Route 66 News

Photographer’s work inspires preservation

There’s an excellent article in the Daily Oklahoman about Larry Nance, a photographer based in El Reno, and the impact he’s making with local preservationists.

It’s advisable to read the whole thing. But the gist is that Nance as a child suffered from epilepsy, and was unable to stay at Route 66 landmarks such as the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Ariz., during family vacations because problems with his seizures.

Nance was cured of his epilepsy in his early teens. As an adult, he opened a photography business in El Reno. In 2005, he rekindled his interest in Route 66 and decided to cruise the road westward in his Harley Davidson motorcycle. He finally got to stay at the Wigwam Motel, and along the way he documented the Mother Road with his camera.

Back at home, his images made an impression on the local movers and shakers:

Nance has shown his work to El Reno’s Main Street Inc., and city officials who have embarked on a preservation plan. His pictures are helping planners brainstorm and see what projects are possible. Seeing what has worked out-of-state is important, he said.

“If I don’t share this with the next generation, it will be lost,” Nance said.

Codie Lee Finnigan, tourism director of the El Reno Convention and Visitors Bureau, said Nance’s photography is important to the city.

“It’s my guess that he will be heavily involved in the future plans for Route 66 in El Reno,” Finnigan said. “El Reno is really just getting on that path.”

Nance said his next plan is for a Route 66 trip to Chicago, so that more pictures can reach more preservation committees. He said he thinks a revitalization of Route 66 in Oklahoma is attainable.

“We have to strive to get it restored with as much authenticity as possible,” Nance said. “That is one of my missions. I would like to bring back that nostalgia.”

Godspeed, Mr. Nance.

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