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“Highway or My Way” November 28, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, History, People, Road trips.
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Frank Kocevar, the former co-owner of Historic Seligman Sundries in Seligman, Arizona, put together this Route 66-themed video a few days ago.

Frank now has time to travel the Mother Road and meet the people he heard about or those who came to his shop. So there may be quite a few people you will recognize.

A chat with Jerry McClanahan November 19, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Books, History, People.
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Route 66 Author & Artist Jerry McClanahan

KC Keefer adds to his “Genuine Route 66 Life” video series with a talk with Route 66 artist, author and researcher Jerry McClanahan at his studio in Chandler, Oklahoma.

McClanahan has been traveling regularly on Route 66 for more than 30 years, and his memories of the Mother Road date back even further.

Novice motorists — and even experienced ones — are urged to buy his guidebook, “Route 66: EZ Guide for Travelers.” And he keeps up with changes on the road through his website as well.

(Image of Jerry McClanahan by RoadTripMemories via Flickr)

Indian tribes will launch Route 66 tourism project November 10, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Events, History.
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A Native American tourism group and the National Park Service will meet in New Mexico later this month to formally launch the “American Indians and Route 66″ project, reported Indian Country Today.

The initial meeting of the American Indian Alaska Native Tourism Association is set for Route 66 Casino west of Albuquerque.

Tribal lands and tribes are located along the entire length of Route 66 from Chicago to California, yet very few tribal connections and stories have been documented to date. AIANTA received a grant from NPS to coordinate this project, which is intended to produce an American Indians and Route 66 Guidebook, sharing the history of tribal homelands and tribes along the route while encouraging tourists to visit these tribal destinations.

“With more than 27 federally recognized tribes along Route 66, we are thrilled that we will finally be able to share these under-told histories connected to the famous highway,” said Virginia Salazar-Halfmoon, AIANTA’s Public Lands Partnership Coordinator and Route 66 Project Coordinator. “We hope that with this project we can provide tangible connections with Tribes along Route 66 and encourage people to visit and learn about the history and connections of tribal nations along the route.”

The project will also include entry of cultural attractions, Indian-owned destinations and accommodations on AIANTA’s Indian Country destinations website, which is currently in its development stage. […]

The guidebook will provide travelers with educational information about sites of significance and share compelling historic information that will attract travelers to destinations identified by tribes along Route 66.

The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program announced in July the awarding of a $24,000 grant for such a project.

I’m glad to see this. American Indians played a vital part in the rise of Southwest tourism and culture, even before U.S. 66 came into being. Their story has long been overlooked or ignored.

UPDATE: Apologies for the coding issues that showed earlier on this story today. A former advertising partner made changes in how content was delivered, and it was messing up links in stories.

(Image near Grants, New Mexico, by Pam Morris via Flickr)

Website needs more data on New Deal projects November 6, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Preservation, Web sites.
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Route 66 Interpretive Center

The good news is someone has put together an interactive map of New Deal sites that were built beginning in the 1930s and are still standing.

The bad news is the listings on the map are incomplete. Carthage, Missouri, for instance, has a few such sites that aren’t listed. However, you can offer listings to the map of sites in your town, including on Route 66.

Even so, the Living New Deal map lists more than 7,000 sites, which shows you how massive of an impact the Works Progress Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps, Public Works Administration, Federal Art Project and others made on the country even now. The federal programs were enacted to help prop up the country during the throes of the Great Depression.

Using the map, you’ll find dozens of such projects on Route 66, including the Old National Guard Armory in Chandler, Oklahoma, that eventually was converted into the Route 66 Interpretive Center.

Others include the distinctive Ackley Park Baseball Stadium in Elk City, Oklahoma; New Mexico State Fairgrounds Buildings in Albuquerque; Pasadena City College in Pasadena, California; Arroyo Seco Parkway in Los Angeles; the Illinois State Armory in Springfield; and dozens of schools, post offices and murals.

If you notice something missing, you can check the online submission form here.

(Hat tip: Michelle Hansford, Powers Museum in Carthage, Missouri; image of the Route 66 Interpretive Center in Chandler, Oklahoma, by Charlie Chapman 75 via Flickr)

A chat with Rock Cafe’s Dawn Welch November 4, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, People, Restaurants.
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KC Keefer, continuing with his Genuine Route 66 Life video series, talks to Dawn Welch, longtime owner of the historic Rock Cafe in Stroud, Oklahoma.

Welch talks about the Route 66 restaurant’s up-and-down history, including her role in the Disney-Pixar “Cars” movie and the restaurant nearly being destroyed by fire in 2008.

More can be read here. And one of my favorites is a video by the Chickasaw Nation.

(Image of Dawn Welch at the Rock Cafe in 2007 by Stephanie via Flickr)

Building in Springfield, Missouri, added to National Register November 2, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Preservation.
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Downtown - Springfield, Missouri

The McDaniel Building in downtown Springfield, Missouri, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places effective Oct. 22, according to an email Friday from the National Park Service.

The six-story building, built in 1914, was around when Cyrus Avery and John Woodruff worked on details during meetings in Springfield about what became the fledgling U.S. Highway 66 during the early and mid-1920s.

The McDaniel building sits on 316 Park Central East, which is an alignment of Route 66 that goes through the downtown square.

The McDaniel had sat empty for years, but The Vecino Group development company became its savior early this year when it renovated the structure for student housing. The building now is known as The U.

(Image of the McDaniel Building in Springfield, Missouri, by Dustin Holmes via Flickr)

Woman documenting every building on Albuquerque’s Route 66 October 30, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Photographs.
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An Italian woman who is a graduate student at the University of New Mexico is photographically documenting every building and landmark on Route 66 in Albuquerque, according to a story on the university’s news service.

Donatella Davanzo, a University of New Mexico graduate student, walks along some part of Route 66 in Albuquerque almost every day, photographing the buildings, the street and the fragments of history still visible along the roadside.

Officially she is the Route 66 Fellow for the Center for Southwest Research at the UNM Libraries. Her job is to photograph every building of every block of Route 66 through Albuquerque. She is capturing the route as it looks in 2013-14 to save the view for future generations.

She has already walked every block from Tramway to Atrisco along Central Ave. methodically working from the mountains to the valley and out onto the mesa. […]

Walking along the route, she thinks Albuquerque’s part of Route 66 is unique. “In Albuquerque you can watch the architecture of Route 66. This is special because you have Pueblo style, Spanish style and Mexican style that creates a fascinating mix. This is a very special part of Route 66.” […]

Davanzo is now photographing the north/south portion of Route 66. At one point in its history, it ran along 4th Street. She is currently working her way from downtown toward the northern end of Bernalillo County.

It’s quite a challenge, as Albuquerque’s Central Avenue (aka Route 66) alone is nearly 20 miles long. Her project undoubtedly will be important for future researchers of the road.

In an email, Davanzo said she has more than 7,500 images, and all of them will be uploaded to the university’s Center for Southwest Research and Special Collections sometime next year.

Until then, you can see samples of her work at this Flickr account.

(Image of El Don Motel sign in Albuquerque by Donatella Davanzo for UNM via Flickr)

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