2013 International Route 66 Festival en route to Joplin MO

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on 2013 International Route 66 Festival en route to Joplin MO
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

Special Relighting Event! Crestwood Bowl Neon Sign

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Special Relighting Event! Crestwood Bowl Neon Sign
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

Big Chief fills the plate, with a side of Route 66 history

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Big Chief fills the plate, with a side of Route 66 history
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

Grant May Help Preserve Allure of Route 66

 California, Daily  Comments Off on Grant May Help Preserve Allure of Route 66
Aug 312012

This article is from the U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR – BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT and is one of many programs helping preserve and keeping Route 66 alive. The goal is to get ALL stretches of Route 66 in all eight states under this program!

Route 66 is America’s Mother Road. . . and the U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration’s $152,300 grant recently awarded to the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) under the National Scenic Byways Program (NSBP) will fund the preparation of a corridor management plan (CMP) that ultimately may help preserve the history and nostalgia of the 153 miles of historic Route 66 within the BLM California Desert District that extends from Needles to Barstow, California.

Designated a national highway in 1926, U.S. Route 66 extends 2,448 miles across 8 states and 3 time zones from Chicago, IL to Santa Monica, California. The “Mother Road” essentially consists of connecting many existing roads, with some new road construction to complete a continuous route. The road was immortalized by Bobby Troupe’s song “Get Your Kicks On Route 66.

Upon completion of the CMP, the BLM will submit a nomination to the Secretary of the Department of Transportation for consideration to designate the California segment of Route 66 a National Scenic Byway. Currently portions of Route 66 in Arizona, Illinois, New Mexico, and Oklahoma have National Scenic Byway designation. The BLM worked closely with the California Historic Route 66 Association and California Preservation Foundation to develop the grant proposal.

The CMP also will provide travel information to domestic and international visitors about the intrinsic values of the history, culture, and natural landscapes, as well as recreational opportunities available along the corridor. The CMP will include a comprehensive interpretive, tourism and marketing strategy to enhance heritage tourism opportunities in an effort to promote and provide economic benefits to communities and local businesses.

“We have an incredible opportunity to work with stakeholders and communities along Route 66 to preserve and promote the history California’s portion of Route 66,” said Jim Kenna, BLM California State Director. “We want to inspire new generations of explorers who will revive the nostalgia and adventures of bygone days as they experience, learn about and care for our beloved Mother Road.”

The BLM will oversee preparation of the CMP and solicit extensive participation from local, county, state and federal stakeholders and partners to collaborate in the development of the CMP, including six Native American Tribes. NSBP funding supports projects that manage and protect these roads and improve visitor facilities. The California Legislature designated California Route 66 as “Historic Highway Route 66″ by statute in 1991.

For more information regarding the grant or the preparation of the Corridor Management Plan contact Danella George at (760) 808-5877.

Joplin to consider Route 66 emblem at key intersection

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Joplin to consider Route 66 emblem at key intersection
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

Historic Route 66 to Be Full of Treasure Hunters

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Historic Route 66 to Be Full of Treasure Hunters
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

Young shutterbugs wanted for Route 66 photo contest

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Young shutterbugs wanted for Route 66 photo contest
Aug 222012

A Route 66 photo contest at this year’s Cuba Fest could land kids some cold, hard cash.

The photo competition, sponsored by the Viva Cuba organization, has cash prizes for first, second, and third places in two separate categories. The awards will be $75, $50, and $25, respectively.

The contest is open to young photographers living in the Crawford County (Cuba) R-2 School District. Category 1 is for kids ages 9-13 and Category 2 is open to older kids in the 14-18 age range. Three local judges will choose the winners at Cuba Fest, to be held October 20-21 on Smith Street in the Historic Business District.

According to the rules of the “Picture This on Route 66” contest, photographs must be taken along Route 66 in the area in or around Cuba. Photos may be taken anywhere on Route 66 from Skippy’s Restaurant in Leasburg to the Route 66 Outpost in Fanning.

Photographers are to use standard 4H guidelines for mounting: Use a single photo print no smaller than 4×6 inches and no larger than 8×10 inches mounted on an 8×10 white poster board or matte board. Alternatively, students can create a photo story or collage with no more than four photos mounted to a single 8×10 matte board.

Only one official entry may be submitted per contestant.

