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A closer look at Tulsa’s Route 66 Village August 27, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Preservation, Railroad.
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Explore Tulsa recently uploaded this informative clip about the Route 66 Village in southwest Tulsa.

Mike Massey, train project manager, explains the vintage Frisco Meteor 4500 locomotive, rail cars and the Red Fork commemorative oil derrick on the site.

I do hope the volunteers can renovate the inside of that circa-1929 passenger car so visitors can tour it. The locomotive already is a popular photo op; having the car open again would make it a bigger destination.

While you’re at it, take a look at the future plans for the Route 66 Village.

(Image of the Frisco Meteor 4500 by Doug Wertman via Flickr)

Red Oak II now offering overnight stays July 31, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Attractions, Motels, People, Railroad.
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Red Oak II, a vivid re-creation of a now-vanished town by folk artist Lowell Davis, recently started offering overnight stays in cabins reclaimed from a former Route 66 motel in Duquesne, Missouri, reported the Joplin Globe in a feature story about Davis and his complex near Carthage, Missouri.

Also, a former mayor who resides at Red Oak II plans to install a small railroad depot at the complex.

And Jim Woestman, the former mayor of Carthage who built a home at what Davis calls “the back” of Red Oak II in which to retire. Davis has a “small project” in progress with Woestman: A train station.

“We have everything else but a train station,” Davis said. “We figured we needed one.”

Woestman also moved in the duplex cabins that once formed the Star Motel and Trailer Court at Newman and Duquesne roads in Duquesne, which he opened to vacationers for the first time earlier this month.

Neither the article nor the Red Oak II website contained more details about the cabins. However, a post July 23 on the Facebook page of Red Fork II said overnight stays were available and to call 417-237-0808 for more information.

We reported in March 2013 about Red Oak II moving the Star Motel cabins, including this photo. The cabins are 1920s-style duplexes that actually were built in the 1970s.

On a side note, the Globe article mentions Red Oak II was inspired by the small town of Red Oak on Route 66 northeast of Carthage. However, I’ve found no records of a town by that name in any reference materials about Route 66.

However, the small settlement of Red Oak may be found on State Highway YY and County Road 2032 in rural La Russell, Missouri. It is essentially a ghost town, but it does have a few remaining houses and a church, which you can see in this Google Street View image:

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The old Red Oak sits about 2.8 miles north of Highway 96, which is old Route 66 in that part of Missouri.

(Hat tip: Ron Hart)


Albuquerque’s most popular filming locations July 12, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Movies, Railroad, Restaurants, Television, Towns.
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KRQE-TV in Albuquerque produced this fascinating story about the city’s most popular filming locations for movies, television series and commercials.

Not surprisingly, several exist on Central Avenue, aka Route 66 — Lindy’s Coffee Shop and Loyola’s Family Restaurant.

The station reported:

So why are Lindy’s and Loyola’s attractive for filmmakers?

“They’re still period, they still look like they did maybe in the 50′s or 60′s,” said Ann Lerner, the city’s film liaison. “So they don’t have to build a set… they can go to a practical location.”

Score another one for historic preservation.

(Image of Lindy’s by Glen’s Pics via Flickr)

La Posada owner commits to buying Plaza Hotel June 25, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Movies, Preservation, Railroad, Television.
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Allan Affeldt, co-owner of the historic La Posada hotel in Winslow, Arizona, announced Tuesday night in a Facebook post that he signed a contract to buy the historic Plaza Hotel in downtown Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Affeldt’s wish to own the Plaza Hotel had been known for weeks. He had said owning the Plaza would complement his recent purchase of the long-closed Hotel Castaneda, a former Harvey House a mile away across town. Affeldt had explained that modernizing Castaneda — basically adding bathrooms to every room — would give it only 20 guest rooms and wouldn’t be economically viable by itself. So Affeldt wanted Plaza Hotel for more revenue.

The Plaza Hotel had been in bankruptcy receivership since 2012, although it had continued to run. Deemed “The Belle of the Southwest,” the hotel was built in 1882. It underwent a $1 million renovation in 1982, and in 2009 bought the next-door Charles Ifeld Building for more guest rooms, a ballroom and meeting areas. The hotel also is home to the popular Landmark Grill, and has hosted everyone from western star Tom Mix to scenes in the Oscar-winning film “No Country for Old Men.”

In fact, in Affeldt’s Facebook post, he posted a photo of a film crew preparing to shoot a scene for the A&E network’s western series, “Longmire.”

Affeldt completed the purchase in April of Hotel Castaneda, which was built in 1898 and closed as a hotel more than 60 years ago. Because of Affeldt’s well-known success in reviving La Posada, the town and state officials celebrated the purchase of Castaneda, including a visit from the governor just days after the deal closed.

Affeldt bought La Posada, built in 1929, during the 1990s and restored it into one of the most popular and praised lodging properties in the Southwest.

Las Vegas sits a few miles from old Route 66, but has become a popular side trip for travelers on the Mother Road’s Santa Fe Loop.

