A recent story in The Oklahoman newspaper about a new business indicates the long-stagnant downtown of Bethany, Okla., may be poised for a revival.
The story focused onTreasure Chest on Route 66, an antique store in a century-old building that opened about a month ago. Owner Stacey Carter, who also owns the adjacent Cedarburg Square gift shop, told the newspaper she envisions the new store as “a Route 66 sightseer’s stop between Pops restaurant in Arcadia and historic El Reno.” Among its offerings are antique signs and Frankoma Pottery, the latter once produced on Route 66 near Sapulpa, Okla.
What was interesting in the story were these sentences:
Stale, vacant downtown stores are making way for new shops, including a coffee house, art gallery, gift shops and Allenton Interiors design firm.
“This is hopefully soon going to be a destination for people going down Route 66,” Carter said.
I do hope Bethany’s downtown sees a resurgence. With its old buildings and unique angled parking, Bethany along the Route 66 corridor reminds me of a small-town business district, not a suburb of Oklahoma City.
I always thought downtown Bethany held potential as a destination for several hours of walking, dining, and shopping. Perhaps it’s turning a corner — the Bethany Downtown Merchants Association formed a Facebook page about two weeks ago. And there’s recent talk of eventually opening a Route 66 neon sign and billboard museum in Bethany as well.
(Image of downtown Bethany in 2007 by H.L.I.T., via Flickr)