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A burger place to watch (and taste) March 28, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Food, Restaurants.
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This part of a profile from the Arizona Daily Sun about the Mama Burger restaurant on Route 66 in Flagstaff, Ariz., got my attention:

“I think it reminds them of a burger either they would make at home for themselves or someone dear to them would make for them,” said Bernadette Chavez, who owns Mama Burger. She and her husband also own Fratelli’s.

The restaurant is riding high. It celebrated its one-year anniversary last month and its burgers have been compared in Internet circles to the famous and well-loved In-N-Out burger.

In-N-Out, in case you didn’t know, is a small burger chain in California that’s gained a substantial and devoted following. So being compared to it is very high praise indeed.

Mama Burger recently marked its first anniversary. More about Mama Burger can be read here.

Notes from the road March 27, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Books, Events, Food, History, Motels, Motorcycles, Museums, Preservation, Railroad, Restaurants, Road trips, Signs, Theaters, Towns, Web sites.
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A vintage image of the Tower Theater in Oklahoma City.

The neon sign of the historic Tower Theater in Oklahoma City will be relighted during a ceremony Friday evening.

The theater, at 425 NW 23rd St. in Oklahoma City, will see its restored neon blazing away again at 6:30 p.m. that day after decades in the dark.

Here’s more about the theater, according to records by the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program:

Part of a 1926 retail complex, the Tower Theater has stood as a landmark on Route 66 since 1937. The theater is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. [...] When overall restorations of the theater are complete, it will serve as a film and performing arts venue. The retail complex will provide restaurant, retail, and office space.

The Tower received a grant from the program to help restore the sign.

To give you an idea of what you will see next week, here’s a recent photo of the Tower’s sign.

— Here’s an interesting new blog about the history of Joplin, Mo.

— The Pow Wow Inn, a motel in Tucumcari, N.M., that was run by the now-deceased Bettie Ditto for decades, is up for sale. Here are the details from Scoggin Blue, a Realtor based in Albuquerque and Las Cruces.

— The Pre-1916 Motorcycle Cannonball Run is set for Sept. 10-26, and much of the path will be on Route 66 from Albuquerque westward. And, yes, all of the motorcycles participating will be 1916 models and earlier.

— Gordo, proprietor of the Handcolored66.com photographs site, launched a blog and is posting from the Mother Road.

— You don’t see a lot about the Route 66 town of West Hollywood, Calif., mostly because the greater Los Angeles region tends to overshadow everything. This feature by the San Francisco Chronicle should partly remedy this.

— A monthly farmers market makes its debut this morning at the historic Harvey House in Barstow, Calif. The Harvey House also serves as home to the Barstow Route 66 Mother Road Museum.

— Speaking of Harvey Houses, “Roadfood” authors Jane and Michael Stern review for the New York Times the  “Appetite for America” book, which chronicles those railroad hospitality sites that greatly impacted the Southwest.

— Speaking of railroads, Parade magazine listed Amtrak’s Southwest Chief, which follows much of Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles, as one of the greatest train rides in America.

GrahamSpencer, a strategic communications firm based in Ridgway, Colo., and Rockford, Ill., recently received 10 awards from the American Advertising Association. The company was awarded Best of Show for its Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway Web site and Best of Media for a video about the Palms Grill on Route 66 in Atlanta, Ill.

— Lonely Planet has come up with 10 destinations for those with a mid-life crisis. Route 66 is one of them.

— Claudia Heller, in her ongoing series about Route 66 in Southern California, tells about the orange groves that once dominated that San Gabriel Valley.

The way of Waldmire March 26, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, People.
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A YouTube poster by the name of “dguerraphoto” just uploaded this moving short film about Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire, when he was dying of abdominal cancer in November.

I commend it to your attention:

I’ll post more information about the filmmaker as soon as I get it.

UPDATE: I got this message from the fimmaker:

My name is Danielle Guerra and I did the video for AARP Bulletin Today, the website. They used a shorter version than this one so I figured I would put the longer version up for people to see. [...] For the short time I knew Bob, I could tell he was an unforgettable character.

UPDATE2: Here’s the article that accompanied Guerra’s video for AARP Bulletin Today.

Route 66 sites again make Preservation Oklahoma’s endangered list March 25, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Preservation.
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For the second consecutive year, Preservation Oklahoma has placed Route 66 sites on its 2010 list of the most-endangered historic sites.

From the group’s Web site:

Across the state, and even the country, buildings, bridges and other structures, and even paving materials are linked to the well-known history of Route 66.  These resources share in the same arc of development and growth, and then decline as interstate highways moved the traffic, and the money, away.    Some are well-known, or at least easily recognized, by their architecture, vintage, and remaining signage.  Others have been disguised through the years by insensitive updates and additions, and lay waiting either to be restored or lost.  So many others have already been demolished, even when their history was well documented.  This year, we highlighted examples of filling stations, one of the most iconic features of the Mother Road, with examples of those that are extant and in good condition, altered, and recently lost.

Preservation Oklahoma is a  private, nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting and coordinating historic preservation throughout the state.

(Via OKGazette.com)

Renovation reveals a ghost March 25, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Museums, Preservation, Signs.
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Renovations on an old building in downtown Pontiac, Ill., for the soon-to-open International Walldog Mural and Sign Art Museum revealed a long-forgotten wall sign, or “ghost sign,” as they’re frequently called.

A news release from Pontiac Tourism tells the story:

According to Milt Hanson, the city’s Building Maintenance Supervisor, as his crew were preparing to paint the back room of the building, a faded, partially cracked painted sign was found.  Probably painted in the early part of the last century, the sign was an advertisement for one of the clothing stores which previously occupied the space.

Since the new museum will, in part, focus on the history of outdoor, painted wall advertisements and the artists who created them, the recently discovered sign will be preserved and made into one of the many displays planned for the museum.

The museum will open May 1, coinciding with the Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival. Among other things, the museum will display images of outdoor signs associated with the development of Route 66.

“Somewhere in New Mexico” March 24, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music.
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I find more interesting and meaningful layers in this song by Jill Sobule every time I hear it.

At the drive-in March 23, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Movies.
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Here’s a collection of intermission advertisements that you often saw in drive-in movie theaters of the 1960s.

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