Cause of Fire That Destroyed 150 Collector Cars on Route 66 in Illinois Remains Undetermined

 Daily, Illinois  Comments Off on Cause of Fire That Destroyed 150 Collector Cars on Route 66 in Illinois Remains Undetermined
Sep 072017
 








A large fire last month destroyed at least 150 cars and damaged several more, according to multiple news outlets. The fire occurred at Country Classic Cars in rural Staunton, Ill., located on historic Route 66.

According to its website, the business grew out of a hobby of a Midwestern farmer. An experienced mechanic, Russ Noel, grew the business to include an inventory of more than 600 collector cars. Besides the buildings that house the cars, there is also a service area, inside showroom and gift shop.

Noel said he typically has an inventory of a little over 600 cars. The fire destroyed 143 cars and a 50 x 530 feet warehouse that also housed an office and gift shop. Outside, six more cars sustained smoke damage.

The fire was traced to the warehouse to one of five cars located in the middle of the building; however, its cause remains undetermined.

Some cars are owned outright while others are taken on consignment. According to its website, the owner of a vehicle on consignment should retain insurance until the vehicle is sold.

Noel estimated he owned 95 percent of the cars that were affected, with the remaining cars affected on consignment.

He indicated that when a car arrives, their first step is to disconnect the battery, though it’s possible that step may have been overlooked, he said.

Most of the vehicles were removed from the premises with two weeks of fire, he said. Building debris removal was completed last month, as well. He plans to rebuild and estimated a start date of mid-September.

According to Jonathan Klinger, vice president of public relations for Hagerty, a collector car and boat insurer, Country Classics inventory includes a variety of cars. Typically, he said the nicer ones are kept indoors.

Klinger said that there are likely consignment agreements in place for those cars offered on consignment.

“Regardless if its consignment or an auction, it is universal industry practice that the owner of the car is going to sign some type of consignment agreement that states that you are still responsible for any property damage to the car. Meaning that they legally are not held liable for any damage that happens to the car while it’s in their care, custody and control,” Klinger explained.

Where the agreement states the owner should maintain insurance coverage, owners of damaged vehicles would submit a claim to their own insurer first, he said.

For the many cars owned outright by Noel, there may be agreed value policies in place.

Klinger explained that collector cars typically hold or increase in value, while standard cars depreciate in value. Thus, a policy on a collector car would typically be an agreed value policy where the value is pre-determined and agreed upon at the time of policy purchase, while a standard car would have a cash value policy where the value is determined at the time of loss.

Payout would be agreed value minus deductible, if one applied.

Noel couldn’t say what the total value of the loss is and Auto-Owners, Country Classic’s insurer declined to comment on the ongoing claim.

– by Denise Johnson – Claims Journal

Meet the new owner of the Motel Safari in Tucumcari NM

 Daily, New Mexico  Comments Off on Meet the new owner of the Motel Safari in Tucumcari NM
Jun 302017
 








Changing of the guards at the Motel Safari on Route 66 in Tucumcari NM. Richard and Gail Talley have owned and operated the motel for 10 years and now pass the torch to Larry Smith, the new owner.

Starting off with a love to travel, Larry Smith (or “2 Guns Larry” his newly given name) has driven sections of the route over the past decade or so. “I knew what Route 66 was about through shows, music and little things here and there, but I really didn’t know what Route 66 was about fully to the point I probably should have.” A trip from LA to Tennessee (Larry is from Knoxville TN) brought him to Tucumcari. “A buddy and I were driving from LA and we wanted to jump off of I-40 and stay the night somewhere and Tucumcari was the town we stopped in. Even back then there was some neon and these little historic businesses that I started to discover and enjoy’.

After a few trips hitting just a few segments of the route, he decided to embark on a full Chicago to LA trip in 2009 to see what the route was really about and to see and visit the places he researched online.

In 2016, and working for the Scripps Network in the International Division, he felt the open road calling. “It was getting to the point at work where it was nothing but Skype meetings and the same thing over and over and no person to person interaction and I needed a change.” The open road was calling yet again and that road ended up back in Tucumcari.

