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Saying goodbye to a vet clinic December 28, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses.
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Springfield (Mo.) News-Leader columnist Sarah Overstreet tells the sad tale of Dr. C.C. Moore’s Veterinary Clinic in downtown Springfield, which occupied a corner of Route 66 since 1929 and is about to close.

Dr. Tedd Hamaker is moving from his current location, which has only a few parking spaces and little room for boarding animals.

Hamaker will pack the Route 66 souvenirs he’s bought, some people brought him “because I was trying to build this as a business on historic 66,” and mementos that Moore left in the hospital, including old vet textbooks and the name plate from his desk. He has sold the clinic to a nonveterinarian, Cy Betzler, who says he doesn’t know what he will do with the building yet. [...]
Hamaker is building a clinic in Galloway, on its own site, and is proud not to be in a strip mall. He expressly didn’t seek out another veterinarian to buy the St. Louis Street hospital. “I couldn’t look another veterinarian in the eye and say, ‘Well, you only have three parking spaces, you can’t expand. … It would be like telling someone who wanted to start a restaurant, ‘But you’ll only have one table.'” [...]

Layers of paint cover the woodwork, even though freshly painted and perfectly fine. The original old lavatories still stand, and there are cute touches of things as they were back when: a medicine cabinet whose door is held shut with a rubber band and paper clip; Moore’s old medicines, syringes and equipment such as the “Stethetron,” which even Hamaker doesn’t know how was used, except it was some kind of new-fangled stethoscope Moore picked up along the way — from the looks of it, in the ’50s. The sign which told customers there was extra parking available at the Texaco station to the west, when there was one. The old safe.

Like so much of central Springfield now, Hamaker is landlocked. We like to go to strip malls where parking is easy, or at least there are some handicapped spaces near the businesses we’re going to — unlike in downtown Springfield. So, another dear landmark fades into the sunset.

“I understand how people feel about it — this was their veterinary hospital,” Hamaker reflects. “It’s another reality of life, like the great vacant lot where you used to play stickball, and now it’s a supercenter.”

Cleanup day at the Blue Whale December 27, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Events.
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The Blue Whale site on Route 66 near Catoosa, Okla. (map here) was pretty messed up by this month’s historic ice storm. So the Oklahoma Route 66 Association historic preservation committee has set up an emergency work day there on New Year’s Day.

Fallen tree limbs are all over, including one that cracked a concrete picnic table there. The dangling limbs have also created a somewhat hazardous situation for many tourists who might stop there. Fortunately, it looks like the whale itself sustained little to no damage.

The work day starts at 9 a.m. and continues until the job is done or until sundown. Bring your gloves, chain saws, pole saws or other equipment that would be useful for tree-trimming. Those who help can haul away the bigger pieces for next year’s firewood. The smaller branches will be piled up for disposal later.

Soft drinks and homemade cookies will be provided. Participants also will be given a chance to win Jim Ross‘ book, “Oklahoma Route 66,” and a set of “Here It Is!” maps.

Don’t mind the snow December 27, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Web sites.
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If Route 66 News looks a little different in the next week or so, it’s not because of technical difficulties.

WordPress.com added an option on Christmas Day that allows its blogs to have snow floating across the computer screen.

I added it during a “why the heck not?” moment. Enjoy the wintry look while it lasts — it’s supposed to stop Jan. 2.

End of eras for two Tulsa restaurants December 27, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in People, Restaurants.
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There was wistful news out of Tulsa Town this week regarding two Route 66 restaurants.

First, the owners of Halim & Mimi’s, a Lebanese restaurant on the 11th Street alignment of Route 66, are retiring after nearly 30 years in the business, reports the Tulsa World. The restaurant will reopen on Jan. 2 with new owners but will have the same food.

Halim and Mimi Abufadil emigrated to the United States from their native Lebanon during the 1970s when that country was wracked by civil war. Halim & Mimi’s isn’t well-known to roadies except for the most devoted. But locals — especially from the nearby University of Tulsa — flock to it at lunchtime.

Also in the World, longtime Ike’s Chili owner William Johnson died at age 84. He ran the business, which has a location on the Admiral Place alignment of Route 66, for more than 50 years. He retired in 2005.

He wasn’t the original owner, however. Ike’s Chili was reputedly started in 1908 — about a year after Oklahoma became a state. William Johnson was a great-nephew of founder Ike Johnson.

Ike’s Chili continues to thrive in two locations in Tulsa. They are run by William’s son, William Zurn Johnson.

Beverly’s Pancake Corner is moving December 27, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Restaurants, Signs.
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Beverly’s Pancake Corner, which has occupied a corner on Route 66 in Oklahoma City for decades, is moving a few blocks down the street, reports the Daily Oklahoman.

Beverly’s, which is at 2115 Northwest Expressway, is moving to Midland Center at 3315 Northwest Expressway. The old site is reportedly making way for a Talbot’s women’s clothing store.

Louis Dakil Auctioneers will sell the contents of the diner and adjacent former furniture store at 10 a.m. Jan. 3. Dakil said the building will be razed to make room for new development at the prime intersection near Penn Square Mall.

Masoudy said she’s packing up all the Beverly’s atmosphere she can, and has a design scheme worked out to try to recreate the ambiance that has made Beverly’s both a local neighborhood eatery and a destination since 1956. [...]

The first Beverly’s opened in 1921. Beverly Osborne and his wife, Rubye, came up with “Chicken in the Rough” — fried chicken served only with a biscuit and honey — and it became an icon of Route 66. The Osbornes franchised their specialty nationally.

“Osborne once said it started when he and his wife were eating fried chicken while traveling west in a Ford Model T on Route 66,” Max Nichols wrote in May in a monthly column from the Oklahoma Historical Society. “This is really chicken in the rough,” his wife said. It stuck.

Masoudy said the transition from a seasoned diner to a new space won’t be too rough. The new location will have a shiny counter, a window to the kitchen and other features and fixtures of an old-time diner.

“I’m making it a ’60s look,” she said. “I’m trying to make it homey — like Beverly’s.”

There’s no word on whether the restaurant’s famed neon sign is making the trip, also.

Berry, berry good December 27, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Food, Restaurants.
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LA Weekly has revealed its Top 10 Dishes of 2007, and The Donut Man on Route 66 in Glendora has made the cut.

And, holy cow, the strawberry doughnut sounds good:

Have you ever seen a strawberry doughnut from the Donut Man? It is an iceberg of a doughnut, a flattened spheroid big enough to use as a Pilates cushion, split in two and filled to order with fresh strawberries, although only in season. The fruit is moistened with a translucent gel that lubricates even the occasional white-shouldered berry with a mantle of slippery sweetness, oozing from the sides, turning the bottom of the pasteboard box into a sugary miasma in the unlikely event that the doughnuts actually make it home. The tawny pastry itself is only lightly sweetened, dense and slightly crunchy at the outside, like most good doughnuts, with a vaguely oily nuttiness and an almost substantial chew. It is the only doughnut I have ever seen that is routinely served with a plastic knife and fork. It is worth every penny of the $2.50 it costs. It is worth waiting for spring. 915 E. Route 66, Glendora, (626) 335-9111.

And the Grub in L.A. blog has a picture of this creation.

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