Aug 072013
 




As celebrations go, we think the Route 66 International Festival was top-notch. On behalf of our community and our readers, we want to thank the Route 66 Alliance for choosing Joplin as the site of the festival.

We also tip our hat to the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau and all the local volunteers who made it a great event.

Michael Wallis, one of the co-founders of the Route 66 Alliance and the man providing the voice of the sheriff in the Disney-Pixar movie “Cars,” signed about 2,200 autographs in Carthage. He called his fan base “future road warriors.”

We like the idea that there are those who are keeping the story of America’s Mother Road alive. As a result of the festival, it’s clear that our own appreciation has been rekindled. Events promoted the history of the route from Vinita, Okla., to Carthage, Mo., with stops in Kansas in between.

And it seems like every time there’s a discussion about Route 66, we learn something new or discover something new right here in our own backyard.

A lot of work and planning went into the event, from the car cruising, to the kids roadie parade.

With that said, it would be a shame to wait 20 years for Joplin to get another turn to be hosts for the festival.

Wallis described the success of the event this way:

Route 66 is a linear village that has no state lines, county boundaries or city limits. We have to work together, and we saw that beginning to happen for the first time in Joplin.”

It’s an experience we would love to repeat again somewhere down the road.

Apr 132013
 





Historic Route 66 hotel dedicated a themed room to late musician John Wilkinson, a former Springfield resident who played guitar for Elvis Presley.

The room, located in the Best Western Rail Haven motel next to the Elvis-themed room, honors the musician who played more than 1,200 shows with Presley from 1968 until Presley’s death in 1977.

Wilkinson, 67, died in January after a four-year battle with cancer and is survived by his wife, Terry, whom he married in 1983.

Tears were shed and memories were shared as Wilkinson’s friends and family gathered at the motel on Friday to view the room for the first time.

Tom Petit met Wilkinson in 1972 while working at a hotel in Aurora, Ill., and they became close friends.

Petit was unaware of who Wilkinson was when he checked in, Petit said. Later that evening, two women came to the hotel, asking for Wilkinson’s room number.

Petit refused to share the information and told the women, “Sorry, that’s not the way we operate.”

“The next morning, before I got off work, (Wilkinson) was down in the bar having breakfast, having it served to him in the lounge because he didn’t want to be around all the people,” Petit said. “Somebody came and told me there was a gentleman down in the lounge who wanted to have a word with me.”

Petit approached Wilkinson and asked, “So you wanted to see me?”

Wilkinson held up a finger to pause Petit and listened to a song that was playing on the jukebox.

A few moments after the song was over, Wilkinson told Petit, “Sorry, but that’s the only song we play that you can hear me play in.”

Petit said he thought, “Who is this guy? What are we talking about here?”

Wilkinson had two notes in the song “Burning Love” that could be heard. Petit said now he can’t listen to the song without hearing the guitar and those notes.

Wilkinson thanked Petit for taking care of things for him the night before.

“We sat down and we talked for a few minutes,” Petit said. “Next thing you know, we’re talking for half an hour.”

Gordon Elliott, owner of the Rail Haven motel, said the Elvis-themed room was updated for the motel’s 75th anniversary in August.

“We didn’t get the chance to do anything to tie (Wilkinson) into Elvis when he was alive,” Elliott said. “We ended up getting the room right next door to Elvis’.”

Elliott said creating the room for Wilkinson would be a great idea since he and Presley were close friends.

“And it ties into Springfield history,” Elliott said.

Presley appeared at the Shrine Mosque in 1956, and Wilkinson, then 10 years old, took the opportunity to tell the king of rock ‘n’ roll how he felt about his guitar playing.

Wilkinson sneaked into the mosque and approached Presley while he was in his dressing room. After some small talk, Wilkinson said, “Elvis, you can’t play guitar worth a damn.”

Presley, slightly insulted but amused, let Wilkinson play his guitar and said, “You’re pretty good.”

Wilkinson responded, “I know.”

Presley hired him 12 years later.

