Sunday, October 19, 2008

Portland, Oregon to Tulsa, Oklahoma - Day 6

Six days, over 2,300 miles, more than 50 preservation highlights - welcome to Tulsa! It's been an incredible trip, the weather was perfect, and we hope you enjoyed traveling along with us. We also wanted to say thank you to everyone along the road working for preservation in their community. From motels to gas stations to neon signs - your work is vitally important and tremendously appreciated. And to all the people we've met along the way, we hope we'll meet up again.

We reached Tulsa a little late this evening, so rather than try and fit the city in tonight we'll be posting Tulsa highlight throughout the week. We'll be covering our travels around town as well as our time at the National Trust annual conference - it's going to be a great week! Also, if you enjoyed riding along with us you can tune in again for Road Trip Part II on the 27th as we make our way back to Portland, Oregon. And if you have a favorite stretch of two-lane road between Tulsa and Portland that you think we should try, let us know!

Now, on to highlighting preservation success stories between Vega, Texas and Stroud, Oklahoma followed by a random batch of just plain good stuff.

One of our favorite stops on the trip, the Magnolia Gas Station was restored by the City of Vega, Texas with help from a Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program grant. Although our photo doesn't do it justice, the detail both inside and out is impressive. The Magnolia Station now serves as a Route 66 interpretive stop along the Route's older alignment in Vega and is well worth the stop.

Opened in 1939, the Sixth Street Chevron Station in Amarillo looks as sharp as the day it was built after restoration by a private owner with help from a Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program Grant.

Opened in 1922 as an indoor swimming pool the legend of the Nat began in 1926 when the pool was covered and the building converted to a dance hall. For the next 40 years, an incredible range of musicians traveled Route 66 to perform at the Nat: Guy Lombardo, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Ozzie Nelson, Rudy Vallee, Bob Wills, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and the King himself, Elvis.

Closing as a public dance hall in the 1960s, the Nat has recently been awarded a Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program grant to add a sprinkler system, allowing it to reopen as a public music venue and continue its tradition as one of the most storied dance halls in the country. The Nat is on the National Register of Historic Places and a Texas Historical Landmark.

Spooky note: The Nat is reported to be haunted with ghosts still enjoying one of the finest maple dance floors in the Southwest.

The restoration of the Paramount Theatre sign is an incredible story. 33 1/2 feet tall and decorated with 847 light bulbs, the Paramount Theatre sign was removed from its original location in the 1970s. In 2006, the sign was not only returned to its original location at 9th and Polk, it was completely restored with funds from the Amarillo Historical Preservation Foundation, Center City of Amarillo, the Amarillo National Bank, the Sybil Harrington Trust, and monies raised through a brilliant "Buy a Bulb" campaign. We had a chance to speak with Wes Reeves, past president of the Amarillo Historic Preservation Foundation and current board member of Center City of Amarillo, about the project. He left us amazed at his perseverance and excited about the future of preservation in Amarillo. Here's a great article about the Paramount Theatre project from the monthly publication of the Texas Main Street Program, "Spotlight on...Amarillo."

Thanks to Krista Gebbia, Executive Director of Preservation Texas, for helping us track down preservation people and projects along our road trip route!

Built in the 1940s, the Streamline Moderne Triangle Motel narrowly escaped demolition in 2006 through the efforts of Alan McNeil, Wes Reeves, the Texas Historical Commission, and concerned community members. With a demolition moratorium granted, stabilization of the property has begun, made possible by monies received from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, community fundraising, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation in Fort Worth, TX.

The McLean Phillips 66 Station, beautifully restored by the Texas Old Route 66 Association.

A jaw dropper, we spent quite a bit of time ogling the Art Deco Tower Conoco Station and U-drop Inn Cafe in Shamrock, Texas, restored by the Shamrock Chamber of Commerce with help from a fedaral grant administered by the Texas Department of Transportation

U Drop Inn Cafe Detail_Shamrock, Texas

Built in 1929, this former cafe, soda shop, and pharmacy is now home to the Roger Miller Museum. If you happen to be in Erick, Oklahoma next Saturday (Oct 25th) you'll be just in time for the 6th Annual Roger Miller Music and Arts Festival! Restored in part with a Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program grant.

Lucille's Roadhouse, east of Weatherford, Oklahoma. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and a great example of an early "over the drive" design. You'll find a touching monument to Lucille Hamons here, erected by the Oklahoma Route 66 Association.

Here's a great example of preservation in action: following a devastating fire in May 2008 which destroyed all but the Rock Cafe's exterior walls, the National Trust's Southwest Office and the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program responded immediately to cafe owner Dawn Welch's request for help. The National Trust's Southwest Office provided monies from their Intervention Fund to pay for an engineer to inspect the damaged building and act as an advisor to the preservation architect on structural challenges. The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program also allocated monies to help Dawn begin rebuilding.

Here's a great article published in the Southwest Office's Summer 2008 newsletter, "Saving an Historic Icon on Route 66."

Fun fact: the Rock Cafe was built from rock quarried during the construction of Route 66 through Stroud, Oklahoma in 1939.

Thanks to Wendy Ossoinig of the National Trust Southwest Office for spending some time talking preservation with us!

Here's a sampling of a few of the things we saw along the way. It's possible we might have a bit of a thing for signs!

The Circus Room. Amarillo, Texas

Grain Towers. Conway, Texas

Large ball of barbwire. Mclean, Texas

Beef Burger. Amarillo, Texas

Del Rancho Restaurant. Clinton, Oklahoma

Brown Rexall Drugs. Mclean, Texas

Cowboy Motel. Amarillo, Texas

66 Bowl. Warr Acres, Oklahoma


Pfeiffer Photos said...

Where have I been? I didn't know you had a blog. Now I've got lots of reading to catch up on (yay!) I'm going to add you to my blog roll and become a follower as well. Thanks for all the great photos and stories from the road on your safe!

Tina Pfeiffer
Pfeiffer Photos

Vintage Roadside said...

Tina - Thanks for finding us! I hope you enjoy following along.

Jeff & Kelly