Dec 142014
 

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Shirley Sharbutt and Paula Suman used to frequent Cafe on the Route in Baxter Springs and were disappointed when it closed suddenly about two years ago. But during the past several months, they noticed a remodel was under way.

“Finally, we drove by one day and saw that it was open,” said Sharbutt, of Miami, Oklahoma. She and Suman stopped by the recently re-opened restaurant for the first time last week.
On Wednesday morning, workers at the cafe, 1101 Military Ave., were busy preparing for the lunch rush. Customers began walking in soon after the doors opened at 11 a.m., and the phone rang several times as groups called to make reservations.
The restaurant had been a landmark on Route 66 since opening in May 1998, and gained national fame in 2007 when it was featured on Food Network’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” with host Guy Fieri.
In early 2013, an announcement that the Baxter restaurant was closing was abrupt, as winners of holiday gift certificates had been announced just a few weeks before.
Managed by Amy Sanell, Cafe on the Route was known for its eclectic lunch and dinner menu of “traditional American with a twist” created by her husband, Chef Richard Sanell, an executive chef who studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York City.

The reason for its sudden closing were never made clear, but since then, Tim and Julie Potter, of Miami, Oklahoma, have purchased the restaurant and renovations began in July. It opened Nov. 18 and is being managed by executive chef Charles Bowen and house manager Michelle Haynes.
“Everybody just loves that we’ve opened back up,” Haynes said. “We’ve had a big turnout so far. For a small community, we were really surprised.”
While the Route 66 tourism season isn’t yet in full swing, Haynes said she has already received reservations from motorcycle groups, and a group of 35 planned to hold its Christmas party at the cafe.
As he prepped food items in the kitchen, Bowen discussed everything it takes to make a meal something exceptional.
“With every fiber, I believe great food begins with a thousand tiny steps,” he said. But Bowen hasn’t always focused his efforts on building the perfect meal.

A structural engineer turned chef, Bowen has a Ph.D. and taught engineering at Oklahoma State University for six years. He also has been involved in the remodel of the cafe, which has new appliances in its kitchen and an antique-style dining area with tall ceilings and exposed brick walls.
“I gave up a six-figure job for one half the pay and double the hours,” he said. “My fingers hurt, I burn myself and my feet hurt. But I enjoy coming to work every day. I love what I do, and I’m passionate about what I do. This is what makes me tick.”
Bowen went to culinary school in New York City and also went to France to study bread baking.
“I probably have 700 cookbooks and still study 20 hours a week,” he said.
And although his background is in fine dining, Bowen describes his cooking at Cafe on the Route as made-from-scratch comfort food.

The fettuccini alfredo is made-to-order, he said, and the meatballs are house made and have parmesan cheese inside them. The cafe’s fries are hand-cut Idaho potatoes. The onion strings and chicken-fried steak are hand battered. And the restaurant has its own smoker for brisket, sausage and ribs.
Suman, of Quapaw, Oklahoma, said she and Sharbutt ate at the cafe quite a bit before it closed.
“They had a pretty good menu,” Suman said. “We’re hoping this is good.”
“If it’s good, we’ll be back,” Sharbutt added.

History
The building that houses Cafe on the Route in Baxter Springs, which originally was home to the Crowell Bank, is of the Civil War era. It is said to have been robbed in 1876 by Jesse James and Cole Younger.

By Katie Lamb – The Joplin Globe

Sep 142014
 

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Route 66 Cruisers Car Club is gearing up for its seventh annual car and motorcycle show Sept. 26-27 at Claremore Lake.

After starting in 2006, the club has grown to about 100 members and has gained national attention for its annual shows and charity events.
Ed Meacham established the club. As a car enthusiast, he joined the Tulsa Car Club, but after networking at several shows, he believed enough individuals in Claremore had a love for classic cars and would appreciate a local club. He was right.

The club began with only six founding members, but over the years has grown to a record of 160 members.
Meacham attributes the success to how active the club is in hosting swap meets, shows, cruises, and attending events.
“We get out and do a lot of stuff, and we really want to have money for charity,” said Meacham.
Shortly after starting the club, Meacham felt the club needed a driving purpose. Paul Kelsey, a local Shriner, expressed concern that their organization would fall short on providing toys to children for the upcoming Christmas. The need inspired Meacham to organize the club’s first toy run.
“If it can be done with motorcycles, it can be done with cars,” Meacham said, “We would line up for an all day cruise and start in one town and stop at businesses that collected toys for the Shriners.”
The toy run has been successful every year in helping the Shriners at Christmas, so much so that last year more toys were collected than the Shriners could give away. The additional toys were donated to the Good Samaritan Ministry.