By Katie Lamb – News Leader

Mar 052013
 










My note: I talked with them today and they are short funds to get the roofing contractor 100% paid. I told them I would help try to raise ANY amount of donations to get the contractor to stay on the property a little bit longer and get the roof and roof like BACK to the way it was when the Boots was first built. ANY dollar amount helps – but please send something to them, or if you are in the area on the scheduled work weekend, SHOW UP AND HELP!!!

Also, as a bonus, I was told the ORIGINAL sign company who created the BOOTS COURT sign will be there in the next weekend or two to repaint the sign to the correct original colors and lettering AND put all new neon, wiring and transformers in (ALL BEING DONATED by the sign company!!) to make the sign look like it did back in the 1940’s. This motel was saved and we have a chance to help it prosper and to be a viable part of Route 66 for generations to come – so PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE HELP!!


The National Park Service, Route 66 Corridor Grant Program has awarded the Boots Motel owners a matching grant to remove the 1978 roof addition and restore the structure to it’s original appearance. The “Raze the Roof” fundraising effort is now underway and we are seeking contributions to help fund our half of the Grant. Please send your contribution to:

Boots Motel Roof Fund, c/o Southwest Missouri Bank,
P.O. Box 814
Carthage, MO. 64836-0814

Contributions may be through the PayPal system using the Route 66 Chamber’s account: visit66@yahoo.com as the Boots owners are not set-up for PayPal.

Please select “PERSONAL” and “OTHER” for your settings so we are not charged a transaction fee, and remark that this is for the “Boots Roof Fund”.

The owners can offer a free night at the Boots (depending on availability) for any donations of $250 to $500 and a free night plus your name on a plaque to be permanently installed in the front office for donations above $500.

Two sisters stepped-up about two years ago to save this venerable 1939 motel that was the first in Carthage, and was at great risk of demolition. Recently restored are five rooms in the 1946 addition and the motel re-opened to travelers last May and is already highly-rated by TripAdvisor.com.

The shingled pitch-roof was added in 1978 and needs to be removed to qualify the motel for placement on the National Register of Historic Places, and obtain additional preservation grants. Last year, the National Park Service / Route 66 Corridor Grant Program awarded the owners a matching grant of $12,000 to help remove the newer roof and restore the original flat roof. A local roofing company submitted a bid as required on the grant application, however the motel’s owners do not have the funds to have the pitch roof removed.

The volunteer event titled the “Raze the Roof” project is scheduled for March 23rd – 24th, with a rain date of March 30th – 31st. Volunteers will be removing the roof sheathing on the two motel buildings so the contractor can immediately repair the flat roofs. If this project is not completed soon thereafter, the grant may be rescinded, which is not a good thing.

The Route 66 Chamber recognizes the critical need to preserve this famous icon for all who travel the Mother Road and for the benefit to the economy of the City of Carthage, so they are seeking a total of eight experienced volunteer roofers to remove the shingles only, so they will need shingle-removal shovels. Other volunteers will do the clean-up and take the removed shingles to the dumpster. This will need to happen on Saturday so the other volunteers can remove the sheathing and trusses by Sunday afternoon.

In exchange for their contribution towards this restoration-preservation project, shingle-removal workers will receive a free two-night stay at a time of their choosing.

The Route 66 Chamber will also make the volunteers (and/or their employers) members of the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce and they will receive a Chamber certificate and a Certificate of Appreciation from The Boots Motel (volunteers will be listed on the websites “Volunteer Page“) and on several Facebook pages. Breakfast, lunch and refreshments will be provided at no charge.

This will be a well publicized event, and we expect news media coverage and publicity for the volunteers. Roof workers may wear their employer’s T-shirts, bring a sign or banner and a company truck if so desired.

If your can help with this event it would be greatly appreciated. Additional information about the Boots Motel is available at www.bootsmotel.com and on the “Save the Boots Motel” Facebook page. The Chamber’s website is www.visit66.com .

You can help us preserve an important part of Route 66 history. Anyone who wants to volunteer for this project should call the Boots at 417-310-2989 or email them at bootsmotel@hotmail.com

I am struggling to find a way to get out there to help – but timing is not on my side so I will (at the very least) send them a donation to help as I am thankful for what these folks have done to save this important, historic Route 66 landmark!!

