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Route 66 photo exhibit opens in Tulsa on Friday September 30, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Events, Photographs, Road trips.
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An exhibit by photographer Jessica Harvey, “Mother Road,” opens Friday at the Hardesty Arts Center in downtown Tulsa, with noted “Route 66: The Mother Road” author and Route 66 Alliance co-founder Michael Wallis speaking during the exhibition’s opening.

According to a news release from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, Wallis mentored Harvey for her two-month solo journey on Route 66. “Mother Road” will be on display at the Hardesty Arts Center through Nov. 23. “Mother Road” also includes artifacts and stories.

More photos from the exhibit:

More about the event:

Mother Road is a project derived from the history and myths that come from traveling Route 66, which illustrates journeys – both personal and shared – through road trips, driving and discovery.  Harvey displays artifacts and photographs from her own Route 66 odyssey, and invites the public to explore her studio at AHHA where they may offer their own personal artifacts and record individual stories and memories.  This shared project aims to reveal how a diverse group of people collectively feel about travel, Americana, and the culture of the great American road trip. Harvey’s solo road trip along Route 66 began in early September and will conclude at the end of the month, when she returns to Tulsa.

Wallis’ remarks will be at 7 p.m. Friday. The opening reception runs from 6 to 9 p.m. that day.

Harvey also will host a slide show at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 6.

You also can see many of Harvey’s images at her tumblr account.

On a related note, the Hardesty Arts Center and the Woody Guthrie Center are hosting the Mother Road Film Festival during October. Matinee films will be screened at the Woody Guthrie Center, 102 E. Mathew B. Brady St. Screenings are curated by artist Harvey and include:

  • “No More Road Trips” by Rick Prelinger, 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5. It will be narrarated by Wallis.
  • “Tulsa: Finding 66″ by Ed Taylor, 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25. Panel discussion will follow with Ed Taylor and Tulsa Community College broadcast journalism students.

Screenings are free with admission to the Woody Guthrie Center.

(Images courtesy of the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa)

A look back at the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival September 25, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Music, Towns.
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The folks in Springfield, Missouri, already are publicizing next year’s Birthplace of Route 66 Festival — scheduled for Aug. 7-8 — by showing a few of the highlights of the festival last month.

That includes a performance of “Chicken Train” by some local legends, the Ozark Mountain Daredevils.

Birthplace of Route 66 Festival from SGF CityView on Vimeo.

Roger Miller Festival moving from downtown Erick September 24, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Music.
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The annual Roger Miller Festival is moving from its longtime downtown location in his adopted hometown of Erick, Oklahoma, to the Lost Creek Arena west of town on old Route 66, according to a news release from the venue.

The event — which will feature lots of live music, including Roger Miller’s son, Dean Miller — is set for Oct. 25. The festival also is getting aid and cooperation from nearby towns, including the Route 66 communities of Sayre, Oklahoma, and Shamrock, Texas.

More from the release:

Kicking off the day’s festivities is a new tradition bound to heat up old rivalries and start new ones, with the first-ever Oklahoma-vs-Texas “King of the Road Classic Car and Truck Show.” Winners in various classes will be awarded a unique 1st place prize: A custom-made, personalized Roger Miller “King of the Road” jacket. Show entries will be placed in categories such as the “Baddest Pick-Up Truck” class for the toughest, strongest and best looking trucks.

Festival goers will enjoy live music, savory food from an excellent vendor lineup and shopping with the local arts and crafts booths. Inclement weather will not hinder festivities with activities held inside the enclosed arena, excluding the car and truck show. [...]

Guests may bring chairs and camp out all weekend. Additional detailed information and tickets sales will be announced soon. Fans can keep up with the festival on www.rogermillerfest.com and Facebook.

The Lost Creek Arena hosted the inaugural Buckin Wild Music Festival in July, and drew 3,000 people. I suspect the city fathers in Erick saw those numbers and decided they could do a lot better than in downtown, where space and parking are a bit lacking.

Plus the venue’s owner, Brian Austin, has connections to the music industry and publicists — no small thing if you’re organizing what essentially is a music festival.

And in case you’re not familiar with Roger Miller, here’s a short bio:

Country music singer and songwriter legend Roger Miller came from humble beginnings on a farm near Erick, but rose to stardom in the country music world in the 1960s until his untimely death in 1992. With such legendary hits as “King of the Road” and “Dang Me,” Roger made a name for himself as an original. He also wrote #1 Hits such as “Invitation to the Blues” for other artists including Ray Price. He penned the hit Broadway musical, “Big River,” which earned seven Tony Awards in 1985. Roger Miller was voted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1973 and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1995. His iconic music was recognized with 11 Grammy Awards during his lifetime.

