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

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.

2012 NPS Route 66 Cost-Share Grant season is now open!

January 19, 2012

From Kaisa Barthuli, Program Manager Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program:

“The National Park Service, Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program is now receiving applications for the 2012 Cost-Share Grant season. Applications may be submitted to the program office now through Friday, April 6, 2012.

Additional information and application materials can be found at:

Interested applicants are encouraged to contact the program office to
discuss eligibility requirements and project ideas prior to submitting an

Thank you for your support in spreading the word about this grant
opportunity, and helping to preserve the legacy of historic Route 66. We
look forward to seeing more excellent projects get underway this year!”

The Society for Commercial Archeology announces its request for nominations for the 2012 Falling by the Wayside list of the 10 Most Endangered Roadside Places

January 18, 2012

Guidelines for Nomination

Roadside places eligible for inclusion will be those that fall within the scope of SCA’s stated mission: architectural elements and cultural landscapes related to roadways, highways and road culture, including diners, drive-ins, coffee houses, gas stations, motels, hotels, tourist cabins, motor courts, retail centers, theaters, signage, roadside curiosities and folk environments.

A date range is not pre-established; however a nominated place must clearly express historical and community significance.

It must be demonstrated that the roadside place is threatened or in a trend of deterioration that impacts its future.

We welcome nominations from SCA members and the general public. We request, however, that nominators limit their nominations to no more than three candidates.

To nominate a place to the list, please contact SCA’s Falling by the Wayside committee for a nomination form: sca.endangered@gmail.com. The form must be completed and returned by May 15, 2012.

Need Letters to Stop Avilla, MO Post Office Closure

October 14, 2011

A request from Tonya Pike:

“Before I even begin this, I apologize for the extreme length of this post. But after you read this, I think you will understand why it is so long. A Route 66 business and community has come forward asking for our help.

As many of you are aware, the United States Postal Service is in financial trouble. They are presently targeting postal facilities all over the USA for closure.

A couple of weeks ago, a meeting was held at Avilla, Missouri to discuss the closing of their post office. For any one who has traveled Route 66, the post office at Avilla is one of the most visible on Route 66 in Missouri. It is in a red brick building, highly visible and roughly a half-block north/east of 66, just west of Bernie’s Bar & Café at Avilla, which fronts out on Route 66, aka Hwy 96, in Avilla. The building itself is was originally a bank, built in 1915. It was leased to the USPS in 1952 and has served as the Avilla Post Office ever since.

The owner of the post office building, Nancy Young, has asked for assistance from the Route 66 roadies and the Route 66 Association of Missouri to stop the closure of the Avilla Post Office. Hence, my father and I journeyed to Avilla to sit in on this particular post office closing meeting. The meeting was held at a church in Avilla and was attended by over half of the Avilla’s population of 125.

The first half of the meeting was presided over by a representative of the USPS, whose name I unfortunately did not get. It was basically a question and answer period. Numerous objections were raised. The main ones included:

1) Home delivery precludes assistance with many post office services,
particularly if you are unable or unwilling to do USPS business online.

2) Due to a lack of other businesses in Avilla, it is very unlikely that a “village post office” can be set up in another business in Avilla, meaning anyone who has to go in to a post office to conduct business will have to travel to Reeds or Carthage, Missouri to do so. Not everyone present at the meeting felt that they could travel to one of those places during the hours the post offices in those locations were open to conduct their postal business. It was also pointed out that only a very small number of the services currently performed at a regular post office can be done at a “village post office” even if one could be set up.

3) If the post office is closed, the people of Avilla will have to sit home all day and wait on their postman in order to complete most postal services from home, such as purchasing money orders or signing & receiving certified mail.

4) Loss of the post office will be a major blow to the economy of Avilla, as there are only 4 businesses left in the town proper itself and that is including the post office.

