Show the Love! Campagin to Save Our Historic Route 66 Meramec River Bridge

October 25, 2012

The Route 66 Meramec River Bridge is located in the Route 66 State Park near Eureka, MO. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009, it has not experienced any major alterations since its construction nearly 80 years ago. However, the bridge has fallen into disrepair. Due to safety, the bridge was closed by the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT), the owner of the bridge, to all traffic. MoDOT had made the initial decision to demolish the bridge but has since partnered with a broad coalition of stakeholders working to preserve the bridge. MoDOT and its preservation partners are now seeking a new owner and funding to save the bridge from demolition by MODOT’s new deadline of December 2016.

More information on how to join this effort: http://meramecriverrt66bridge.greatriv.com


The Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri is having a “Show & Tell” Party on Oct 19th

October 12, 2012

It may be something you— Drive, Ride, Eat, Drink, Wear, Write, Sing, Buy or Make.

Halloween is coming and there may be a few mysterious things going on ! What really is in Wilber’s Trunk? Will Joyce’s ghost make a visit? Maybe a new Neon Sign Lighting!

There will be a Bonfire of course! Starting around 5:30… BYOB and a lawn chair.


St. Louis County Library Seeks to Demolish Historic Lewis & Clark Branch

July 21, 2012

From Modern STL:

“Of the twenty libraries in the St. Louis County Library (SLCL) system, Moline Acres’ Lewis & Clark Branch stands out for its exuberant modernist design and an architectural pedigree comparable to the finest mid-century buildings in the metropolitan area. Designed by prominent architect Frederick Dunn, FAIA, with Emil Frei Stained Glass windows by artist Robert Harmon, it was completed in 1963 at 9909 Lewis-Clark Boulevard.
 
Lewis & Clark Branch St. Louis County LibraryAfter nearly 50 years in use, the building’s architectural integrity is unparalleled amongst its peers, and it functions as a vibrant hub for the surrounding North St. Louis County community. Such qualifications should give pause when considering the building’s future, yet Lewis & Clark is slated for demolition pending the passage of a massive county bond issue in the fall of 2012.

On November 6, 2012, SLCL will ask voters to approve a $108 million bond issue to enact, among other things, a “proactive” ten-year facilities plan. Upgrades ranging from renovations, to additions, to wholesale replacement are a major part of the system’s strategy as recommended by the New York-based consulting firm Aaron Cohen Associates. The goal is to expand community and collaborative spaces, enhance flexibility, and provide more room for changing technologies. $76.9 million in funds would be allocated to replace eight, or nearly half, SLCL branches within four years, including the beloved Headquarters building in Frontenac. The historic 16,000 square foot Lewis & Clark would be replaced with a new $6.5 million, 20,000 square foot building.
 
Consultants have recommended Lewis & Clark’s demolition since 2008 because of its age and in spite of its excellent condition. The building has benefitted from numerous improvements since 2000, including a new roof, carpeting, HVAC system, parking lot, signage, furniture, and reference area. All of these investments would be lost in demolition, and all for a net gain of only 4,000 square feet. The need for this gain is questionable since the facilities plan also calls for the development of a new 15,000 square foot library building program for certain branches throughout the system. Given that the existing Lewis & Clark is 1,000 square feet larger than this, and in light of the building’s significance, one wonders why this scheme could not be implemented here.

Indeed, of the nine branches marked for renovations to existing facilities alone, seven range between 15,500 square feet and 18,000 square feet, and two serve higher populations than Lewis & Clark. These two, Jamestown Bluffs and Samuel C. Sachs, were built in 1998 and 2002. This indicates a fair amount of ageism in the decision to demolish the comparably sized and populated Lewis & Clark, which features an entirely open floor plan easily adaptable to 21st century needs.
 

Lewis and Clark Branch St. Louis County LibraryWhile most support SLCL’s desire to remain competitive in the fast-moving information age, its current strategy leaves something to be desired. As pointed out by St. Louis County’s Historic Buildings Commission, which opposes the plan, this takes none of these buildings’ architectural merit into account in weighing which should be demolished and which are deserving of renovation and addition. The Lewis & Clark Branch is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places based on its exceptional architectural significance and as a symbol of post-war development in North St. Louis County. Surely the St. Louis County Library system can move into the 21st century while still preserving its significant architectural past.

Your input is crucial!

To write in favor of preserving and renovating the historic Lewis & Clark Branch for future use, send a few words to:

St. Louis County Library Director Charles Pace: cpace@slcl.org

St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley: http://www.stlouisco.com/YourGovernment/CountyExecutive/DearCharlie


2012 NPS Route 66 Cost-Share Grant Award Announcement

July 14, 2012

From the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program:

“We are pleased to announce the 2012 National Park Service, Route 66
Corridor Preservation Program Cost-share Grant Awards. The next grant cycle will be open from January to March, 2013.”

