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

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.

Looking for my FIRST preservation project on Route 66 in AZ…

 Arizona, Daily  Comments Off on Looking for my FIRST preservation project on Route 66 in AZ…
Aug 192012


OK – I have done several projects on the route, including Illinois, New Mexico, and California. I live and work and enjoy Arizona, so I think it is time I ‘keep it close to home’ for my next project.

I actually have (4) in AZ I have my hands in:
The first is an old Richfield Gas Station in Winslow.
The second is the famous Meteor City Trading Post.
The third is a historic sign for a restaurant / motel located on Route 66, in Arizona.
The fourth is, well, a gas station in Tucumcari NM – so I guess that one really wouldn’t count!!

Richfield Gas Station – Winslow AZ

This is an interesting project for me. For the past year, I actually tried to BUY this gas station for my own and restore it back to it’s former glory, and then (one day) maybe lease it out as a gift shop or a little sandwich place for tourists. This would have been one of the ONLY restored Richfield Gas Stations on the route, and it would have been a gem! While going back and forth with it’s current owner (mind you, for almost a year!) I was doing massive research on all things Richfield. This included researching what the building looked like when it first opened, finding old photos, and figuring out what brands this station would have carried (this way I could have figured out which signs to put on the exterior of the building). So it was getting down to the wire and the owner decided to keep it! I was blown away! I felt if I lost one of my children at the mall for a minute as I tried to get everything ready to be a ‘proud owner of American history’ – but alas, it was not meant to be.
I sucked it up and through a few emails we continued to talk and one day, he told me his plans with the building, to ‘bring it back to the way it looked like in the 30’s and possibly run a business out of it’… Now mind you, I NEVER told him my plans – as far as he was concerned – I was just ‘some guy’ who wanted to buy the old building – nothing more. It felt like a weight was lifted off my chest as I knew someone had the same plans I did for the building. With that, I met up with him and downloaded ALL my research to his hard drive as a ‘helping hand’ on how to guide him to preserving this gas station.
Now, I am willing to offer to help him – as long as he will let me…

Meteor City Trading Post – Meteor City AZ

This one came to me via a converstation with Roger Naylor – co-author of ‘Arizona Kicks on Route 66’ – while on a phone call one day.
We were talking about preservation work and how he thought it would be ‘great’ to partake in a project –  as he did not know or want to ‘spearhead’ one, but he was more than willing to lend a helping hand.
We were talking about different sites on Route 66 in Arizona and he mentioned he spoke to the owners of the trading post and they were wanting to repaint their ‘World’s Longest Route 66 Map’ as the elements have taken a toll on it. I told him I would stop in on my (many) trips back and forth to Holbrook and see what they are looking to do. Well, I did as promised and found the owner of the trading post, and she pretty much did not want to believe some ‘stranger’ stops in offering a ‘friendly helping hand’ and help them fix something which tens of thousands of travelers stop and look at. As we went outside to tour the map, she was pointing out the damage done by the winds (note: the wind gusts get up to 40-60MPH in the open desert, and when you have something that big sitting there unprotected, it takes a beating). We talked about it being painted some time ago with the direction of Hampton Inns – but she said it was time for to repair the wood and repaint the map. As we walked around the property, she mentioned to me they still had the ORIGINAL trading post building, built in 1932(ish) and it was covered up by fencing. She then mentioned ‘everyone knows it is here and wants to see it and take pictures, but we do not know how to open it up to the public.’ So the lightbuld goes off. I told her to close up the front window and make sure the front door is secure and then remove and realign the wood fencing to INCLUDE the front of the historic original trading post. She loved the idea! Then out of the corner of my eye, I see two painting on the fence and ask her about them. She said ‘oh, Bob Waldmire painted those…’ Naturally, I replied “who knows that?!? Why isn’t there a sign or plaque letting the travelers know this?!?”
So there seems to be THREE projects at this site, all which are just as valuable as the next.

