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Evidence of criminal activity in Cuervo? November 1, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Photographs, Towns, Web sites.
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A man whose hobby is exploring abandoned buildings found evidence in the Route 66 ghost town of Cuervo, New Mexico, that someone might be engaging in sex crimes.

As it turns out, that evidence turned up at another site off Route 66 several miles west at another abandoned structure.

According to a special report by KRQE-TV in Albuquerque, City of Dust blogger John Mulhouse in the summer of 2013 stumbled across graffiti and used underwear on the walls of the long-closed Getty Memorial Baptist Church that suggested rape and incest.

Later, when someone else explored ruins at a structure seven miles west and found the same macabre display, that got the attention of state police and the TV station.

Granted, this might be an elaborate hoax. But the fact the entire display was moved — and reports the graffiti was quite specific — suggest the work of a serial rapist. It was proper that the state police was called.

KRQE also posted a gallery of photos from the scene, but the link to it is dead. That could be because of a technical error. Or it could be police asked that it be taken down.

A fair number of Route 66 fans explore ruins along the old highway. If you encounter something like this elsewhere along the I-40 corridor, you’d better call authorities, and pronto.

Cuervo, which declined rapidly after it was cut in half by I-40, is a semi-frequent stop for Route 66ers because of its abandoned but picturesque buildings and it being the start of the fascinating Cuervo cutoff alignment of Route 66 that ends near Santa Rosa.

(Image of the closed Cuervo School in Cuervo, New Mexico, by Gallopingphotog 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)

British photographer to open Route 66 show October 20, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Events, Photographs, Road trips.

If you’re a reader who lives in the United Kingdom (and my host reports there is a substantial number) and are itching to experience Route 66, an upcoming photography exhibition might whet your appetite even more.

Martin Smith, a British fine-arts photographer, will open a show Tuesday at the Hertford Theatre in Hertford, England, featuring images from his trip on Route 66 last year.

The show opens Oct. 21 and ends Nov. 15. Hertford less than an hour north of London.

More about the show:

Route 66 once epitomised the American dream. The route took in eight states and 2500 miles as it linked Chicago in the east to Los Angeles in the west. Christened the “Mother Road” it has legendary status in popular music and film.

As interstate highways became established the road fell into decay as the towns it linked were bypassed. But today the spirit of Route 66 lives on. The people and places encountered along the journey make this the greatest road trip of them all.

Through a series of captivating images photographed over ten years Martin Smith has documented Route 66 during several journeys covering its length and breadth. A series of these images depicting the road, its old diners, gas stations and restored neon signs will be shown in this exhibition in Hertford, 20 miles north of London.

Martin will be available at selected times to meet visitors and discuss the stories behind the exhibits.

Those selected times where the photographer will be around are from 6:45 pm to 9:15 p.m. Oct. 24 (before a Fairport Convention concert at the theater), from 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 5 and from 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 13.

The theater’s hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday except for performance days, when hours are extended to 7:45 p.m.

If you can’t make it to the show, you can see many of Smith’s Route 66 photographs here.

(Images courtesy of Martin Smith)

Route 66 photo exhibit opens in Tulsa on Friday September 30, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Events, Photographs, Road trips.
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An exhibit by photographer Jessica Harvey, “Mother Road,” opens Friday at the Hardesty Arts Center in downtown Tulsa, with noted “Route 66: The Mother Road” author and Route 66 Alliance co-founder Michael Wallis speaking during the exhibition’s opening.

According to a news release from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, Wallis mentored Harvey for her two-month solo journey on Route 66. “Mother Road” will be on display at the Hardesty Arts Center through Nov. 23. “Mother Road” also includes artifacts and stories.

More photos from the exhibit:

More about the event:

Mother Road is a project derived from the history and myths that come from traveling Route 66, which illustrates journeys – both personal and shared – through road trips, driving and discovery.  Harvey displays artifacts and photographs from her own Route 66 odyssey, and invites the public to explore her studio at AHHA where they may offer their own personal artifacts and record individual stories and memories.  This shared project aims to reveal how a diverse group of people collectively feel about travel, Americana, and the culture of the great American road trip. Harvey’s solo road trip along Route 66 began in early September and will conclude at the end of the month, when she returns to Tulsa.

Wallis’ remarks will be at 7 p.m. Friday. The opening reception runs from 6 to 9 p.m. that day.

Harvey also will host a slide show at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 6.

You also can see many of Harvey’s images at her tumblr account.

On a related note, the Hardesty Arts Center and the Woody Guthrie Center are hosting the Mother Road Film Festival during October. Matinee films will be screened at the Woody Guthrie Center, 102 E. Mathew B. Brady St. Screenings are curated by artist Harvey and include:

  • “No More Road Trips” by Rick Prelinger, 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5. It will be narrarated by Wallis.
  • “Tulsa: Finding 66″ by Ed Taylor, 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 25. Panel discussion will follow with Ed Taylor and Tulsa Community College broadcast journalism students.

Screenings are free with admission to the Woody Guthrie Center.

(Images courtesy of the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa)

Interactive map sorts 1935-1945 photos September 9, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Photographs, Railroad.
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Starting in 1935, photographers with the New Deal’s Farm Security Administration began documenting life in the United States during the Great Depression and, later, World War II.