Awarded projects:

Hualapai Tribal Route 66 Interpretive Project – Arizona

Flagstaff Route 66 Rest Area Interpretive Project – Arizona

Historic L Motel Rehabilitation – Arizona

Sprague Super Service Window and Door Restoration – Illinois

Boots Motel Roof Restoration – Missouri

Crestwood Bowl Neon Restoration Project – Missouri

Wagon Wheel Motel Roof Replacement – Missouri

Circle Cinema Theatre Façade Restoration – Oklahoma

El Vado Motel Neon Sign Restoration – New Mexico

Del’s Restaurant Electrical Upgrades – New Mexico

Read the entire report here: 2012 NPS Route 66 Cost-Share Grant Award Announcement


Missouri Route 66 Corridor Management Plan Released

May 15, 2012

The development of this document, the Missouri Route 66 Corridor Management Plan, has been the undertaking of the Route 66 Association of Missouri, funded by the Federal Highway Administration, and administered by Missouri Department of Transportation. The document was prepared by Great River Associates under the direction of Spencer Jones, P.E. and Jerany Jackson, ASLA, MBA.

The ultimate intent of this document is to recognize, protect, and promote Missouri’s Route 66 as one of America’s most outstanding roads. All the information discussed has been compiled into this corridor management plan in an effort to identify the significance of Missouri Route 66.

This plan is a required step in the Missouri Route 66 formal application for the National Scenic Byway Program. This program recognizes two types of byways; National Scenic Byways and All-American Roads. It is the goal of this document
to represent that the Missouri Route 66 meets and exceeds the requirements for recognition as an All-American Road. Recognition as such accesses funding opportunities that will highlight and market the intrinsic resources of the Route thereby creating interest and economic growth along the corridor.

Read the Plan

Volume I

Preface

Introduction

History

Public Involvement

Intrinsic Resources

Corridor Mapping

Existing Conditions

Wayfinding

Education

Marketing & Promotional Branding

Economic Development

Toolbox

Appendix

Driving Map

Volume II

St. Louis County

Franklin County

Crawford County

Phelps County

Pulaski County

Laclede County

Webster County

Greene County

Lawrence County

Jasper County


The Yellowstone Trail is 100 Years Old!

May 4, 2012

From the Yellowstone Trail Association:

“Did you know that your town may possess a national treasure? The Yellowstone Trail (1912-1930) may have ran right through your city, down the main street of most smaller towns. The Trail was born at a time when private citizens had to form organizations to push counties to get long distance roads built. Federal and state governments would not help, pleading lack of funds or the unconstitutionality of “internal improvements.” Roads were terrible: mud or dust everywhere. Ever hear of drivers’ coats called “dusters?” The Yellowstone Trail Association’s 8000 members persuaded counties across the upper tier of states to create roads that actually joined together. Thus, they formed a route of 3600 miles “Good Road from Plymouth Rock to Puget Sound,” their motto.

It became such a popular coast-to-coast route that towns fought to get on the Trail. Roads meant a better way for farmers to get produce to the railhead, less isolation, more possibility for business, a broader horizon, and Saturday night movies at a nearby town. When told that Indiana had more cars than bathtubs, a rural woman replied, “Well, you can’t take a bathtub to town.” Today, there are still many reminders of the Trail in local street or business names.

Now the route is 100 years old and towns along the Trail are marking the event. Local historical societies, travel promoters like Convention and Visitors Bureaus and Chambers of Commerce are sponsoring events that vary from putting banners on streets, to holding antique car runs along the Trail, to having community picnics.

We urge your town to hold an event in honor of this national treasure, the Yellowstone Trail. Get engaged in local history.  Pull out grandpa’s travel diary and pictures. Mark the Trail with signs. Promote area tourism to stimulate some economic development. If Gascoyne, North Dakota, a hamlet of 12 people, can mark their spot on the trail, surely the rest of us should.

What about it? Anyone want to lead?

See www.yellowstonetrail.org for general historic information. Send a note to info@yellowstonetrail.org  to share plans and ideas.”


Fit and Healthy on Route 66 – Floating the Meramec River

April 15, 2012
Meramec River Float

Meramec River Float

On Saturday, April 7, 2012, I joined members of the St. Louis Adventure Group (SLAG) for a float on the Meramec River. The Meramec is a prominent feature of the Route 66 corridor from Phelps County to St. Louis County, where it makes it’s way toward the Mississippi River. It is visible from Route 66 in St. Louis County and crosses paths at Valley Park and Route 66 State Park. Once you leave St. Louis County you will have to travel a little way off of Route 66 to see the Meramec River at spots such as Onondaga Cave State Park, Meramec State Park or Robertsville State Park. In between the parks are additional points where you can put in and take out boats.

