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Route 66 has spawned many “new” places

A reader over the weekend asked me what are some of the “new” businesses or attractions on Route 66 in the past 10 years or so.

Naturally, this sort of question sent me down a rabbit hole of research for hours. I set the “new” criteria as the post-“Cars” era — since the 2006 release of the Disney-Pixar animated film about Route 66 that caused a new surge of tourists on the Mother Road. It seemed like a good starting point.

These “new” places could be built from scratch — Pops in Arcadia, Oklahoma, a good example — or revived places that once were closed or very moribund.

I left off many restaurants, simply because restaurants come and go. But I added a few that were historically significant (Palms Grill Cafe) or repurposed (Standard Diner). Ditto for the hotels and motels I’ve listed.

I didn’t even delve into the microbreweries that have opened across America in the past decade, which could be a whole new listing.

I anticipated going into this project there would be two dozen “new” attractions on Route 66. I ended up with over 50, and I’m confident I missed a few. This shows you Route 66’s continuing ability to reinvent and revitalize itself.

Here’s the list. Feel free to add any in the comments section that may have been overlooked:

  • Pontiac-Oakland Museum, Pontiac, Illinois.
  • McLean Depot Train Shop, McLean, Illinois.
  • Palms Grill Cafe, Atlanta, Illinois.
  • Colaw Rooming House, Atlanta, Illinois.
  • Sprague’s Super Service Station, Normal, Illinois.
  • Cruisin’ With Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center, Bloomington, Illinois.
  • The Mill museum, Lincoln, Illinois.
  • Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, Illinois.
  • Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center, Litchfield, Illinois.
  • Jensen’s Point, Pacific, Missouri.
  • Wagon Wheel Motel, Cuba, Missouri.
  • The FourWay, Cuba, Missouri.
  • Route 66 Red Rocker, Fanning, Missouri.
  • Vacuum Cleaner Museum, St. James, Missouri.
  • Gillioz Theatre, Springfield, Missouri.
  • Route 66 Roadside Park, Springfield, Missouri.
  • History Museum on the Square, Springfield, Missouri.
  • Guy Mace’s Route 66 Car Museum, Springfield, Missouri.
  • Boots Motel, Carthage, Missouri.
  • Joplin 66 Hostel, Joplin, Missouri.
  • Enlight Inn, Joplin, Missouri.
  • Route 66 Mural Park, Joplin, Missouri.
  • Cars on the Route, Galena, Kansas.
  • Galena’s Haunted Bordello, Galena, Kansas.
  • Kansas Route 66 Visitors Center, Baxter Springs, Kansas.
  • Mickey Mantle statue, Commerce, Oklahoma.
  • Allen’s Fillin’ Station, Commerce, Oklahoma.
  • Route 66 Vintage Iron, Miami, Oklahoma.
  • Campbell Hotel, Tulsa.
  • Meadow Gold neon sign, Tulsa.
  • Woody Guthrie Center, Tulsa.
  • Cyrus Avery Memorial Plaza, Tulsa.
  • Route 66 Village, Tulsa.
  • Route 66 Interpretive Center, Chandler, Oklahoma.
  • Seaba Station Motorcycle Museum, Warwick, Oklahoma.
  • POPS, Arcadia, Oklahoma.
  • Tower Theatre, Oklahoma City.
  • Heartland of American Heritage Museum, Weatherford, Oklahoma.
  • Russell’s Travel Center, Endee, New Mexico.
  • New Mexico Route 66 Museum, Tucumcari, New Mexico.
  • Motel Safari, Tucumcari, New Mexico.
  • Roadrunner Lodge, Tucumcari, New Mexico.
  • Hotel Parq Central, Albuquerque.
  • Standard Diner, Albuquerque.
  • Hotel Andaluz, Albuquerque.
  • The L Motel, Flagstaff, Arizona.
  • Motel DuBeau, Flagstaff, Arizona.
  • Zettler’s Route 66, Ash Fork, Arizona.
  • Bearizona, Williams, Arizona.
  • El Travatore Motel, Kingman, Arizona.
  • Powerhouse Visitors Center, Kingman, Arizona.
  • Cindy’s Restaurant, Los Angeles.
  • Clifton’s Cafeteria, Los Angeles.

(Hat tip to Brennan Matthews; image of the 66-foot-tall LED soda bottle Pops in Arcadia, Oklahoma, by natalie419 via Flickr)

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10 thoughts on “Route 66 has spawned many “new” places

  1. Jane

    Thanks for the updated list. A couple more popular Route 66 stops in Cuba, MO are MOHick BBQ and Shelly’s Route 66 Cafe. And, of course, the Route 66 Mural City outdoor murals are always open. Their painting commenced in 2000-2001 and is ongoing. This fall Cuba will dedicate its Osage Legacy Monument–a massive sculpture to honor the Osage and their connection to Missouri. It will be located next to the Cuba Visitor Center.

  2. Keith Z

    That’s a nice list Ron. Here’s one to add – GlassBoy Studios in Arcadia. I also thought about Gary’s Gay Partia but it might be to old for this list.

  3. Tonya Pike

    For Missouri, I would add the renovation & repairs to Spencer, the rebirth/reopening of Wrink’s Market in Lebanon, and Red Neck Nutz in Springfield. All of those are newer than Gay Parita. Then there is the SuperTam Ice Cream Parlor in Carterville, and the tile wall mural/photo op in Joplin.

    And I can’t remember exactly when Laurel Kane opened Afton Station in Oklahoma. It is a more recent place but I think it opened more than 10 years ago?? And I wouldn’t forget the rebirth of the Blue Whale in Catoosa, Oklahoma either.

    By the way, the History Museum in Springfield has been opened since 1976, originally being a bicentennial project of the Greene County Historical Society. An interesting note is that its first location was in a storefront on College Street as you head west out of the Square, which was Business Route 66. It was later moved to the Drury College Campus then to the original City Hall on Boonville in Springfield — before now finally coming to rest again on the Square, aka Business Route 66, about 2 blocks from where it started.

    Thanks for the list Ron. Just reading off the places was uplifting. With all the damages we’ve suffered on Route 66 in Missouri this Spring, it’s nice to remember the good things that have happened in the recent past.

  4. Phyllis Grey

    How about Heart of Route 66 Automobile Museum in Sapulpa, Oklahoma? Gasoline Alley in Cuba? Redmon’s in Phillipsburg area? Gay Parita (re-opened and re-done) in Ash Grove, Missouri? Packard Museum in Afton, Oklahoma? Spencer, Missouri ghost town (restored), Meteor Crater Trading Post in Arizona (plans to reopen this season or next). Some of these may not be directly on the route but close and made popular by Roadies.

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