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View from the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge August 25, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Highways.
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If you’ve never walked on what is now a pedestrian and bicycle trail on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge that connects Madison, Ill., over the Mississippi River to St. Louis, these two videos by the same person should suffice for now. The bridge was a part of Route 66 for decades.

The second video shows the water intake towers in the middle of the river that the City of St. Louis used. It also shows the natural chain of rocks in the river that prevented many a barge from using the river during certain times of the year until a nearby Chain of Rocks Canal was built in the 1950s.

On the other side of the old bridge is the new Chain of Rocks Bridge, which is Interstate 270.

And, yes, it gets very windy in the middle of the old bridge.

Town will receive historical certification August 25, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Preservation, Towns.
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The active Route 66 town of Atlanta, Ill., will receive another feather in its cap — the National Park Service is set to certify it for its historic preservation, reports the Lincoln Courier.

It would be the 61st city in Illinois to receive this certification, which opens it up for preservation grants and other aid. The Atlanta Historic Preservation Commission recently was certified as an arm of the city.

The Atlanta commission has designated two landmarks. The first was Hawes Elevator, an original wooden grain elevator. The second is the Killian residence at 307 S. Martin St., one of Atlanta’s oldest homes, built in the late 1840s.

“We’re getting ready for our third landmark site,” Martin said. “We have a short stretch of original Route 4 on the west side of Atlanta. It has original concrete and markers and a culvert. It’s part of what eventually became Route 66.”

The commission is also beginning to look at most of the downtown area, which they hope to designate as a historic district.

“That’s another tool that we can use to help preserve the history of Atlanta,” Thomas said. “We can leverage the Route 66 heritage we have.”

I’m certain the Atlanta commission will soon certify other landmarks, including its library and the recently restored Palms Grill.

UPDATE: WEEK-TV in Peoria recently produced a video segment about Atlanta.

Tulsa project wins grant for observation deck August 25, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Railroad.
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About $400,000 in Oklahoma Centennial funds will be used to help build the Red Fork Derrick observation deck at the Route 66 Station park in west Tulsa, reports the Tulsa World.

The replica of the Tulsa County’s first oil well will reportedly be as high at 150 feet tall. However, other reports indicate it will be 80 feet tall. Either way, you’ll be able to see a long way from the top of it.

Local TV station KOTV also has details about the centennial earmark, including that a refurbished 1942 steam locomotive will be moved there. The Route 66 Park will be a tribute to transportation. More details and drawings of the park can be seen here.

Wigwam Motel is among world’s quirkiest August 24, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Motels.
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The TripAdvisor travel community released its list of the world’s quirkiest motels, and a Route 66 establishment made the top 10.

At the No. 9 slot is the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Ariz.:

Its second year on the top ten quirky hotel list and with a unique price to match, the Wigwam Motel is a series of teepee-style cement tents along the legendary U.S. Route 66 that offers kitschy fun. A throwback to the 50’s with classic cars parked outside, an old railroad nearby and vintage accommodations inside the teepees, Wigwam is a great stop for travelers looking to step back to simpler times. According to a TripAdvisor traveller, “The Wigwam Motel is a unique retro motel, one of the few of its kind left in the USA.”

It’s the second straight year the Wigwam has made the list.

There are others of the same design: the Wigwam Motel on Route 66 in Rialto, Calif., and Wigwam Village No. 2 in Cave City, Ky.

County can take over Route 66 police station August 24, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Preservation.
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The Bloomington Pantagraph reports that Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich signed legislation on Thursday that gives Livingston County the option to take over ownership of the old Illinois State Police headquarters on old Route 66 near Pontiac.

The county has the option to pay $10 for the unique gun-shaped building, built in 1941, and the land. State police quit using the building in 2004.

Local officials have discussed converting the building, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, into a tourism center or museum.

Who will own Red Rock Park? August 23, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Events, Towns.
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The Gallup (N.M.) Independent published a fascinating story about future-ownership controversy over nearby Red Rock Park.

The city owns the park, which hosts the popular Gallup Inter-Tribal Indian Ceremonial and other events each year. But maintaining the park has put a strain on the city’s budget — and Red Rock needs millions of dollars more in improvements.

The state said it would approve the millions needed in exchange for the deed. But the city now is reluctant to turn over the deed because it fears the state would shut the park down in a few years. And no deal has been approved by the state yet.

So the future of Red Rock Park remains in limbo.

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