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…