Nov 272012
 

 





The bridge that originally carried Route 66 over the Meramec River, near what was the city of Times Beach, is starting to be disassembled this week just outside of Eureka. A crew member from XL Contracting, the staff handling the deconstruction of the bridge, told Patch Monday the concrete on the bridge will be cut into slabs and taken off, along with the railing.

He said the bridge’s beams will be left, in hopes that some entity will want to rebuild the bridge in the next five years.

He also said the bridge work was slated to be done by Dec. 14.

The Meramec River Bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on Sept. 16, 2009, according to Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) records. The Meramec River Route 66 Bridge is significant, both for its association with historic Route 66 and as one of only four remaining riveted Warren deck truss bridges in Missouri.

Construction of this bridge began in 1931 and was completed in 1932, according to MoDOT historian Jane Lee.

The Route 66 Meramec River Bridge is commonly referred to as the Times Beach Bridge because of its location at the entrance of the former Times Beach community. After U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) representatives discovered dioxin at Times Beach, they relocated the residents and cleaned up the surrounding area. Once the remediation was complete, EPA officials turned the property over to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR), and it became the Route 66 State Park. Because the bridge no longer serves a town or city, MoDOT managers could not spend limited resources on it. MoDOT representatives attempted, however, to work with MDNR and East-West Gateway representatives to find another group or agency who was willing to accept liability and continue to maintain the bridge.

Since 2005, MoDOT managers restricted the weight limit on the bridge to prolong its life. In 2005, the weight restriction was set at 15 tons. In 2007, MoDOT had to restrict the bridge to vehicles of 10 tons or less, due to the bridge’s deteriorated condition. The bridge also was restricted to one lane at that time.

In early 2009, MoDOT further restricted the bridge to vehicles of 5 tons or less, after an annual bridge inspection. After further review, MoDOT managers determined that they had to close the bridge to all traffic, including pedestrian and bicycle traffic, due to safety concerns.

By Julie Brown Patton – Eureka-Wildwood Patch

Nov 132012
 



r111212xmaswindows.jpg



— It starts with plain brown paper and cardboard. Then come the sketches and the brush strokes — thousands of them.

By the time they are finished, June Stokes and Dixie Boyd-Carter will have committed more than 100 hours each to a labor of love that they hope will recapture what it was like when storefront windows in downtown Joplin were decorated for the holidays.

As Boyd-Carter draws black outlines around the windows of a skyscraper, Stokes weighs in on her work.

“That’s looking pretty good, girl,’’ said Stokes to her friend of more than 20 years. “I draw them up, and she helps paint them.’’

This year, they are tackling an ambitious task — the recreating of Route 66 from Chicago, Ill., to Santa Monica, Calif. The artists have created 22 panels that depict images one might see along the Mother Road. Among them are many that local residents will recognize.

The Route 66 panels will be placed in the Main Street windows of City Hall, the historic Newman Building, at Sixth and Main streets. They will be unveiled at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 30.

“We used a Route 66 travel guide,” said Stokes, who is a gifted artist in that she can see an image and then recreate it by hand on paper. “I would see a little picture and think: That would be neat.’’

Boyd-Carter said, “This has been a lot of fun. It’s different than anything we have ever done. We like doing stuff like this together.’’

When the Newman Building was a department store, its window displays depicted the latest fashion trends with elaborate seasonal decorations, specialty items and a large assortment of toys.

To bring back the tradition, City Manager Mark Rohr and City Clerk Barbara Hogelin worked with the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau in 2009 to implement the idea so the holiday magic of Joplin in the early 1900s could be relived.

Said Hogelin: “It creates a fun and festive atmosphere for the holidays. Many of our citizens may recall Newman’s windows being elaborately decorated for the holidays, but the younger generation may not have ever experienced anything like this. We are happy to share a little piece of history with them.’’

