Jun 182014
 

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This is the press release which just went out. I am happy to say I have found a building I absolutely love and have huge, huge plans for it….

Galena KS – The building located at 118 N. Main Street in Galena KS has been sitting on the corner of Front and Main Streets since 1896. It has been a gas station, a tire shop specializing in new and used tires, and after World War II, it served as a tire retreading shop as rubber was becoming scarce like so many other materials which were being used for the war efforts. The building closed out the last few decades as a satellite dish manufacturing and repair shop.

The building has been standing close to 120 years and has seen Galena change over this time. Starting as a mining town, Galena had a population of 30,000 during the boom of the mining craze throughout southwest Missouri, southeast Kansas and northeast Oklahoma. The last mine closed in the 1970’s.
Route 66 was designated a travel way through Galena from Joplin around 1926 and the stretch of the route in Kansas is only 13.2 miles, the shortest strip in any of the eight states Route 66 passes through. The gas station served tourists and migrants heading west (and rumor has it gangsters frequented the station) as it was one of the only corridors of automobile travel between Missouri and Oklahoma.

Ed Klein, owner of Route 66 World and its website (www.route66world.com) has been doing preservation, restoration and education work on Route 66 for almost five years and does it all with his own time and money. He has traveled the entire route several times and has traveled many sections of it dozens of times. “I love the route, it gives me the peace of two things I truly love: driving and Americana.” Klein adds. He has worked with plenty of businesses and towns trying to help them get tourism dollars and gives advice on how to restructure their businesses or how to restore properties, buildings or his favorite: signs. He works with many other key ‘roadies’ on Route 66 to advance the help the inquiring business owner may have, and wants to make sure all options are exhausted.

“I have been on Route 66 through Kansas several times and always stop into Galena and Baxter Springs. The history of these two towns is so vast and interesting and folks need to slow down a bit and do more than a ‘photo op’ and then take off to the next stop. They really do not know what some of these old, historic buildings actually hold within its history.”

Klein said he was in the market to purchase a historic gas station for the last few years with the first being in Winslow AZ. “I called the owner of the (Richfield) gas station and I was number three in line to purchase it, so I had to wait to see if the other two potential buyers would pick it up or walk away. They both dropped out and I started working on negotiations with the owner and he decided to keep it. It was heart breaking as the plans were to restore it to the way it looked back in 1939”. Klein then mentioned another station in Holbrook AZ. “The Holbrook station was a former Whiting Brothers gas station and it was just screaming for a restoration. The current owner wanted to sell a bunch of other properties along with it and I just wanted the gas station and nothing more, so we could not work out a deal.”

It was by chance Klein and his good friend Bill Conron were planning a trip from Chicago to Scottsdale via Route 66 and Bill started to look at some properties for sale along the route. “Bill was getting the feel for the potential of Route 66 and as an avid investor in the stock market, he was thinking of expanding into a small property”. This led them to Galena.
After locating another potential property to purchase, Bill contacted the owner and arranged a meeting. The deal fell through but Klein was eyeing the building of the former Front Street Garage, sitting right across the street from ‘Cars on the Route’. “Bill and I sat at Cars on the Route, eating a hamburger and having a beer outside on the patio and noticed something strange happening. Tourist would pull up and literally jump out of their cars, take a picture of the (Tow Tater) tow truck at Cars on the Route, turn around 180 degrees and snap a few pictures of the old Front Street Garage building, jump back into their cars and drive off. Bill turned to me and said ‘if they were taking these many photos of an old boarded up building, how do you think they would react to it all restored?’”

After seeing all this activity with the tourist, Klein contacted Mike Hughes, the owner of the building and set up a meeting. After almost a year later of the initial contact, Klein had to wait for a few code compliance issues to be resolved and after negotiations were settled, a deal was finally drawn up. “The longest hold up was the winter in Galena. The contractors had to wait for the weather to warm up to be able to finish the exterior work, this took several months. Mike has been just great with everything and wanted to make sure everything worked out well between him and me. The transaction could have not gone any better.” The building is in compliance and plans are underway for the restoration of the building.

front-street-garage-galena-02“I look at this as the mother of all preservation / restoration jobs! Literally putting my money where my mouth is” Klein jokes. “It is just a great building and deserves to be the jewel it once was when it was open.” Plans are to restore the building to the way it looked back in 1941 using a photo from the Galena Mining and Historical Museum for reference. The front façade will be closely reproduced to exactly the way the photograph shows of the building and he has other plans for the north and south facing walls. “The intersection of Front and Main Streets are really the gateway into Galena and several folks I have talked to in town know this and want it to be a great, lasting impression as travelers are coming into town.” Klein also has been in contact with Galena mayor Dale Oglesby, Galena Council Member Ashley Qualls and Kansas Historic Route 66 Association president Renee Charles. “There are plans for Galena. There are many things these folks have implemented and so many more they are working on and all I want to do is to be part of those plans, and to help them in any way possible, starting with restoring this building.” Klein mentions the interior of the building will take some time as the exterior is the main priority. “I think travelers will be blown away by the way this place will look like in the next few years. As long as it helps Galena and gives the travelers something additional to look at and talk about, I have done my job.”

