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Route 66 Caravan Road Log:
May 20, 2003


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Albuquerque

Jones Motor Company

Jones Motor Company in the 1940s

In 1939 Ralph Jones had his new Ford dealership built in the new Streamline Moderne style, his building became one of the most modern facilities in the west at that time. The large curved front window allowed passing motorists a view the latest Ford automobiles. His motor company included a full service gas station.
 
Built at the then eastern end of Albuquerque, his service station was one of the first encountered by west bound travelers. Location was everything! For the travelers with heavy loads Ralph put a canopy in the back so they could unload their cars in the shade before being worked on.

Kellys Sign

 
Jones Motor Company thrived on this corner of Route 66 for almost twenty years. In 1957 Jones Motor Company moved to a new location. The building became home to many businesses the next forty years from a moped shop to an army surplus store. In 1993 it was officially designated as a historic building.
   
Jones Motor Company Neon In 1999 Kellys Brewery purchased the historic building. Kellys spent time and money in restoring and renovating the building to bring out its original character and preserve its Route 66 history for all to enjoy.
 

The Route 66 Caravan RV makes an appearance at the historic Jones Motor Company.

66 Caravan at Jones Motor Company

 

Jones Motor Company a Roadside Attraction

  Jones Motor Company Gas Pumps Janice and Dennis Bonfantine bought the old Jones Motor Company in 1999 and fell in love with the old building. They had plans for it too. Through their dedication to historic preservation they brought the Jones Motor Company building back to life for others to enjoy. They gave a new generation of Route 66 travelers a glimpse of what life was like back on the Mother Road sixty years ago.
      
Hampton Save-A-Landmark program believed that the work done by the Bonfantines on the Jones Motor Company made it a site worth seeing on Route 66. The Route 66 Caravan arrived around 11:00 to put up the new Roadside Attraction sign. Once the sign was up we decided to have lunch at this great restaurant. I'm glad we did because, unknown to us at the time, forces were at work that would give our ceremony a very special meaning.

Janice & Dennis Bonfantine
Dennis and Janice Bonfantine talk to Jim at the sign unveiling.

        
As we sat down at our table, Janice came up and told us that Keith Jones and his wife Marta had just come into the restaurant for lunch. Keith was the son of Ralph Jones the builder of Jones Motor Company. Keith was eleven years old when his father built his building and he worked here from an early age. I couldn't wait to talk to Keith; neither could Jim for that matter. Both Jim and I walked up and introduced ourselves. Keith was just as surprised as we were. He had no idea that we were honoring the Bonfantines and his father with a Roadside Attraction sign. And yes, Keith did have some great stories. I particularly liked the one about him racing home from school to see how his father's new building was coming along. Keith said that the man in charge of the construction would walk up to him, and with a twinkle in his eye say, "Now Mr. Jones what do you think about this," as he pointed out one of the latest developments. Keith was impressed by this attention, so much so that over sixty years later he would remember the incident as if it was yesterday. As Keith talked I could see his eyes grow misty with the many happy memories that the Jones Motor Company building brought back to him. Suddenly the old building came to life for me too. It was more than brick and mortar, it was a living thing, and Keith was very much a part of the life of it.
     
 

This was no coincidence that Keith and Marta Jones just so happened to drop by Kellys for lunch today of all days. I believe there are no coincidences, what we call coincidences are just God's way of remaining anonymous.

Keith and Marta Jones
Keith shares memories of his days at the Jones Motor Company with Jim and Marta.

     

The Jones with the 66 Caravan
Keith and Marta Jones share their joy with all of us on the Route 66 Caravan.

Another memory that Keith told us happened right after the Motor Company opened in 1939. There were many destitute families traveling west on Route 66 looking for a better life in California. One such family had stopped here for repairs and spread a blanket on the shop floor to have a picnic lunch while they waited for their car to be fixed. "Those were tough times," Keith said. "You did what you had to do to survive."

     

Jones Motor Company Sign

 

Model A Hillbillies

  Model A Ford The Route 66 Caravan had another surprise after the sign ceremony at the Jones Motor Company. We got a call from some very special people. Zeek, Ma and Jeffro, The Model A Hillbillies, were going home after the San Bernardino Fair and just so happened to be passing through Albuquerque. They wanted to meet the 66 Caravan. Well heavens, how could we refuse?
     
  Zeek and Ma have a dream! Their dream is to spread a little happiness and make people laugh while celebrating the unbeatable American spirit. They travel the Mother Road from county fair to special events to give others a nostalgic taste of the 1930s. Not only is their act fun but it is educational too. Their functional hillbilly camp is complete with antiques, innovative hillbilly designs and inventions. You know those Model "A's" they have, they all run too!

Model A Hillbillies
Jeffro, Ma and Zeek, The Model A Hillbillies, stop to say hi.

 
  Hillbillies Composite

Children of all ages will enjoy looking at the museum of relics hanging all over the Model "A's." I know I sure did! I saw something new every time I looked.

Zeek, Ma and Jeffro are available for all kinds of events from Fairs to Rodeos and everything in between. For Bookings call: Ken Ayres, 4300 South Highway J, Stockton, MO 65785, (417) 276-4633, Cell: (417) 276-1658.

 


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