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Parties still talking about Round Barn billboard November 30, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Signs.
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In late October, the parties in a dispute over a billboard that was erected near the historic Round Barn of Arcadia, Okla., said they would try to negotiate a settlement in 30 days.

The 30 days have come and gone, and the parties are still talking, according to the Edmond Sun. But it seems that moving the billboard remains on the table.

Arcadia-area resident Lisa Price confirmed that efforts to relocate the billboard on alternate property are ongoing.

“It was a very amicable discussion,” Price told The Sun. “Both parties are willing to find a mutually beneficial agreement. […]

Jennifer Dennis-Smith, a spokeswoman for Mazaheri, said the parties are talking, hoping to move the billboard.

Price said negotiations paused during the holiday period and there were no planned meetings during the current week. She said as part of a solution she hopes Mazaheri will donate the property. If not, the Arcadia Historical Society would have to buy it.

It’s looking likely the Arcadia Historical Society will have to shell out money to buy the property or cover the costs of the billboard’s move.

Of course, the billboard property owner, Zoom Media, also may decide to donate the land and move the billboard on their dime, just so it can end the controversy. We’ll see.

Bet you didn’t know this … November 30, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in People, Signs.
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I received a press release the other day about an upcoming ceremony for the latest inductees to the Oklahoma Law Enforcement Hall of Fame in Chandler.

Most of the inductees have little or no connection to Route 66. However, one police chief’s contribution has impacted drivers on Route 66 — and all drivers on all American roads.

To the news release (my emphasis):

Tulsa Police Chief Clinton Riggs (deceased) was selected for his efforts to advance professionalism with the Tulsa force. Examples of his actions became role models for many other departments. Under his leadership the Tulsa Police Academy was established and higher educational degrees were mandated for entering officer and for advancement.  Further, he raised 45 scholarships for police officers to attend and graduate from law school. He encouraged and supported the separation of the police and fire fighters from the political structure to a civil service system.  He designed the “Yield” sign now used in all 50 states. Author, educator, professional lawman and inventor, his vision and dedication will always serve the citizens of Tulsa and Oklahoma.

A newspaper article posted on RootsWeb gives more details about Riggs’ creation:

The first two signs were installed in Tulsa in 1950 at First Street and Columbia Ave. The original signs were keystone shaped and were painted yellow with black lettering.

Riggs’ son, Thomas Riggs, cherishes one of the original signs as a prized possesion. One of the early manufactured signs is on display at the Smithsonian Institution.

Riggs apparently conceived the idea of the sign while working as a trooper. He began developing it while attending Chicago’s Northwestern Traffic Institute in 1939.

He experimented with the concept for more than a decade, striving to create a sign that would not only control traffic at an intersection but that also would affix civil liability in a collision in which one driver failed to yield, according to the Tulsa Police Department’s history book.

According to newspaper reports, one of the first signs installed reduced the ranking of the most-dangerous intersection in the city to the seventh-most dangerous in 12 months. Requests for the signs soon began pouring in from around the country.

Save for stop signs, can you think of a more ubiquitous road sign than a “Yield”?

More about the inductees can be found here. The induction ceremony will be at 2 p.m. Sunday at the Route 66 Interpretive Center in Chandler. The event is free and open to the public.

Vote on Mojave Trails National Monument seems likely in coming weeks November 29, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions.

George Wuerthner, a writer for New West Community Blogs, reported today that a bunch of wilderness and parks bills likely will be bundled together as one big omnibus bill and voted on by the lame-duck Congress in the coming weeks.

One of those bills would be the Mojave Trails National Monument, which follows the Route 66 corridor in California’s Mojave Desert.