(Illustration of Roger Miller via Klaus Hiltscher via Flickr)

Class of 2014 for Oklahoma Route 66 Hall of Fame announced September 13, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Books, Events, Museums, People, Route 66 Associations.
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Author Marian Clark of Tulsa and the late J.M. Davis of Claremore will be inducted Oct. 18 into the Oklahoma Route 66 Hall of Fame at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton, according to a release from the Oklahoma Route 66 Association.

The ceremony is slated for 2 p.m. and will be free to the public. A plaque for each winner will be placed on the Wall of Honor at the museum. An association panel selects two winners — one living and one dead — from a list of nominations every two years.

Marian Clark

Clark is most famous for writing cookbooks, using recipes from Route 66 restaurants or facsimiles of dishes from long-gone eateries, including “The Route 66 Cookbook” and “Hogs on 66.”

Clark is a native of the Texas Panhandle but has lived in Tulsa for more than 30 years. She resides a few blocks from the Mother Road, which kindled her interest in the highway.

Davis managed the Mason Hotel in Claremore, but became famous internationally for his enormous gun and arms collection and the museum that eventually was built to house it, the J.M. Davis Arms and Historical Museum that opened on Route 66 in Claremore in 1969. Davis died in 1973 and was buried on the museum grounds.

The ceremony next month also will mark the 25th anniversary of the nonprofit Oklahoma Route 66 Association, which aims to “promote, enhance, perpetuate, encourage the development of tourism, economic opportunities, and historic resources and landmarks along Oklahoma’s section of Route 66.”

Southwest Missouri county will dedicate three historic sites September 12, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Events, Motels, Preservation, Signs.
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The Greene County Historic Sites Board on Saturday will dedicate three locations west of Springfield, Missouri, along Route 66 as historic sites, reported the Springfield News-Leader.

One of the ceremonies will include a lightning ceremony for a restored neon sign at a former tourist cabin complex.

The sites are:

  • Barnes Town & Country, 8240 W. Highway 266, formerly known as the Barnes General Store.
  • Main Street Feeds, 8270 W. Highway 266, formerly known as Barnes Feed Mill.
  • R&S Memorial Decorations, 9323 W. Highway 266, formerly known as Graystone Heights Modern Cabins, built in 1935. The ceremony will include a lighting ceremony for the restoration of the cabins’ original sign between 5 and 8 p.m. Saturday. You can see an image of the restored sign here.

Other historic sites along Route 66 in that area are Bennett one-room school, Clearwater Angus Farm, Yeakley Chapel, and the ghost town of Plano.

R&S owners John and Alexa Schweke, who are restoring at least two of the cabins, said they were inspired by the movie “Cars”:

In fact, seeing that movie is what got him started thinking about the importance of his property’s history, including the demise of little businesses like Graystone Heights after interstates replaced Route 66.

“It didn’t really hit me and hit my heart until I saw that movie,” he said.

Two years ago, the Schwekes joined the Route 66 Association and got the ball rolling for their property’s designation as a Greene County Historic Landmark and for restoration of the original sign.

All of those sites are within a short drive of each other, on a nice stretch of old 66 that veers away from the interstate and provides a glimpse of the past.

UPDATE 9/15/2014: Swa Frantzen, owner of the first Route 66 site on the Internet, happened to be traveling in the region that weekend and snapped this photo of the restored Graystone Heights Modern Cabins sign:

(Image of Greystone Heights Modern Cabins courtesy of 66Postcards.com)

Electric vehicle museum opens in Kingman September 12, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Museums, Preservation, Vehicles.
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The exhibit of electric vehicles at the Powerhouse Visitors Center on Route 66 in Kingman, Arizona, during the International Route 66 Festival last month has become a permanent museum to EVs, with more vehicles coming soon.

According to a story on EV News Report, the Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation‘s exhibit was visited by people from 28 states and 20 countries. It was decided to make the exhibit a permanent museum, called the Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum.

Route 66 enthusiast Jim Hinckley said by email that more EVs will arrive in the coming months, and the foundation within the next few years will check whether a larger site for the museum is needed.

The foundation’s executive director, Roderick Wilde, credited Hinckley and Kingman city manager John Dougherty for the exhibit’s success and their enthusiasm for a museum. According to the EV News Report:

Jim Dougherty said the EV display was an exciting addition to the Powerhouse complex and that the city looks forward to further cooperation with the HEVF. Josh Nobel, Executive Director of Tourism, for Kingman stated: “The Route 66 Festival provided a suitable platform for the historic electric vehicle symposium, but it became evident the display was solid on it’s own.”