This year, as in past years, the Joplin Model Railroad Club will continue its tradition of providing a working model train for display. The 40-foot display will be presented in the windows facing Sixth Street.

Hogelin recruited Stokes and Boyd-Carter for the displays in 2009. The construction part of the project is being managed by Jeff Tennis and Rick Allen, maintenance mechanics for the city, who help assemble the various scenes for the display.

The Route 66 display will be used again this summer when Joplin plays host for the Route 66 Festival on Aug. 1-2.

After the unveiling of the Route 66 display, those attending can observe the Holiday Tree Lighting at 6:30 p.m. in Spiva Park at Fourth and Main streets. The event is put on by the Joplin Parks and Recreation Department staff.

By Wally Kennedy – The Joplin Globe

Oct 162012
 




About a month ago (or so) I posted I think it woudl be a GREAT idea to have Joplin host next years festival – it will be good to pump some much needed dollars into their economy especially after they are recovering from the 2011 tornado…

The International Route 66 Festival, an event that attracts thousands, will hit the road to Joplin next year.

Organizers of the festival, along with the director of the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau, announced Tuesday that the festival will be held Aug. 1-3 in Joplin.

The event was staged this year in Victorville, Calif., and last year in Amarillo, Texas.

Michael Wallis, the Tulsa, Okla., author of “Route 66: The Mother Road” and the voice of the sheriff in the animated movie “Cars,” said the festival is set around an annual meeting of eight state associations and the National Park Service to work on strategy for preserving and promoting the historic highway.

It features exhibits and presentations by authors and artists whose subject is the route. There will be a Main Street America Marketplace where vendors sell their Route 66-related memorabilia and merchandise.

This year’s event in Victorville offered a military display, a food and wine festival, a Miss Route 66 Pageant, and a bike rally.

Patrick Tuttle, director of the local tourism bureau, said the event locations have not been decided yet, but they can be spread through the area along the route. He said it is the intent of organizers to include cities along the route in Missouri in the event and to feature products made in Missouri.

Tommy Pike, with the Route 66 Association of Missouri, said that organization was formed in early 1990 by a handful of route enthusiasts, and has grown to involve members from 30 states and other countries.

“Hopefully this will be a festival everyone can get behind despite the adversity suffered here about a year and a half ago,” Pike said, alluding to the 2011 tornado. He said he hopes the festival will be a pleasant diversion for residents and will give the area an experience to build on in celebrating its heritage along the route.

Wallis said interest in the old highway, significant as the byway that took sightseers and those seeking a fresh start to the West, is still growing.

He is the author of 17 books on the West, and was hired as the consultant for the movie “Cars” and for the new amusement attraction Cars Land in the Disneyland amusement park.

Wallis said “Cars” and Cars Land are bringing up a new generation of Route 66 fans.

Debby Woodin – The Joplin Globe

Oct 022012
 





You know me – any relighing of any old sign on Route 66 is a great thing!!!

A relighting of the vintage Crestwood Bowl neon sign in Crestwood, MO is scheduled to take place on Saturday evening, October 20th, 2012. Each of you are cordially invited to attend this special event to celebrate the restoration of this neon sign along Missouri Route 66 in southwestern St. Louis County, MO.

Since 2008, a fall relighting ceremony of one of our classic Route 66 neon signs has become an annual event. Our past 4 projects, under the direction of the Neon Heritage Preservation Committee (NHPC) within our Route 66 Association of Missouri, have included the Donut Drive-In in St. Louis, the Sunset Motel in Villa Ridge, the Munger Moss Motel in Lebanon, and the Luna Cafe in Mitchell (IL). With each subsequent year, these relighting events grow in interest and attendance as we support the preservation of these wonderful examples of commercial art along America’s Main Street.

Here are the details at this time for the Crestwood Bowl event on 10/20:

Crestwood Bowl is located at 9822 Watson Road, Crestwood, MO 63126. It is located on the south side of Watson approximately halfway between Lindbergh Blvd to the west and Sappington Rd to the east. Watson Road was the primary Route 66 pathway west coming out of the city of St. Louis in the heavy post WWII travel era.

