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Route 66 News

On the trail of Ed Ruscha

Students from the University of Oklahoma traveled Route 66 to find the remnants of gas stations portrayed in photographer Ed Ruscha‘s influential 1963 art book, “Twentysix Gasoline Stations,” according to the Kingman (Ariz.) Daily Miner.

The effort is part of Road to Ruscha, a two-week course that offers three college credits and a road trip on Route 66 from Oklahoma City to Los Angeles.

Ruscha lived in Oklahoma City from 1941 to 1956, then moved to Los Angeles to attend Chouinart Art Institute, but frequently drove Route 66 to visit family back home.

“This is part of a project to figure out what gas stations are still there on Route 66,” said Gary Gress, a professor in the school’s Department of Geography and Environmental Sustainability. “We went to each site, whether it was still a gas station or a field, and did investigative research.

“We were detectives looking for clues. We wanted to see how the landscape along Route 66 had changed and get a sense of community. We found Kingman to be one of the strongest, friendliest and most open communities with ties to Route 66.”

The Miner article quotes Route 66 author and authority Jim Hinckley, who assisted the group in trying to find the site of a Flying A gas station in Kingman. The Flying A, which later became a Hobbs Truck Stop, was torn down a few years ago.

The class’ interactive website, Road to Ruscha, can be found here. Many images from Ruscha’s original book can be seen here.

You can buy a copy of the book here, but it’ll cost you. Even later editions of “Twentysix Gasoline Stations” go for hundreds of dollars.

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