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Nob Hill Motel being converted into an office complex May 31, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Preservation.
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The historic Nob Hill Motel on Route 66 in Albuquerque is being converted into an office complex, but its neon sign and distinctive appearance will remain intact.

The complex likely will be called the Nob Hill Court; the “Court” was part of the motel’s original name. Al Schwanke, a supervisor for the contractor for the project, said in an e-mail:

We were able to salvage most of the exterior walls and some of the roofs. All room access , plumbing. electric, etc. would not meet building code and had to be changed or replaced. The building was condemned by the city prior to our restoration.
When looking at this project from the exterior it will resemble the original structure in most every way including doors, windows,color, stucco, etc. This is a very exciting project for me to be a part of since this restoration may allow this project to have a practical use, yet keeping the original look for many years to come.

Schwanke said the original neon sign will be retained and operating. Nob Hill Development Corp. is scheduled to take possession of the complex on July 1.

The motel had operated as a motel until about three years ago. Reopening it as a motel probably was not feasible, as the city’s Central Avenue has an oversupply of old motels. But adapting it for reuse is a good thing, and is encouraged by the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program if keeping the business as its original use is not doable.

Schwanke also said he is documenting the restoration of the motel in the form of a slide show.

Route 66 Pulse issue will include survey May 31, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Publications.
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The next issue of the Route 66 Pulse newspaper will include a survey and self-addressed stamped envelope. Researchers at Rutgers University are conducting a study on the people who travel the Mother Road.

I’ll let Jim Conkle, who is leading the revival of the Pulse, explain:

The National Park Service Route 66 Corridor program received funds from American Express to do research on the demographics of the people who travel the road. We all know how important this information and data is to our future success. This matter was brought up in front of the NPS Advisory Council that a number of us serve on. The Committee of Jim Ross and David Knudson contacted Rutgers University. They have put together a really great survey with questions that will enable them to put into a market research paper just the data we need. The results of this survey be published and available to all of you.

As an insert into the Pulse will be this survey and a self address/stamp envelope. Yes 50,000 copies will be on the road starting June 9th.

The importance of this survey can not be overstated. Its success is going to depend on all of you. Rather than let the people that come into your museum, place of business or visitors center or whatever the location is pick up a copy of the Pulse, it would be better if YOU took the time to inform everyone you hand out the newspaper to — and we want you to hand them out, not just lay them on the counter — that there is a survey inside the paper. An even better way would be to take the surveys out and have them fill them in right then; if you need to assist them, please do so. Then take the envelopes from them with the survey filled out and mail them in. We need both our domestic and foreign tourists to fill in the surveys. [...]

THIS EXTRA TIME YOU SPEND ACCOMPLISHING THIS THE MORE EFFECTIVE THE SURVEY WILL BE. PUT THIS SURVEY AT THE TOP OF YOUR TO DO LIST.

The Pulse can become a collectors item, but NOT the survey — we need them back. The more we receive, the better.

Route 66 Pulse will be distributed to museums, visitors centers and businesses along the road by the middle of June. So there should be plenty of opportunity for folks to pick one up.

Also, Rutgers professor David Listokin soon will release a study about Route 66’s economic impact. So, some interesting data about Route 66 should be coming out this year.

A road trip on Ruth May 30, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Religion.
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Here’s a new chapter of “Route 66: A Road Trip through the Bible.” This week’s episode comes from the book of Ruth.

Every household should have hired help such as Ruth — especially with her miracle vacuum cleaner.

Bringing up the rear May 30, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Preservation, Railroad.
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Here’s a story by OETA about volunteers working to restore a 1951 caboose. The caboose eventually will be placed next to a vintage Frisco steam train at the Heritage Park-Route 66 Station in southwest Tulsa.

Rock Cafe returns to full service May 30, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Restaurants.
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The media was out in full force Friday for the Rock Cafe‘s first day of full food service since a fire nearly destroyed the historic Route 66 restaurant in Stroud, Okla., a year ago.

Here’s a story by KOTV in Tulsa. Here’s an Associated Press story. Here’s another from BAM’s Blog, via the Daily Oklahoman.

Here’s one by the Oklahoman, with a video, including the mayor of Stroud holding court much of the day:

Mayor Jerry Murfin sat at a centrally located table with his wife and their son’s family through lunch Friday while visitors from Indiana to England came and went.

“I’ve been coming here for roughly 50 years,” Murfin said.

“I courted my wife here. We used to fill up gas here and spend whatever was left over to get a burger.” [...]

The lunch crowd thinned Friday, taking a chunk of Murfin’s entourage. But the mayor remained seated, showing no signs of imminent departure as his mushroom-Swiss burger settled.

“I’m not goin’ anywhere,” Murfin said.

“I’m meeting a friend from Poteau here for dinner tonight.”

Here’s another good one by the Shawnee News-Star.

“Around 9 a.m., people just started showing up,” (owner Dawn) Welch said. “We’ve never had trouble filling up the seats and things don’t seem to have changed.”

Welch said the patio isn’t finished, nor has a soda machine arrived yet. But everything else is operational.

Old Joplin golf course gets a face-lift May 30, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Sports.
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Schifferdecker Municipal Golf Course of Joplin, Mo., which is right off the Mother Road and even predates the highway, recently underwent extensive renovations, reported the Joplin Globe.

Mayor Gary Shaw said the course is known as a historic one because it opened in 1922 alongside what became Route 66.

“Schifferdecker is a bargain” in the course’s condition now, Shaw said. Repairs have included a new pump in the irrigation system, paving cart paths, clearing out damaged or dead trees, and planting new ones.

“The most important thing people wanted was new tee boxes, and we will have them in place in time for the Ozark Amateur,” the mayor said. Billed as the oldest golf tournament west of the Mississippi, the amateur is played in July.

The mayor isn’t kidding about the Schifferdecker course being a bargain. Fees are $11 on weekdays and $14 on weekeneds, with discounts for senior citizens.

Schifferdecker is a par-71, Scottish-style course that’s 6,123 yards. More about it can be found here.

Albuquerque motel demolished May 30, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels.
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The Economy Inn in Albuquerque, formerly the Trade Winds Motel, was torn down Friday after becoming a chronic nuisance, reported KOB-TV.

The station reported that the old Route 66 motel was a “a haven for drug dealers, prostitutes and other shady people.”

Albuquerque Police Chief Ray Schultz said Friday, ” In my 27 years in law enforcement, I’ve been on this property more times than I want to count— it goes back to when the old El Cid used to be next door— so this is a good thing for this area of the city.”

Here’s an old image of the Trade Winds Motel, from Joe Sonderman’s collection, before the name change.

It’s the seventh motel on Central Avenue, aka Route 66, the city has torn down in recent years. It’s tempting to get mad at the City of Albuquerque. However, the city for years has had an oversupply of motels, and the temptation for owners to look the other way when illicit activity occurs is probably immense.

And, to its credit, the city has saved historic motels such as El Vado and the De Anza.

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