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Driving Route 66 to save time September 30, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Highways.
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If you’re traveling through central Missouri near the Interstate 44 corridor from Thursday through Thanksgiving, it may be advisable to take old Route 66 in the Rolla and Doolittle area.

The Rolla Daily News reports that the transportation department is adding lane restrictions to that interstate and that delays could be 45 minutes to an hour — especially on weekends.

However, there is an alternative:

An alternate route for those motorists traveling to or from the Kingshighway (184) exit is to use Martin Springs Drive to Doolittle and then Eisenhower Drive to the Sugar Tree (Road) exit. This also is Historic Old Route 66.

“I would encourage everyone to take an alternate route. This is historic, so that’s good, too,” said MoDOT South Central District Communications Director Christina Turkleson.

The road work is expected to be finished by Dec. 1.

Scenes from the Mother Road Festival September 30, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Vehicles.
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An auto-enthusiast outfit called ARS Promotions put together a video from last weekend’s International Route 66 Mother Road Festival in Springfield, Ill.

Reimagining the Route September 28, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Businesses, Gas stations, History, Preservation.
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This is a well-done video about Route 66 from the Center for Creative Land Recycling. It explains how the Mother Road — especially in the desert Southwest — is being revitalized with brownfields remediation, alternative energy, outdoor recreation and historical tourism.

Worth watching September 28, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Preservation.
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The St. Louis Business Journal is reporting that U.S. Rep. Russ Carnahan of Missouri is planning Tuesday to introduce a bill to Congress that would provide 20 percent federal tax credits to help rehabilitate historic structures.

The Journal reports that Carnahan wants to model the program after Missouri’s much-praised program that provides rehabilitation tax credits for historic buildings.

The proposed changes to the existing federal tax credit program would cap the tax credit at $60,000. Additionally, to qualify the homeowner must have qualified expenses over two years in excess of $5,000 for a primary residence.

“Missouri serves as a national model where historic homeowners qualify for help to revitalize their home and community,” Carnahan said in a statement Monday.

Whether that includes historic businesses is uncertain. An earlier Journal story indicated that Carnahan wanted the legislation to include commercial properties.

But any sort of incentive to preserve historic properties — business or not — is praiseworthy. And such legislation, if passed and ratified, would have good repercussions for many historic properties along Route 66.

We’ll keep an eye on this imminent proposed legislation and see what the details are.

UPDATE: As expected, Carnahan introduced Tuesday what he called the Historic Homeowners Revitalization Act of 2009 (news release here).

An aide for Carnahan confirmed later Tuesday that the proposed federal tax-credits legislation is slated for historic residences only; the plan would not provide additional tax credits on top of the ones that already exist for historic commercial businesses.

Still, there are dozens of historic neighborhoods in small and medium-size towns in which Route 66 traverses. Any sort of incentive that would help maintain the character of those neighborhoods would be a very good thing.

Eating and cruising in Illinois September 28, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Restaurants.
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Phil Vettel of the Chicago Tribune has filed a story about Route 66 eating establishments in Illinois between St. Louis and the Windy City. Cited are Dell Rhea’s Chicken Basket of Willowbrook, That 50′s Place Diner in Dwight, the revived Palms Grill in Atlanta, Charlie Parker’s in Springfield, and Erato on Main in Edwardsville.

Many may quibble about leaving off the Cozy Dog Drive-In in Springfield or the Ariston Cafe in Litchfield. But, as Vettel says, you can eat pretty well along the Mother Road in the Land of Lincoln. Obviously, the Mother Road has no shortage of dining options.

Psalm-writing September 27, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Religion.
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Here’s the latest edition of “Route 66: A Road Trip through the Bible.” Looks like our hero helps a songsmith through his writer’s block.

More details on Twin Arrows restoration September 26, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Businesses, Preservation.
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In the past few weeks, some encouraging signs were seen regarding the long-deteriorating Twin Arrows complex east of Flagstaff, Ariz. The two giant arrows were fully restored (seen above) after years of decline, and a volunteer work crew helped tidy up the property during the Route 66 Festival a few days later.

Now, it appears the Hopi Indian tribe indeed is going to do something with the Route 66 property, reports the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff:

Norman Honanie, a Hopi council representative and land team member, said the tribe’s ambitions for the site include reopening the curio shop and diner. The store would showcase and sell authentic Native art, and traditional dancers would hold performances in the open area outside the small stucco building that still bears a faded mural declaring Twin Arrows the “Best ‘Little’ Stop on I-40.”

Even sooner than that – by next summer, Honanie estimates — Twin Arrows could be home to a monthly “Indian Market,” which would allow Native vendors to sell arts, crafts and other wares. [...]

The next step, Honanie said, would be to renovate the stucco hut — once a spot to pay for gas and pick up motor oil — into an information kiosk.

Honanie said the tribe didn’t have a definite timetable on the Twin Arrows property, except to create proper public access to that the market can begin next summer.

(Photo courtesy of Carol Major)

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