The Missouri Department of Conservation has provided maps to show where the put-in points are. On our April 7 float, we put in at Pacific Palisades Conservation Area (147.3 on the map below) and Allenton Access (154.2).

Meramec River Access Points
(click for larger image)

This was a fairly short float. We stretched it into about three hours by really taking our time. It was also easy – there are only a few spots where you really have to pay attention to navigate around snags that always seem to be right where the current is swiftest! Our group was made up of experienced paddlers but the Meramec River should always be respected regardless of experience level – it is deep and fast enough to drown people, so if you are going to float it please be sober, make sure you can swim, and use a personal floatation device. You might consider carrying a knife on your person to cut yourself free in case you get tangled in anything. Read here for more safety tips and legal guidelines.

After the float, several members of our group headed to Super Smokers (a Route 66 Association of Missouri Business Member) for a delicious BBQ dinner. We were very impressed by the swiftness at which they served our large group. The food was fantastic!

If you would like to try one of Missouri’s many beautiful float streams but don’t own a boat or need a shuttle, check out our list of Business Members – there are a couple of outfitters on there who will happy to tell you about their offerings.

See photos of our float:

Carolyn’s photos

SLAG member photos


ROUTE 66 … An adventure for the whole family

April 5, 2012

People come from around the world to experience the thrill of traveling the most famous of all highways, Route 66.

On June 8-9-10, the Route 66 Association of Illinois will provide to you an opportunity that others can only dream of.

The Illinois motor tour of Route 66 is a once a year opportunity to experience life in the slow lane. You can virtually step back in time. Visit people and places that the song. “Get Your Kicks on Route 66”, was written about. The cruise is available to any kind of vehicle of any year. The tour begins at the Missouri border on the Mississippi river and ends at the delightful town of Elwood, Illinois. That is just south of Joliet, Illinois. These towns are famous for Jake and Elwood, the “Blues Brothers”.

Friday June 8th is the start of this adventure. It begins in Edwardsville, Illinois. This town will welcome you and show you how to party, dance, sing and eat. After registration on Friday night we will get together for a short drive to the Luna Café for the second grand relighting of the old neon sign, which was just restored. Sunday June 10th the tour will end with a fantastic thank you party. Live foot stomping music, great food and more fun. Your final ride home will be very pleasant as you reminisce about all that you did, along with remembering all the people and places you visited.

You will long remember this weekend tour of Route 66. For information and registration… contact;

Jerry Law – 314-440-0040 or Email – thelaw1@sbcglobal.net
Marty Blitstein – 708-444-1312 or Email – blitz@earthlink.net
You can print out a application for the motor tour at http://www.ilassoc.org

The historic Mother Road is expecting you!


Route 66 Icon in Needles Gets a Makeover

April 3, 2012
66 Motel Sign in Needles, CA

66 Motel Sign in Needles, CA

Needles, Calif. – Many folks simply slow down and stare. Some even honk their horns and wave. They are waving to a man, 25′ off the ground painting a sign. And yet this is not your ordinary run of the mill sign. It just happens to be one of Needle’s most famous signs.

Ed Klein came to Needles in January 2011 on a request. The request came from Linda Fitzpatrick, a resident of Needles who was trying to figure out ideas on how to grab the estimated 40,000 travelers who make Route 66 their annual pilgrimage. Her plan was to restore the old abandoned gas station on the corner of Dobson and Broadway – or famously known as ‘Carty’s Camp’.

When Ed and Linda met, the ideas started to flow about how to get travelers to stop and enjoy the history Needles had to offer its Route 66 travelers. After a few hours of brain-storming and several return visits back to the gas station, Ed asked Linda what the plans were for the old 66 Motel sign, as he put it, ‘had seen better days’.

“I looked at the sign and felt it was a shame such a classic and iconic sign as this one on the route was looking as beat down as it did. I had to figure something out,” said Klein. “The restoration of the gas station would be a very large project over a few years, but the sign could be done in a few months.”

Klein is the owner of a website dedicated to the preservation and travel information on Route 66 (route66world.com) and has had his hands in several restoration projects along the route.

After a few weeks of preparation, several phone calls to the 66 Motel owner as well as Linda Fitzpatrick, Klein and his wife set on their 5 hour drive to Needles.

Starting off the weekend was figuring out the old neon and wiring which at one time pumped vibrant life into the glowing sign. Most of it was disconnected, broken, or simply cut.

“We spent a good few hours trying to figure out the wiring and removal of the neon. I need to keep as many pieces intact to have them recreated.” Klein said.