5) This post office is frequently a stop for foreign visitors traveling Route 66. And note here, this was initially voiced by Avilla residents, not my father or myself, although we did voice remarks supporting this claim. The day of the meeting alone, the Avilla Post Office had customers from Germany and Russia who were Route 66 travelers, mailing postcards back home.

The last reason gave the USPS representative a bit of uncomfort. She honestly did not know how to respond to the statement that closing the Avilla Post Office will deprive foreign visitors of a very special Americana experience.

After the USPS representative finished her question and answer period with the citizens of Avilla and left to go to another post office closing meeting, Steven Vanderhoof, president of the retiree’s Missouri Chapter of the National Postmasters of the United States, addressed the group. He quickly explained that this proposed closure of post offices across the USA is essentially a tactic to get citizens riled up so that the USPS can ask Congress to allow them to cut postal service back to 5 days a week. And, along the way, if the USPS can close any post offices in areas where there are not citizens who care about their post office, so much the better. He also pointed out that if the USPS were to close 10,000 of the 36,000 US post offices, it would save the USPS less than 1% of it’s yearly budget!!

Mr. Vanderhoof went on to say, that in all the communities where he’d attended meetings about closing post offices, the meeting at Avilla was the first time he’d heard Route 66 travelers given as a reason that a post office should NOT be closed. He stated that this was a unique qualification that needed to be capitalized on. He also told the group that in communities where the citizenship protested the closing of their post office, for the most part, the post offices were being left open. And this is why I am posting about this to the e-group. The City of Avilla and the Avilla Post Office needs our help.

Would everyone on the Route 66 e-group please help by writing letters? In the past, we’ve had several letter writing campaigns done from our e-group, and we need one now for the post office at Avilla.

The Post Office at Avilla needs all e-groupers to please write five letters by November 13, 2011.

Very important, the first letter needs to be addressed to:

205 Greenfield St.
Avilla, MO 64833

This letter is the most critical and needs to be done as soon as possible, as it will be submitted in a package on November 17 up thru postal service channels by the Avilla Postmaster. If you can’t write all five letters, if you can at least write this one, that would be a huge help. Please state very clearly that you are opposed to the closing of the Avilla Post Office because of it’s negative impact on not only the citizenship and economy of Avilla, but because it denies both domestic and foreign visitors traveling Route 66 a chance to experience America by posting mail from a historic building in sight of a Missouri state scenic by-way, which is Route 66.

If you can write only one letter, please, please, please, make it out to the Postmaster at Avilla. These letters are the only letters that the USPS will consider in making their final decision about closing the Avilla, Missouri Post Office, and they must be submitted by the Avilla Postmaster for the USPS to consider them.

Then, please send four additional letters of protest to the legislators over the Avilla area. These letters should express our displeasure that A) a post office would be removed from both such a small community where it’s economic impact will be great and where there are not facilities for other alternatives, such as a village post office, B) that a business will be removed from Route 66 that may deny travelers an American experience, and C) closing post offices isn`t going to provide the necessary financial assistance that our postal service needs anyway. The addresses for these letters are as follows:

The Honorable Claire McCaskill
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Roy Blunt
U.S. Senate
Washington, DC 20510

The Honorable Billy Long
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

The Honorable Jay Nixon
Governor’s Office
201 W. Capitol Ave.
Jefferson City, MO 65101


While the Missouri U.S. Senators and Representative may have other addresses, we were told in the meeting at Avilla that these letters need to go to their main offices in Washington, D.C., and the Missouri state capital for the governor. So please use the addresses I’m forwarding for McCaskill, Blunt, Long and Nixon. Letters sent to other offices for these people may not get put together otherwise in a timely manner for an accurate tally of the number protests made for a particular post office by the staff members of these officials.

The purpose of sending these additional four letters is to let them know that people are not in favor of closing the post office in hopes that they will vote in the future in such a way that allows most of our post offices to stay open.

If you need help formulating a letter, please contact me and I will email you a .pdf file of the example protest letter I was given at Avilla. But I warn you, it is very generic and does not mention Route 66, so you will still need to modify it a bit.

Lastly, if there is anyone out there on the e-group who lives outside the USA who has ever stopped at the post office in Avilla and mailed anything: It would be especially impressive if you would please write a letter to the Avilla postmaster. I firmly believe, from the meeting I attended, the USPS officials expect the citizens of the USA to be outraged about the post office closings. But I don’t think they expect it to have any meaning to anyone outside the USA. Please help me and the people of Avilla show them they are wrong!

Remember everyone, these letters need to be mailed as soon as possible as the Avilla postmaster needs them by November 13, 2011. This gives us a month to get them written and mailed.

Again, I apologize for the length of this post. But I hope that everyone will help out by writing a few letters. We have a month to get protest letters mailed. I am confident that we can provide support to the Avilla, Missouri citizens and help strengthen their fight to keep their post office open.

Thank you,

Tonya Pike
Springfield, Missouri”

If you are interested in other letter-writing campaigns or actions you can take for historic preservation on Route 66, please see this link.

The Recent Past Preservation Network is now accepting submissions for our Summer 2011 issue of the RPPN Bulletin!

May 27, 2011

From the Recent Past Preservation Network:

“Right now, RPPN is accepting submission proposals for our Spring issue, which will be released in July. We have room for 5-8 articles right now and space will go fast. If you are interested in writing an article please contact us at newsletter@recentpast.org.

RPPN welcomes all contributions, whether it be a news item, a story about preservation efforts, research & resources, upcoming events, or anything else related to the preservation of modernism and the recent past.”

Boots Motel Makes Society for Commercial Archeology Most Endangered List

April 22, 2011

From a huge fiberglass Santa statue in Haubstadt, Indiana; to a neon diving lady in Mesa, Arizona; to perhaps the largest collection of mid-century motels in Wildwoods, New Jersey; to a sprawling Western-themed motel in Oxnard, California, bulldozed a month before being listed, many of America’s iconic roadside places are threatened.

The Society for Commercial Archeology announces its 2011 Falling by the Wayside, a list of the ten most endangered roadside places in the United States.

1.     Airplane Filling Station, Knoxville, Tennessee

2.     Bartles-Maguire/Wadhams Service Station, Waukesha, Wisconsin

3.     Boots Motel, Carthage, Missouri

4.     Buckhorn Baths, Mesa, Arizona

5.     Diving Lady, Mesa, Arizona

6.     Doo Wop Motels, the Wildwoods, New Jersey

7.     Giant Santa, Haubstadt, Indiana

8.     Premiere Lanes Sign, Santa Fe Springs, California

9.     Roundtop Filling Station, Sherwood, Arkansas

10.  Wagon Wheel Motel, Oxnard, California (destroyed)

These places are all marked by threats which can include natural weathering, economic hardship, neglect, abandonment, inappropriate zoning, lack of maintenance, demolition and even a setback to preserve a historic roadside place. The list showcases the diversity of roadside places and highlights the issues and challenges facing the preservation of these important resources.

The Society for Commercial Archeology (SCA) established the Falling by the Wayside program in 2010 to raise awareness of the importance of roadside places throughout the United States.

“Our goal is to focus public attention on the unique character and historical importance of our nation’s roadside commercial architecture—and the factors that challenge their long-term preservation,” says Nancy Sturm, co-president of the organization. Along with the attention, SCA will help property owners connect with local, state and federal preservation programs. And for one place, the Diving Lady of Mesa, Arizona, SCA is making a $250 contribution to the help the sign’s restoration.

Established in 1977, the SCA is the oldest national organization devoted to the buildings, artifacts, structures, signs, and symbols of the 20th-century commercial landscape. The SCA offers publications, conferences, and tours to help preserve, document, and celebrate the structures and architecture of the 20th century: diners, highways, gas stations, drive-in theaters, bus stations, tourist courts, neon signs, and more.