Historic Motel/Restaurant sign – somewhere on Route 66 in AZ

This one we all know and love BUT I need to check with the current owner to see what his/her plans are. He/she might already be working on something as I have seen work done on a portion of it, but the entire sign needs to be redone to show off its grandeur!
This one I will have to get back to you on, but I would LOVE to have the opportunity to work on this one!

Gas Station #10 – Tucumcari NM
OK, this one isn’t in Arizona and this one is pretty much planned with or without me there, but I figured if the timing was right, it is the least I can do to not only help out Tucumcari (again) but to help Mr. Rich Talley for his (several) trips to Needles to criticize me (I mean) help me with not only the 66 Motel sign restoration, but being there with the TEXACO and UNION gas stations before we went to Victorville for the fest.

I believe this should be enough to last me the rest of the year! Although in high country (northern Arizona) it does snow and get really cold, and all of these seem to be on the same ‘belt line’ – I might have to pick only two or three at the most – leaving one or so until next year…

Let me know what you think…

Volunteers clean up Paul Bunyan statue on Route 66

 Illinois  Comments Off on Volunteers clean up Paul Bunyan statue on Route 66
May 202012

I have said it before and I will say it again – the Illinois Route 66 Association gets it! They are the shining examples of how to keep not only the route alive – but to prosper from it.

ATLANTA — While Atlanta may have a small population, it boasts a pair of giant tourist attractions — Route 66 and a 19-foot-tall statue that looms over it.

More than a dozen volunteers came from Illinois and beyond Saturday to wash and paint Atlanta’s Bunyon’s Statue — a giant man holding a hot dog — to ensure it remains a Route 66 icon for years to come.

Similar statues were once popular and designed to attract people to businesses. Atlanta’s giant originally stood for 38 years on Route 66 in Cicero, drawing customers to Bunyon’s restaurant.

When it closed in 1993, the restaurant’s owners loaned the legendary figure to Atlanta, where it draws tourists to the town of nearly 1,700.

While the one-of-a-kind Route 66 icon draws smiles and laughter from visitors, he’s a “serious factor” when it comes to economic development. The statue draws thousands from all over the world each year, said Atlanta business owner Bill Thomas, who helped bring the attraction to the city.

“There’s no where else in the world you can have your photo taken with a 19-foot man holding a hot dog,” Thomas said.

Thomas was at the statue talking with a three-man film crew Friday afternoon when two carloads of people stopped to have their photo snapped.

“That happens time and time again,” Thomas said.

And it’s not just people from the Midwest.

Saturday morning, as volunteers refurbished the statue, two visitors from Odernheim, Germany, stopped on their way from Chicago to Los Angeles.

“It’s history and was a dream,” said Klaus Dreesbach of why he decided two years ago to plan the motorcycle trip on Route 66.

Dreesbach and friend Rolf Mau weren’t surprised to see the fiberglass giant.

“We have read in a trip book about them,” said Mau, who described Atlanta as a “nice, typical, western city.”

Restoration effort

The opportunity to help preserve the giant also drew enthusiasts from as far away as Iowa and Michigan.

“I’m impressed by what people want to do to help,” said John Weiss, chair of the preservation committee of the Route 66 Association of Illinois and organizer of the work day. Those who are interested in getting involved can visit www.il66assoc.org for more information.

“It’s my wife’s birthday and it’s what she wanted,” said Joe Foster, who traveled from Urbandale, Iowa, with wife, Kara, and daughter, Ella Hendricks, 8.

“Route 66 is my passion, and he’s grown to like it,” said Kara, who painted one of the statue’s arms and the mustard on the hot dog.

Bill Kelley, who grew up hearing stories of Route 66 from his parents, came from Eastpointe, Mich., to help.

“Disneyworld and Vegas aren’t for everybody,” said Kelley of his passion for Route 66.

Volunteer Jerry Law, of Wood River, agreed. “To me, Route 66 has everything I want.”

