jump to navigation

Autry museum launches fundraiser for Route 66 exhibit March 26, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, History, Museums.

The Autry National Center of the American West in Los Angeles has launched an online fundraising campaign to help pay for its upcoming and long-awaited “Route 66: The Road and the Romance,” according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.

The Autry wants to raise $66,000 within 30 days through IndieGoGo. The campaign launched Tuesday; through late Wednesday morning, it had raised more than $3,000.

The show begins June 6. Donations as low as $10 come with perks from the museum. The top tier of $10,000 gives you lunch with the museum’s president and curator, plus a slew of souvenirs and perks.

The Times also has some details about the exhibits and artifacts:

The show, which will run until Jan. 4, will include Jack Kerouac’s famed manuscript of “On the Road,” typed feverishly on a single continuous scroll; pages from John Steinbeck’s manuscript of “The Grapes of Wrath”; a Martin guitar that belonged to Woody Guthrie; Dorothea Lange’s famous photography documenting Depression-era desperation; and a new print of a photograph that L.A. artist Ed Ruscha first published in “Twentysix Gasoline Stations,” his early 1960s book documenting a trip along Route 66.

Here’s a video about the fundraiser by the museum:

(An image of the original manuscript scroll of Jack Kerouac’s “On the Road,” which will be displayed at The Autry’s Route 66 show, by Steve Rhodes via Flickr)

Fundraising launched for Route 66 billboard museum March 10, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Museums, Preservation, Signs.
Tags: ,
add a comment

A fundraising campaign has been launched for a planned Route 66 billboard museum west of Oklahoma City, according to an Associated Press report.

AP reporter Kristi Eaton, who’s posted other stories about Route 66 in Oklahoma, wrote:

Kathy Anderson, president of the nonprofit Billboard Museum Association Inc., and others envision the Billboard Museum as an educational and immersive museum along Route 66 near Bethany or Yukon that will house and display unique art and advertising dating back to the late 1800s. An indoor museum will house a variety of exhibits, while an outdoor driving loop will showcase vintage billboard structures and other signs. Buying the undeveloped land alone could cost up to $4 million, Anderson said. [...]

Anderson, joined by Jim Gleason, vice president of the association and a second generation sign-maker, and secretary-treasurer Monica Knudsen, unveiled the museum’s logo and new website at a vintage sign and mural workshop and demonstration this month for about 30 family, friends and colleagues.

Anderson said the group seeks both individual memberships and corporate sponsors. For now, Superior Neon of Oklahoma City is acting as storage for old signs and as a temporary headquarters for the museum’s organizers.

Anderson, by the way, is a former president of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association.

The group also launched a website here. Memberships start at $25 and range up to $1,000. Donations are tax-deductible. Charter memberships are available, but only through 2015.

This is an excerpt from the first two paragraphs of the website:

Love ‘em or hate ‘em, billboards are an essential part of the U.S. travelscape. Their messages have entertained us and sometimes provoked us. They’ve even been called the art gallery of the American highway. And because they are everywhere, their place in shaping and reinforcing our culture is often overlooked.

The sign industry is undergoing a digital revolution. Techniques such as hand painting, sheet tiling and pasting are fading away. These techniques along with the stories of these pioneers and artists of the billboard industry need to be preserved. The art and messages once showcased on the boards is classic and speaks to a time America is rapidly forgetting. These need to be brought back to the public view.

A mural museum devoted to outdoor advertising exists in Pontiac, Ill. But the size of the Oklahoma museum would be much larger.

It’s an idea that’s worthy — and overdue.

(Image of a billboard on Route 66 in Illinois by Peer Lawther via Flickr)

St. Clair museum will get new digs on Route 66 March 5, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Museums.
Tags: ,
add a comment

The St. Clair Historical Museum, destroyed by fire last week, will receive a new home for at least six months along Route 66 in St. Clair, Mo., reported the Washington Missourian.

The Lindemanns, who own the St. Clair Health Mart Pharmacy, 855 N. Commercial Ave., have agreed to donate office space next door to their business for at least six months so the museum can get back on its feet.

“The historical museum is one of St. Clair’s prized assets,” Lindemann told The Missourian on Monday. “Many of our citizens, both past and present, have volunteered countless hours creating the museum and maintaining our community’s historical records and exhibits. It’s important that we preserve what we can after the fire as best as possible and move forward.”

Commercial Avenue is Route 66 in St. Clair. The museum, which was razed after the fire, was at 280 Hibbard St., about two blocks south of 66 in a century-old building.

Firefighters saved some artifacts, but museum president Carol Radford said 90 percent of its collection and displays was destroyed.

The museum is raising money through a donation fund at Farmers & Merchants Bank in St. Clair to reopen. Unfortunately, the museum held just liability insurance; its contents were not insured.

“I’m still grieving,” Radford told The Missourian late last week. “That museum was so much a part of me. But I’m trying to remember that we need to carry on.” [...]

The women believe the new museum may open as early as later this month. The first item that may be on display is the 1917 diorama of the city.

Museum officers scheduled a meeting for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 11, in the conference room at the Budget Lodging motel in St. Clair to organize and plan the new museum. The public is welcome.

Investigators determined the fire was accidental.

Fire destroys St. Clair museum February 24, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Museums.
Tags: ,
add a comment

A fire Sunday night destroyed a century-old building in downtown St. Clair, Mo., that housed the St. Clair Historical Museum, reported the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and the Washington Missourian.

The museum at 280 Hibbard St. stood about two blocks south of Route 66, and it housed a Route 66 exhibit. The building previously was an Odd Fellows lodge.

