Vega Motel, Vega, Texas, USA
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, Texas and Tucumcari, New Mexico. When Route 66 was created, this road became part of the national highway. The highway extended directly through town, and before long, new businesses like the Vega Motel emerged along its path.
Ervin Pancoast constructed the Vega Motel (originally Vega Court) on Route 66 in 1947 at the dawn of an era of unparalleled prosperity in the United States and Texas, a time when leisure and travel became a booming industry. The motel had west and south wings, which contained 12 units. Aware of the importance of automobiles to travelers, Mr. Pancoast incorporated garages into his motel design, and pairs of garages alternated with pairs of motel units in each wing. At the same time, he also constructed a small house in the center courtyard that served as an office and personal living quarters. Mr. Pancoast married the following year, and the couple lived on the property, which became their life’s work.
Business was good for the young couple, as traffic along Route 66 through Vega remained busy over the following decades. In 1953, the Pancoasts added an east wing containing eight units with built-in garages. All of the new units had bathrooms and some had kitchenettes. Like many motels of the mid-20th century, the Vega Motel was modernized in 1964 with a new exterior of Perma-Stone.
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. This traffic change ultimately affected the Vega Motel. After operating the motel for over 30 years, the Pancoasts sold the motel in 1976. The current owners continue to run it and the motel has been in continuous operation since its construction.
The Vega Motel is one of the rare surviving intact motel complexes left in the small towns of the Texas Panhandle. While Amarillo boasts several Route 66 motels, only three are currently documented to survive intact outside Amarillo. The Vega Motel was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 2006.
The Vega Motel is located at 1005 Vega Blvd. in Vega, TX. It is currently not accepting overnight visitors.