Tulsa Architecture Firm Turns Route 66 Gas Station Into Their Office

 Daily, Oklahoma  Comments Off on Tulsa Architecture Firm Turns Route 66 Gas Station Into Their Office
Feb 012011

Route 66 is an iconic highway and a nostalgic part of America’s car obsessed past, but after Interstate 40 took over, many of the towns dotting the roadway died. In recent years, an interest in all things vintage is helping buildings and businesses along the original route come back to life.

In Tulsa, Oklahoma for example, the architecture firm ElevenTH bought up an old PEMCO gas station and converted it into their new offices. Retaining the original edifice, adding a green lawn and vintage and recycled decor is helping to reinvigorate the streetscape and placing the firm right in the middle of the action.

ElevenTH knew they didn’t want to be holed up in some stale office on the 13th floor of a high rise in downtown. They wanted to be in the midst of the city, “the homeless, the prostitutes, the reality of society, all things this building was witness to,” as Shane Hood, principal at ElevenTH told us.

They searched for a place they could make their own and jumped on the chance to repuporse a 1950′s PEMCO gas station on route 66 into their new offices. The former gas station had fallen into quite a state of disrepair – boarded up, leaking and “had been on the unfortunate end of many unwise and insensitive remodels”.

Click HERE fo more pictures.

Route 66 Motel (66 Motel) – Needles CA

 California, Daily, Help Route 66  Comments Off on Route 66 Motel (66 Motel) – Needles CA
Jan 312011

On a recent trip into Needles CA – I was fortunate enough to meet the owners of the Route 66 Motel. The motel is no longer taking guests – as it is now used for monthly rentals. The owners told me they would rather have travelers stay – but with the economy the way it has been, they need to rely on the monthly rent their tenants give them.

They also mentioned the idea of trying to get a grant to ‘work on the exterior of the place’ was not too far fetched. If they decided to start taking travelers – then they would have to go back into the individual rooms and do a 100% remodel.

After talking to them further – we looked at the sign and the owner told me ‘I can’t tell you how many people stop and take pictures of that sign! If I had a dollar….’ It’s funny because most owners who have businesses on Route 66 and have a neat and interesting sign – all say the same thing!!

So, I offered them something they were not expecting. I told them we all know it is one of the most photographed signs on the route and I would be honored to repaint it and replace all the yellow bulbs on it – for free. I do this because I am hell-bent on preserving these historic places on Route 66.

I told them I cannot do the neon because we have to figure a way to make sure the ‘local kids’ stop throwing rocks at it and breaking the neon. I am working on a plan for that as well.

Ironically, they said they felt the sign is it’s own attraction and they really don’t need to use it as a connection with their business – but they see the importance and how much folks love it – and they were very welcome to the idea of me helping them preserve it.

So I will post some pics when I get back out there shortly – and hopefully I will do a decent and respectable job!!

Route 66 Preservation in Flagstaff AZ

 Arizona, Daily  Comments Off on Route 66 Preservation in Flagstaff AZ
Jan 252011

Construction began in June of 2010. The Route 66 FUTS Trail remains open during construction.

This project involves the preservation of a 700-foot long stretch of historic Route 66 on the Route 66 FUTS Trail, east of Fanning Drive and west of the Route 66 underpass. In addition to preserving the road and adding interpretive elements, the project will beautify the area with landscaping and add a rest stop to the FUTS trail that uses the old circa 1937 road bed as a part of the trail system. The project is funded by Bed, Board, and Beverage Tax revenues.