The relighting (throwing of the switch!) will take place near dusk ……. estimated to be in the 6:30 to 6:40 PM time frame. However, you may want to plan for a bit earlier time should we have an overcast day. You are welcome to arrive an hour or so earlier, in order not to miss the speakers and presentations leading up to the actual relighting of the sign.

Current owners Mike and Ray Bluth welcome all to attend this event and are planning to serve refreshments. As noted above, we will have several speakers that evening, including representatives from the communities of Crestwood and Sunset Hills.

The bowling alley has a parking area out front of the building, which may be quite limited space-wise that evening, but also another parking lot behind the building as well.

Crestwood Bowl was the recipient of a $9,500 cost-share grant from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program to assist in the restoration of this sign. It is one of only three signs in St. Louis County to earn designation as a “County Landmark” by the Historic Buildings Commission of St. Louis County.

Please join us this special Saturday evening in October to welcome back this Route 66 beacon of light!

If you should have any questions, please feel free to contact myself or Jim Thole, our NHPC Chairperson, at 66thole@sbcglobal.net.

Hope to see you in Crestwood!

Robert Gehl – Director, Membership Services Route 66 Association of Missouri

Sep 042012
 


Anyone who traveled years ago along Route 66 near Pond, Mo., knew that Big Chief – which opened in 1929 as a hotel and restaurant – was the place to stop. Thanks to a recent renovation, Big Chief once again is the place to stop along the old roadway to revel in good food and nostalgia.

New owners are responsible for returning the historic Big Chief building to its former glory days, reopening back on June 11 as Big Chief Roadhouse.

“It’s like a dream come true,” said Stephanie Mulholland, who co-owns the restaurant with John Fox, admitting she had a tear in her eye when she first walked through the renovated building that preserves the authenticity and integrity of Big Chief. “You can’t find places like this anymore.”

It has been a 20-year vision that has come together for Mulholland, whose passions are cooking and history.

“I’m a huge history person,” Mulholland said. “I’ve read every history book on Wildwood, St. Albans and the area. I live just a couple of miles down the road and always loved the Big Chief and its history.”

Mulholland has used items such as vintage advertisements and western memorabilia illustrating Big Chief’s history to decorate the interior walls of the bar and dining room. An iconic buffalo head trophy seems to smile as it overlooks the dining room and new, open kitchen.

Also smiling are Big Chief’s customers when they view the menu, which is best described as a playful mix of classic retro and creative, new age cuisine. Signatures include fruitwood, house-smoked meats like the beef brisket, turkey and apricot jalapeno-glazed pork chops. Retro offerings include a tuna salad-stuffed tomato, and chicken-fried steak draped with white pepper gravy.

For something more modern, try the toasted lasagna. Resembling an egg roll, it is lightly breaded, flash-fried, baked and then finished with red and white sauces.

Mushroom fans will enjoy the Chief’s stuffed baby portabella. An order includes four baby ‘bellas stuffed with Monterey Jack, cheddar, gorgonzola and cream cheese, sauced with a decadent, rich, garlic-infused cream sauce.

Salads, soups and sandwiches are given equal attention. Soups are made from scratch daily with onion soup being the Big Chief specialty. Order up a bowl to complement an entrée salad, such as the Route 66. Reminiscent of a chef salad, Big Chief’s Route 66 salad features grilled chicken, shredded cheese, hard-cooked eggs, tomatoes and red onions with a bacon onion ranch dressing.

The house-smoked beef brisket is a sure winner for those with hearty appetites. Topping a pile of house-cut French fries is sliced brisket that is drizzled with barbecue sauce. Big Chief also offers a range of burgers and pizzas, plus a “Little Indians” menu with kids’ meals priced at $4.95.

Before checking out, ask for a slice of Ghia’s award-winning cheesecake.

“You gotta try the cheesecake,” Mulholland said. “It’s my mother’s recipe.”

Suzanne Corbett – Newsmagazine Network.com

Aug 262012
 




I would love to see what the logo and the compass they are planning on looks like…..

JOPLIN, Mo. — A Joplin resident wants to mark a local intersection with an emblem pointing out its Route 66 history, and the idea is getting support from city leaders.

Steve Lea, a retired Joplin firefighter, presented a sketch to the Joplin City Council last week for a Route 66 logo that he thinks should be embedded in the intersection at St. Louis Avenue and Langston Hughes-Broadway to commemorate the historic highway.

The highway, celebrated in everything from song to television shows to American novels, went from Chicago to California, and passed through Joplin on the way. It went from what is now Range Line Road and Zora Street through the Royal Heights neighborhood, south on Florida Avenue and Euclid Avenue to St. Louis Avenue, south to Broadway, west to Main Street and south to Seventh Street. There it turned west to Kansas.

Lea said that with all the visitors who travel the famous route, he thinks a medallion made of embossing brick pavers with the Route 66 logo inside a compass would be eye-catching.

Lea told council members that some people he has talked to about the idea have offered to contribute money toward the cost.

City Manager Mark Rohr said the proposal also might fit in with city plans to eventually redevelop Langston Hughes-Broadway. Council members expressed no opposition to the idea, and Rohr said he would assign Assistant Public Works Director Jack Schaller and Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Patrick Tuttle to explore the idea.

Tuttle said it is possible that the idea could be incorporated in upcoming projects.

“We have two things in the works, and we could add it to the mix,” Tuttle said. “For 2014, we’re upgrading and improving the city’s way-finding program that’s in place, as well as looking at both tourism and economic development opportunities along the traditional Route 66 route. We’re really in the beginning stages of discussing it.

The way-finder program is one in which the city makes and installs signs pointing motorists in the direction of attractions and districts of the city.

“This falls in line with that,” Tuttle said.

Construction materials for a street medallion would have to hold up to heavy truck traffic in that area and probably would need to comply with guidelines of the Missouri Department of Transportation, Tuttle said.

 

Mother Road

Route 66, also known as the Mother Road and America’s Main Street, was a federal project that started in 1926 to create a continuous paved highway from Chicago to Los Angeles. Missouri’s stretch was paved in 1932.

In the 1930s, motor courts cropped up as a result of the development of the highway. Joplin had five tourist “camps” early in that decade. As a result of Route 66, that number increased to 11 by the end of the decade.

By Debby Woodin – Globe Staff Writer The Joplin Globe

Aug 252012
 




St. Clair and other chambers of commerce along Interstate 44 from Eureka to Rolla are preparing for the ninth annual Route 66 Treasure Hunt set for Labor Day weekend.

This year’s event is scheduled for Thursday through Saturday, Aug. 30-Sept. 1, in each city along the route.

The treasure hunt was the brainchild of the St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce and its executive director at the time, Terry Triphahn, in 2004. The idea behind it is to promote the historic Route 66 and the regional cities that dot the map by serving as hosts to a giant rummage sale. The distance between Eureka and Rolla is about 70 miles.

“This year’s event is going to be great,” current St. Clair Chamber Executive Director Angela Crawford said. “Vendors will have an awesome opportunity to sell their wares and make some extra cash, and shoppers will surely find some great treasures.”

In 2012, Eureka, Pacific, Sullivan, Cuba, St. James and Rolla are participating as well as St. Clair.

Travelers and others are invited to stop in each city during the three-day period to see what kind of bargains will be sold in garage-sale style. In St. Clair, vendors can set up shop at several locations, including Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, Dace Excavating, the Old Country Fresh Market, the St. Clair Building Center and the Gratzer Construction Building. Individuals also may set up an outside booth at their personal residence or business.

“Don’t miss out,” Crawford said.

In St. Clair, Route 66 is Commercial Avenue.

During Monday’s St. Clair Board of Aldermen meeting, city officials unanimously voted to allow merchant sidewalk sales during the event. City Administrator Rick Childers said the motion was required under city ordinance.

Maps and other information are available on the St. Clair Area Chamber of Commerce website by clicking HERE. For more information, contact the Chamber at 636-629-6000, extension 3.

By Keith E. Domke, St. Clair Missourian Editor The Missourian