Klein is working on building a website for the garage and a Facebook page will follow shortly. With the purchase of the garage, he is also writing a book on Route 66 in Kansas, presenting at the International Route 66 Conference in Kingman Arizona in August, and still finds time to help many Route 66 businesses with questions.

May 122014
 
wigwam-motel-CA










Kumar Patel grew up along Route 66, a highway long celebrated in literature, song and film. He was not impressed.

On his first long road trip, about six years ago, he found himself bored by the route’s decaying monuments, mom-and-pop diners and dusty museums.

“I hated it,” he said. “But I didn’t understand it.”

The journey to understanding started soon after that trip, when his mother started having health problems. She had been running the family’s Wigwam Motel, a clutch of 20 tepee-shaped rooms on Route 66 in San Bernardino. She could no longer run it alone.

So at 26, Patel took over, giving up a career in accounting to run an aging tourist trap that struggled to cover its costs.

Kumar Patel operates the Wigwam Motel, a clutch of 20 tepee-shaped rooms on Route 66 in San Bernardino. He has become a tireless promoter of the highway’s culture. He sees that as a way to keep the history of Route 66 alive and fill his motel rooms.

Now, as a 32-year-old entrepreneur, he stands out among the typical Route 66 merchants, who promote such roadside curiosities as a Paul Bunyon monument, a blue whale statue and the Petrified Forest National Park. Such sites now are operated and visited mostly by white, middle-aged travelers, whose numbers are dwindling.

Unless Patel and other Route 66 business owners can attract a younger and more diverse crowd, one that matches the evolving demographics of America, the shops and oddball attractions along the route will shut down for good.

“If it doesn’t happen, we are not going to keep all of this alive,” said Kevin Hansel, the caretaker of another struggling Route 66 business, Roy’s Motel and Cafe in Amboy. “It will be history.”

That history started in the 1920s, when the road was built to handle a surge in automobile ownership and a push by business owners to link the small towns and merchants of the Midwest to big cities. Route 66 became the nation’s main east-west artery.

In his novel “The Grapes of Wrath,” John Steinbeck called it the “mother road” because it beckoned and delivered the refugees from the Dust Bowl exodus to jobs in California in the 1930s. Bobby Troup penned his biggest hit song, “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66,” in 1946.

But by the 1950s, the narrow, slow-moving route was replaced in pieces by multilane, interstate freeways, designed for high-speed travel. Federal workers removed the freeway markers and decommissioned Route 66 in 1985, effectively killing business for the jukebox-blasting diners and neon-rimmed motels.

Today, with the future of the Wigwam at stake, Patel has immersed himself in that history, driving Route 66 himself, stopping to chat with his fellow shopkeepers and travelers. He set out on a search for insight into how to promote his business but ended up with a more personal appreciation of the route’s culture.

“That’s what grew on me: The people who shared with me their stories of the road,” he said.

When the Wigwam Motel went on sale in 2003 for nearly $1 million, Patel’s father, an Indian immigrant who ran another small hotel in San Bernardino, saw it as a good investment. It has yet to pay off.

Like many Route 66 businesses, the Wigwam struggles to squeeze out enough money to pay for improvements. It took five years to save up to renovate the pool area. Last year, Patel was finally able to afford a full-time maid for the motel. Before then, Patel and his mother cleaned and changed sheets while selling souvenirs and booking rooms.

“We still run it on a thin line,” he said.

With the Wigwam’s success tied to Route 66, Patel has become a tireless promoter of its culture. He sees that as a way to keep the history of Route 66 alive and fill his motel rooms.

He set out recently on a drive to show off some of its peculiar attractions along California’s stretch of the 2,400-mile highway that runs from Chicago to Santa Monica. He started from a rundown roadside hotel in Needles, in the Mojave Desert near the Arizona border.

Stars twinkled in the darkness. The only sound was the hum of big rigs bouncing off the blacktop. The best way to experience the road, he said, is by driving east to west. It’s the way the Dust Bowl refugees saw it and later Midwesterners, heading for vacations in Los Angeles.

“On Route 66 you find real people, real food,” Patel said.

He rattled off history and trivia as the car zipped past telephone poles on National Trails Highway — the name now given to the portion of Route 66 that runs through much of the Mojave Desert.

A downed palo verde tree about half a mile outside of Amboy is called the “Shoe Tree” because it toppled under the weight of hundreds of shoes tossed on the branches by visitors. It’s a tradition that locals say was started by an arguing couple and continues today.

“The purists love this stuff because they don’t want to see things that are renewed,” Patel said. “They want to see the original stuff.”

Take tiny Amboy (population 17), once a bustling pit stop. Today, the only commerce happens at Roy’s Motel and Cafe. The cafe sells only soft drinks and snacks. The motel is closed because of a lack of water. The drop-off in business no longer makes it practical to ship in water by train. The ground has long been saturated with salt, making well water undrinkable.

Kevin Hansel, the caretaker, dreams of the day someone drills a well deep enough to reach drinkable water.

“Once we get the water, we can open the restaurant and the bungalows,” he said.