Funds collected from the car shows and events are used to fund the Shriners’ effort to transport children to hospitals. The car club has also sent three veterans on an honor flight to Washington D.C. to visit the war memorials, and gave away a $500 scholarship to a Rogers State University student.
Along with its charitable efforts, the club is all about getting together with good friends and talking about a common love of classic cars, according to Meacham. Tall tales are common in the group, as well as practical jokes, and of course, a lot of laughter.
“Ted [the club president] always gets a trophy at every show — except at one,” said Meacham.
“Yeah, as judges passed my car, Ed yelled, ‘Hey guys, do not be fooling around with that car,’ so the judges moved on without judging it,” Ted Hancock said, laughing.

The group laughs, and Meacham holds strong to his story that he had no idea they were judges. The nature of the group is good fun, stories, and charity.
“We have a lot of fun; we go to fish frys and museums to show our cars. People contact us and ask for a display at a lot of different places,” said Meacham.
Leveraging technology has driven up membership over the years and has gained the club an international spotlight. The car club’s website has caught the attention of film crews from England working on a story about Route 66 and they plan to film the classic cars on a cruise. The website has had over 10 million views from people all over the world and maintains about 10,000 visitors every day.

The car show will include food and arts and crafts vendors, along with live entertainment, and of course, rows and rows of classic cars. There might even be a few “rat rods” competing, which are old cars from the 30s or 40s that have working engines but have been intentionally maintained as a junker.
Club membership is a $15 annual fee, but next year that price will increase to $20. Having a classic car is not a requirement to join the club, and there is plenty of room in other vehicles during cruises for those who lack a classic car. For more information about the Route 66 Cruisers Car Club or the upcoming show, visit www.Route66CruisersOK.org.

By Kristy Sturgill – The Daily Progress

Aug 042014
 

tulsa-route-66-experience








More than nine months after announcing it was seeking proposals to construct and operate a Route 66 interpretive center and commercial complex, the city is reviewing the one response it received.
“What we have, basically, is more questions,” said City Planning Director Dawn Warrick.

Mayor Dewey Bartlett in October announced that the city would begin seeking requests for proposals for the project, which is to be built on two acres of city land at the intersection of Southwest Boulevard and Riverside Drive.
Warrick said it is not unusual for the city to take this long to review a Request for Proposal, or RFP — especially on a project as complicated as the Route 66 center.

It’s not like it’s sitting stagnant,” Warrick said of the RFP. “The scope of this project is very large and it involves a lot of moving parts.

“It’s a complicated project and it’s a complicated site.”
The interpretive center and commercial complex is to be built on city land across the street from the East Meets West bronze sculpture at the intersection of Southwest Boulevard and Riverside Drive.

City officials last year said they were looking for a private developer to come up with a plan that makes sense in terms of density, scale and height.

The development could have restaurants, retail space and even a hotel but must include space for a Route 66 interpretive center, officials said.

The city would retain ownership of the property and lease it to the developer.
The RFP was purposely broad to allow the private sector to help define amenities that would meet the city’s goals for the site.

The city plans to spend $6.5 million for the project, including $1.5 million in Vision 2025 funds and $5 million in third-penny sales tax revenue.
The city in May finalized its agreement with Tulsa County making the Vision 2025 funding available.

Businesswoman Sharon King Davis was one of a group of local business owners and professionals asked by the city to advise in putting the RFP together and reviewing responses.
The proposal the city received came from a consortium of local individuals — each of whom is outstanding, King Davis said. “If we can get this thing to fly it will be so fabulous for this city,” she said.
King Davis — who stressed that the decision now lies in the hands of the city — said the consortium has the capital to make the project happen.

“It is a tight project,” she said. “It is just a matter of checking and double checking and making sure on behalf of Tulsa that they can do it.”

City Councilor Blake Ewing has long advocated that the city do more to promotes its link to the Mother Road.
A Route 66 interpretive center — commonly referred to as the Route 66 experience — would benefit the city culturally and economically, he said.

“While many Tulsans may not believe it, Route 66 brings a substantial flow of international visitors through Tulsa,” Ewing said. “A sales tax revenue-funded city should always be thinking of ways to attract and capitalize on its visitors. Route 66 should be at the top of our list as an attractional community asset. The Route 66 Experience represents a tremendous step in the right direction.”

By KEVIN CANFIELD World Staff Writer

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 032014
 
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Route 66 Preservationist Ed Klein announced today he is to author a book about Route 66 through the state of Kansas. The approval for the book came from Arcadia Publishing who has over 9,000 books in their catalog, most written by locals and first time authors. The book will be titled ‘Route 66 in Kansas’ which will be part of their ‘Images of America’ series and is due for release mid 2015. It will cover the early mining days of southeast Kansas through present day Route 66.

Ed Klein is the owner of the website Route 66 World (www.route66world.com) which is dedicated to the preservation, restoration and education of Route 66. He was researching information on several projects with locations ranging from Joplin, a building in Kansas and another project in Oklahoma.

“I scoured the internet and finding the information for Joplin and Oklahoma was much easier than finding certain bits and pieces about a location in Kansas I was working on. I then checked to see if there were actually any books written about Route 66 in Kansas and to my surprise, there were none.”

Klein contacted Arcadia Publishing to check to see if there were any books in the works for Route 66 in the state of Kansas, and they responded with a ‘no, but what do you think about writing a book about the route in Kansas?’

Kansas has the shortest stretch of Route 66 of all the eight states it runs through. Less than thirteen miles connects Kansas from Joplin Missouri to Quapaw Oklahoma, two towns which have been affected by tornadoes and in both occasions, Klein has helped by donating much needed funds to local relief efforts.

Route 66 is not only about the old motels, the diners and the gift shops, it is also about saving history and places so many travelers around the world come to see and experience. It is very easy to have a business close down or suffer a catastrophic loss like this, keeping them open is the hard part!” Klein adds.

Aug 192013
 






The Gold Dome building based on Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome will be preserved. TEEMCO, an Oklahoma-based environmental professional engineering firm has purchased the architecturally historic Gold Dome building located on legendary Route 66.

As one of the first geodesic domes in the world, the Gold Dome is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Built in 1958, the building’s architects (Bailey, Bozalis, Dickinson, and Roloff) utilized Buckminster Fuller’s geodesic dome design. It was the third geodesic dome building ever built in the world. Architect, philosopher, author, engineer and futurist, Buckminster Fuller explored the use of nature’s constructing principles to find design solutions.

While he was not the first architect to build a geodesic dome, he was awarded a U.S. Patent for his dome structure. It was a dome of many firsts: the first dome to have a gold-anodized aluminum roof, the first above-ground geodesic dome, and the first Kaiser Aluminum dome used as a bank and was billed as the “Bank of Tomorrow.” The building’s complex web of gold hexagons represented the bright optimism for America’s new frontier in space. It was also intended to reflect Oklahoma’s legacy in aviation and space.

The dome’s exuberant form of modernism can’t be found anywhere else in America today. The Gold Dome has been featured on The History Channel, in The Atlantic Monthly, Los Angeles Times, Preservation magazine, and numerous other publications. TEEMCO will move sixty-five of its national-headquarters staff from Edmond, Oklahoma into the 27,000 square-foot landmark in late 2013.

“Our company believes the building should be preserved for future generations to appreciate,” said Greg Lorson, CEO of TEEMCO. “Revitalizing the Gold Dome reflects our core belief in protecting the environment; whether natural or manmade.” Lorson explained, “We intend to restore as many original elements to the building as possible while introducing some new complimentary elements to the interior. I can’t disclose details, but I will tell you we plan to install a water feature in the interior lobby along with a high-tech feature. In the end, we want the building to represent a coming together of nature, physics, art, and technology. In this way the building will be functional art communicating the value of man’s positive impact on our environment.”

It will be renamed the TEEMCO Gold Dome. The TEEMCO Foundation will soon host a groundbreaking event for the Gold Dome. The Foundation exists to benefit people in need of health, education, and welfare support.

The groundbreaking event will be a fundraiser to help Moore area tornado relief efforts and an Oklahoma woman in dire need of a kidney transplant. TEEMCO is the nation’s leading environmental engineering firm for the oil, gas, agriculture, and marine industries. The company has also developed several proprietary software solutions for environmental compliance management and risk management.

Aug 082013
 




City officials are planning a big move for a historic bridge north of downtown Catoosa following a meeting earlier this week.

Most Catoosa residents are familiar with the Rice Street Bridge, which crosses Spunky Creek along historic Route 66. It’s that bridge that will soon be replaced by the Oklahoma Department of Transportation with a wider, newer bridge.

Tulsa’s Channel 8′s community newspaper partner, the Catoosa Times, reported that the Rice Street Bridge has now outlived its use at Spunky Creek. But despite it being 100-years-old, the city of Catoosa still plans to use that bridge elsewhere in the community.

City staffers, including City Planner Greg Collins, have suggested the city use the bridge as a pedestrian walkway along Cherokee Street, south of Pine Street. Collins suggested a refurbished bridge could be used as part of the Safe Routes to School grant project.

