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Old gas station will be converted into a barbershop September 12, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Gas stations, Preservation.
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A reputed former Sinclair gas station in Springfield, Missouri, soon will reopen as a barbershop and waxing studio later this fall, reported the News-Leader newspaper.

The station is just a few hundred feet south of the College Street alignment of Route 66.

Dacy and Ryan Mulcahy agreed to buy the station at 640 W. Walnut St. from Jeff Schrag, founder and owner of the nearby Mother’s Brewing Co., which took its name from one of Route 66’s nickname, the Mother Road. Here’s a Google Street View image of the station:


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More details from the newspaper:

Rogue Barber Co. will feature classic barber techniques like straight razor shaving by Ryan, a licensed barber who studied at Academy of Hair Design. The business will also include a waxing salon run by Dacy, a photographer and licensed aesthetician and massage therapist. They may later add a cosmetologist, she said, for women’s cuts. [...]

The Mulcahys initially looked for space in the heart of downtown. A friend suggested they check out the old filling station, Dacy said. With renewed interest in Route 66, one block over, and location, “we got a feel for the direction my husband wanted to go with the decor and the vibe of the building. We are super happy it all worked out,” Dacy said.

Plans include selling Route 66 items and a line of personal products, perhaps a soap made with Mother’s beer.

The Mulcahys plan to keep the building’s vintage look, as shown by an artist’s rendering of the renovated station.

Marty Stuart song inspired by Route 66 stop September 10, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Animals, Gas stations, Music.
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I’ve known about this song for 15 years, but country-music artist Marty Stuart revealed in a recent story in American Songwriter magazine that his 1999 song “The Observations of a Crow” drew its inspiration during a stop on Route 66.

Stuart explained how the song happened:

It was when I was writing “The Pilgrim.” My antenna was up really high if you know what I mean. And I was riding through the West. I think we were pulling off of the interstate and we pulled off on Route 66 somewhere just to get fuel in the bus. It was like one of the places, it looked like a ghost town. There was just a few locals around.

But I happened to look up. And there was a crow sitting on the electrical line. And I couldn’t take my eyes off him. I’ve always been fascinated by crows, I’ve always loved crows. But as people would come and go, the few people that there were, that crow never left. He kept hanging out. And I thought, “The Observations Of A Crow.” And it was that simple but it was an occurrence that came to me on Route 66 somewhere.

Alas, Stuart didn’t elaborate where on Route 66 this occurred. And the range of the typical American crow is very wide.

Here’s a performance of the song on Stuart’s terrific RFD-TV television show, with an arrangement very close to the original:

Incidentally, a few Bob Dylan fans thought Stuart ripped off part of Dylan’s “Things Have Changed.” I’m highly skeptical, because Stuart’s song was out a year before Dylan’s. Anyway, it turns out Dylan was a big fan of Stuart’s song. Stuart told American Songwriter:

Well, actually, one night, this is probably close to ten years ago now, Bob and I hung out. I took him to my warehouse to see all the country music treasures I have. Bob said, “Hey, I like that ‘Crow’ song. I might borrow something out of that someday. I said, “Well, I probably borrowed it from you in the first place. Go ahead.”

Stuart didn’t exactly deny the resemblance between the songs. And Dylan has his own alleged history of lifting melodies from other artists.

(Image of Marty Stuart at the Grand Ole Opry in March 2008 by Karen Miller via Flickr)

Pops opens a stand at the Tulsa airport September 6, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Food, Gas stations, Restaurants.
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In addition to its flagship location on Route 66 in Arcadia, Oklahoma, and a satellite location at Will Rogers World Airport in Oklahoma City, Pops in recent days opened a new location inside Tulsa International Airport.

The report from KOTV in Tulsa:

News9.com – Oklahoma City, OK – News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Unless you’re a passenger on a flight there, don’t go looking to go there, however.

It’s past the security checkpoint, near Concourse A. [...]

Even though this Pops is smaller, it still features the best flavors you’ll find at the original store in Arcadia.

The original Pops in Arcadia features a restaurant, gas station, convenience store, and more than 500 types of soda. In less than a decade, it’s become a major Route 66 landmark.

(Image of the soda display at Pops in Arcadia, Oklahoma, by Matt Grimm via Flickr)

Miniature created of 4 Women on the Route station August 28, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Attractions, Gas stations.
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Willem Bor strikes again. The craftsman from the Netherlands, who has made miniature models of numerous Route 66 landmarks, created a new one of 4 Women on the Route 66 in Galena, Kansas, which now is known as Cars on the Route.

