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Illinois county gets $2 million grant for Route 66 Bike Trail March 20, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Uncategorized.
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McLean County, Ill., has received $2 million in state funds to build a five-mile segment of the Route 66 Bike Trail from the north side of Normal to Towanda, according to the Bloomington Pantagraph.

The newspaper said:

County Engineer Eric Schmitt said a stretch from Towanda Avenue in north Normal to County Highway 29 in Towanda will cost 1.9 million, including engineering costs.  Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program funds will cover $1.5 million of the cost, and communities along the route will cover the remaining 20 percent of the cost based on population.

McLean County’s share will be about $95,000; Bloomington’s share is about $157,000; and Normal’s share is $116,000. McLean, Towanda, Lexington and Chenoa will contribute the remaining amount.

Schmitt said construction should take place in 2015.

More about the Route 66 Bike Trail in Illinois may be found here. The Adventure Cycling Association plans to publish a full map later this year for cyclists who want to travel Route 66.

And I can attest from my website traffic that interest in cycling Route 66 is significant — and growing.

(Image of a segment of the Route 66 Bike Trail near Lexington, Ill., by GoILTrails via Flickr)

Dutch Route 66 Association formed January 19, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Uncategorized.
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Six Route 66 fans in the Netherlands recently formed the Dutch Route 66 Association during a dinner in Amsterdam “with the aim of promoting Route 66 and providing information to whomever has a need for it.”

At left is the group’s logo, complete with the nation’s symbolic wooden clogs.

The people who formed the group were Willem and Monique Bor (he’s known for his intricate miniatures of Route 66 landmarks), Dries Bessels (who does Route 66 motorcycle tours),  Jeroen and Maggie Boersma (enthusiastic explorers of old Route 66 alignments) and Marion Flimm.

The Dutch Route 66 Association already has a website here and a Facebook page here. In addition to two national Route 66 associations and groups in each state the highway traverses, Route 66 associations may be found in Canada, Czech Republic, Norway and Germany.

And those who would scoff at the smallness of the fledgling Dutch group should remember that both the Arizona and Illinois Route 66 associations began with just a handful of people more than 20 years ago.


Kenny Vaughan’s version of “Route 66″ September 13, 2013

Posted by Ron Warnick in Uncategorized.
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Guitar-slinger and Oklahoma native Kenny Vaughan and a group of crack musicians perform a western swing-influenced version of Bobby Troup’s most famous song, “Route 66.”

Vaughan has played guitar with a slew of people in the Nashville, but remains best known as lead guitarist for Marty Stuart and His Fabulous Superlatives.

Boots Motel needs help with “Raze the Roof” project March 6, 2013

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Preservation, Uncategorized.
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A vintage postcard of the Boots Motel, when it had a flat roof.

The Boots Motel, a Route 66 landmark in Carthage, Mo., needs both volunteer and financial assistance in the coming weeks for its “Raze the Roof” effort.

The new owners want to remove the motel’s gabled roof so its original flat roof can be restored. More from a news release by Ron Hart of the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce:

The shingled pitch-roof was added in 1978 and needs to be removed to qualify the motel for placement on the National Register of Historic Places, and obtain additional preservation grants.  Last year, the National Park Service / Route 66 Corridor Grant Program awarded the owners a matching grant of $12,000 to help remove the newer roof and restore the original flat roof.  A local roofing company submitted a bid as required on the grant application; however, the motel’s owners do not have the funds to have the pitch roof removed.

A volunteer event titled the “Raze the Roof” project is scheduled for March 23-24, with a rain date of March 30-31.  Volunteers will be removing the roof sheathing on the two motel buildings so the contractor can immediately repair the flat roofs.  If this project is not completed soon thereafter, the grant may be rescinded, which is not a good thing. [...]

I am seeking a total of eight experienced volunteer roofers to remove the shingles only, so they will need shingle-removal shovels.  Other volunteers will do the clean-up and take the removed shingles to the dumpster. This will need to happen on Saturday so the other volunteers can remove the sheathing and trusses by Sunday afternoon.

In exchange for their contribution towards this restoration-preservation project, shingle-removal workers will receive a free two-night stay at a time of their choosing. The Route 66 Chamber will also make the volunteers (and/or their employers) members of the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce and they will receive a Chamber certificate and a Certificate of Appreciation from The Boots Motel (volunteers will be listed on the websites “Volunteer Page“) and on several Facebook pages.  Breakfast, lunch and refreshments will be provided at no charge.

To raise the funds, Ed Klein’s Route 66 World site on Tuesday posted a PayPal link so contributions for the cause would be sent to [email protected]. Please select “Personal” and “Other” for your settings so the Boots is not charged a transaction fee, and remark that this is for the “Boots Roof Fund.”

Hart, who also is a property manager at the motel, reported that more than $600 has been raised so far.

Donations also can be mailed to:

Boots Motel Roof Fund
c/o Southwest Missouri Bank
P.O. Box 814
Carthage, MO. 64836-0814

Repairing the roof also would speed the renovation of the rest of the motel and nearly triple its current capacity. Just five rooms are available to overnight guests for now.

After a nearly 10-year hiatus, the Boots Motel reopened to overnight travelers in May 2012 after sisters Debye Harvey and her sister Priscilla Bledsaw bought the once-endangered property. The sisters plan to restore the landmark to its circa-1949 heyday, including a “radio in every room.”

