Stopping in at the Navajo Lodge, 80 years ago

In April 1940, Russell Lee, a 37-year-old prolific shutterbug who worked for the government’s Farm Security Administration, crisscrossing the country to document American life, stopped in at the Navajo Lodge along U.S. 60 in Datil, New Mexico.

Pretty cool looking place. A rustic relic of the Old West filled with Navajo rugs, trophies, furniture crafted long before the days of pressboard IKEA junk, and guns. Oh, the guns.

Speaking of guns…check out this gun rack.

How many can you name?

More details after the jump to my column at


  • What happened to the Navajo Lodge? Was it torn down to make way for a gas station / convenience store?

    • As far as I can tell, it seems the Lodge existed until the 1980s in one form or another but I don’t believe it is still there. I tried contacting someone on the ground in Datl, but from what I can discern it is just north of being a ghost town.

      • My sense is that Datil, Quemado, Pie Town and others in the area are all just north of slowly vanishing. Looking at digital newspapers, I see that “Navajo Lodge” was for sale off and on, but I wonder if the property in question was the original structure.

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