Feb 172013
 






I do not know how they will be able to do this – if the project moves ahead – but I will have to assume it will be through reproductions, paintings, pictures, and maybe an actual sign here or there. I cannot think of too many towns & states who would want to have their old (beat up) sign pulled out of the ground and shipped to Oklahoma… Gives very little for the traveler passing through their state to look at – just my speculation…

Route 66 enthusiasts are organizing to start a new museum in Bethany, Oklahoma, that will focus on billboards and signs from the historic highway.

From Chicago to the Pacific Ocean, billboards and neon signs have lined historic Route 66 for decades.

Kathy Anderson and Arlita Harris discuss a potential billboard and sign museum project Thursday. The signs are in a private collection but represent the type they would like to display in a proposed museum in Bethany.

Signs of the past are disappearing though, said Kathy Anderson, a Route 66 enthusiast and member of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association.

When Anderson travels old parts of “The Mother Road,” she tries to imagine what the buildings and cars looked like in past years along the highway built in 1936.
“When I am on less-traveled roads, I realize what is missing are the billboards,” Anderson said.
The idea of saving billboards percolated in her mind until “a light bulb went off,” she said.
“There should be a billboard museum,” Anderson said.
Anderson, who lives in Oklahoma City and works in advertising, has a group of city leaders in Bethany interested in the billboard project that also would include neon signs in a museum.

The idea will need space, she said.
“There is nothing shy, demure or petite about signs, and they need a space to be showcased,” Anderson said.
There are museums with signs and billboards along State Highway 66 in Oklahoma, but nowhere is there a museum exclusively for billboards or signs, she said.
A sign collector, a muralist, community advocate and others also are backing Anderson’s idea.
Arlita Harris, secretary of the Bethany Improvement Foundation, said it is an original idea and a timely one.
Bethany has a “good stretch of the original Route 66 with century-old buildings and land along the highway for such a project,” she said.

‘Now is the time’
Her group has worked on painting murals on buildings across Bethany and has promoted tourism among other projects.
“When Kathy sent me the idea for this billboard museum, it was electric,” Harris said.
“We started sharing it with people, and it just grabbed hold.”
“There are no other Route 66 billboard museums out there, and these signs need to be saved. Now is the time to do it.”

Mike Loyd, a Bethany attorney, has collected vintage neon car signs for years.
He has a garage at his office with a large collection of signs and is interested in contributing to the museum.
John Martin, Bethany Improvement Foundation president, said people nationwide have said there is a need for such a museum.
“We need to get it launched,” Martin said,
“Even if it begins modestly. If we don’t capitalize on this, a billboard museum will be in St. Louis or Arizona.”

Bob Palmer, a muralist who lives in Bethany, has painted murals on the sides of buildings along SH 66 from Bethany to Davenport.
He painted a wall mural near the Boomerang Restaurant in downtown Bethany.
Palmer said interest in Route 66 continues from tourists who come from all over the world to see the American highway.
“I do know how popular Route 66 is with people,” Palmer said.
“It is a well-traveled route. Anything that would stimulate business and draw tourism to the area is a good thing.”

By Robert Medley – NewsOK

Nov 122012
 




This is our third guest article on Route 66. This one focuses on the ‘winter’ of, or ON, Route 66!

Traveling down the historic Route 66 is a unique way to get your family together during the Christmas holiday. Gather the troops from across the country and reconnect on the old historic “Mother Road” that, at one time, was best passageway from the Midwest to the West.


Drive through the streets of a fabulous world of kitschy Americana, follow each other in a caravan of cars or pile in an RV (try to avoid motorcycles during winter — it can get cold!). Each little town you pass has a legend attached to it. You may find yourself touring an old school house, visiting a nostalgic ice cream shop and looking over your shoulder in one of the many ghost towns along the tour. With the wind in your hair and not a worry in the world, this will be the best Christmas EVER!

Step into a history rich with roadside attractions, neon signs, rusty gas stations, 50s diners and vintage motels. It’s all part of the experience, part of the adventure. What do you need to know and where do you go?

Driving Tips

  • Be sure you have appropriate car insurance (with roadside assistance) so you are 100 percent protected and carefree on your journey.
  • Don’t advertise you are away from home. When in a city with inhabitants, keep your maps out of plain sight when stopped and use the truck stops if in need of rest — they are generally the safest place to rest your eyes.

Great Idea No. 1

Before you go on this fabulous family vacation, make a playlist of Christmas songs and old country driving tunes (Willy Nelson would be a great choice). Burn it to a few disks and bam! Christmas gifts, done! You’ll be singing all the way from Amarillo to Tucumcari. Pair that with the EZ66 Guide for sale at Route 66 World Bookstore and Roadfood and you’ll be on your way to worry free holidays.