As Patel visited, about a dozen Volkswagen vans pulled in under the cafe’s giant boomerang-shaped sign. The VW road warriors were meeting at Roy’s before driving east to Lake Havasu.

Among them was retired welder Joe Stack, 71, of Costa Mesa. He has been taking this road trip for 10 years. When Stack’s daughter was a girl, she rode shotgun in his van.

But she is now 22 and not interested in the retro architecture of Route 66.

“Young kids don’t want to come out here,” he said, squinting in the morning sun. “Young kids are on a computer wearing their thumbs out.”

Route 66 travelers today have a median age of 55 and 97% are white, according to a 2011 study by David Listokin, a Rutgers University economics professor. Only 11% of the travelers on the road are ages 20 to 39, according to the study.

A few months ago, Listokin read the highlights of his study to a group of Route 66 business owners who met at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim to discuss the road’s future. Patel was there — among the few people in the room under age 40.

Patel stood at the front of the brightly colored Magic Kingdom Ballroom, urging his fellow Route 66 merchants to reach out to young travelers, the way he has done.

He hosted hip-hop, end-of-summer festivals at the Wigwam Motel, with DJs and strobe lights. During a recent Christmas, he threw a doughnut party and decorated the tepee-shaped motel rooms to look like Christmas trees. He’s volunteered his motel as a stop for a classic car show to raise money to restore a historic gas station in Rancho Cucamonga.

His work has won him the respect of older Route 66 advocates.

“We absolutely need that kind of thing that he is doing,” said Linda Fitzpatrick, 73, who is leading a campaign to restore the Needles Theater, a 1930s-era Masonic temple that was converted to a movie house.

Back on the road, just outside Barstow, Patel pulled up to an attraction known as “Bottle Tree Ranch.”

The forest of metal trees, adorned with colored bottles, was built by Elmer Long, a 67-year-old retired cement worker who, with his long white beard and floppy hat, looks like a ’49er-era gold prospector.

During the busy summer months, he said, his bottle trees draw as many as 1,000 visitors a day. But most of the visitors are international travelers. Each day, visitors leave Long a few dollars in a tip can.

“To them, the U.S. is a magical place,” he said, as traffic rushes past his ramshackle home.

The sky began to dim as Patel pulled up to the Wigwam Motel. His mother, who still helps Patel with the business, told him that two motel guests — young ones — were finishing a long road trip.

At the door of one of the tepees, Patel introduced himself to Emily Mills, 28, and her sister Anna, 25, from North Carolina. Emily Mills was starting a new job managing a Culver City restaurant. For the move west, the sisters decided on a Route 66 road trip.

They hit all the big stops, including the Cadillac Ranch, west of Amarillo, Texas, where junk Cadillacs have been thrust nose first into the earth. A few miles south of the ranch, the sisters stopped to see the statue of a giant pair of legs, more than 20 feet tall.

The Mills sisters also spent the night in another Wigwam Motel, in Holbrook, Ariz. — one of seven built across the country by architect Frank Redford. Only two Wigwams remain on Route 66.

“We wanted to tell our friends we slept in a wigwam and saw a giant pair of legs,” Emily Mills said as the sun set behind her tepee.

Guests like the Mills sisters are a good sign for the Wigwam, Patel said. Most Route 66 travelers zip through San Bernardino to reach the end of the route in Santa Monica, 78 miles away.

Patel can’t yet say when — or if — the Wigwam will ever become the moneymaker Patel’s father envisioned. But now he’s grown attached to the road, and sees himself as more than just a motel operator. Patel has become a curator of the Route 66 legend, a proud member of its cast of characters.

- By The Los Angeles Times

Dec 032013
 

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Angel Delgadillo’s hand vibrates on the stick shift of his ’55 Dodge pickup as he squints out the cracked windshield and gears down to a stop. “The old road came right along here,” he says, sweeping at an expanse of dust-blown asphalt and the juncture where Route 66 hives off from the I-40, which bypassed his small hometown of Seligman, Ariz., in 1978. He may be showing me a road, but what he’s really pointing out is history.

The Great Diagonal Way. The Mother Road. Main Street of America. Route 66, arguably the most fabled and important road in the United States, was commissioned in 1926 and became America’s main thoroughfare, linking Chicago to Los Angeles. Immortalized in song, film and fiction, the almost-4,000-kilometre road was known as the path of opportunity in the 1930s for dust-bowl farmers from Arkansas and Oklahoma fleeing sharecrop destitution in hope of a better life in California, and was a prominent military deployment route for resources and hitchhiking soldiers in the Second World War. By and large on flat terrain, it spawned a trucking industry determined to usurp the rail cargo that paralleled much of the road. Later, it mapped a 1950s travelogue postcard route for the family road-trip vacationers who were California-bound or headed west to see the Grand Canyon. Motels, diners, gas stations, banks and general stores lined the highway and thrived on the wayfarers stitching their way across rural America. That is, until the road was eclipsed by a series of interstate highways built in the late ’50s, a portent of the inevitable decommissioning of Route 66. The bypassing of the last leg in Williams, Ariz., in 1985 was the end of the road. And then it disappeared off the maps.