The one factor Klein did not consider was the wind this weekend. Wind gusts of up to 35 MPH hit late in the afternoon and proceeded to continue through Sunday. The wind blew hard throughout the southern part of California and Needles would not the exception. It blew hard enough Klein had to stop the painting early due to fears he might be blown of his 32′ ladder which was leaning up against the sign.

The historic sign will go through a total restoration. Klein told me he will do this in three phases. The first two phases will be painting and getting the neon ready and the third phase will be installing and lighting the neon, which will be the first time it has been on in over 15 years.

This total restoration is not costing the owner of the motel or the town of Needles a dime. Klein said he was paying for the paint out of his pocket as a ‘donation’ to the route and the town, and there will be a fundraising event via his website to raise money to pay for the neon, electronics, and installation.

“You would not believe the wave of support when I mentioned what I wanted to do to this sign. I have heard from travelers all around the world who want to help out with this restoration and there are so many historic businesses along the route who are donating their items for donors. They are all giving back to what we all care about so much, and that is the preservation of a true American icon. You will not meet the nicest, passionate people than those who live on, work on and drive Route 66″ Klein added.


Travelin’ Main Street USA, the Dream of His Life

March 26, 2012

The following account was submitted by Bob Swengrosh.

“Last week I had the privilege to be the driver for Gary Turner, caretaker of Gay Parita, Sinclair Station on a Whirl-Wind trip out West on the Mother Road to the border town of Glenrio, Texas.

On a short trip two months ago, we motored west to Tulsa, OK. On that drive, special stops were standouts for Gary, Eisler Brothers – Scott Nelson, Marsh Arch Bridge – Dean Walker, Visitor Center, Café on the Route, Angles on the Route – Baxter Springs, the Coleman Theatre Tour, the Sidewalk Highway, the always special stop at Afton Station – Laurel Kane, Totem Pole Park, Molly’s (the new bridge entrance) and the Blue Whale – Gary wanted to go skinny dipping (I was glad it was to cold) I want to Thank everyone for the warm welcome that we received.

So this trip started west of Tulsa on both the 1926 and later Route in Sapulpa passing the closed Frankoma Pottery, with the drive on the Ozark Trail, Gary told a number of stories about when he was a young back seat driver in his parents’  ’50 Chevrolet going west on Route 66 to California. We stopped to walk around the wonderful old gas station in Depew, it is sad that most road warriors miss this town. In Stroud at the Rock Café, Dawn Welch had a nice talk with Gary, then on to a warm welcome by McJerry at his gallery and home in Chandler, we took the time to site seeing in Chandler, then on to the great motor cycles at Seaba Station with the 1920′s restroom building, this is a must stop.

On the drive down the private Portland Concrete west of Deep Fork we found one of Rich Dinkela painted Route 66 shields, a stop at Johns Oklahoma County 66 east of Arcadia should not be missed, the Round Barn was closed, but Pop’s was busy with customers. Gary knew how Lucille must have felt when the super highway passed her by. We toured the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City, then on to the “WOW” stop – the Sand hill’s Curiosity Shop, Harley and Annabelle put on a show for Gary, it was a great stop.

Entering the State of Texas, we found rain and heavy fog, we did stop in Shamrock to view the complete town, because of the weather we motored slowly to Amarillo to meet up with Bob Lile and have dinner with Rich Dinkela – Bob Lile hospitality was over the top, Thank You Bob. Bob got into the Tahoe and the three of us motored west on to Vega for a tour of the town, Adrain was next and Fran Houser was at the Midpoint Café, Gary enjoyed talking to her and looking at her gift shop. Our next stop was the ghost town of Glenrio, TX and GlenRio, NM. I had the joy to once again talk to Roxann Travis; she has had a hard life being the only one living in the ghost town of Glenrio. She is now working at the new welcome center on I-40 west bound in New Mexico. The stories that she can tell about her ghost town.

On the return trip east, we stopped in Groom, I took special interest in the old Phillips 66 gas station that Jack and Bettye West owned. The gas station and the Golden Spread motel across the street were in the movie “Leap of Faith” with Steve Martin. Our next stop was Mclean, Texas for a wonderful dinner at the “Red River Steak House”. Gary enjoyed talking to “WILL” and his mom and dad. The Red Mud, Bar-B-Q sauce is to die for.

Now, back to my opening statement “Whirl Wind Trip” around Amarillo, the wind was blowing about fifty miles per hour – plus – we drove thru two dust storms so bad we could not even see the front of the Tahoe hood; this was a true “Grapes of Wrath” experience.

I was able to return Gary back to his beloved wife in one piece, he was tired, but he enjoyed every minute of the trip. I took pictures of Gary all along the way and will be putting together a photo album for him. As Gary always states: ” Travelin’ Main Street USA, the Dream of His Life.


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