Photos are not to be altered in any way to change their contents through Photoshop or other photo manipulation programs. Special filters or High Definition Range photo treatments are prohibited. The idea is to put emphasis on the quality of the photo composition, printing, and subject matter, not digital manipulation or gimmicks.

Submissions may be either in color or black and white. Permitted enhancements include cropping, sharpening, adjusting brightness and contrast levels, and making red eye corrections.

Entries will be on display at Cuba Fest and must be turned in by October 1 at the Highway 19 branch of Peoples Bank. For more information, contact Judy Workman at 573-885-2775.

Deadline for entries is October 1

Written by Chris Case – Three Rivers Publishing

Big Chief Restaurant on Route 66 is Back in Wildwood, MO

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Big Chief Restaurant on Route 66 is Back in Wildwood, MO
Jun 162012

This week, the vintage Route 66 restaurant opened with new owners, revamped menu and a fresh approach.

The prized buffalo head still graces Big Chief Roadhouse restaurant’s main dining area in Wildwood, but customers will find many new touches and a remodeled ambiance at 17352 Manchester Road. Big Chief owner Stephanie Mulholland said even the buffalo head was retouched and fixed up.

Big Chief’s owners recently received their liquor license from Wildwood officials, and as planned, officially reopened the doors June 11. This week, the new staff has been working through the ordering and “soft-opening” operational process.

Located across from Wildwood Middle School, customers have been frequenting this historic Route 66 restaurant since 1929. The present owners took possession of the building March 4, and it has been closed since for remodeling.

Big Chief Roadhouse originally was built in what was at the time Pond, MO, as part of the Big Chief Highway hotel to serve transcontinental travelers on the now famed Route 66. Local historians and tourists guides from the period indicate Big Chief was one of the largest tourist cottage courts in Missouri. It differed from average spots of time in that it offered relatively elaborate and elegant dining. It is one of the last remaining full-service restaurants on the Route 66 today.

Big Chief’s kitchen hours are Monday through Sunday 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. The tavern portion is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to midnight, and on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1:30 a.m.

Mulholland, a Wildwood resident, said she has two partners who both are chefs. One has 25 years of experience; the other 31 years. One interesting note is that Big Chief’s staff smoke their own meats. They expect to soon be able to move their smoker onto the restaurant’s property.

Indoor seating capacity at Big Chief is about 150, and outdoor is nearly 80. Starting in July, an upstairs room will be available for private parties of up to 40 people.

Mulholland knows the local area well because her children are or were part of Pond Elementary and Lafayette High School.

About two weeks ago, Floyd Gilmore and his family traveled from Show Low, AZ, to see Big Chief, where Floyd was born April 9, 1944. Mulholland said the Gilmore family showed up on the restaurant’s doorstep, before the restaurant was open.

“We were still moving things around and didn’t have the kitchen open or anything, but we welcomed the Gilmores in,” she said. “It was absolutely amazing to hear the stories he shared about the area. His aunts and uncles went to the Old Pond School and are buried at Bethel Cemetery one block away. They just stopped by in two full RVs and four cars!”

Mulholland said it was an incredible experience to meet the Gilmores. “Floyd was so proud to show his family, four generations, his birthplace after he had shared stories with them for years.”

Gilmore walked away with a new Big Chief T-shirt, photos and new memories of one of his favorite restaurants in the United States.

Annual ‘Route 66 Race to the Rocker’ to be bigger and better

 Daily, Missouri  Comments Off on Annual ‘Route 66 Race to the Rocker’ to be bigger and better
Jan 242012

Rolla, Mo. — CUBA — Race director Brad Austin promises the Route 66 Race to the Rocker on March 31 will be bigger and better this year.

This is the fourth year for the 4-mile race that starts at the Mizell Funeral Home and continues on Route 66 to the Outpost US 66 General Store’s Guinness Book of World Records Largest Rocking Chair.

The Cuba 4-H groups will be offering a spaghetti dinner fundraiser from 5-8 p.m. March 30 at the Business and Fitness Expo so runners can get their carbs in before the big race the next day.

The race begins at 9 a.m., rain or shine. Participants can pick up race packets and t-shirts at the Business and Fitness Expo or the day of the race. Participants are asked to bring a canned food item for the food bank or personal hygiene items for the Friday Backpack for Kids program.

On race day, the Cuba High School parking lot will be available for parking before the race, with shuttle buses taking runners to the race registration area starting at 7:30 a.m. More buses will be available this year for both pre- and post-race shuttles. Bag drops are available at the beginning of the race with pickup at the rocker finish area.