“We didn’t exist, we didn’t count, we didn’t matter,” recalls Delgadillo of the rejection of the old two-lane road for the newer highway, which abandoned Seligman and other towns like it in this northern stretch of Arizona. Inspired by the survival instinct of those “flight of America” migrants he witnessed travelling westward through Arizona as a child, Delgadillo, hailed as the “guardian angel of Route 66 and a tourist attraction in his own right, and his brother Juan drove the movement to resurrect the spirit of — if not the traffic on — Route 66 and bolster relic Arizona town economies so that folks could stay. Make a living. Matter.

Arizona was the first state to designate the “Historic Route 66” in 1987, reviving the longest stretch of the original route of the eight states it traversed, and invigorating towns for visitors who share Delgadillo’s passion for the old road and who recognize the importance of a history laden with hope and suffering, exuberance and adventure.

Several towns are essential pit stops on this north-central Arizona journey. Oatman is a dusty former mining outpost where wild burros — descendants of the ones from Oatman’s turn-of-the-century mining days — still patrol the streets amid stalls peddling souvenirs and sentimentality. Kingman is home to three museums documenting the cultural history of Route 66 in the state.

Nostalgia has a certain currency, but Northern Arizona isn’t fetched up on a memory lane.

Route 66 traverses part of the Mojave Desert, and there’s something about that chalky landscape that focuses the senses. Your eyes grab for any departure from scrub — something higher like Joshua trees or bright like the “damned yellow conglomerate,” the way I heard someone refer to the flowers that carpet the dry earth. But grape vines? Don and Jo Stetson latched onto an idea that the virgin high desert soil on their ranch near Kingman, along with the hot days and cool desert nights, might be perfect for a vineyard plunked down in a valley against a backdrop of mountains.

It’s too early to say how Stetson’s Winery’s 3-year-old cabernet, chardonnay, zinfandel and merlot grapes will fare when they’re ready for harvest a few years down the line, but until then, they’ve turned out some pretty great wines using cabernet, merlot and chardonnay grapes from California thanks to the skilled eye and palate of one of Arizona’s wine gurus, Eric Glomski.

Arizona has an innate and comfortable frontier swagger, and this, along with the desert climate, has attracted a bold breed of winemakers. Glomski’s own Page Springs Cellars is located in the Cottonwood region of the Verde Valley, home to a more established group of wineries. The rocky, mineral-rich soils and intense heat contribute to the terroir.

Page Springs Cellars’ success has as much to do with Glomski’s zeal to understand and interpret that terroir as it does with his penchant for traditional southern Rhone varietals like syrah and grenache, or his bent for experimentation with new varietals like aglianico, alicante and marselan. He lets the land speak and the fruit guide the wine, which means some grapes are destined for a blend such as Page Springs’ 2012 Ecips, a mingling of cournoise, syrah, mourvèdre and grenache.

Page Springs, along with wineries like Pillsbury, Javelina Leap, Oak Creek and Fire Mountain, has breathed new life into the valley, as well as the town of Cottonwood, an epicurean hub for the area. They know they’re on to something, and the excitement is palpable. Five tasting rooms line Cottonwood’s main drag, including wineries from southern Arizona that want some northern exposure. Locavore, farm to table, snout to tail all infuse cuisine in the valley, with wine as the stalwart complement. It even informs the desserts: check out Crema Cafe’s Dayden rosé sorbet for a cold treat in the desert sun.

Gourmands might continue on to Sedona for its fine dining and chic shops in the northern Verde Valley, but the red rock hills, buttes and mesas are the real attractions in this city. Surrounded by towering rust-coloured spires and monoliths, Sedona’s “vortexes” beckon folk to explore what the Hopi Indians have known for centuries: there’s a spiritual energy in these here hills.

So it was natural for reiki master and native Indian scholar Linda Summers to settle in Sedona. Attuned to the subtle shifts in energy that draw visitors from around the globe to experience these sandstone pools of power, Summers shares her spiritual skills and area knowledge on personalized guided vortex tours, which include a description of the particular history and energies associated with each vortex, meditation at the sites and reiki. Summers points out the swirling pattern in nature at these sites: coils in rocks and twists in trees. Cirrus clouds begin to eddy above us at Cathedral Rock. And then Summers points at the sun, where a halo has formed: I’m hooked. While some come to meditate, absorbing the subtle energy here, others take to the hills for hikes about Cathedral or Bell Rocks, Airport Mesa or any number of treks around these surreal, otherworldly formations.

Sedona’s red rocks succumb to lush forests of gambel oak, ponderosa pine and canyon maple in Oak Creek Valley, and the ascent to Flagstaff is a sight for green-starved eyes. There are plenty of national campgrounds in the valley for those in need of some forest therapy. The road snakes steeply toward Flagstaff. At 7,000 feet above sea level, this official dark-sky city is not hampered by the tang of Route 66 motel neon, a beautiful, tawdry escort in and out of town. Flagstaff is a mix of the new and very old — check out the downtown core and cocktail lounges at the historic Weatherford and Monte Vista hotels once frequented by Hollywood stars like John Wayne and Clark Gable. This university town has an easy hipness reflected in the great restaurants and craft breweries that have cropped up here. The Museum of Northern Arizona refines the area’s history, geology and aboriginal culture artfully under one roof, and is worth a trip before exploring the Petrified Forest or the Grand Canyon or any of the multitude of other natural wonders in proximity to this mountain town.

