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Route 66 News

Route 66 cost-share grants announced

The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program on Friday announced in its quarterly newsletter its annual cost-share grants for historic Route 66 businesses and landmarks.

Most of the information comes from the newsletter or news release, except where I added links and other information. The recipients are:

Historic Seligman Sundries, Seligman, Ariz. — With its distinct false front, shading porch and an array of sweets and cool drinks, Seligman Sundries has attracted travelers to its soda fountain since the 1920s. Built about 1905, the building served as a dance hall, theater and later, a drugstore. During the U.S. 66 era, it went by the name of Ted’s Fountain and Trading Post, with cars corralled around the store, as tourists stepped inside for a soda or sundries. The cost-share grant will install a new asphalt shingle roof, replicating close to how it looked during its Route 66 heyday. ($5,115 grant, $5,115 match by owner)

Relighting the historic signs of Figueroa Street, Highland Park, Calif. — The Highland Theatre sign looms over North Figueroa Street (old U.S. 66), creating a landmark for this neighborhood of Latinos and artists northeast of downtown Los Angeles. But at night, unlit, it fades away. Down the street, perched on the roof of Las Cazuelas (Google Street View image here), the old Manning’s Coffee Store sign is only a skeleton, missing its neon and opal glass components. With a cost-share grant, the Friends of the Historic Signs of Figueroa Street will replace the blown-out incandescent bulbs of the community’s landmark theater sign and restore the former coffee store sign. With these projects, the Friends’ goal is to continue a lightning/signage theme along this stretch of urban Route 66. ($6,812 grant, $15,148 match by owner)

Munger Moss Motel, Lebanon, Mo. — Its bright yellow directional arrow and multi-colored neon letters have attracted overnighters to the Munger Moss since the mid-1950s. But with effects of time and weather, the sign is showing its age. Today, the “M” is missing from “Moss,” and much of the neon tubing and geometrical neon design are missing or damaged. The grant will not only restore the main sign to working order, but also relight the small “office” sign made of bent neon tubing. ($11,300 grant, $11,300 match by owner)

Wagon Wheel Motel, Cuba, Mo. — Constructed in 1936 by Leo Friesenhan, a Hungarian-born stone mason from St. Louis, handsome stone trimmed Tudor Revival-style cabins attracted travelers to this estate-like motel. But over the years, with diminished traffic, the cabins and grounds began to deteriorate. The grant will fund a project to install a new HVAC system to cool and warm the cabins, and storm units over the original wood windows to conserve energy. It will also restore rotted eaves and porch members and refinish an original floor in one room, bringing this National Register-listed motel more up to speed. ($30,000 grant, $35,577 match by owner).

Bristow Firestone Station, Bristow, Okla. — Just three months before Oct. 29, 1929, “Black Tuesday,” the Bristow Daily Record announced the Firestone Corporation had purchased land at the north end of Main Street of this central Oklahoma city to build a full-service gas station, promising it would to be “one of the most modern in the state.” Despite the onset of hard times, Firestone held to its promise, completing a stylish, six-bay, Art Deco designed, one-stop filling station the next year. Eighty years later, a Bristow native will use a cost-grant to restore the National Register-listed filling station for new use as a body repair shop and a tribute to Route 66. ($30,000 grant, $86,925 match by owner).

The newsletter also mentioned the completion of several Route 66 projects that were awarded cost-share grants. The Sunset Motel in Villa Ridge, Mo., completed a restoration of its neon sign and other repairs; the Ariston Cafe in Litchfield, Ill., installed a new HVAC system and made other interior repairs; and Walter’s Market in St. Louis restored its storefront.

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