If that happens, the city will place the bridge along the east side of Cherokee, between Catoosa High School and Pine. Collins has said there are two ravines to cross and this bridge will cross one of them, according to the newspaper.

Rogers County Commissioner Kirt Thacker said the county is helping in the effort to move the old bridge.

“It’s in poor shape,” Thacker said. “That’s one reason you’re not driving on it.”

Thacker went on to state that Rogers County will move pieces of the bridge to the city’s maintenance yard after ODOT dismantles it.

City Engineer Craig Kupec said the bridge will have to be reconditioned before placing it along Cherokee. That portion of the project will be “somewhat labor-intensive,” he said.

Another obstacle in this project is an existing water line that would need to be moved, according to the newspaper’s report. Kupec has been asked how much moving that water line would cost the city.

He estimated it would cost, on the high end, $42,000.

“It’s possible to excavate rather than bore,” Kupec said. “That, I feel, would be on the high side.”

Brian Kellogg, owner of Kellogg Engineering, said there is no way around moving the 8-inch water line and would need to be moved to accommodate the new bridge. He added that the line is “laying in the way of construction.”

“We have a plan that will suffice for your water line,” he told Catoosa officials.

The old roadway is about 20 feet wide, Kellogg said. The new roadway would be 12-foot lanes and 2-foot shoulders on both sides.

Thacker said the bottom line is the water line must be moved.

“If that line doesn’t’t get moved, that bridge is staying like it is.”

The city council had both of these items on its Aug. 5 agenda. Councilors approved salvaging the old bridge by a vote of 7-0. The second item addressed moving the water line, which councilors also approved 7-0.

 

May 062013
 




We JUST drove past this sign a few days ago before they took it down – glad to see folks who are so involved with the preservation of this historic sign!

YUKON — Along Route 66 in Yukon stands Yukon’s Best Flour with a tall electric sign sitting on top of the mill. The lights have been dim for the past year but will soon get a makeover.

Crews removed the electronic sign Monday morning to replace the sign’s 2,200 bulbs with longer-lasting and energy-efficient LED bulbs and to rebuild the letters.

The group Friends of Yukon’s Best Inc. organized to raise $150,000. Instead, they pulled in $163,000 to give the light a new look.

A large amount of cash came in February when the Yukon Community Support Foundation announced a matching grant of up to $40,000.

Once complete, the sign will be as close to the original as possible.

Apr 072013
 






Another great guest article about a Route 66 historical place……

The month of March was a tumultuous one for a historical landmark along Route 66 in the Asian district of Oklahoma City. Dave Box, the owner of the Gold Dome, applied for a demolition permit in early March after purchasing the structure at a sheriff’s auction in September. Box told News 9 in Oklahoma City that the permit is the only way he can “keep his options open” when he discovered the building would require extensive maintenance and repairs. The application was denied because any exterior renovations require approval by the city’s Urban Design Committee. Public backlash and reluctance by the city to approve any sort of changes to the dome has tempered Box’s plans for the time being.

History of the Dome

The Gold Dome was built in 1958 as a Citizens State Bank branch. The building, which is on the National Register of Historical Places, is one of only five geodesic domes in the world, according to GoldDomeOKC.net. It was designed by Robert Roloff to not only provide a unique structure for a bank at the time, but also reflect the “golden” future of the state itself. The roof is constructed of 625 individual anodized aluminum panels that were originally a very shiny gold. The panels have faded over the years due to weather and heat. The structure was built shortly after Interstate 35 was completed and State Highway 66A became the official Route 66 at the time. The old route would have required a new set of BFGoodrich tires on your vehicle, as it had become a rough road to travel throughout the years.

How We Got Here

Box, who also owns a local country club and a talent agency, paid $800,000 for the building after the previous owner, Dr. Irene Lam, was foreclosed on. The Gold Dome is currently home to a business complex, cultural center, restaurant and office space for various businesses. Box told The Oklahoman that he may not have done as much due diligence as he should have before purchasing the building. He acknowledged that he does not want to go down in history as the person responsible for destroying a historical Route 66 landmark, but he also does not want to lose money on an investment he’s already second-guessing.

Debate Continues

One architecture blog noted that Oklahoma City is already trying to destroy Mummers Theater, built by renowned architect John Johansen. Now the city is doubling down, trying to destroy two historical sites. A Facebook page called Save OKC’s Historic Gold Dome was created in March and has already attracted over 500 followers.

Box has said he will pay someone $100,000 to take the dome off his property so he can use it as he pleases. But the city responded that the same permits which they already rejected, would be required for that to happen.

(Photo courtesy of Flickr user QuesterMark)

By: Katherine Reed
Kat loves being a freelance writer and making her own schedule.

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