Touch down! On Day 3 of our road trip we've finally reached Topock, Arizona and the start of our journey along Route 66 to Tulsa. It's pretty neat to think that our tires are humming along on such a storied road.
In an interesting bit of preservation news we recently learned from Kaisa Barthuli of the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program that, in an effort to ensure that future generations of travelers will continue to experience a real connection with the past, the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program has begun talks with the Mojave County Highway Department to develop a Route 66 roadbed preservation program. A nomination to place the roadbed on the National Register has already been prepared.
The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program will be cropping up quite a bit during our road trip so we thought we'd take a minute to share some information about what they do.
Founded in 1999 by an act of Congress, the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program provides cost share grants for the preservation and restoration of historically significant properties along Route 66, including mom and pop roadside architecture and neon signs (1926 - 1970). The program also provides cost-share grants to support Route 66 education programs.
Some bad news: the Program is scheduled to legislatively terminate (close its doors) in September 2009.
Some good news: the Program is hopeful that legislation to reauthorize funding, currently making its way to a vote on the Senate floor, will receive the support it needs. If all goes well, the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Porgram will be able to continue its invaluable work for at least another 10 years.
Now, onto Kingman!
One of the places we were looking forward to visiting on this leg of the trip was the Powerhouse Visitor Center. The Powerhouse, built in 1907, is the oldest concrete structure in Arizona and was originally used as a generating plant to supply electricity to the city of Kingman and area mining operations. Restored in 1997, and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building is now home to the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona and the Route 66 Museum.
We were happy to find on-site Jan Davis, Director of the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona, and Josh Noble, Director of Tourism, and grabbed them for a few minutes of conversation. We learned that the city of Kingman is currently seeking funds for further improvements to the Powerhouse to include new informational displays and expansion of the Route 66 Museum. They also let us know about a new preservation project about to begin just down the street: restoration of the Kingman Depot. If all goes well, work on the train station should start within the next 6 months.
Fun fact: Kingman boasts more than 60 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.
The National Register of Historic Places is essentially a list of cultural resources (districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects) that have gone through a nomination process and been deemed to be of historic importance to America and worthy of preservation.
A listing on the National Register helps preserve a historic property in part by identifying it as culturally significant and worthy of preservation. A listing also factors into eligibility for Federal tax benefits and qualifications for Federal assistance.
Two wonderful examples of National Register sites in Kingman are the Hotel Brunswick and the Hotel Beale. Located on the same block, the Brunswick is beautifully restored and open to guests, while work is still underway on the Beale. What a sight it would be to see the twin roof-mounted neon signs of the Beale once again drawing in customers with the promise of "air cooled" accommodations!
Making our way east to Truxton, we came across a fairly unusual, but quite handsome roadside oddity. While one would expect western themed attractions along Route 66, the sight of a 12 foot tall tiki head drew us off the road like a magnet! The tiki is a fairly recent addition to Route 66, created by a local artist in 2003. The tiki can be found at the Kozy Korner Mobile & RV Park.
Part two of today's trip continues in the post below.