Vega, Texas

The Vega Motel

Ervin Pancoast constructed the Vega Motel on Route 66 in 1947, a time when leisure and travel was a booming industry.  The motel had west and south wings for a total of 12 units, with garages incorporated into the motel design. The Vega Motel was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.

Read more about the Vega Motel at the National Park Service (NPS)

The Vega Motel on Route 66 in West Texas The Vega Motel on Route 66 in West Texas

Other Scenes and Places Around Vega

Entering Vega on Old Route 66
Entering Vega, Texas on Old Route 66
Dima's Trade-N-Post Route 66 truck
Old Route 66 truck at Dima's Trade-N-Post on the corner of South Main Street and Roberts Street in Vega, Texas
Bison ... at Vega!
Bison ... in Vega, Texas!
The Vega Enterprise
The Vega Enterprise in West Texas
Dot's Mini Museum at 105 N 12th
Dot's Mini Museum in Vega, Texas
Roadside Attraction: Dot's Mini Museum
Route 66 Roadside Attraction: Dot's Mini Museum in Vega, Texas
The Dinosaur in Vega
The dinosaur in Vega, Texas on the grounds of the Milburn-Price Culture Museum
The Vega Water Tower
Water Tower in Vega, Texas
Hickory Inn Cafe
The Hickory Inn Cafe in Vega, Texas
Roosters Crafted Mexican Food
Roosters ... Crafted Mexican Food, in Vega,  Texas

Earlier Times on Route 66 in Vega ... Seen in Vintage Postcards

Sands Motel
The Sands Motel on U.S. Highway 66 in Vega, Texas
The Sands Motel on U.S. Highway 66 in Vega, Texas
Western Skies Cafe
The Western Skies Cafe in Vega, Texas, next to the Sands Motel
Vega Court ... circa late-1950s
Vega Court in Vega, Texas, circa late-1950s
Bonanza Motel
The Bonanza Motel on U.S. Highway 66 in Vega, Texas
The Bonanza Motel on U.S. Highway 66 in Vega, Texas

 


Only 18 miles west of Vega is Adrian, the mid-point of Route 66
Welcome to Adrian, Texas ... the midpoint of Historic Route 66
Route 66 road trip to Shamrock, Texas Route 66 road trip to Amarillo, Texas Route 66 road trip to Glenrio, Texas

 

Driving West
on the Next Route 66 Segment?

Tucumcari to Santa Fe

Route 66 Road Trip westbound from Tucumcari to Santa Fe, New Mexico

 

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