Ironically, a year later a good friend of Larry’s spotted the story of the Motel Safari being for sale on the Route 66 World website and Facebook page and told Larry this might be the time for something different. “A year earlier (2016) I never thought I would have gone from standing in the parking lot of the Motel Safari taking photos like your typical tourist to actually owning it. When I heard it was for sale I struggled with the time being right or if it was the right time for a change but it kept calling me back and after meeting with Rich and Gail and seeing how the operations are ran and how wonderful the motel was kept and all the neat little architectural details, I knew the time was right”.

Larry moved into the motel last Sunday and is spending the next few weeks going over business details and how to run it and even gets out once in a whole to start getting to know the town of Tucumcari and even stretches of the route – but this time as a business owner. “What should be a quick trip to the store takes a lot longer because folks want to know what my plans are, who I am and tell me about the town and all the other businesses. Rich and Gail not only have been fantastic hosts when I first came to check the motel out, but they have made this transition better than I can hoped for. I just need to keep up what they built so the motel will what the traveler has always known it to be.”

Larry also plans on opening a second suite; the first being the Rockabilly Suite with the new one being the Rawhide suite as well as open the remaining rooms. A small gift shop with Motel Safari merchandise will be available after a little while.

We wish Larry all the best and whole-heartedly thank Rich and Gail for bringing a classic motel back to be a destination on the route.
You can follow Larry and the Motel Safari via Facebook.

Historic Meteor City Trading Post on Route 66 has been purchased

 Arizona, Daily  Comments Off on Historic Meteor City Trading Post on Route 66 has been purchased
Mar 272017
 










Historic Meteor City Trading Post has been bought by Joann and Mike Brown from Jeffersonville IN. The couple finalized the purchase on Monday March 27th and are looking forward to bringing back the location to what it looked like when it was in its former glory.

Joann and Mike first saw the property while traveling Route 66 towards the west where they are originally from and they kept gravitating towards the trading post. Joann says her husband is a huge fan of Two Guns and the locations were very close to each other.

“This is our working retirement, if that is what you want to call it” said Joann. It was back in Aug when they just came home from traveling the route and decided that they wanted to really look into the possibility of purchasing the trading post. “These places need to be saved and this one had our name all over it. We remember it being for sale at one time but the price was a little too high” Joann stated.

She told me about a rock she took from the trading post and kept it in her car and said every time she was driving around, she would see the rock and it kept the trading post in her thoughts. They contacted the previous owner and after many phone calls, and literally to the last day which a lien was already on the property and was due to expire; Joann and Mike finally came to an agreement with the previous owners to purchase the property.
After checking to make sure it had a clean deed and getting the green light to close on the property, the Brown’s are now the new owners of Meteor City Trading Post.

The plans are to have them relocate to the trading post from Indiana and live there permanently while rehabilitating the trading post and surrounding property. “The first thing we have to do is to secure the property and get the majority of the place cleaned up. A lot of folks still stop out there to take photos and we want to make sure it is getting ready for them” Joann said.

The next phase will to be getting the electric shored back up and stable and start getting T-shirts designed and sold to help fund repairs and remodeling as well as other merchandise to sell.

Also on the list of things to do is not only getting the original map wall back up, but to make it longer than what it currently is. The longer term plan is to bring the look and feel of the trading post back to when Route 66 was just outside of its front door, without any knowledge or planning of the I-40 interstate. Joann plans on making the inside of the geodome part of the building a small little ‘historical walk’ through the different times and uses of the trading post. Part of the plan is to finally let the public see the original Justice of the Peace building, which has been sitting to the right (or west) of the geodome, as it was when it was in use back in the 1930’s.

The Brown’s have created a Facebook page for the trading post – visit it by clicking HERE and LIKE it to follow the progress of the restoration of the trading post over the next year.

The Meteor City Trading Post, which is located just outside of Winslow AZ on Route 66 – opened as a service station in 1938. The quirky trading post was another Mother Road casualty of the Interstate system. Located on Route 66 near the Barringer Meteor Crater, Arizona the trading post still stands to see travelers from around the world stop, take photographs and relish in its history.