Great Idea No. 2

Roadfood. It’s a must-get book. Ever wanted to eat at little off the beaten path at classic regional restaurants but don’t know how to find them? This book was written by a couple who went on a country-wide trip, finding and rating the best unknowns. While the directions are good, a navigational device is extremely helpful.

Fun Places to Stop

Christmastime along the Route 66 is vibrant with life and lights. It’s quirkiness illuminates with decorations aglow.

  • Chain of Rocks Bridge — Constructed in 1929, the bridge crosses the Mississippi from Alton, Ill. to St. Louis, Mo. and has a 30-degree turn midway across a mile-long bridge, according to nps.gov. Today, it has trails for walking and biking — fun for the whole family.
  • The Blue Whale — Sitting in Catoosa, Okla. is an 80-foot long smiling blue whale that Hugh Davis built for his whale-collecting wife, Zelta, as a gift. The attraction dates back to the 1970s.
  • Sandhills Curiosity Shop — Located in Erick, Okla., this wacky shop is full of music memorabilia. But it’s not just a shop, it’s an experience. Sit for awhile and have a chat with the owners, Harley and Annabelle Russell.
  • Restored Phillips 66 Gas Station – Between Clinton and Amarillo, Texas, this is where gas is 19 cents a gallon. That was all the way back in 1927, according to ridingroute66.us.
  • Cadillac Ranch — Amarillo, Texas has a mythical land covered with 10 historic Cadillacs, noses stuck in the earth as they erect from the land. You are free to graffiti your presence on the pieces of art, says legendsofamerica.com. They are open to the public to decorate.
  • Tucumcari, New Mexico – A pleasant reminder of the good old days. With historic motels like the Blue Swallow and Motel Safari, you can sleep under the pretty neon signs which light up the route through town.
  • Winslow, Ariz. — Simply, so you can stand on the corner in Winslow, Ariz. and live in the Eagles song, “Take it Easy.”
  • The Grand Canyon Railway’s Christmas Polar Express — In Williams, Ariz., a charming little town sits along the Route 66. During Christmas, the railway turns into a magical Christmas train to the North Pole.
  • Santa Monica Pier — Route 66 ends with an amusement park, an old carousel and the lovely California coast.

Lastly, be sure to take special care of our Route 66. Help preserve historic landmarks along the 2,400 -mile stretch. What can you do? Clean up after yourself and others, drive slow and enjoy the sites and get into the nostalgia by helping the local businesses survive.

Article by Olivia Lewin

Nov 102012
 





I will have to make sure I check this out next time I am driving thru Tulsa OK…

TULSA – Hundreds of people gathered at the Route 66 Centennial Plaza to dedicate a massive sculpture to Cyrus Avery, the man commonly referred to as the “Father of Route 66.”

The sculpture depicts Avery, and his family, traveling in their 1926 Model-T Ford, as they came across a horse-drawn wagon.

The horses appear to be startled at the sight of the automobile.

The sculpture is 40-feet-long, 15-feet-wide, and 14-feet high.

It is made of bronze and weighs 20,000 pounds.

“I just wanted to show the rugged individualism,” said artist and designer Robert Summers.

Several of Avery’s descendants came to Tulsa from around the country for the dedication.

“It brings life to the plaza,” said grandson Cyrus Stevens Avery II. “It in fact is a very tangible representation of what went before.”

Route 66 stretches for 23 miles through Tulsa.

Avery is credited for convincing designers to draw the route through town.

The sculpture cost $1,177,841 and was paid for by money from Vision2025.

Scripps Media, Inc

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.

Aug 162012
 


Ron Edwards of the Blue Whale in Catoosa, OK has announced a clean up day at the whale! It is open to all volunteers and it is always a good time – and folks love helping out the whale!! And there is a ‘Blue Tie Event’ as well as a party for the Blue Whale’s Birthday. MANY things going on at the whale!

From Ron Edwards:

Fins,

I have some news to share with you for some upcoming events!

On August 25th at 10 am, we will be doing a Blue Whale Clean Up Day! We welcome any able bodied Fin that is willing to volunteer for a day of clean up to prepare for the 2nd Annual Blue Tie Affair and my 40th Birthday Bash! Please bring a pair of work gloves, boots and any lawn and garden tools you can use to help us out!

On September 6th from 5 to 9pm will be the 2nd Annual Blue Tie Affair! For a donation of $50 per ticket, you will enjoy a steak dinner prepared by Molly’s Landing, live music and a few wineries will be there too! This year only 124 tickets are available and tickets have been on sale for a little over a week. If you would like to attend you can pay and pick up tickets at the Catoosa Chamber of Commerce at 650 South Cherokee, Catoosa, OK. Or you can email me and I will send you a PayPal Invoice that you can pay online. We will then send your tickets to you or you can request Will Call and pick them up the night of the event.