Wuerthner writes about the 60-odd wildness and parks bills:

Voting on individual bills in the limited time left in this session means few, if any of these bills, would become law despite obvious support from Congress. As a result Senator [Jeff] Bingaman, chair of the Senate Energy Committee, has decided to bundle as many as 60 separate bills, including many wilderness proposals into one Omnibus lands bill for passage. A similar technique was used in the 2009 Congressional session to garner wilderness designation for many areas in the country including wilderness designations in Utah, Oregon, Virginia, Michigan and California. […]

… [T]he biggie in California is The California Desert Protection Act, (S. 2921), introduced by Sen. Diane Feinstein. This expansive bill would protect nearly 1.5 million acres of southern California’s desert lands by creating two new National Monuments (Mojave Trails and Sand to Snow National Monuments), adding Wilderness acreage, expanding Joshua tree and Death Valley National Parks, and protecting the desert’s historic treasures like Route 66.

That 2009 Omnibus bill, by the way, included the reauthorization of the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program for another 10 years.

We’ll try to follow the Mojave Trails legislation, although keeping track of the ebb and flow of legislation is like trying to herd cats.

“Cahokian” November 29, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Music.
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This song by Jay Farrar is inspired by Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, a former 11th-century American Indian city that is off an old alignment of Route 66 near Collinsville, Ill.

The footage in this video provides a lot to think about — namely, the passage of time and/or mankind’s progress. Those who have studied the history and evolution of Route 66 probably will relate.

“Side by side sit the trashpile twin” refers to a landfill a few miles away that’s nearly as tall as the massive Monks Mound at Cahokia Mounds. Landfills are necessary, I suppose, but I always regarded that one as a sort of abomination when one considers the majesty of the hand-made Monks Mound.

Also, a good chunk of early St. Louis was built on the site of other American Indian mounds — mounds that were destroyed and leveled long before folks saw its historical and cultural significance. That’s why St. Louis sometimes is called the Mound City. Very few of this original mounds remain in St. Louis.

Farrar is the front man for rock band Son Volt and was a co-founder of Uncle Tupelo, a highly influential country-rock band. Farrar grew up in the St. Louis suburb of Belleville, Ill., and lives in St. Louis, so he knows of what he sings in “Cahokian.”

(Hat tip: Roger Kramer)

Teaser clip of Route 66 documentary November 28, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Movies, Music, People, Road trips.
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Chris Tres of France traveled the Mother Road a few months ago to film a documentary about America’s culture and music. Here’s a teaser clip from the footage; you might see a favorite roadie or three:

Here’s the description of the video, translated from French by Google Translate:

Teaser of the film “In the Footsteps of Highway 66″ (shot in HD) is being assembled. This 52 ‘in the road movie genre, looking for a TV broadcaster and producer. for more information contact: [email protected]

In case you’re wondering, much of the music in the video comes from the Oscar-winning film, “Crazy Heart.”

Cafe on the Route owners opening restaurant in Joplin November 28, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Restaurants.
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Richard and Amy Sanell, owners of the much-acclaimed Cafe on the Route on Route 66 in Baxter Springs, Kan., soon will open another restaurant in the historic Gryphon Building in nearby Joplin, Mo., reported the Joplin Globe.

The Gryphon, completed in 1915, sits at 10th and Main streets in Joplin, a few blocks south of the city’s Seventh Street alignment of Route 66. The Sanells’ new restaurant on the building’s first floor will be called L.L. Sayer’s, and it will be open sometime in February.

Richard Sanell wasn’t specific on what food would be served at L.L. Sayer’s, but he told the Globe that he’s looking at “a touch of the past or dishes of yesteryear. Dishes that might have been served at the Connor Hotel or the House of Lords.”

As for Cafe on the Route, don’t worry — it will remain open.

When the Sanells opened Cafe on the Route, they were hoping their decision was the right one. That was 12 years ago.

“We found that the area has been stronger than we thought, particularly our connection to Route 66,” he said. “We are parlaying that into doing some other things. We hope to have three or four concepts going.’’

The Cafe on the Route will continue to operate. Luke Prauser, a native of Baxter Springs, is helping head up that kitchen.

Cafe on the Route serves some of the most creative and tasty food on the Mother Road. The Food Channel featured it several years ago on the “Diners, Drive-Ins & Dives” program. See it here:

The Cafe on the Route building also features the Little Brick Inn, a bed-and-breakfast on the second floor.

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