The Motel Safari in Tucumcari NM is for sale

 Daily, New Mexico  Comments Off on The Motel Safari in Tucumcari NM is for sale
Mar 012017
 








Richard Talley, co-owner of the Motel Safari reached out to me to let me know the motel is up for sale:

“As we open for the 2017 season and approach our 10th year since purchasing the motel, we would like to be the first to let everyone know we will be offering the Motel Safari for sale this year at $300,000.00

Nothing else will change and the motel continue to operate as normal, we’re just ready to retire and pursue other adventures in life. We have a home in Tucumcari, where we will remain and continue to be involved in our local community, as well as all across Route 66.

If interested, please do not contact the motel or interrupt our daily operations. Instead, you may contact our broker, Richard Randals (NMREC# 16014) at New Mexico Property Group LLC. 575-461-4426 or email him at nmpgnewmexico@gmail.com

We would like to thank everyone for all their support, the Route 66 community and the town of Tucumcari. We love what we do and will continue to do so as usual, until an appropriate suitor is found. Until then, we look forward to seeing everyone on the road.”

Sincerely,

Richard & Gail Talley

The motel has been highly ranked via TripAdvisor as one of the best motels in Tucumcari. With a national and international following and is recognized as one of the top visited motels on Route 66, there is a built in client base waiting to stop back at the Motel Safari for years to come.

This has been my home away from home each and every time I stay in Tucumcari (minus once where I stayed at the Route 66 Motel due to the Safari being sold out!) and I truly love this place. Known for the ‘best beds on the route’ and always a clean and orderly property.

To be honest, it will be sad not to see Rich and Gail at the front desk BUT this really is a golden opportunity for someone to get a great motel at a pretty good price. And with a built in worldwide client base, you will meet folks from all around the world!

Grand Canyon Cafe Turns to New Chapter

 Arizona  Comments Off on Grand Canyon Cafe Turns to New Chapter
Oct 112016
 

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The front door of the Grand Canyon Café in downtown Flagstaff was swinging open and shut multiple times on Wednesday, Sept. 13, and two waitresses inside moved rapidly between booths alive with animated and hungry customers seated for late breakfast or early lunches. The smell of frying bacon and eggs and toasting bread wafted out from the kitchen in the rear of the establishment.

Mid-September was especially busy at the iconic Route 66 dining spot, as devoted patrons visited to pay their respects to the owners and chefs, Fred and Tina Wong, as they headed for retirement after selling their business.

The restaurant officially closed Saturday, Sept. 17. It is scheduled to reopen in December after being gently revamped by the new ownership team: two couples, Paul and Laura Moir, and Michael and Alissa Marquess, who already own and manage several high-profile restaurants and beverage and food supply businesses in Flagstaff, as well as minority partner Paul Thomas, who is a faculty member at NAU’s W.A. Franke College of Business. The location has been continuously open as a restaurant since 1942, a total of 74 years. In the Wong family since 1945, Fred Wong’s father, Albert, in partnership with his two brothers, Alfred and Edward, and also a nephew, Bill Yee, purchased the restaurant.

Through the years, the café became a beloved destination in Flagstaff, with constant loyal customers and visitors, all seeking that historic Route 66 flavor.

“A visit to the Grand Canyon Café was just part of the day for us,” said Bill Cordasco, Babbitt Ranches president and general manager. “It was an important thread in the fabric of our lives.”

On this Wednesday, Maite Blin and Regis Loock, both from Beauvais, France, came to for breakfast.

“It’s not expensive,” Loock commented. “You have a beautiful breakfast, very complex. And the staff is sympathetic.”

Wong, who was born in a small village in China and came to the U.S. at age three, took over management of the café in 1980 when his father retired.

Among local eaters on this Tuesday was James Burns, 44, a regular at the café. He works next door at the Galaxy Sales leather and saddle shop, which his family has owned since 1949.