KTVI-TV in St. Louis had a video report.

The tour director Patsy Todd gave the Post-Dispatch an inventory of what was lost in the fire:

A doctor’s bag, stethoscope and pill bottles from a physician who made housecalls and delivered 5,000 babies in the early 1900s. Indian artifacts. Old schoolhouse pictures. An old hoosier cabinet and washboard in a kitchen from 1928. An original $10 confederate bill. A 1913 bank ledger and the desk the first bank president sat in.

Mementos from the International Shoe Factory that was built in town in 1923. The town had raised money to build the factory. Women baked pies to auction. The original time clock used at the shoe factory and some shoes from that era burned in the fire.

The Route 66 display burned up, too. It was along a wall about nine feet long and included a glass case with photographs of businesses along what had been a gravel road. One restaurant had a sign advertising a chicken and dumplings dinner for 75 cents. [...]

She added: “I’m just crying and praying that we can get another place and rebuild.”

A firefighter suspected a squirrel chewed through an electrical wire in the attic, causing the fire.

The Post-Dispatch also had a slide show of the blaze and firefighters trying to salvage historical items.

(Hat tip: Gordon Radford)

Historic hotel in Seligman receives grant February 10, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Museums, Preservation, Railroad.
Tags: ,
1 comment so far

A group that wants to turn the century-old Cottage Hotel in Seligman, Ariz., into a visitors center and museum received a $9,000 grant from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, according to The Associated Press and a news release from the agency.

The Seligman Historical Society will use the grant to survey the property for potentially harmful asbestos and lead paint.

The group wants to renovate the hotel to display artifacts from Seligman residents, the Santa Fe railroad, and historic Route 66 before turning the hotel into a full-time visitors center and museum.

Department of Environmental Quality director Henry Darwin said:

“The Cottage Hotel was a key part of Seligman’s Route 66 history and this project will help provide an additional boost to tourism while improving the environmental quality of the community.”

The Cottage Hotel, built in 1912 at 22460 W. Schoney, sits a block north of Route 66 in the middle of town. Finding it on Google Maps is a bit wonky, but it’s almost directly behind the historic and well-maintained Supai Motel on Route 66.

According to the Historical Society, it was built as a rooming house for railway workers and cowboys and later used as a birthing place for expectant mothers. The hotel remains one of the city’s oldest buildings and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The Historical Society also has run a “buy a brick” fundraiser for the hotel for $50 or $75. The last few times we were in town, we noticed that prominent Route 66 advocate Angel Delgadillo has promoted the project at his barbershop and gift shop.

Finally, the Cottage Hotel looks a bit ragged from the photo above. However, it was repainted in recent years, as this Google Street View photo shows:

View Larger Map

(Image of the Cottage Hotel in 2010 by Pete Zarria via Flickr)

Sapulpa tourism advocate named Citizen of the Year February 9, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Gas stations, History, Museums, Preservation, Railroad.
Tags: , , ,
1 comment so far

Russell Crosby of Sapulpa, Okla., on Thursday was named the city’s 2013 Citizen of the Year for his work on the famed trolley car on Route 66 and other tourism attractions over the years, according to the Sapulpa Daily Herald.

His list of accomplishments is impressive:

His contributions in Sapulpa include the transformation of an old trolley car into a tourist stop on Historic Route 66, murals inside the Post office and the Creek County Courthouse, the Big Build playground, the restoration of the Waite Phillips Gas Station, the formation of the Sapulpa Fire Museum, the Guardian of the Plains buffalo and the documentation of the Liberty Glass legacy. He received the Governor’s Arts Award last autumn for his service to his community. [...]

He now serves Sapulpa as a member of the Sapulpa Trolley and Rail Museum, the Rotary Club of Sapulpa, the Sapulpa Historical Society Board and the Memorial Foundation. He is the vice president and general manager of the Tulsa-Sapulpa Union Railway Company, where he has worked for 39 years.

His influence extends beyond Sapulpa. The railway was instrumental in moving a historic steam engine to a Route 66 roadside park in southwest Tulsa a couple of years ago. You can see the move in this video:

(Image of the historic trolley at Sapulpa, Okla., by Kevin via Flickr)

Museum seeks Route 66 postcards for exhibit February 2, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Museums.
Tags: , ,
1 comment so far

The Cibola Art Gallery and Artifacts Museum in Grants, N.M., is seeking vintage Route 66 postcards — especially from west-central New Mexico — for an upcoming exhibit, according to a letter to the editor in the Cibola County Beacon.

The letter from the museum’s staff says the exhibit will be titled “Postcards from Route 66.” They explained:

We are seeking vintage Route 66 postcards to feature in the exhibition, especially if they highlight area landmarks between Mesita and the Continental Divide. Items can be loaned for actual display or we can digitally scan them and return them to you.

Local stories will also be featured alongside the artwork. Residents whom may have personal experiences, memories, or family history in the area during the heyday of Route 66 are also strongly encouraged to share their stories. [...]

Call 505-287-7311, drop by 1001 W. Santa Fe Ave., Grants, or email us at cibolaarts(at)7cities(d0t)net for more information.

The museum says it hopes to have the exhibit open by late spring or early summer. Those who supply postcards will be credited.

Offhand, Joe Sonderman’s 66Postcards.com and Laurel Kane’s postcards collection contain an abundance of riches for such an exhibit. I’m sure there are others. Maybe the museum staff will contact these folks, or vice versa, for help on setting up the show.

(Vintage Route 66 postcard via Postcard Farm via Flickr)

%d bloggers like this: