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No resolutions for Fat Man December 31, 2005

Posted by Ron Warnick in People.
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Steve Vaught of thefatmanwalking.com has posted his latest journal entry (scroll down to the Dec. 31 portion). There’s not much Route 66 content, but his musings, which still are interesting.

Rivett’s Route 66 Cafe renamed Al’s Route 66 December 31, 2005

Posted by Ron Warnick in People, Restaurants.
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The Daily Oklahoman interviewed Allen and Susan Shamburg of Colorado, who bought Rivett’s Route 66 Cafe in Sapulpa. They’re renaming it Al’s Route 66 and instilling other changes.

The family plans to keep diner staples of cheeseburgers and fries but will start offering healthier sandwiches.

To bring a classic feel, Shamburg next month is having the carpet ripped out and replaced with checkerboard tiles. He’ll also add a soda fountain and Route 66 memorabilia. They’ll also rename it Al’s Route 66.

“We want an old-fashioned diner,” he said. “You can’t get much more American than that to me. The way things are anymore, a little retro is good.”

Petrified Forest facilities get a face-lift December 31, 2005

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, History, Preservation.
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The Holbrook (Ariz.) Tribune-News is reporting developments in store for the Petrified Forest National Park, namely:

— The Painted Desert Inn will reopen after nearly 18 months of renovations.

— “Along with the inn’s reopening in 2006, the park will open a Route 66 pullout. This point overlooks the Painted Desert, the inn and the original roadbed of Route 66 through the park, along with the original telephone poles that ran along side of the highway.”

You can read about the rest of the park’s renovations here.

Missouri town considers Route 66 park or museum December 31, 2005

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions.
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The Waynesville Daily Guide reports that nearby St. Robert, Mo., is considering converting a Missouri Department of Transportation motor pool island on old Route 66 into a park, or a museum, or a Trail of Tears memorial, or …

Lawrence suggested that the park could include a monument to Fort Leonard Wood soldiers, and Heard agreed.

“There would be an attractiveness to a military museum,

“Remember the Alvarado!” December 31, 2005

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Preservation.
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During the ongoing El Vado Motel saga, I’ve been struck by Albuquerque residents’ willingness to fight to preserve this historic property on Route 66.

That’s because their energies are fueled by regret.

A little background: The Alvarado was one of the fabled Fred Harvey Houses that served railroad passengers. According to the Albuquerque Convention and Visitors’ Bureau:

The Hotel Alvarado opened here in 1902. It had something for everyone: shaded portals, bell towers, fountains, immaculate rooms, employees in starched black and white, a coffee shop, newsstand, barber shop and more—a fairy tale place. The Indian and Mexican Rooms were filled with museum quality Native arts and crafts, opening a previously untapped market for the public and for the craftspeople. Native Americans created jewelry and blankets on site, and visitors could watch them weave their magic.

Here is an article that announces the christening of the Alvarado. Here is a three-page Acrobat file of a vintage Alvarado pamphlet. The Harvey Houses were partly designed by Mary Jane Colter; it was unsual at the time for anyone to hire a woman architect. Numerous images of the Alvarado can be seen here.

The Alvarado fell into disrepair and was torn down on Feb. 13, 1970. Here is an article about the demolition.

… “Too little, too late” seems to have been the key to the Alvarado’s demise. During the first half of the month of February, many efforts were made to halt demolition, but not enough people–and more importantly, not enough money — came forward. Instead, Albuquerqueans flocked down to salvage what they could for their own homes: candelabras, tile, works of art, chairs, etc. And thus, arguably, the physical soul of this city was destroyed, and its gaping scar — a desolate parking lot — remains to this day.

A replica of Alvarado eventually was built, but it paled in comparison. The destruction of one of Albuquerque’s most famous buildings fueled greater efforts at preservation. I’m certain it stung the city even more to see another Harvey House on Route 66, La Posada in Winslow, Ariz., restored to its former glory.

When I’ve talked to preservationists in the Albuquerque region, I’ve heard the refrain: “Remember the Alvarado!” Now you know why.

Jumping on the bandwagon December 30, 2005

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Preservation.
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Star Gonzales, executive director of the Grants-Cibola County Chamber of Commerce, told the Gallup (N.M.) Independent that she wants to establish a county-line-to-county-line “gateway” to draw travelers onto old Route 66.

“We want to see it extend from (the Bernalillo) county line to (the McKinley) county line by establishing a gateway at the east end at Laguna and bring them onto 66 so all the communities, from east to west, benefit. We want to get visitors using old Route 66 as opposed to the freeway. It’s a great idea. There’s no actual plan, now, but we’re working with a few (key) people on how to make it happen,” she said.

By the end of 2006, she expects, there will be a comprehensive plan, with the help of other organizations.

“We’ll approach the state and national Route 66 associations for funding,” she said, especially in view of the fact that 2006 is the beginning of the 80th anniversary celebration of what is known across the world as “The Mother Road.”

Gonzales concluded, “We want to take advantage, to some extent, of that even if we’re not ready to implement our ‘Gateway’ concept.”

This is yet another example of cities and regions awakening to the tourism potential of the Mother Road. I suspect Grants’ eyes were opened by the success of the Fire and Ice Bike Rally earlier this year, and the region now is playing catch-up.

I welcome its participation, but it also has to maintain the commitment to 66 with a mix of historic preservation and special incentives (encourage businesses to use vintage-looking neon signs or restore existing ones, for example).

Calendar of events page is up December 30, 2005

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events.
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I’m not sure why I didn’t compile this earlier, but I finally have a Route 66 calendar of events for 2006. I placed it on a separate page, and you can peruse it here. I managed to include all the big gatherings, including the Fun Run, Route 66 Rendezvous and big festivals in Springfield, Ill., and Albuquerque.

If you have any others I need to know about, e-mail me at route66news (at) yahoo (dot) com.

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