“I’m a local pest,” he explained. “I come and harass Fred and Tina every morning when I come and get my coffee. They’re some of the kindest people. They’re the oldest, and we’re the second oldest [business]; there’s a lot of history between these two places. Fred’s been here since he was a little runt peeling potatoes in the back.”

Burns also orders out lunch, to eat at the Galaxy where he took over in 2015 after his father, Isidore (Izzy) Siebenberg, died. Lunch often is corned beef, his favorite, or the chicken fried steak, which he said is “the best in town.”

With its art deco exterior and neon signage, as well as the eclectic novelty items adorning the interior, the restaurant has been featured in many cookbooks, travel guides and newspapers and magazines, including the Arizona Daily Sun and Arizona Highways Magazine.

Retiring from the restaurant will give the Wongs more time to work their farm in Camp Verde, where they have another home. They also plan to frequently visit family in Phoenix. The couple, who married in 1982, have three grown children, Mark, David and Jessica, as well as their first grandchild, born earlier this year. “I’ll be able to spend more time at the farmers markets,” said Wong. “I had to skip this year. My son couldn’t help me; we had our first grandson, four months old. We’ll be going between Phoenix and farmers markets. We’ll go back and forth.”

Tina Wong said she plans to keep busy.

“It’s not retirement,” she said. “I’ll find something to do. I can’t sit around.”

Wong, who was a business major at NAU, first learned his cooking skills from his father, who had worked cooking Chinese food in Colorado. Wong said he had also trained as a chef at Hyatt hotel in San Francisco. The Wongs often cook side by side in the kitchen, working from about 13 hours a day, six days a week. Tina, who her husband said learned to cook “on the spot,” is fluent in the Chinese language and is greatly valued for her tasty Chinese cooking.

“She’s known for her eggrolls, fried rice and Mongolian beef,” he noted. “I’m famous for my chicken fried steak. It’s time for me to retire; I’m 68 this month. We’ll stick around to help the new owners if they need us. Flagstaff is nice and cool in the summertime. We want to thank all the loyal customers through the years.”

One of eight staff members, waitress Paige Sandoval, 23, has been working at the café for 5 ½ years.

“It’s been amazing,” she said. “I’ve known Tina and Fred my whole life, so working here is just like being at home. My great-grandparents, when I was small and we lived in Tuba City, used to bring us in for lunch just about every Friday. Tina and Fred, they’re wonderful employers, but to me, they’re more like a second pair of parents.”

Sandoval is not sure if she will be staying on with the new employers, but another waitress, Beatris Castruita, 28, will be relocating to be with family in Colorado.
“I’ve been seven years at the café,” she said. “I love it. I’ve met so many people here. Fred and Tina have been great. They’re really good people, and it’s time for them to retire and enjoy time with their grandson. I wish them the best.”

Local businessman Mark McCullough was sitting at the “Liar’s Table,” reserved for hunting and fishing friends of Fred in the back of the restaurant.

“I come down a couple times a week,” he said. “I eat healthy; the Chinese is healthier. Tina changes the special every day. They have worked very hard here, but it took a grandbaby for them to retire. I think that’s great.”

Local Flagstaff Unified School District teachers also made the Grand Canyon Café a favorite eating spot for decades.

At a booth against the wall, Linda Harris sat with her husband, Clair, and Dave Brown, both retired Flagstaff High School teachers, along with Judy Davis, whose husband, Terry, had also been a FHS teacher.

“We used to come at least once or twice a week for breakfast for 35 years,” Harris said. “We just moved out of town. We live not far from Camp Verde where Fred lives, so we know where the food will be.”

Teachers were such frequent diners that seats were assigned to them.

“They would come early,” Davis recalled. “Albert opened early on Friday so they could get to work on time. They all sat in the same seats for years and years. The waitress would say, ‘These people are family.’”

The Wongs always made sure everyone left with a full stomach, including a homeless Native American man who sat in front and was fed regularly.

“We have the most prestigious people in Flagstaff, down to that homeless fellow,” Dave Brown said. “Fred and Tina treat everyone the same.”