According to the Joplin Globe, the miniature was hand-delivered by fellow countryman and Route 66 aficionado Dries Bessels.

The model shows exactly how the attraction looked about two years ago, when the business was called 4 Women on the Route.

Located on the corner of Old Route 66 and Main Street, the former service station was transformed into a roadside diner and souvenir shop in 2007.

A yellow chair and a flower planter were placed in front of the red and white model building, and signs that were in the window also were added.

Melba Rigg, who manages the business, said she cried when she saw the model for the first time earlier this month in Kingman, Arizona, during the Route 66 International Festival.

KODE-TV also filed this report:

Bor’s blog also has a post and a photo from the International Route 66 Festival in Kingman, Arizona, when the miniature was presented to Rigg.

More of Bor’s creations can be seen here.

Cars on the Route was a former Kan-0-Tex gas station that was converted into a small cafe and souvenir shop. But it’s biggest claim to fame is it has a 1951 International boom truck that served as the inspiration to the Tow Mater character in the 2006 Disney-Pixar movie “Cars.”

A promotional video for Kansas Route 66 August 3, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Businesses, Gas stations, Museums, Restaurants, Towns.
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Check out this well-made, three-minute video for Kansas Route 66, made for Kansas Byways.

Route 66 MASTER from Gizmo Pictures on Vimeo.

The segment was produced by Gizmo Pictures, a film and video production company in Topeka, Kansas.

(A scene from downtown Baxter Springs, Kansas, by Aaron Sumner via Flickr)

Fran Houser puts her Sunflower Station up for sale July 30, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Gas stations, People, Restaurants.
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Fran Houser, former owner of the Route 66 landmark Midpoint Cafe and Gift Shop in Adrian, Texas, has put her western-themed antiques and crafts store, Sunflower Station, up for sale so she can spend more time with family members out west.

Houser started Sunflower Station two years ago after she sold the Midpoint to Dennis Purschwitz, who continues to run the restaurant and shop today. Because the store was next door in a long-closed 1930s gas station, it enabled her to visit with longtime customers of the restaurant.

She initially planned to run the store just two to three days a week. But it proved more popular than anticipated, and she was forced to extend her hours.

“Had I known it would have done that well, I would have started it years ago and hired someone else to be behind the grill of the Midpoint,” she laughed.

“I’ve had a wonderful two years there,” she said. “But my family wants me to be available when they do things. I want someone there who appreciates travelers on Route 66. It’s been a work of love.”

When she ran the Midpoint, Houser attracted worldwide notice for the the restaurant’s hospitality and its delicious “ugly crust pies.” Houser gained more fame when she became as an inspiration to the Flo character in the original Disney-Pixar “Cars” movie in 2006.

The building contains three rooms, and with a negotiable asking price of $195,000. Those interested in the property should call Houser at 806-538-6380.

(Images courtesy of Fran Houser)

Outdoor concert will benefit Sprague’s station July 26, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Gas stations, Preservation.
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An outdoor benefit concert by a local country-music band for the Sprague’s Super Service station in Normal, Illinois, will be coupled with free tours of the historic facility Sunday by owner Terri Ryburn, reported WJBC radio.

Sprague’s Super Service 305 E. Pine St. in Normal is hosting an outdoor concert from 3 to 6 p.m. Sunday. The local classic country group Wagon Load A Trouble will perform and an authentic Route 66 road marker will be raffled. [...]

The event is free but donations are encouraged to help with restoration. Ryburn said the goal is to restore the building to its original 1930s form while adding a visitors center, coffee shop, entertainment space and a bed and breakfast.

“The short term goal now is to finish the downstairs and rent that out as event space, so I can get some income to finish my plans,” Ryburn said. “I can’t afford the equipment for a restaurant now.”

Ryburn told the radio station that renovations on the station are about halfway done, and several thousands of dollars are needed to finish it.

You can hear Ryburn’s 13-minute interview on the station below.

The Sprague station was built in 1931 on Route 66 by William Sprague. It was a unique in it was designed as a gas station and residence. It sold City Service gas, but morphed into other businesses by the 1940s, and the pumps were removed by 1979. It’s on the National Register of Historic Places.

Terri Ryburn purchased the station in 2006.

(Image of Sprague Super Service station by Larry Myhre via Flickr)

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