To view conceptual plans for the rest stop, please click on the following documents:
Route 66 Conceptual Design Document
Route 66 Rest Stop and Landscape Plans

Gas Station restoration work in Tucumcari…

 Daily  Comments Off on Gas Station restoration work in Tucumcari…
Jan 112011

Hello Mr. Klein,

Thank for contacting me regarding the Gas Station Painting Project. We did not realize there would be similar projects taking place, but it is nice knowing about your commitment to Route 66 as well. A number of us, here in Tucumcari, have put up the $ out of our own pockets, and many, many hours of our time thus far. Doug Quarles, a local artist, has donated some of his time for the project as well. We have nearly completed 3 old gas stations, as the article indicated. There are at least 20 more along the route here in Tucumcari.

We have nearly 6.6 miles of Route 66 going through Tucumcari, and there were a lot of filling stations back in the grand days, most now abandoned and unsightly. We have spent about $900 just on paint just for 2 of the gas stations and the owner of the Texaco Station paid for that project in total. We hope to come across more owners willing to do that, but so far, no others. In fact we are seeking funding, donations, grants, etc, to help and your offer is certainly welcome. If you would not mind, please visit our website, www.tucumcarinm.com we have a Paypal donation link. Of course, volunteer painters are always welcome when the time arrives. Your group will be recognized for your contribution.

I have attached a few pictures of the 3 stations that you may view the progress. Also, there is a Route 66 Chamber of Commerce recently formed, the website is http://route66chamberofcommerce.homestead.com/index.html .

We just joined that Chamber. It would seem we all have a common goal.
Thanks again

Bob Beaulieu

Chamber DirectorI am fortunate to be contacted by Bob and will do what I can to help him as well as other location throughout Route 66 to keep projects going. This is what this website is all about.

A few dollars go farther than you think, so donate what you can – big or small – but please donate…

Thank you!

Sprague’s Super Service Station needs your help!!

 Help Route 66, Illinois  Comments Off on Sprague’s Super Service Station needs your help!!
Sep 212010

Sprague’s Super Service in Normal, IL is in the process of being restored. I met with Terri Ryburn and I told her I will do what I can to help this Historical Route 66 landmark reopen and have it be used by all travelers driving Route 66.

Terri Ryburn, a Route 66 author, bought the property in 2006. In 2007, Ryburn received a cost-share grant from the NPS to develop a Historic Structures Report to guide the building’s restoration and funds to replace the roof over the garage and make repairs to the ground floor restrooms. Additional money came from the Town of Normal, which funded the replacement of the building’s main roof; a separate grant from the State of Illinois paid for a new HVAC system. In 2008, Ryburn worked to get the property listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Illinois Route 66 Association has even pitched in with demolition and the installation of plumbing fixtures.

Ryburn has plans to turn the old Sprague’s Super Service into a visitor center, coffee shop, tea room and a public meeting space.

After Grant money ran out, she is hoping the Town of Normal will help with TIF money, but she told me that could be a year or two out (if it all).

She has been using every extra dime from her pay check to get the building open. She told me she has a long way to go – but was hoping to get at least the front area finished for visitors to finally stop by and see the building.

I told her – like I tell ever other business on the route – I will do what I can to help. This means everything from getting the word out – to raising funds – to grabbing a paintbrush – to hanging drywall!

How can you help?? Terri does not have a website for the station. She does not have a PayPal account – she told me travelers/visitors would read a sign on the window that says: “Please help us raise $$$ for the building” and they would slip $5 or $10 under the door. She would use that money for as many materials as she can.

Donations can be sent directly to Terri at:
Terri Ryburn
Sprague’s Super Service Station
305 E. Pine Street
Normal, IL 61761-1767

Please note: donations are NOT tax deductable. Also, let her know you find out about her fund raising from the Route 66 World website. This way we can see how efficient this campaign is.

Another way to send donations to Route 66 World via PayPal.
EVERY cent will be given to Terry to help her get the station open!
Click the button below and please put in your full name, and E-mail address so we can notify you when Terry receives the money.

Yet another way to help this cause is to share this article via FaceBook or Email. Go to our FaceBook page Click Here and ‘SHARE’ this with all of your friends and family members that supprot and travel Route 66!

Thank you so much for your support!!