Jim Muns, a retired history teacher at Coconino High School, with 31 years in FUSD, has been coming to the café since 1968, when he first came to town to attend college.

“His dad, Albert, had the place; I came in to eat,” Muns said. “I’ve known Fred and Tina about 23 years. I come just about every day. I would come down in the evening and work for them, take cash when they were very busy. After I retired, I upped my job; I’m down here five days a week. Officially, I am the cashier. They’re very, very nice people, who work very hard. I think Flagstaff is going to have a very serious case of chicken fried steak withdrawal.”

Many folks were ordering Fred’s chicken fried steak during the last week the chef would be in the kitchen.

I’ve had a lot of local customers,” Wong recalled. “They come and go, generation after generation. That’s one thing I’m going to miss, all my friends here – all my loyal customers.”

By Betsey Bruner, Flagstaff Business News

Desert Sands Demolition Points to Route 66 Motel Challenges

 New Mexico  Comments Off on Desert Sands Demolition Points to Route 66 Motel Challenges
Oct 112016
 

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An Albuquerque two-story brick motel with nearly 70 rooms that was once regarded as the latest in modern motel offerings is soon to be no more.

The Desert Sands Motel at 5000 Central Avenue NE, designed by well-known Farmington architect Irving Corywell, was put up in the mid-1950s and shortly became a favorite for both Route 66 travelers as well as local residents.

Owned by businessman Clyde Tyler, who also built the Desert Inn at 918 Central, the Desert Sands featured a front swimming pool, landscaped entrance, and two private dining rooms.

It was those spacious dining rooms that attracted everyone from the Kiwanis Club to the Philatelic Society, and the Bernalillo County Federation of Republican Women to hold their regular meetings there.

But in recent years the motel, after a series of ownership changes, fell on hard times.

This summer three separate fires destroyed much of the U-shaped building, finally prompting Albuquerque’s Safe City Strike Force to take control of the property.

“Prior to the third fire, we had not condemned the property and had not taken administrative control of it,” says Leslie Torres, in the City of Albuquerque’s code enforcement division.

“At that point the property owner did have potentially up to a year to decide what to do with it, as long as it remained secure,” says Torres.

But the third fire last month changed all that.

“At that point it was demonstrated to us that the property had not remained secure,” says Torres. The Safe City Strike force then gave the owner of the property an October 1 deadline to demolish the structure or put in place plans to do so.

Although that deadline was not met, the owner has made what is called a “good faith effort” to finally get rid of the old motel by the end of this year.

The decline of the Desert Sands, which according to one 2014 complaint filed with the local Better Business Bureau had both water leaks in one room and the smell of mold, is also a story of dozens of motels along Route 66 that have fallen into disrepair.

“There are a lot of them,” says Charlie Gray, the executive director of the Greater Albuquerque Innkeepers Association.

“And some of those old Route 66 properties have great value, although many don’t,” Gray adds.

Built before the advent of the federal highway system in the late 1950s and 1960s, the Route 66 motels in New Mexico at one time numbered more than three hundred, although less than a third are left today.

But some of the properties are have survived for a new day.

The late 1930s El Vado Motel at 2500 Central SW is undergoing a $12 million restoration which will see the creation of a boutique property with an outdoor theatre, community food court, swimming pool, and retail space.

The De Anza Motor Court at 4301 Central Avenue, opened in 1939, is similarly seeing an $8 million restoration that will turn the property into an extended stay motel with a restaurant and pool.

“Everything we’re doing on this, the signage, the lighting along the way, the landscaping, we’re trying to stay true to that historic Route 66 form,” Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry declared this summer as the project to restore the De Anza was announced.

Both restoration projects came about through a unique combination of public funding and incentives.

But many others have gone by the wayside, although restoration specialist Doug Reames says even heavily damaged properties like the Desert Sands can be saved.

“You need to preserve the architecture the way it was, and take on the new marketing techniques that we have today to really promote these properties,” says Reames, adding “but that also requires a financial commitment.”

“There is definitely a new interest in these motels among the Millennials, and that’s a good thing,” says Gray.