There was a very wide range of vehicles displayed from 1909 to the present, the oldest being a 1909 Ellwell-Parker baggage tug owned by Bob Oldfather, HEVFs Archivist. This is only one of two known to exist in the world. The newest EV was a sleek Tesla Model S graciously displayed during the opening day by its owner, Tudor Melville. John Wayland, another HEVF board member, brought his famous street legal electric drag car, “The White Zombie” all the way from Portland, Oregon. Also on display was the world’s first electric street rod, built by Wilde Evolutions in Jerome, Arizona back in 1995. Roderick Wilde brought his 1930 Detroit Electric and several US made electric micro cars which were built in California in the 1940s to 1960s. [...]

The HEVF plans to add several new vehicles to the Kingman display in the coming months, including a 1912 CT electric commercial truck from Bob Oldfather’s extensive collection. You have may have heard of duallys, but this serious electric truck has triple-wide solid rubber tires front and rear mounted on wooden spoke wheels. The driver sits ten feet in the air in the cab … it’s a real monster! Also coming in October will be our newest acquisition, a ‘Bombardier’ preproduction neighborhood electric vehicle (NEV) which the Canadian company used in lobbying activities to get the US federal government to enact NEV legislation that we now enjoy today. This vehicle is being donated to the foundation by Skip Dunn, the President of the Northern New Mexico Electric Vehicle Association.

Incidentally, the Powerhouse facility also has a very nice Route 66 museum on the second floor.

(Image of John Wayland in “White Zombie” electric vehicle dragster at the entrance to the Route 66 Electric Vehicle Museum; photo by J.Bills via Historic Electric Vehicle Foundation)

Annual Cruise-In at The Mill slated for Saturday September 11, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Museums, Preservation, Restaurants, Signs, Vehicles.
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The annual Mill Car Cruise-In classic-car show will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the landmark but long-closed Route 66 restaurant in Lincoln, Illinois. The event also serves as a fundraiser in ongoing efforts to preserve The Mill.

Geoff Ladd, former leader of Logan County Tourism, a Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County board member and a key figure in The Mill’s preservation, sent along a news release about the event that contains intriguing news, including that the landmark is being considered for use as a recording studio, as well as a local museum.

Two bands — The Runner Ups and The Howell — will perform at The Mill from 4 to 6 p.m. Saturday. Ladd explained the bands’ performances won’t be just for entertainment:

“We’re trying out some ideas to multi-purpose the facility here at The Mill, while the restoration process continues. We’ll run a Vendor Market with a variety of flea market items, crafts, specialty products and antiques on a monthly basis from May-October, headed up by our new member, Andrea Dykman. We’re also having these bands play to test the waters on whether the building would be good acoustically as a possible sound studio.”

An old wooden structure such as The Mill may very well be ideal for recording purposes, so the idea isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds on first blush.

The vendor market will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

Other nuggets of information:

  • The group is planning a crowdsourcing campaign soon to help raise the remaining estimated $50,000 to finish restoring The Mill.
  • “Thanks to a very special anonymous donation, we will also have on sale made-in-the-USA T-shirts with our brand-new Mill on 66 logo on them,” Ladd said. Other collectibles also will be on sale Saturday to raise funds.
  • The City of Lincoln plans to bring The Tropics restaurant neon sign to The Mill for a photo ops. The city took down the historic sign a few months ago and plans to eventually restore it.
  • The event will be dedicated to the late Mike Fak, who died recently. Fak was the preservation group’s treasurer and helped restore the wood floors on the restaurant’s first floor.
  • Tours of The Mill will be available that day.
  • The event includes a special lunch by Hallie’s Restaurant of Lincoln, which is owned by a descendant of the family that owned The Mill during its heyday.

The Mill, which featured a Dutch-inspired design and a turning windmill, opened on U.S. 66 in 1929. The restaurant fell into decline during the 1980s and closed in 1996. It appeared in 2006 the ramshackle restaurant would be razed, but Ladd and other area preservationists intervened and formed a resurrection plan for the landmark. The Mill is on the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame, and members of the Illinois Route 66 Association has done several big renovation projects for it.

More information about The Mill and Saturday’s event can be found at SaveTheMillOnRoute66.com. The webpage also has a PayPal donation button; the group is a tax-exempt nonprofit.

(Image of The Mill courtesy of Geoff Ladd)

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