On a trip Saturday to check the Green Chile Kitchen on Route 66 in Yukon, Okla., we were dismayed to find that the historic Carlyle Motel neon sign on Oklahoma City’s west side had been removed.
The sign had been replaced with a nondescript, orange-and-white lettered backlit sign.
A source I checked with the Oklahoma City media didn’t know when the sign was taken down.
However, a search of Flickr photos indicates the removal happened in recent weeks. Jenny McG, who goes by the account thedefiningmoment, shot a photo of the old sign on Oct. 3. The old sign looked corroded in spots, but the colors and design still made it stand out.
Because of the sign and the 1950s architecture of its buildings, Carlyle Motel had been listed in previous editions of the Route 66 Dining and Lodging Guide. But it no longer made the cut with the most recent book, and isn’t in the soon-to-arrive 2013 edition, either.
In a 2009 story, The Oklahoman published a story about Preservation Oklahoma and its list of threatened historic properties. It mentioned the Carlyle Motel as one of the endangered sites on Route 66, due to it being “threatened by missed opportunity and abandonment.”
Apparently an opportunity was missed for the motel’s owners to preserve the sign.
UPDATE: River Pilot said in an email tonight the sign was removed Friday, Jan. 18. He said the owners had trouble keeping it operating, and it sustained hail damage.
A local sign company now possesses the sign. I’ll try to contact the firm to see what its plans are.
UPDATE 1/20/2013: Steve Lackmayer at The Oklahoman tweeted Sunday afternoon:
The sign is in good hands… fellow history enthusiast Steve Davis saved the sign as it was about to be trashed.
UPDATE 1/25/2013: One of my sources says that City Glass of Oklahoma City now possesses the sign and plans to restore one side and install it in one of the company’s warehouses.
However, a representative from City Glass said Thursday in an email: “At this time, we have no immediate plans to do anything with the sign.”
(Photo of the Carlyle Motel sign in 2007 by H.L.I.T., via Flickr)