“The question now is whether there is enough interest to make saving them feasible,” he adds. “And I don’t think we know the answer to that yet.”

By Garry Boulard – Construction Reporter

18th annual Standin’ on the Corner Fest Friday and Saturday

 Arizona, Daily  Comments Off on 18th annual Standin’ on the Corner Fest Friday and Saturday
Sep 202016
 

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18th annual Standin’ on the Corner Fest Friday and Saturday

WINSLOW, Ariz. — Winslow’s 18th annual Standin’ on the Corner Festival takes place Sept. 23-24 in Winslow, an annual event that started in 1999, which coincided with the unveiling of a mural and statue in the park.

The festival will take place in downtown Winslow on Historic Route 66 (West Second Street) and North Campbell Avenue at the Eagle Pavilion located behind the Winslow Chamber of Commerce (Historic Hubbell Building) and Visitor’s Center. The Eagle Pavilion was built by the Standin’ on the Corner Foundation with donations from businesses, individuals, the city of Winslow and funds raised from the festival and volunteers. The foundation’s mission is the redevelopment of Winslow (the mission used to be the redevelopment of just the historic district but it has expanded that mission to include all of Winslow).

The first festival sixteen years ago was an impromptu celebration for the completion and opening of the park, which has now grown into a huge festival, which draws five to 10,000 people over the weekend.

The event celebrates the well-known single “Take it Easy,” written by the late Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne, which became a hit in the 1970s for the Eagles and put the community of Winslow on the map. The verse ‘standin’ on the corner in Winslow, Arizona’ draws visitors from far and wide to stand on that famous corner on historic Route 66.

This year, a Glenn Frey Memorial — a statue dedication — will take place Sept. 23 on the corner of Second Street and Kinsley Avenue from noon to 2:30 p.m. The rest of the entertainment begins at 3 p.m. on Friday and 9 a.m. on Saturday. Cost is $5 per person. A horseshoe tournament is $20 per person and takes place Saturday.

Throughout the festival, vendors will sell everything from crafts, food and clothing. The event has fun for the entire family. A beer garden will have a tasting tent.

The festival’s returning bands Tommy Dukes, Stephen Padilla and Take it to the Limit, an Eagles cover band, will perform. In addition to these familiar names some other bands including Rhythm Edition, Coyote Moon Band, Triple Play, The Miller Boys and Higeria, a local favorite alternative band, Ty One on, country rock, and One of These Nights, a tribute to the Eagles, will also take the stage. In addition to the bands, NPC Ballet Folklorico, a Mexican Dance Group and the High Country Dance Team will perform.

On Sept. 245 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., the annual Standin’ on the Corner Foundation Auction takes place, which is the big fundraiser for the foundation. Lots of items will be auctioned off, including some Eagles memorabilia.

She said the city of Winslow also benefits greatly from the festival, which is the foundation’s mission.

In addition, the festival is a chance for everyone to shop local, which is important for a small community. Butler said that local businesses are generous with donations to the event and to the live auction.

The money raised ensures the foundation will be able to continue with the annual festival, keeping the park and the pavilion in top form and continuing in the efforts to improve our community, a member of the foundation said last year.

History

The foundation said the history of the park is also important to remember and without the founding members’ hard work and determination, the vision of the historic downtown of Winslow would have been lost.

Seeing the success of their efforts to save La Posada, Marie Lamaar and Janice Griffith focused their attention on creating another attraction in Winslow that capitalized on the hit song, “Take it Easy.”

The Standing on the Corner Foundation was formed by these women and a group of private citizens, including Glenn and Yvonne Howeth, Larry Benham, Chris and Larry Payne, Bert Peterson, Greg and Connie Hacker.

The Standin’ on the Corner Park was built brick by brick with donations made by local businesses, individuals, many volunteer hours and investments by the city of Winslow. The Kaufman family donated the property where the park on the corner is located. John Pugh painted a two-story mural for the park and the iconic, bronze life-size 1970s Rock and Roll guitarist, made by Ron Adamson, was placed over personalized donor bricks.