(Image of the Plaza Hotel by S.A. Sanabria via Flickr)

Grand Canyon Railway bringing out steam engine for Father’s Day weekend May 31, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Preservation, Railroad.
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The Grand Canyon Railway, based in the Route 66 town of Williams, Arizona, will bring back a 1923 steam locomotive and Pullman cars for special displays and excursions on Father’s Day weekend, June 14-15.

It’s part of the railroad’s first Williams Train Days festival, which, according to the news release, will have other goodies that many Route 66 fans will like:

This historic operating railroad is firing up its 1923 steam engine for the occasion and pulling out rarely seen equipment, rolling-stock and memorabilia. To complement the glory days of rail travel, vintage and classic automobile exhibits take center stage at the GCR depot and in Williams on iconic Route 66. Vintage tractor and farm equipment will also be on display.

On Saturday, June 14 and Sunday, June 15 the GCR will operate the Cataract Creek Rambler—a special, one-hour roundtrip excursion from Williams, AZ through the Arizona pine forest in vintage Pullman cars pulled by steam locomotive No. 4960. While the Grand Canyon Railway operates 364 days a year (closed Christmas Day) and is normally powered with diesel engines, the Cataract Creek Rambler will make special trips Father’s Day weekend that depart at 11:00 a.m., 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m., with a special sunset departure Saturday evening at 6:00 p.m. Tickets to this unforgettable experience are value-priced at $15 for adults, $10 for children ages 2-15 and free for children ages 2 and under. Tickets will be available at the Williams Depot ticket counter on the day of travel. No advance reservations available.

Here’s a video about the Cataract Creek Rambler from two years ago:

The event promises a lot of neat stuff, and the price of the train trips themselves that day are a good value. I wouldn’t show up at the last minute for one of those excursions.

El Garces reopens Saturday May 2, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Events, Preservation, Railroad.
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The City of Needles, California, has planned an 11 a.m. ribbon-cutting ceremony Saturday for the remodeling and reopening of the long-closed El Garces intermodal transportation facility, reported the Mohave Valley Daily News.

In addition to public speakers, the event at the former Harvey House will feature:

  • A farmers market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • An antique car cruise.
  • A Taste of Needles, which includes breakfast and lunch by the Elks Lodge and fry bread from the Mohave tribe.
  • The tribe will sell jewelry and make a special historic presentation.
  • An open house from 9 a.m. to noon by the Needles Chamber of Commerce.
  • Friends of the Needles Centennial will serve refreshments from the Needles High School culinary arts class.

In addition to its use as a railroad depot, Needles plans to open the facility for small-business tenants.

Renovations took $5 million from the Federal Transit Administration. The city had hoped the FTA would allow an ownership transfer to La Posada owner Allan Affeldt so he could convert El Garces into a hotel. However, FTA disallowed the transfer, and Affeldt walked away from the project so the city could use the funds, despite his spending considerable amounts of money. The city has used the federal funds to renovate and enclose the building with windows and doors, plus adding plumbing and electrical lines.

Affeldt has moved on to other things, including buying the Castaneda Hotel in Las Vegas, N.M., and possibly buying the historic Plaza Hotel there as well.

El Garces opened in 1908, halted operations as a Harvey House in 1949, and entirely in 1988. Friends of El Garces persuaded the city to buy the property in 1999, and it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2002. El Garces sits next to an older downtown alignment of Route 66.

UPDATE 5/5/2014: The Mohave Valley Daily News filed this report about the reopening of El Garces. I sounds like folks were really excited about it.

(Image of El Garces shortly after it opened in 1908, via City of Needles)


La Posada owner completes purchase of Hotel Castaneda April 8, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Preservation, Railroad.
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As expected, Allan Affeldt, co-owner of historic La Posada in Winslow, Ariz., on Monday closed on his purchase of the long-closed Hotel Castaneda, aka La Castaneda, in Las Vegas, N.M.

Affeldt said in a Facebook post:

Purchased Fred Harvey’s 1898 Hotel Castaneda today.

It closed as a hotel in 1948 so we have one week to get it safe and clean for Governor Martinez’ visit on the 14th at noon.

To have New Mexico’s governor visit barely a week after you buy a long-decaying property tells you how momentous the occasion is. People have prayed, probably for decades, that someone would buy and restore the property, and Affeldt practically is the best person to do so.

Las Vegas sits a few miles from old Route 66, but has become a common side trip for travelers exploring the 1926-37 alignment of the road that looped to Santa Fe.

Affeldt saved La Posada, built in 1929, after he bought the long-closed property in the 1990s and restored it.

Also on Monday, a post on La Posada’s Facebook page also contained intriguing, semi-related news:

There is a sad story behind this picture. This is all that remains of The Havasu Harvey House that was torn down in Seligman (Ariz.) in 2008 by the railroad. The Havasu was a rare prairie style Harvey House and it had a sturdy red tile roof. These are the tiles that were salvaged from that roof. We hope to use these tiles when restoring other historic building. Today we received our first shipment. We will receive 125 pallets of these historic tiles over the next few days.

It wouldn’t surprise me if some of those tiles will be used at the Hotel Castaneda as well.

The Havasu in Seligman was torn down despite efforts of local preservationists, including Arizona Historic Route 66 Association founder Angel Delgadillo.

(Image of La Castaneda in Las Vegas, N.M., by Perry Nelson via Flickr)

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