For more information http://www.sca-roadside.org/

Click here for a Google map of this year’s endangered places:


Additional Information on Endangered Places:

Airplane Filling Station, 6817 Clinton Highway (U.S. 25W), Knoxville, TN

Located on the side of the busy Clinton Highway, northeast of Knoxville, the Airplane Filling Station catches the eye of passing motorists. Elmer and Henry Nickle built the plane-shaped gas station in 1930 along the newly widened U.S. 25, the Dixie Highway with that just in mind. Just missing its propeller and landing wheels, the “Airplane Filling Station” looks similar to Charles Lindbergh’s famous Spirit of St. Louis. But the practicality of a plane-shaped building eventually limited the use of the property, which stopped selling gas in the 1960s. The building took on new uses over the years—a liquor store, used car dealership—as it wood elements deteriorated. Formed in 2003 as a nonprofit to preserver the building, the Airplane Filling Station Preservation Association is slowly restoring the “airplane.” Although the first phase to purchase and stabilize the structure is complete, the economic downturn delayed further work. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004, it is the only example of mimetic architecture in the state, and is arguably one the best surviving of its type in the nation. While not in immediate danger, money must be raised to continue to restore this one-of-a-kind roadside property.

Contact: Rock Bernard, Airplane Filling Station Preservation Association, (865) 933-7158


Bartles-Maguire/Wadhams Service Station, 422 E. Broadway, Waukesha, WI

Located along East Broadway in Waukesha, Wisconsin, the Bartles-Maguire Oil Company service station opened in 1929 in a Tudor Revival “house” style gas station, featuring a brick chimney and prominent gables. The gas station went through a series of owners and different uses, mostly recently a car rental. In May 2010 the YMCA purchased the vacant building, with the intention of tearing it down for parking. In reaction, the property was designated a Local Landmark in July 2010. The YMCA appealed the designation to the Waukesha Administrative Review Appeals board, which upheld the landmark listing in January 2011. A month later, the YMCA announced they would put the gas station up for sale. A provision in the City of Waukesha’s Landmarks Ordinance allows an owner of a historically designated property to petition to have the listed rescinded, if after making a good faith effort, the property does not sell. If the petition is made, the Waukesha Landmarks Commission will have 60 days to find a buyer; failing that, the designation will be removed. With a letter from the YMCA stating they plan to petition for rescission, the future of this historic gas station in jeopardy.

Contact: Mary Emery, (262) 547-8364



Boots Motel, 107 S Garrison Avenue (old US 66), Carthage, Missouri

Built in 1939, by Arthur G. Boots, the Streamline Moderne-influenced motel, with its once distinct pink and green neon, evolved into a Route 66 icon. After Arthur’s wife, Ilda Boots, passed away, the motel sold several times. The most recent owner tried to negotiate a deal with Walgreens to build a new store on the property. Route 66 advocates and community members rallied to save the motel from demolition. Walgreens decided to build elsewhere, and while the motel remains, its maintenance has ceased and is now used for long-term rentals. Damaged by a storm, its broken neon dangles from the building; the vacancy sign on the office reads only “ANCY.” The property is again for sale. Ron Hart of the Carthage-based Route 66 Chamber of Commerce is looking into a way to purchase the property to preserve it as a vintage motel, and potentially a museum. But until that happens, the future of this Route 66 landmark is unknown.

Contact: Ron Hart, Route 66 Chamber of Commerce, (417)385-6966


Buckhorn Baths, 5900 East Main Street (old U.S. 60/70/80)1, Mesa, Arizona

Designated in the 2010 Falling by the Wayside list, the Buckhorn Baths is again listed due recent developments.

Preservationists became alarmed in November, 2010 when Alice Sliger, the 103-year-old owner of the Buckhorn Baths, died. With her death, the future of Mesa, Arizona’s famous roadside oasis became murky. Many predicted the motel would be sold and razed for redevelopment. But a group of preservationists came together to save the property. The newly formed non-profit Mesa Preservation Foundation, with the help of other local preservationists, will encourage the city to buy the Buckhorn and manage it as a cultural asset. “We hope to fulfill Alice Sliger’s desire to keep alive the legacy of what the Buckhorn gave to the community,” says Vic Linoff, president of the foundation. If the city agrees to acquire the property, the foundation will assist in raising funds to restore the motel and Ted Sliger’s taxidermy museum, which contains the largest collection of display animals in Arizona. The foundation is currently in the process of appraising the property as a first step to potential city acquisition. Buckhorn Baths opened in 1939 at the site of a hot mineral well. In 1947, the New York Giants moved their spring training camp to the area, and were frequented users of the baths. The motel closed in 1999. In 2007, the Arizona Preservation Foundation included the property on the Arizona’s Most Endangered Historic Places list.

Contact: Vic Linoff, Mesa Preservation Foundation, (480) 967-4729



Doo Wop Motels, the Wildwoods, New Jersey (Wildwood, North Wildwood, and Wildwood Crest)

Potentially the largest collection of mid-century modern motels in the United States, the Doo Wop Motels of the Wildwoods, New Jersey, are threatened. Despite their photogenic popularity, the area comprising the “Motels of the Wildwoods” has lost nearly 50% of its vintage motels since the late 1990s. Real estate development and speculation has resulted in demolition of nearly 100 motels, including the notable Casa Bahama Motel, while others, such as the Singapore Motel, have undergone significant renovation, undermining their original appearance. The local government does not recognize the Doo Wop Historic District and there are no ordinances to prevent demolition or unsympathetic renovations. While chronicled in books and dozens of websites, without a preservation ordinance to protect them, the long-term future of these eye-catching motels is unknown.

Contact: Dan Mac Elrevey, Doo Wop Preservation League, (609)-523-1958


Diving Lady, Starlite Motel, 2710 E. Main Street (old U.S. 60/70/80), Mesa, Arizona

The “Diving Lady” is an animated, three-part neon sign of a woman diving into electric blue water. A local landmark, she could be seen making her plunge at least two miles in each direction from her home at the Starlite Motel on Main Street. But October 5, 2010, a severe storm sent her crashing to the ground, shattering the sign’s neon and twisting its metal. The recently formed Mesa Preservation Foundation is working with the owner and a neon sign shop to restore the sign. The restoration will be costly—$60,000-70,000. Already the middle figure of the sign has been restored and is on display at a Mesa shopping mall. The foundation is hoping national attention will help fundraising to complete restoration and reinstallation of this famous lady. As part of the 2011 Falling by the Wayside listing, the Society for Commercial Archeology is contributing $250 to assist the restoration.

Contact: Vic Linoff, Mesa Preservation Foundation, (480) 967-4729


Giant Santa, 516 Ruffian Way (U.S. 41), Haubstadt, Indiana

With his left his left arm outstretched, the Giant Santa once greeted cars and trucks pulling into the Busler Truck Stop, a discount gas station and 24-hour restaurant off U.S. 41, north of Evansville. But with the gas station now closed—its pump islands and restaurant sealed off by a string of limestone boulders—Santa waves to no one. Measuring at least 30 feet, the fiberglass Santa Claus statue is one of the tallest in the United States. With no maintenance, the statue paint has faded and his body is now home to hundreds of pigeons. The property for sale and prime redevelopment, the fate of this huge St. Nick is problematic.

Contact: Debra Jane Seltzer, Agilitynut, (347) 526-9825


Premiere Lanes Sign, 13210 Telegraph Road, Santa Fe Springs, California

A burst of blue and red stars, the Premiere Lanes sign sits orphaned on a cleared lot, its advertised namesake demolished for redevelopment. Revealing the spirit of the space age, the sign is adorned with nine “sputnik” forms. Tall with a huge signboard, the sign, though for sale, is too big to be tucked away in a museum. With no local preservation ordinance to protect it, it is likely it will be dismantled and parted, with its sputniks going into private ownership. Premiere Lanes, a prominent regional bowling center, and once home to a chapter of the Japanese-American Citizens League, closed in 2008. While there are several dozen space-age signs across the United States, perhaps none have more sputniks or is of its scale.

Contact: Debra Jane Seltzer, Agilitynut, (347) 526-9825


Roundtop Filling Station, intersection of Roundtop and Trammel roads (old U.S. 67), Sherwood, Arkansas

It’s a Hansel and Gretel fairytale building surrounded by an acre of asphalt. Constructed in 1936 for the Pierce Oil Company, the Roundtop Filling Station was designed in the mimetic style, taking on the look of a giant mushroom. Being situated on U.S. 67 between Little Rock and St. Louis, the gas station saw a steady stream of traffic for nearly 50 years. When bypassed by a new highway in the 1970s, the storybook gas station lost its business. For years it sat abandoned, stripped of its pumps, sign and lights. In 2008, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The City of Sherwood, its owner, hopes to preserve the fairytale building, and is looking for grants to repair its partially torn off roof, broken windows and door. But until then, the mushroom-shaped former service station sits vacant.

Contact: Ralph Wilcox, (501) 324-9880



Wagon Wheel Motel, 2751-2755 Wagon Wheel Road (U.S. 101), Oxnard, California
The Wagon Wheel Motel, a ranch house-like motel of turquoise board and batten board buildings and decorative wagon wheels, once sprawled across its site. The motel came about when Oxnard booster and real estate developer, Martin “Bud” Smith, bought an old hog farm and moved in surplus Seabee barracks from nearby Port Hueneme, arranging them in “U” shape to create a motel court. To give the place a ranch look, Smith reportedly hired Roy Beatty, a Hollywood set designer to desing the wrought-iron lamp fixtures and the decorative rustic furniture once found in each room. During its heyday, the Wagon Wheel was a local fixture and prominent stop on U.S. 101. But over the years it lost its customers, closed and became a boarded up eyesore. When word got out that the motel could be demolished for a mixed-use commercial project, local preservation groups rallied to save the property. The San Buenaventura Conservancy filed an appeal to stop demolition under the California Environmental Quality, arguing that preservation of a small two acre portion of the motel and restaurant was feasible, given the size of the 64-acre project. But on March 17, an appellate court upheld a lower-court ruling permitting demolition. The Wagon Wheel Motel and associated buildings were demolished a week later. There is no foreseeable date as to when redevelopment will start, as the project sponsor is waiting for the economy to recover.

Contact: San Buenaventura Conservancy, (805) 652-1000


Ron Hart Speaks Out About the Boots Motel

April 19, 2011

Growing-up in Joplin, MO., I had many opportunities to visit the town of Carthage, about 20 miles to our north-east. At that time, Carthage was known as “the Crossroads of America” because of the two major highways that intersected it, Highway 71 running north and south, and Route 66, east to west.

My high school basketball and football teams often traveled to compete with the Carthage High School, and afterwards, we would all pay a visit to the Boots Drive-In on Garrison Street. The Route 66 Drive-In theater was a bit of a drive for us Joplin kids, as we already had the Tri-State, the Crest and the Webb City Drive-In movies, and sadly they are all gone today.

Many years later, I began to learn about Joplin’s Route 66 history, and about all the places that fed, fueled and lodged the travelers that passed through our communities, and today, precious few remain as reminders of times gone by. And this story is also being told in nearly every community that once claimed a Route 66 heritage.

In Carthage, the once popular and famous Boots Motel has become a low-rent weekly rooming house. Purchased a few years ago, and intended to be “flipped” for more money by a local contractor, the economy has kept the property in limbo.

I my opinion, the property has been sitting used and abused for too long now. Word is that the owner is now anxious to be rid of the Motel, as is his bank that holds the note. This could be a good thing if someone jumps in and makes an offer, or it could be a bad thing if another non-preservation minded developer scoops it up first.

