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Planning begins for Carthage Route 66 museum January 31, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, History.
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Brad Belk of the Joplin Museum Complex is planning the creation of what will be the Jasper County Route 66 Transportation Museum, which will be on the first floor of the Jasper County Courthouse in Carthage, Mo., reports the Carthage Press.

“The consulting contract was approved and we’ll be in the preliminary design phase until April,” Belk said. “We’re planning on having a final design in August.”  […]

According to the Missouri Department of Transportation, which is administering the grant, the museum will serve as a welcome center for people traveling Route 66.

Belk said he is visiting several other Route 66 museums as part of his preliminary planning to get ideas regarding the displays that should be shown in the Carthage museum.

“We’re going on fact-finding missions,” Belk said. “We’re going to the museum in Elk City and to the national Route 66 Museum in Clinton, both in Oklahoma. Last week we went to Lebanon to see the display in the Laclede County Library. We also interviewed Scott Springer, who rode the length of the road on a bike in 2006 to mark the 80th anniversary of Route 66.”

Belk said at this point in the process he’s just looking for ideas as to what the display should look like.

It seems like Belk is approaching this project the right way. But based on the honors he’s received, I shouldn’t be surprised.

Tucumcari artists open B&B January 30, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Businesses, Motels.
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Tucumcari, N.M., artists Doug and Sharon Quarles, best-known for their murals around the Route 66 town, have opened a bed-and-breakfast in a historic home at 307 E. High St. near downtown, according to the Quay County Sun.

The Quarleses’ original art gallery was in the downtown Sands-Dorsey Building, but it burned down last year. They were offered the chance to relocate at the two-story, red sandstone house with decorated wood trim and high ceilings that was built for a railroad engineer in 1907.

The couple rechristened the home as Gallery 111 Bed & Breakfast. Their artwork is displayed in the living and dining rooms, and they have four bedrooms for guests, including one with a Route 66 theme.

An illustration of the home can be seen at the bottom of the Quarleses’ Web page here. They can be contacted by calling 505-461-7891, or by using this contact page here.

A visit to Meteor City January 30, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Businesses, Maps, People.
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A videographer checks out Meteor City in Arizona, which features what purportedly is the world’s longest map of Route 66. There’s another long map of 66 in Winslow, Ariz.

The Meteor City map was painted originally by Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire, but it was repainted some years later. You can see Waldmire’s version here.

Preservationists don’t want children’s museum in Grant Park January 29, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions.
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The Chicago Children’s Museum is thinking of moving from Navy Pier to a site at Grant Park, which is across the street from the fabled beginning of Route 66.

However, according to the Chicago Tribune, Preservation Chicago wants the museum to find someplace else:

“It’s completely unnecessary to put the museum in a park that has long come to symbolize a rare and magnificent use of urban open space in the heart of downtown,” said Jonathan Fine, president of the non-profit organization that monitors threats to Chicago’s architectural landscape. […]

Still in the formative stage, the museum had floated a plan to build a subterranean building that would occupy part of a space now used as a garage below the park.

Another site mentioned would put the museum in another part of the park. The plans have drawn citizen outrage and set off a political firestorm.

A museum official said Monday that Preservation Chicago officials miss the point that the project is trying to be as architecturally unobtrusive to the park as possible.

“It blends into the park and the greenery,” said Jim Law, vice president for planning and external affairs at the museum. “We look at this as an adaptive reuse of the park.”

Preservation Chicago has gone as far as listing Grant Park as one of its Seven Most Endangered sites because of the museum proposal.

I’m not sure what to think of this. The museum wants an unobtrusive site, perhaps even underground. Maybe the preservationists think the museum — and the additional people it would draw — would be more problematic for the park’s ambiance than anticipated.

(Hat tip: The Lope.)

Book review: “San Bernardino” January 29, 2008

Posted by Ron Warnick in Books, History, Photographs, Towns.
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The sprawl in the Los Angeles metro area is so extensive that one is tempted to describe San Bernardino, Calif., as simply one of its many suburbs.

It may surprise some that San Bernardino was founded in 1810 and was incorporated just three years after the City of Angels. With more than 200,000 people, San Bernardino remains one of the largest cities on Route 66. And Arcadia Publishing‘s newest addition to its Postcard History Series, “San Bernardino” by Steven Shaw (128 pages, $19.99), helps flesh out San Bern’s colorful history with black-and-white images.

With a compact introductory history of the city written by current Mayor Patrick J. Morris, Shaw’s collection of hundreds of postcards serves as an informal retrospective of San Bernardino. You see early images of Third Street, which remains one the city’s main arteries (and eventually carried a portion of Route 66). You see photos of trains and railroad depots, when the city was a major rail center. A few postcards show the famed natural arrowhead formation on the San Bernardino Mountains.

San Bern also held a love-hate relationship with water. Mountain streams and natural springs made the city an oasis from the Mojave Desert and powered its rise as a producer of oranges. But flooding also was a chronic problem, especially a ruinous deluge in 1938 that was documented by a few postcards.

“San Bernardino” gives a few pages to the Mother Road. Images of vintage Route 66 businesses include the Wigwam Motel, Motel San Bernardino, Mount Vernon Auto Motel, Mission Auto Court, Orange Blossom Motel, Sleepy Hollow Auto Court and the Gate City Auto Court (seen above).

But my favorite section contains images from the long-running National Orange Show. Undoubtedly inspired by the Tournament of Roses Parade in nearby Pasadena, the industry showcase featured ornate structures built of fruit. Citrus sculptures included a train, stagecoach, a chariot, the local courthouse, and the base for a Statue of Liberty that, in total, was nearly 30 feet tall. It seemed the show’s organizers were determined to one-up each other every year, and hundreds of thousands of spectators attended each year to witness it.

Shaw’s text with the photos is consistently interesting and informative. My only complaint is he seldom lets readers know the fate of some of these great old structures of yesteryear. Perhaps it’s a little too depressing to know.

It’s also somewhat unfortunate that a few of the postcard images weren’t printed in color, especially those from the Orange Show. But this undoubtedly would have raised the printing costs considerably.

Recommended.

(“San Bernardino” is available at area bookstores, independent retailers, online bookstores, or through Arcadia Publishing at www.arcadiapublishing.com or 888-313-2665.)

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