On September 7th, from 6 to 9pm, we will be Celebrating my 40th Birthday Bash with music by DJ Connections, Free Birthday Cake and Ice Cream while it lasts. Please drop by and celebrate with me and my other Fins and then get your groove on too!!

I look forward to seeing you all.

Love, Peace and Chicken grease!!

Blue Whale
P.O. Box 66
Catoosa, OK 74015
bluewhalek2croute66@gmail.com
Www.BlueWhaleRoute66.com

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

Jan 082012
 



Tulsa has never realized the full economic development and tourism potential from its 24 miles of historic Route 66.

So Councilor Blake Ewing is creating a task force to help the city embrace the opportunities that come from its place along the Mother Road.

“There’s Route 66 travel maps that bypass Tulsa,” he said with frustration. “Motorists hop on Interstate 44 at Catoosa to cut through the city and then reconnect with Route 66 from there.”

Many leaders have championed Arkansas River development in recent years, with Route 66 (tracking along on 11th Street) falling by the wayside, Ewing said.

“I’m not trying to usurp river momentum,” he said. “I’m excited about that, too. But to me, this is lower-hanging fruit. It’s here and it’s underutilized. We don’t have to put water in it to be successful.”

Creating a scene: The idea behind the task force, which would include Route 66 stakeholders, such as University of Tulsa, Hillcrest Medical Center, Bama Pie officials and neighborhood leaders, as well as city officials, is to look for ways to reinvigorate the pathway.

Some ideas include creating tax increment financing districts along Route 66 to help spur development, with the taxes generated being invested in improvements, and looking for federal Brownfield grants to clean up some of the vacant, dilapidated structures, Ewing said.

The councilor also envisions a fund being established for the city or the Tulsa Development Authority to purchase neglected properties and turn them into meeting locations for car clubs until they can be resold for commercial purposes.

Ewing said he also would like to encourage businesses along Route 66 to upgrade their signs to sleek neon versions to create a vibe.

This could be done by possibly creating a grant program to help business owners pay for the difference between a regular backlit sign and a neon version. Sign ordinance changes likely would be needed.

“Businesses will respond to these kinds of gestures,” he said. “When you add it all together, you create a scene that people want to be a part of.”

Vision 2025 investment: Route 66 hasn’t been completely ignored. In Tulsa County’s 2003 Vision 2025 package, $15 million was set aside for various improvements tied to a Route 66 master plan.

Completed so far are renovations to the Cyrus Avery Memorial Bridge – the former 11th Street Bridge – and the Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza and skywalk, at the east end of the bridge.

Avery was the former Tulsa County commissioner who is known as the father of the Mother Road because he lobbied Congress in 1926 to make it a 2,450-mile national highway that runs from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Some streetscaping projects along the route also have been finished.

Still to come is the Route 66 Interpretive Center at the plaza by Southwest Boulevard and Riverside Drive.

The museum has $2 million from Vision 2025 and $5 million from the 2006 third-penny sales tax package tied to it but is expected to need more in private funding. A feasibility study is under way, city planner Dennis Whitaker said.

A streetscaping project on 11th Street between 89th East Avenue to Garnett Road will soon begin.

It will include a kiosk at the intersection of 11th Street and Mingo Road that will tell the story of motor courts and how they evolved, along with other facets of Route 66 history, and wayfinding signs directing traffic.

Also this year, two Route 66 gateways will be built – one on the east side and one on the west side of Tulsa’s stretch – and a larger-than-life bronze sculpture will be installed at the plaza.

The sculpture, titled “East Meets West,” will depict the Avery family riding in a Model-T as they encounter a horse-drawn carriage on its way from the west Tulsa oil fields.

Whitaker, who will be part of the new task force, said that having public and private partners at the table will help take the master plan to the next level.

For all of Tulsa: The revitalization of Route 66 would not only benefit the five council districts it passes through, Ewing said, but also it would benefit the entire city by being an economic development and tourism engine.

Ewing owns numerous businesses in downtown’s Blue Dome District, including Joe Momma’s Pizza, Back Alley Blues & BBQ, Boomtown Tees and The Max Retropub.

His closest endeavor to Route 66 is The Phoenix Cafe, a coffee shop and used bookstore that will open at Sixth Street and Peoria Avenue soon.

Ewing said he would be considering his own Route 66 business investment if not for his role as a councilor in the task force.

“I don’t want my pursuing a personal development to compromise what I see as a much bigger thing for Tulsa,” he said. “But I see the potential, and I know other developers will, too.”

Author and historian Michael Wallis took Tulsa to task in his 1990 book “Route 66: The Mother Road” for not capitalizing on its Route 66 heritage.

