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Square dancing on 66 November 30, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music, People.
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The Ozark Whirlers is a square-dance club that has been based in Eldon, Mo., for 52 years, and the group still meets for dances at least twice a month, according to a feature article in the Lake Sun Leader of Camdenton, Mo. Many members are in their 70s.

And the dancers must have had some pull to do this:

John and Eleanor are both full of stories about their years of square dancing. John Stover recalled a particular event in Lebanon, Mo., when sections of Route 66 were blocked off so the dancers could get a couple of quick rounds in on the pavement.

Wikipedia contains an interesting historical overview of square dancing. Because square dancing is linked to Western swing music, it’s seen its ebbs and flows in popularity over the decades. I suspect square dancing has creeped into a “so square, it’s cool” category, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it makes a comeback one of these days.

For sale: Microsoft’s old digs November 30, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, History.

Microsoft, as just about anyone who owns a computer knows, is one of the biggest companies in the world.

Did you know it has a connection to Route 66, albeit peripheral?

Microsoft was founded by Bill Gates and Paul Allen in an office building barely a block off Route 66 in Albuquerque, at 6320 Linn Ave., and operated there from 1975 to 1979. Now, one of the offices in the complex is for sale.

The listing is here, by Maestas & Ward. The price is $82,950 for 1,185 square feet.

According to The Channel Wire:

In January 1975, Gates called MITS (Micro Instrumentation and Telemetry Systems), the company that was developing the world’s first PCs, offering to sell them software.

MITS, which occupied the building at the time, told Gates to come back in a month. During that time, Gates and Allen wrote the first version of Microsoft BASIC, and then moved to Albuquerque and set up shop in the building.

Today, the surrounding neighborhood, which has been “a little downtrodden” in recent years, is on the rebound, due in part to its proximity to the University Of New Mexico and Nob Hill district of the city, according to a representative from Maestas & Ward.

Paul Allen bought the building four years ago with the intent of using it as the site of a Microsoft history museum, but later scrapped the plan and sold the building. However, Microsoft recently placed a plaque outside the building that acknowledges the historical significance of the site in the annals of IT industry history.

Too bad Allen’s museum idea didn’t happen. Even if you loathe Windows operating systems, there’s no doubt the building contains a ton of historical significance.

Putting back the neon November 29, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Motels, People, Signs.
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Dwayne of New Zealand posted a bunch of videos weeks ago from his summer Route 66 trip, but I missed this one.

Here, he talks to Bill Kinder, co-owner of the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, N.M., as he’s about to install new neon lighting in July. The previous neon was destroyed by a severe hailstorm last spring.

Kinder also provides a number of interesting historical tidbits as he works.

Joliet museum honored November 29, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions.
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The Joliet Area Historical Museum in Joliet, Ill., was given a Superior Achievement Award — the highest ranking possible — from the Illinois Association of Museums for its Route 66 Experience exhibit.

The Joliet museum received the award last month. Route 66ers John and Lenore Weiss alerted me to this information.

“Girl on the Billboard” November 29, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music.

Finally found a video of Del Reeves singing his biggest hit, “Girl on the Billboard,” that I could embed here.

This clip is from 1965. Listen closely for the Route 66 reference near the end.

“Here I am walking down 66 …” November 28, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Music.

I couldn’t find Charley Pride performing “Is Anybody Goin’ to San Antone” on YouTube.

But I did find Buck Owens covering it. And that’s Buck’s longtime cohort, Don Rich, playing fiddle and providing backup vocals.

“Here I am walking down 66, wishing she hadn’t done me that way …” 

A couple of globe trotters November 27, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in People, Road trips.
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KOTV in Tulsa caught up with Ezra Cooley, the cowboy who wants to circle the globe on horseback and raise money for the National Children’s Cancer Society. Much of his path is on Route 66.

The video segment is here. The story is here.

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