By Katherine Locke – Navajo-Hopi Observer

15 minutes in Dwight: Ambler-Becker gas station on Route 66

 Daily, Illinois  Comments Off on 15 minutes in Dwight: Ambler-Becker gas station on Route 66
Jun 242016
 

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Dwight’s restored Texaco station, on popular Old U.S. Route 66, comes to life each year in May. More than 60 volunteers take shifts here, meeting curious motorists from around the world. The following account covers approximately 15 minutes in the lube bay, the office and the old pumps out front.

Ding! A visitor wants to make sure that little black hose works, the one that used to announce a car pulling into a gas station. They don’t need those now at self-service stations.

A driver from the Czech Republic wanted to talk about Donald Trump. A film editor and a sound engineer from Rome talked of creating a movie about their experience. They plan to post it online.

“We want to discover the old America, the real America,” said Luigi Mearelli, 39. “We spent three years planning this vacation.”

Ding! Florian Niederhuber, 33, of Munich, was assisted by volunteer Alex McWilliams. The hosts always ask visitors to place a pin in one of their maps, marking the hometowns of each visitor.

The pins from 2015 were removed, but the European map already was filling up. The U.S. map was busier than expected. You could see other pins in Japan, New Zealand and parts of the African continent.

“We have had visitors come in and discover that they live only 10 miles apart in Germany,” McWilliams said. “I guess they wound up traveling together the rest of the way to California.”

Ding! It seems like like most of the motorists here are coming from Chicago and heading for an overnight stay in Springfield. This stop usually includes photos out front and questions about the next stop, usually in Pontiac.

On this day, the station was missing its celebrity attendant, Paul Roeder, of Kankakee. He wears a Texaco attendant’s uniform and surprises guests with another part of history. There really was a guy who pumped your gas and cleaned the windshield.

Attention always shifts back to the driveway here. The next couple rode up on a motorcycle dressed up to look like a 1957 Chevy. And the trailer it pulled was also tricked out like that Chevy icon.

Ding!

By Dennis Yohnka – Daily Journal

Boots Court – A symbol of pride on Route 66

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Boots Court – A symbol of pride on Route 66
Apr 132016
 

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A green glow that lit up the corner of Central and Garrison for decades in the middle of the 20th century has been restored in the 21st century with the lighting of the neon Saturday at the Boots Court.
In another step in the restoration of a Route 66 icon, Pricilla Bledsaw and Debye Harvey, the owners of the Boots Court, flipped a switch on Friday, turning on yards of green neon tubing along the edges of the classic building.
Bledsaw said the sisters have been working since they bought the hotel in August 2011 to restore the motel to its 1940s configuration, and while Route 66 aficionados have heard about restoration, adding the neon give people more reason than ever to come and see it for themselves.
“We were so excited we were finally going to get the neon on the building because that’s something people will see,” Bledsaw said. “Right now people come because they’ve heard about the Boots, but with the neon on, it just makes it look so much more open. It makes it look like what it is, it’s a Route 66 icon.”

About 75 people attended a two-hour open house at the Boots on Saturday.
Tables were set up with information about the Route 66 Association of Missouri, the upcoming Jefferson Highway Association of Missouri convention and books about the “Mother Road.”
The Carthage Middle School Tiger Choir, dressed in poodle skirts and dark jeans and t-shirts form the 1950s sang a variety of songs to entertain the crowd and several classic cars were on display.

The motel was filled for the night, marking the first time the restored Vacancy/No Vacancy neon sign was used.
As the sun went down and rain drops started to fall shortly after 8 p.m., dignitaries spoke and it came time for the countdown.
Holding up green LED pens, the crowd counted down from 10, then Debbie Dee, the manager of the Boots, turned on the switch inside the building, bringing to life the yards of neon tubing.
David Hutson, with Neon Time in St. Charles, manufactured the neon tubing to exacting standards replicating the green neon that was on the building based on photos and pieces of the original lights that Bledsaw and Harvey had removed and stored.
Route 66 changed when the sun went down,” Hutson said. Route 66 really came alive to try and attract people into the space. So you have this whole thing flooded with light when it gets dark. I think these kinds of places were so inviting for travelers.”

Bledsaw and Harvey said they applied for a grant from the National Park Service that paid for half the cost of the restoration.
Jim Thole, chairman of the Neon Heritage Preservation Committee for the Route 66 Association of Missouri, said restoring the neon is a big step toward restoring the Boots and giving Carthage place that will draw tourists from around the world.

“It’s just a real prize possession of Carthage in terms of tourism. Route 66 tourism,” Thole said. “People are going to go out of their way to see this. And if you’re here at this time of night to see this, what are you going to do? You’re going to stay here, you’re going to eat here, it’s a win-win for everyone.”
“Signs and architecture like this have taken on a new life in the sense that they are now symbols of local pride. They’re local landmarks, symbols of pride for the community, the community can be proud to have this back.”

By John Hacker – Carthage Press

Winslow Continues To Add Reasons To Visit The City

 Arizona, Daily  Comments Off on Winslow Continues To Add Reasons To Visit The City
Mar 182016
 

sipp-shoppe-winslow








The Sipp Shoppe across from the Standin’ on the Corner Park in Winslow is doing brisk business as Nikki Greer and Jacob Martin serve up food and ice cold drinks to customers, including Beata King and Bea Cooper, who stopped in on their way from Phoenix to Wisconsin.

Spring is in the air and that usually means the beginning of tourist season along Route 66, but in Winslow the season is already in full swing. It’s a cautious drive along Second Street as tourists step into the road to get a better angle with their camera or take a quick jog to cross from one sidewalk to another surrounding the Standin’ on the Corner Park.
The center of all the attention is the statue of the lone troubadour waiting for a ride, which has become synonymous with Winslow and draws thousands of people each year as strains of Eagles tunes fill the air from the Standin’ on the Corner gift shop.
At the opposite corner from the gift shop is the Sipp Shoppe. There, numerous patrons enjoy a soda or choose from a long list of hot dog specialties such as the Oklahoma Tornado or the Baja Dog. Nikki Greer, who runs the shop, said that it’s been “total chaos” for the past couple of months, ever since the death of Eagles co-founder Glen Frey. “This is usually our slowest month of the year, but so far it’s been crazy busy, mostly with people from in the state,” she said.
A stroll into the Arizona 66 Trading Co. across from the Sipp Shoppe showed visitors sorting through T-shirts with the words, “Take It Easy” and “Such A Fine Sight To See” emblazoned across the chest, and deciding what knick-knacks to buy while a concert video of the Eagles plays on a wide-screen television.
Sabrina Butler runs the shop and said it’s been busy like this since January. “It seemed like the day after Glenn Frey died people just started showing up,” she said. Butler also talked about the success of the Corner and the people who make it happen. “We have a good group of citizens making that effort, between the Standing on the Corner Foundation and the chamber of commerce we have a lot of great things coming up,” she said before going down a list of events that include a Cinco de Mayo festival, the Father’s Day fishing excursion and the Standin’ on the Corner Festival.
La Posada also is a big draw; they get quite a few celebrities over there. We just had (former Diamondbacks pitcher) Randy Johnson in the other day and he was staying there,” she said.
Soon the city will have another attraction for visitors to the downtown. According to Community Development Director Paul Ferris, the $488,000 grant from the Arizona Department of Transportation’s National Scenic Grant Fund has been freed up and the city can move forward with its plans for the Route 66 Plaza park. The park will be located next to the Standin’ on the Corner Park and will feature a mural of Chicago on the east wall and a mural of Santa Monica pier on the west wall. Winding between the two murals will be a pathway depicting Route 66 and all the highlights of the much-loved road. The work is expected to begin next month, with no time noted for completion.
“It’s taken awhile, but things are finally coming together. This plaza will be another added attraction for our visitors and one more reason to stop,” said Ferris.
Back at the Sipp Shoppe patron Beata King summed up why she stopped in Winslow on her way from Phoenix to Wisconsin: “We love the Eagles and of course we stop in Winslow for the food. We love this place.”

By Linda Kor