This year there are plans for music and other events along the course to inspire runners. As well as an orange Race to the Rocker t-shirt, runners will all receive Cuba’s signature treat of two baby cakes from the Route 66 Fudge Shop, and Route 66 Race to the Rocker candy bars will go to the race division winners.

Big River Running from St. Louis will provide race numbers with chip timing and will post times and results online. Both lanes of Route 66 will be closed from Kinder Cemetery to the rocker from 8:45-11 a.m. The Missouri Highway Patrol as well as local fire, EMT, and police officials will help with the course management.

Almost $35,000 for kids’ fitness/health projects was raised over the last three years. This year’s funds will go to the Friday Backpacks for Kids Program, two scholarships for track and cross country students, to purchase or rehabilitation of weight room equipment, and for ongoing investigation of the Rails to Trails program.

Jessica Harrison of Captured by Jessica will be available to take individual and team photos with the Rocker in the background. Race director Brad Austin said, “We are signing up volunteers and sponsors to make it all happen and run smoothly. This race is a community event and effort, and Cuba’s wonderful support has allowed the race to grow each year and raise so much for our kids and their health and fitness.”

Race organizers have set a goal of 1,000 run/walkers to make it the largest race to date. The race is open to all ability levels and age groups.

Faster runners will be placed in the front of the pack to insure the safety of all. Feel free to costume up to make it a colorful race. Bring your cameras and spend some time in the “Route 66 Mural City” after the race.

The Rolla Daily News

Mother Road Marathon planned for third year

 Daily, Oklahoma  Comments Off on Mother Road Marathon planned for third year
Jan 092012

Planning is under way for the third Mother Road Marathon, despite a drop last year in the number of participants.

Last year’s Mother Road Marathon cost the city about $31,000 after paying all the bills for the event, according to figures compiled by the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Income, mostly from entry fees, amounted to $32,719, while expenses totaled $63,678, according to Patrick Tuttle, director of the tourism bureau.

It was the second year for the event. The marathon is promoted as the only one along historic Route 66 that treks through three states, starting at Commerce, Okla., going through Cherokee County, Kan., and ending in Joplin.

In 2010, the local bureau spent $30,000, with $20,000 going to hire a promoter, Reinke Sports Group of Winter Park, Fla., to attract participants and provide the awards, prizes and final ceremonies for the inaugural marathon. The city’s relationship with Reinke Sports Group dissolved in a disagreement over ownership of the marketing rights and responsibilities for the labor to put on the run. The city ended up paying Reinke an additional $30,000 to settle those claims and to ensure that it owned the marketing rights.

Dean Reinke was allowed to collect entry fees for the first run, but he also paid much of the costs, including advertising and prizes, said former bureau director Vince Lindstrom. Lindstrom said Reinke never disclosed what he took in or spent from the entry fees. Entry fees have ranged from $30 to $60, depending on the event entered. The initial run attracted about 1,500 participants. Tuttle said last year’s event drew 641 runners: 138 for the full marathon, 292 for the half-marathon and 211 for the 5K run.

Tuttle attributed the decrease in runners last year largely to the impact of the May 22 tornado.

“The perception of some runners was the race wasn’t going to happen, and that was hard to overcome once implanted,” he said. There was a misperception that lodging and restaurants would not be available to the runners, and that volunteers would be focused on tornado recovery and would not be available to put on the event, he said.

Marketing of the event also got a late start because of the dispute with Reinke and the retirement of race founder Lindstrom.

As for expenses last year, costs associated with producing the race such as course certification, equipment, traffic control, transportation for runners before and after the race, and other services and materials amounted to nearly $31,000, according to Tuttle’s figures.

Other categories of expenses included advertising, about $18,000; meals and festivities, including awards, food, beverages and entertainment for the runners, $10,000; and costs to maintain and buy software for the event’s website, nearly $5,000.

Tuttle said the date of this year’s event is Sunday, Oct. 14. That date was selected to keep the event from conflicting with the Chicago Marathon, which is slated for Oct. 7 and draws thousands of runners.

Tuttle has already launched advertising to try to attract runners and plans to attend regional running events to help get the word out. He said the Joplin Roadrunners club is assisting with that effort.

By Debby Woodin – Globe Staff Writer The Joplin Globe