The Grand Canyon is, of course, the magnificent main draw in Arizona. But no adventurer on a great journey ever made a beeline to the end. There’s too much to see here along the way. Start by climbing a mountain: watch for the Santa Fe train rolling alongside the old Route 66. Then follow.

The writer flew courtesy of the Arizona Office of Tourism and was a guest of Hualapai River Runners and the wineries listed in the story. The organizations did not review or approve this article.

IF YOU GO

All major Canadian and American airlines fly from Canada’s major cities to Phoenix, but there aren’t always direct flights; you’ll probably have a layover at Chicago’s O’Hare. Car rentals are available at a terminus about five minutes away (via a regular shuttle) from Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport.
Winter might be an obvious time for Canadians to visit Arizona, trading our cold for the dry, warm winter and perennial sunshine in the state, where many retire to golf and hike and sightsee. Braver souls who love a dry, hot heat will enjoy easier access to all of Arizona’s wonders at off-season discounts from around May to September.

By Lynn Farrell, For The Montreal Gazette

Aug 132013
 




The Hilltop Motel on Route 66 in Kingman recently earned a much-coveted Route 66 Cost-Share Preservation Grant from the National Park Service – the only such grant awarded in Arizona this year.

The Hilltop Motel is an excellent example of the motel experience that was common during the post-war, family vacation boom,” according to a press release from the National Park Service.

Motel owner Dennis Schroeder said he is very happy to get the $20,000 grant, and he will have to come up with a matching $21,478 before the National Park Service will release the funds.

“It’s really a great program,” he said. “It’s funded 114 or 115 projects on Route 66 – everything from oral histories to historic buildings.”

The money from the grant will replace the heating and cooling units in 14 of the 28 rooms at the historic motel, Schroeder said.

The original units were installed when the motel was built in 1954 and were incredibly inefficient, he said.

“The air conditioning units had three levels – on, off and fan,” he said.

“You would turn it on and in a few minutes, you would be freezing. You’d turn it off, and a few minutes later you were sweating.”

The gas heating system was the same way, Schroeder said. Most of the units were replaced in the 1980s, but those systems are now in need of replacement.

He hopes to start work in October.

The hotel has seen a lot of history in its nearly 60 years of existence.

It was originally built with 20 rooms. Over the years, another eight rooms, an innkeeper’s quarters and a pool were added.

More recently, cable TV and then satellite TV was installed.

The motel also has had a few interesting visitors, including the band Cosby, Stills and Nash – who were unable to stay at the motel because there were no open rooms. However, they did get a chance at a shower in one of the rooms.

Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh is probably the most notorious guest.

He stayed at the motel for four days in mid-February 1995. The federal government confiscated his registration card as evidence.

The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program focuses on business on or near the historic highway that were built between 1926 and 1970. It targets motels, gas stations, cafes, road segments and landscapes. The target of the grant must be within view or directly on Route 66 and must be in its original location.

The grants are awarded on an annual basis. All grant winners have to come up with matching funds.

Since 2001, 114 projects have been awarded $1.6 million in grant funds and $2.7 million in matching funds have been raised to preserve some of the Mother Road’s historic landmarks.

This is the third time that a Kingman business has gotten a grant from the program.

The first Kingman business to receive grant funding was the owner of the Old Trails Garage on Andy Devine Avenue, next to the Brunswick Hotel. A $10,000 grant with $10,000 in matching funds helped repair the roof on the building.

The second grant recipient was the Route 66 Motel on Andy Devine Avenue in 2011. A $10,319 grant with matching funds helped restore the historic sign that was featured in a 1997 issue of National Geographic, as well as repairs to the roof.

Other well-known Arizona landmarks that have gotten grant funds from the Route 66 Preservation Grant fund include the gas station in downtown Peach Springs, the Frontier Motel sign in Truxton and the Wigwam Hotel in Holbrook.

By Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa – Daily Miner

Aug 052013
 




Kingman residents and businesses have a year to dust off their saddle shoes, glam up their retro rides and spruce up their storefronts before putting out the welcome mat for the Route 66 Alliance’s annual Route 66 International Festival.

“It’s an opportunity to showcase Kingman as more than just a stop on Route 66,” said Mother Road historian Jim Hinckley. “It is an opportunity to come together as a community and say with pride, ‘Welcome to our town.’”

The Alliance announced that Kingman was the winner of next year’s Route 66 festival as this year’s festival in Joplin, Mo. wound down Saturday evening. The annual event brings approximately 10,000 people to the event city.

Hinckley has been working with Josh Noble, the executive director of tourism for the Kingman Chamber of Commerce, and Steve Wagner from Re/Max on Hualapai Mountain Road for more than a year to bring the festival to Kingman.

“It started after I ran into Rick Freeland (one of the co-founders of the Route 66 Alliance) last year at the festival in Victorville, Calif.,” Hinckley said.