“Tulsa gets much higher marks now,” he said. “There have been little victories here and there.”

But Ewing’s task force is exactly what’s needed to see the effort through.

“I’m usually dubious about politicians, but he’s standing behind his words and I’m excited,” Wallis said.

The lure of traveling Route 66 by car is powerful to domestic and foreign tourists and continues to grow, he said.

“A lot of people falsely think it’s about pure nostalgia,” he said.

But it’s much more than poodle skirts, cheeseburgers, James Dean and ’57 Chevys. Those are just a small slice of the pie.

“This is the classic American road trip, from the land of Lincoln to Hollywood. They get all the variance of terrain, culture, cuisine and music. Tulsa needs to stake its claim as part of that.”

By BRIAN BARBER World Staff Writer

Dec 212011
 



The ‘saviours’of the Mother Road…


You truly cannot be part of Route 66 unless you are part of one of these. They are the backbone of keeping the route alive!

The many different associations of Route 66 make sure the route is not only preserved, they make sure ‘travelers’ are informed, updated, and even entertained.

The list below shows all of the state associations and their website links and Facebook links (if they have one):

Route 66 Association of Illinois
To me, they are the ‘leaders’ on how things should be done on, and for, the route!
Click HERE for their website.
Click HERE for their Facebook page.

Route 66 Association of Missouri
The folks in Missouri are also on top of their game with preservation and information on the route!
Click HERE for their website.
Click HERE for their Facebook page.

Route 66 Association of Kansas
Kansas has made a strong running in 2011 with the route – and I feel 2012 will be even better!
Click HERE for their website.
Click HERE for their Facebook page.

Route 66 Association of Oklahoma
Oklahoma has done a good job in 2011 working on the route!
Click HERE for their website.
Click HERE for their Facebook page.

Route 66 Association of Texas
I don’t know about this one – so if you think I have the wrong guys (the page was updated 2002!) let me know!
Click HERE for their website.

Route 66 Association of New Mexico
Brand new website full of information and ‘what’s happenings’ on the route in New Mexico!
Click HERE for their website.
Click HERE for their Facebook page.

Route 66 Association of Arizona
My ‘new home state’ – and sadly – they will have to get up to date on their website and preservation efforts…
Click HERE for their website.

Route 66 Association of California
Although recenlty updated, another association which needs to get caught up with the times.
Click HERE for their website.

While some associations do better than others – it is also because of the fact the ones which seem to do better (nice active website, Facebook page, activities for travelers) actually DO MORE for the route – in my opinion.

But this is the thing: If we do not support the individual states, then the resources start disappearing, which means the route starts suffering. And with such a tidal wave of interest in the route, the numerous blogs, posts, stories, pictures and most importantly, the travelers – we need to do what we can, not matter WHERE you are, you can help!

I, myself, am a member of 5 of the 8 – and a business member at that! I have to pay a little more but it is worth it. I joined an association every month or two to keep my renewal costs spread out (hint!)

Pick one, any one, whether you live in the state the route runs through, or live in a state which the route DOES NOT run through, or even in a different country – you can help…

What a great Christmas gift a membership would be!!

Nov 302011
 




Note: When I talked to a few folks in Kansas who are involved with the route a few months ago – they mentioned this was one of the things they were really focusing their efforts on… and it seemed to pay off!! Congrats on this! It takes the route through Kansas to a whole new level!

The state has designated 13 miles of Route 66 in southern Kansas as a Kansas Historic Byway.

The Kansas Department of Transportation announced the designation Tuesday for the route, which runs through Galena, Riverton and Baxter Springs in Cherokee County before reaching the Oklahoma border.

Scott Shields, a coordinator for the Kansas State Byways program, says the designation encourages visitors and state residents to drive the route and explore communities along the way.

The original Route 66 stretched from Chicago to Los Angeles and was a major pathway for those who migrated west and later for tourists.

Historic Route 66 passes briefly through the State of Kansas on its was between Joplin, Missouri and Miami, Oklahoma. Though Kansas has the shortest stretch of the popular old route between Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California, the 13 miles of Route 66 in Kansas are among the best preserved and have many attractions.

©2011 The Republic

Oct 132011
 



Anything we can do to help this historic site along Route 66….

Remember – all proceeds go to keeping this 100+ year old barn repaired, functioning, and open for all to see!



A note from the organizer:

Dear Round Barn Fans,
We will hold a rummage sale at the Barn to raise money for our endowment match on Sunday, November 6th from 10-5. Here is a chance to clean out those closets and garage! Please consider donating your gently used treasures (or household goods) or vintage or antique items for the sale. It is all tax deductible! Put it on your calendar to shop at the sale.

If you need items picked up call me at 330-9933. Help spread the word!

Thanks for helping the Barn!
Ann Young