I believe that Jim Hunter, the Pro 100 realtor who represents the seller, is a preservation minded person who would personally like to see the motel restored and re-opened to the public, and has expressed his willingness to help with any effort to acquire and preserve the Motel property. At my request, he will be talking to the bank holding the mortgage, local civic groups and possible benefactors, and others whose support will be needed. He will also arrange for an inspector to look at the buildings and report on any potential big problems. Next comes an appraisal that I have been told could lower the value by nearly half of the selling price. With some support behind me, I hope that the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce could possibly be able to get the property for around $150 thousand. This includes the “owner’s” house.

I am probably the least likely person to be doing this. My wife and I are surviving on our Social Security and a little side work, and I have spent a lot of time and money on building the Chamber in the process, but I do have a passion for saving this Route 66 icon because I know how quickly it can disappear if no one steps-up to get the ball rolling.

My background work has been in tourism marketing, sales, public relations, advertising and promotions….all no longer in much demand due to the economy, but sorely needed by businesses on the Mother Road. I also attended O.S.U. majoring in Construction Technology. Best of all, my wife and I have been full-time RV’ing for the past 9 years, so we could move onto the property and get to work right away on preventive maintenance and grant applications. Since I was born and raised in Joplin and have a strong family history in the area, that should help keep me from being labeled an “outsider”.

Back to the big gorilla sitting in the room, the economy. Times have been hard for Route 66 businesses these past few years, so I don’t plan on tapping them for donations. I believe the Carthage community will participate as they stand to reap the benefits, and they certainly need to learn more about the diamond-in-the-rough they have in the Boots Motel and in the Route 66 corridor that kept their town alive during the great depression.

What I could use from 66′rs will be cards, letters and e-mails of support for the preservation of the Boots Motel, no matter who purchases it. My proposal will be the very first to be submitted since the property went on the market several years ago. I hope that it will make a statement that the friends of Route 66 care for it’s history, and will do anything they can to preserve it.

An outline on the Boots Project may be found at the Chamber’s website, www.visit66.com, with a link on the Homepage. There is also a “Save the Boots Motel” Facebook page for progress updates. Thanks.

Ron Hart -Director
Route 66 Chamber of Commerce
417-385-6966 or visit66@yahoo.com

Free Historic Bridge Rehabilitation Webinar Thursday April 7

March 31, 2011

“Approaches to Historic Bridge Rehabilitation,” the second webinar in a series by the Historic Bridge Alliance, will be held Thursday, April 7, 2011. This FREE webinar is hosted by the Federal Highway Administration and National Highway Institute. The program includes presentations of three case studies of rehabilitation projects that preserved historically significant bridges. Projects in Pennsylvania, Oregon and Minnesota will be featured.  Presenters will provide lessons learned and how Section 106 requirements were met. The program will also include a brief update on the efforts of the Historic Bridge Alliance (HBA).

Webinar details:

Thursday, April 7, 2011

11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Eastern Time)




(800) 683-4564

Password: 855528

For more information, please contact historicbridgealliance@meadhunt.com

Support Urgently Needed for Historic Bridge at Route 66 State Park

September 19, 2010

Please take the time to send your comments to MoDOT concerning the future of a bridge at Route 66 State Park. The bridge is scheduled for demolition in February 2012 and no replacement of any kind is currently planned. Comments MUST be sent before September 30th to be included in MoDOTs file on this issue.

Send your email comments to: andrew.gates@modot.mo.gov

Follow these links to MoDOTs website:
Route 66 Meramec River Bridge Virtual Public Meeting

This MoDOT website shows the results of the years of NO maintenance on the bridge since Times Beach was dis-incorporated in 1982:

Route 66 State Park Bridge

Other websites with information about the bridge:

Meramec River US 66 Bridge

Missouri holds new meeting for Route 66 bridge

Friends of the Meramec River Route 66 Bridge


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