Matriarch of Joe & Aggie’s restaurant dies July 5, 2012

Posted by Ron Warnick in People, Restaurants, Uncategorized.
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Alice Gallegos, daughter of the founders of the historic Joe & Aggie’s Cafe in Holbrook, Ariz., and a longtime co-operator of the Route 66 restaurant herself, died at age 72 on Tuesday in nearby Show Low, Ariz., according to an obituary by the funeral home.

She was born in Holbrook, the daughter of  Jesus “Joe” L. Montano and Augustina “Aggie” Tafoya Montano. The Montanos founded Joe & Aggie’s in 1943, where it became renowned for its Mexican-American food (especially its chile sauce) and long Route 66 history.

Joe & Aggie’s was even mentioned in the credits for the 2006 Disney-Pixar movie “Cars.” Pixar production crew took a trip down Route 66 about 10 years ago for research purposes, and included the restaurant as one of its stops.

On an entry in the now-inactive Joe & Aggie’s blog, it read:

Joe and Aggie’s daughter, Alice Gallegos, runs the cafe today, along with her husband, Stanley, and their kids, Steven, Kim, Troy, and Sharlene. It’s the oldest retuarant in town. Established in 1943. They continue to use Aggie’s good Mexican and American recipes and maintain a warm and friendly atmosphere.

“When we first moved here, traffic out front was terrible,” Alice remembers. “When those truckers put on their brakes to make the turn at the corner, they made so much black smoke that we would have to come in early to wipe the soot off our tables.”

And this part of the obituary made me smile:

She was a woman who loved to spend time at the casino, the beauty shop, and knocking down pins at the bowling alley. She was a very good dancer and enjoyed dancing with her husband. She loved everyone and everyone loved her.

A burial Mass will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Our Lady Of Guadalupe Catholic Church, 212 E. Arizona in Holbrook, with a viewing and Rosary starting at 9 a.m. Burial will follow at the Holbrook Cemetery under the direction of Owens Livingston Mortuary in Holbrook.

(Hat tip: Richard C. Moeur)


Famed movie studio buildings in West Hollywood to be razed March 27, 2012

Posted by Ron Warnick in Uncategorized.

The bulldozers soon will arrive for a series of buildings in West Hollywood, Calif., that once were used by the Warner Bros. and other movie studios, reported the Los Angeles Times. The buildings sit at the corner of Route 66.

The Times’ arresting lead paragraphs:

Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks worked there. So did Charlie Chaplin, Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable, Marlon Brando and practically everyone else.

Soon, though, wrecking crews will be at work at the storied West Hollywood movie lot at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Formosa Avenue.

Once known as the Warner Hollywood Studio, it’s now called “The Lot.” Its new owner, CIM Group, intends to raze its aging wooden office buildings and sound-dubbing stages and replace them with glass-and-steel structures.

The Pickford Building and the Goldwyn Building, built in the late 1920s or early 1930s, will be razed first. Later, the Writers Building, Fairbanks Building, Editorial Building and a row of production offices will be demolished. A group of buildings up to six stories tall will take their place.

The Times said:

The redevelopment plans have riled many in the entertainment industry, particularly those who know the studio from past film shoots and television programs.

“A lot of people have a lot of affection for the place,” said Doug Haines, a film editor who has worked on movies there for two decades. “You really had a sense of history when you worked there. Another glass building — that certainly says ‘Old Hollywood,’ doesn’t it?” [...]

Legend holds that a tunnel once connected the soundstages to a bar across the street — the Formosa Cafe — so that stars like Errol Flynn could slip off for drinks between scenes without being pestered by fans.

Fairbanks had a steam bath and gym and is said to have had a private outdoor area where he could exercise in the nude.

Eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes, who kept an office at the studio during his movie-making days, had a secret garage he could wheel into from Santa Monica Boulevard and park without anybody noticing.

The buildings also contain stories or relics involving Harrison Ford, George Lucas, Sam Peckinpah, D.W. Griffith, and many more.

The most aggravating part of the story is that West Hollywood officials have never taken formal action to designate The Lot as a historic landmark, even though locals long described it as one.

Preservationists at the Los Angeles Conservancy said they have been asked to help get historic landmark status conferred on the whole studio to block the demolition.

“We’ve gotten calls from people who are concerned. The problem is it’s an approved development. The West Hollywood City Council essentially has already approved the project,” said Adrian Scott Fine, the conservancy’s director of advocacy.

(Hat tip: Kevin Hansel)

Programming note January 2, 2012

Posted by Ron Warnick in Uncategorized.

If you see a few funky things on Route 66 News in the coming days, there’s probably good reason for it.

Route 66 News is moving from WordPress.com to a hosted site using the WordPress.org platform. It should be a fairly seamless transition, and you shouldn’t have to update your route66news.com bookmarks. News coverage of the Mother Road will continue as usual — or as best as possible — during this time.

I’m paying WordPress.com to make this transition, so I hold a fair amount of faith this should be accomplished with little fuss.

But, again, moving a large website goes into somewhat uncharted territory for me, and Murphy’s Law might be a factor in a few things.

The bottom line to you readers: Please hang in there, and everything will get ironed out eventually.

Incidentally, the host for the new incarnation of Route 66 News has been supplied by GRandall Web Design. Its owner, Guy Randall, has been a Route 66 enthusiast for a long time, and has built websites for several businesses on the Mother Road, as you can see here.

I’ll make more announcements about the future of Route 66 News as soon as this transition is finished and everything works smoothly. One of the changes won’t be drastic, but it should be exciting for a number of businesses associated with Route 66. Stay tuned.

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