Freeland told him that the location of the 2013 festival was already set, but the Alliance would be more than happy to consider Kingman for the 2014 festival. When Hinckley returned to Kingman, he met with Wagner and Nobel about the idea.

“The trick was, we had to show that there was community support and involvement with the idea,” Hinckley said. “Wagner really picked up the ball and ran with that.”

While Hinckley and Nobel worked on ideas for events and contacted local artists, authors and car enthusiasts, Wagner collected more than 30 letters of support from area businesses.

And then they had to wait for word from the Alliance. The official approval came at this weekend’s festival in Joplin.

“We’ve already got a basic foundation for the festival. The theme is ‘Kingman – Crossroads of the Past & Future,” said Hinckley, who traveled Joplin this weekend.

The Kingman festival will run from Aug. 13-17 next year. It will include events at the Hualapai Mountain Resort; an exhibit of Route 66 authors, artists and collectors at the new events center in historic downtown Kingman; a film festival featuring movies that were filmed on Route 66, in Kingman or feature Andy Devine; a bowling tournament; a golf tournament; tours of Desert Diamond Distillery; activities in Hualapai Mountain Park; and car cruising at night.

Electric highway

It will also feature a special edition of Kingman’s Chillin’ on Beale car show with an exhibit of alternative energy vehicles. Hinckley and Wagner hope to get a very special guest for the display that night, a 1902 electric Studebaker owned by Don Robertson of Jerome, Ariz. The car still runs.

They also hope to install electric recharge stations along Route 66 for the festival and turn the historic highway into one of the first electric highways in the nation.

“We wanted to plan more things for people to do than they could do in one day,” Wagner said. “We wanted them to say, ‘There’s too much going on. I have to come back tomorrow.’ This is great exposure for Kingman.”

Hinckley echoed those words from Joplin.

“There are people here from as far away as Australia and Tasmania. They came here just for this festival,” he said. “The potential for Kingman is astounding.”

With all of that international and national attention focused on Kingman, it’s a great opportunity to sell Kingman as a great place to visit, and a wonderful place to start a business and raise a family, Wagner said.

“I see it as a catalyst for the transformation of Kingman,” Hinckley said. “If we can just ignite the passion for a sense of community.”

He pointed to Galena, Kan., which also sits on Route 66. The city’s economy picked up after it started marketing its connection to the historic highway, Hinckley said.

The city is home to the International Harvester truck that was the basis for the character Mater in the Disney movie “Cars.” People started moving to the area, sales tax revenues went up, new businesses started moving in, old businesses were revitalized and historic buildings were restored, he said. Kingman could do the same thing.

By Suzanne Adams-Ockrassa – Daily Miner

Jun 012013
 





I do hope they reopen the restaurant (and orange juice stand) one day in the near future as I know EVERYONE will want to stop and get a chance to experience this place….

On a day when Fontana was celebrating its 100th birthday, Joe Bono on Friday did just what his family has done for the last 77 years: He offered his hospitality to tourists traveling on Route 66.
Sitting along the parking lot of Bono’s Old Route 66 restaurant on Foothill Boulevard was something Glen Heitritter and Linda Swenson of Omaha, Neb., had not yet seen on their ride down the Mother Road.

They stopped to take a look at the Big Orange, a 7-foot-high stucco ball from which thirsty travelers could buy glasses of fresh orange juice before the age of the freeway.

After the couple posed for the requisite photo, Bono gave them a tour of his place.

An attorney and former deputy district attorney, Bono grew up at the rear of the property at the corner of Sultana Avenue. A neighbor suggested to his mother in 1936 that she ought to sell juice to travelers along Foothill, which at the time had plenty of vineyards but was short on any places to stop for refreshment.

“It was all you could drink for 10 cents,” he told me in an interview some time ago.

That evolved into an Italian market and ultimately a restaurant. Especially during the Great Depression, Mama Bono would hear lots of hard-luck stories from many weary, and penniless, travelers seeking a new life in California and often fed them for free.

For Heitritter and Swanson, the Big Orange proved the perfect Route 66 distraction.

In their striking red Pontiac GTO — naturally, a 1966 model — they have traveled what remains of Route 66 since picking it up first in Carthage, Mo.

Among the notable experiences they’ve had was spending a night in one of the storied Wigwam Motels — with rooms shaped like teepees — in Holbrook, Ariz. They had passed the Inland Empire’s Wigwam Motel on the western edge of San Bernardino a few moments before pulling into Bono’s parking lot.

Before leaving for the end of the road at Santa Monica Pier that afternoon, they viewed Bono’s restaurant and its array of photographs and mementoes.

On a wall is a picture of young Joe and his father working in the vineyards not far away.

“Everything you see out there was vineyards,” he told the visitors, pointing out the windows toward Foothill.

But now Bono has big plans for his landmark business.

Looking over architect’s drawings, Bono said the restaurant, whose front windows are just a few feet shy of the now-four-lane Foothill Boulevard, will be moved south back from the highway. This will accommodate widening of the street as well as the construction of a huge warehouse planned on the other side of Sultana.

He said he was confident that Bono’s restaurant would reopen in the near future, to accommodate Fontana’s next century and for future travelers seeking the romance and adventure of Route 66.

By Joe Blackstock – Inland Valley Daily Bulletin

May 062013
 




KINGMAN – Just call it The Gathering.

Roughly 10,000 people attend the Route 66 International Festival held each summer. Those disciples of the Mother Road – and their tourist dollars – could descend on the city en masse as Kingman is considered one of the favorites to host the event in 2014.

Such a gathering would have an undoubtedly positive affect on the city’s economy, but pulling off such a large-scale production will take teamwork by a number of public and private entities as well as residents.

Author Jim Hinckley and downtown Kingman booster Steve Wagner, both Route 66 and Kingman enthusiasts, seek volunteers to serve on committees that would work on specific aspects of the event, from drawing live bands, organizing car shows, food and beverage vendors and Route 66 beautification.

“It began almost 20 years ago in a rented tent in the faded wide spot in the road that is Landegrin, Texas,” said Hinckley of the International Festival now managed by the Route 66 Alliance.

A different community hosts the event each year.

Kingman is a front-runner to serve as the host city,” said Hinckley.

The men are banking on approval with the end game of pulling off a successful festival that highlights Kingman’s attraction as a destination.

If Kingman does land the hosting gig, the event would be held in conjunction with the August 2014 edition of Chillin’ on Beale Street, said Hinckley.

The initial plan, he said, calls for a Saturday car show, an exhibition of artists and authors in the Southwest whose work focuses on Route 66, a barbecue at Hualapai Mountain Park and live music.

The event, said Hinckley, “would introduce visitors to some of the community’s unique attractions, such as the Stetson Winery and the award-wining Desert Diamond Distillery.”

This August the festival is in Joplin, Mo. Last year it was in Victorville, Calif., and the year before that it was in Amarillo, Texas.

“We like to move it around,” said Rick Freeland of the Alliance.

Freeland confirmed Kingman is the front-runner, but an announcement won’t be made until Aug. 3, the final day of the Joplin festival.

“This will be great for Kingman,” said Freeland. “Every town or city that has hosted the event has seen a significant bump in the local economy. And this is a true international event. Route 66 truly does have a global following.”

Freeland said the Alliance’s primary goal is to double the number of cars that travel Route 66 between Los Angeles and Chicago.

If you’re interested in helping out, call Hinckley at (928) 530-7899 or Wagner at (928) 377-2239.

By Doug McMurdo – Daily Miner

Apr 242013
 





KINGMAN – Work is ramping up as four adjoining businesses along Route 66 – including the historic Hotel Brunswick – prepare to welcome customers this summer and fall.

The hotel and a potential restaurant within it are slated to open in September, and an ice cream parlor and bakery will be operating by the middle of June. The ice cream parlor, called Route 66 Ice Cream and Sweets, Inc., will be run by Brenda Marker, co-owner of B & G Accounting and Tax LLC in downtown Kingman.

Ed and Christina Silverman currently own the bakery, called Route 66 Bakery, and operate it out of their home. A restaurant for the hotel has not been determined yet, and developer Werner Fleischmann is searching for a tenant who will provide home-cooked, family-style meals.

Kingman really needs all this,” said Marker. “It needs entrepreneurs who are willing to spend the time and effort to bring this area back. They must have the vision to succeed here. It’s not about the money, because that doesn’t come until later.”

Fleischmann is currently remodeling the three-story hotel at 315 E. Andy Devine Ave and adding a restaurant in the 12,000 square foot building. Also, he is renovating the former 2,000 square foot Old Trails Garage at 311 E. Andy Devine Ave. for the ice cream parlor and full-service bakery.

Fleischmann has been coming to Kingman at least three times a year for the last 20 years.

In that time, he’s developed land, sold real estate, bought properties and rented them out. He owns commercial property at 432 Beale St. that houses three small businesses, and just bought the old J.C. Penney store at Fourth and Beale streets.

Hotel Brunswick was built in 1909 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Throughout the last century, the hotel has seen numerous owners come and go. It was closed between the late 1970s and late 1990s, and after it reopened in 1997, a handful of owners gave running the business their best shot. One after another, their attempts fell short, and the historic building’s doors have been closed since 2010.

“Werner is leaving everything as it was when the hotel was popular,” said Marker. “It will be an old-time hotel with a modern flair. This is going to be great for downtown Kingman and for Route 66.”

Marker said the hotel’s 30 rooms will be accessible to handicapped patrons, and an elevator is being installed in the building. Marker said the hotel will consist of Cowboy and Cowgirl rooms, each containing twin beds and a shared a central bathroom; Railroad rooms, with full beds and bathrooms between the suites; and two Cadillac suites behind the ice cream parlor and bakery, complete with queen beds and kitchenettes.

All rooms will have access to the courtyard, which will feature a garden and block wall.

Marker said Route 66 Ice Cream and Sweets Inc. will offer hand-dipped ice cream, including sugar-free and soy, in gluten-free cones. The business will sell shakes, floats, banana splits and sundaes, as well as old-fashioned candy. Marker said she will work with the bakery to use their brownies and other products in her creations.

The Silvermans, who sell their goodies at area stores and gas stations, are looking forward to creating an environment where customers can meet and share coffee and treats.

“Our business has dictated our need to move to a bigger location, and we want to serve the community better,” said Ed Silverman. “We appreciate the historic value of Kingman as a city and Route 66 being the heart of it and bringing everything together.”

“We’re excited, and believe the combination of ice cream and bakery goods will make this a sweet house.”

By Kim Steele – Daily Miner

Mar 042013
 





The very best thing one can do to support Route 66 is to travel it. Period.
A traveler can stop and visit restaurants, motels, gift shops and so on, and so on – and by purchasing items, meals, overnight rooms, this is the best way to make sure the route not only ‘stays open’ – but grows as well.

So, what if you can’t get out and travel the route (anytime soon at least)? Do what I do: Support the different Route 66 associations.

I have been (and still am for the most part) a ‘business member’ of most of the Route 66 State Associations. I believe in what they stand for on a smaller level as they concentrate only on their state, with once in a while crossing state lines to help a neighboring project on the route.

I am also a fan of any national Route 66 associations or alliances – but the state level is where I like to be. All in all: They all have their purpose.

I have created a link with all the different associations so you can check them out yourself. I enjoy getting all the news letters and info either mailed to me or even Emailed to me and I always try to help them any way I could.

The only ‘downer’ I have is I was surprised on how many folks who are sort of the ‘who’s who’ of the route do not support these associations – even if only in their own state the route runs through. There may be a slew of reasons and I do not want to name names, I just hope they will see the example so many other folks have become members to support the route in yet another way.
I believe those who are in the ‘know’ should always be a great example of how to do the right thing on the route by supporting it. Hopefully we can get a few more members on board!!

Route 66 Association of Illinois

Route 66 Association of Missouri

Kansas Historic Route 66 Association

Oklahoma Route 66 Association

Texas Route 66 Association(They do not have an active website)

New Mexico Route 66 Association

Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona

California Historic Route 66 Association

National Historic Route 66 Federation

Dec 292012
 





Another in a series of ‘guest articles’ written by folks from all over the world. If you would like to contribute – please send me an Email at info@route66world.com with your article and I just might post it!!

You’re a true road warrior. You don’t let little things like blizzards, freezing temperatures and slick highways keep you away from a cold-weather vacation. You also have a sense of the past and Americana, so taking historic Route 66 is on your itinerary.

Insurance

What also should be on your itinerary— getting insurance. Since winter carries its own unique set of challenges, carrying insurance for your trip will give you coverage in case of trip cancellation, travel delays, lost luggage and medical emergencies. Travel Guard has its own winter storm page, as well as a place to compare travel insurance quotes.

Clothing in Layers

Once you’ve decided that winter hazards are worth the trip, make plans to enjoy the sites along Route 66, which runs from Chicago to its terminus at the Pacific Ocean in Santa Monica (CA). Take a few tips from “Blue Coyote,” “Silly Squirrel” and “Cactus Killer,” travelers who chronicled their 2010 trip along Route 66 at the Dancing Weasel. They give plenty of trip tips, especially for those planning to go camping. (Examples: Dress in layers in mountainous areas, and bring sunscreen, no matter what season). Also provided is an interactive trip of the route. At one stop the travelers made along the way was Texola (OK), which they described as not quite a ghost town.

“We couldn’t help but get out and walk around, exploring what happens when a town is on the verge of extinction but still holding on,” their blog reported— they even heard a dog barking from a distance.

Road Conditions & Virtual Road Maps

It might be hard to get that type of experience while traveling on an interstate. RoadTrip America is a spoonful of information on a Route 66 trip. It includes a link to “Guy Randall’s Tour of the Mother Road,” for example, that includes 4,566 photographs, historical anecdotes and updated reports of road conditions. Open a state page to obtain a virtual road map, and then scroll down to the bottom of the page to get a map of that state.

From that page, you’ll open a new page that explains attractions on that section of the route. Use the navigation links for “Route 66 West” and “Route 66 East” at the top of this page or click on the next town shown on the map. Repeat the process when you reach a new state line to continue the trek.

Weather Conditions

To keep track of local weather, click on the Weatherblink.com link for local forecasts, which will come in handy in the unpredictable winter months.

Sleeping Conditions

Eventually, you want to find places to sleep. For a truly unique motel experience, stay at a Wigwam Motel in Holbrook (AZ), or San Bernardino (CA). The California motel has a village-style arrangement of 19 tepees, each 30 feet high and made from wood framing, concrete and stucco. Individual wigwams are equipped with all the traveler’s essentials that Natives probably didn’t have, such as an outdoor barbecue grill. There also is a kidney-shaped swimming pool at the motel.

Extra Tips

The National Historic Route 66 Federation gives some advice on planning a trip. After all, Route 66 isn’t on ordinary maps and there are few road signs to view it. The website store offers a Route 66 kit allowing travelers to plan a trip in advance, which is crammed with motels, cafes and trading posts.

And with winter being the off-season for Route 66 travelers, you won’t have to deal with many large crowds either.

By Dee Paulson – Dee is a retired world history teacher, Dee travels the world and shares cultural and political viewpoints in her stories online. She visits Cairo and Italy every year.