More than 170,000 photos were taken, and a few of them became famous, including Dorothea Lange’s now-iconic image of a migrant mother. Although the vast majority of images were digitized and put online by the Library of Congress, it wasn’t always easy to search for them.

But a team from Yale University created Photogrammar, an interactive map using a 1937 atlas where you can see the photos sorted by county or by photographer. Don’t be surprised if you spend a few hours surfing the images, as I did.

Naturally, I followed Route 66’s path and posted some of the most striking photos here. One could spend days on the Chicago collection, which contains hundreds of images from the city’s black South Side neighborhoods and the railroad yards. Dozens of photos document a black farming family’s life in Creek County, Oklahoma. Another large batch of images show squatters’ camps in Oklahoma City during the Depression. And in Los Angeles, you see Japanese-Americans rounded up (“evacuated” is what they called it then) to be transported to internment camps and workers toiling in warplane factories.

The photographers didn’t get everywhere, and the map contains a flaw for St. Louis County in St. Louis. But odds are you’ll find some fascinating images from the past from your home region.

Seating now in all parts of the house at the Chicago Theatre. Chicago, Illinois. Photo by John Vachon. July 1941.

Sign at Union Station, Chicago. Photo by Jack Delano. January 1943.

Santa Fe R.R. freight train about to leave for the West Coast from Corwith yard, Chicago. Photo by Jack Delano. March 1943.

General view of part of the South Water Street freight depot of the Illinois Central Railroad, Chicago. Photo by Jack Delano. May 1943.

“For the union makes us strong.” UCAPAWA (United Cannery, Agricultural, Packing, and Allied Workers of America) meeting. Photo by Russell Lee. Bristow, Oklahoma. February 1940.

Downtown Tulsa filling station. Photo by John Vachon. October 1942.

Armed guard at the railroad bridge in Tulsa, Oklahoma. That’s the 11th Street Bridge in the background. Photo by John Vachon. October 1942.

Cleaning an engine at the roundhouse at the Frisco railroad in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo by John Vachon. October 1942.

Gas station converted into a bar in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Photo by John Vachon. October 1942.

Part of Mays Avenue camp under the bridge. Oklahoma City, Photos by Russell Lee. July 1939. The bridge’s structure is a dead ringer for the Lake Overholser Bridge that carried Route 66.

Roadside stand “The Derrick.” Oklahoma City oil field. Photo by Russell Lee. August 1939.

Negroes waiting for streetcar at terminal in Oklahoma City. Photo by Russell Lee. July 1939.

Negro drinking at “Colored” water cooler in streetcar terminal, Oklahoma City. Photo by Russell Lee. July 1939.

Dust storm in Amarillo, Texas. Note heavy metal signs blown out by wind. Amarillo, Texas. Photo by Arthur Rothstein, April 1936.

Deaf Smith County, Texas. “It is reliably estimated that not less than 40,000 families have moved away from the Great Plains drought area since 1930.” From the report of the Great Plains Committee, 1936. Photo by Dorothea Lange. June 1938.

Downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico. Photo by John Collier. February 1943.

Marker of accident on highway in Bernalillo County, New Mexico. Photo by Russell Lee. July 1940.

Hanging up chili peppers for drying, Isletta (sic), New Mexico. Photo by Russell Lee. September 1940.

The Hotel Franciscan, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photo by John Collier. February 1943.

Kimo Theatre, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Photo by John Collier. February 1943.

Santa Fe R.R. streamliner, the “Super Chief,” being serviced at the depot in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Servicing these diesel streamliners takes five minutes. Photo by Jack Delano. March 1943.

A street scene in Flagstaff, Arizona, on the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad line. Photo by Jack Delano. March 1943.

Railroad men lounging in the lobby of the Harvey House in Seligman, Arizona, near the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad yard. Photo by Jack Delano. March 1943.

A street scene in Kingman, Arizona, along the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad. Photo by Jack Delano. March 1943.

A general view showing the Harvey House and depot in the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad yards in Needles, California. Photo by Jack Delano. March 1943.

The evacuation of Japanese-Americans from West Coast areas under U.S. Army war emergency order. Waiting for train in Los Angeles to take them to Owens Valley. Photo by Russell Lee. April 1942.

A neon sign. Hollywood, California. Photo by Russell Lee. April 1942.

(Hat tip to Andrew Sullivan and Gizmodo)

Bob Waldmire art featured at Harley-Davidson Museum exhibit July 10, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Art, Events, Motorcycles, People, Photographs, Vehicles.
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The artwork of Bob Waldmire, the famed and beloved Route 66 artist who died of cancer in 2009, is featured in a current show at the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.

“The American Road,” which began June 14, “takes visitors on a journey highlighting the evolution of the quintessential American road trip from its early beginnings in 1930 to what it has come to represent in pop culture today,” according to a news release. It features photographs, film footage, slide shows and travel memorabilia.

Waldmire’s artwork is prominently featured Gallery 3 of the show, which displays a 1970 Chevrolet Chevelle Malibu that was custom-painted by him. I’m pretty sure that’s vehicle is owned by Dave Jostes of Rochester, Illinois, who has showed up with the car to several Waldmire-related events.

Waldmire’s spiral notebooks and sketches — including some of the earliest of his career — also will be displayed.

Waldmire’s legendary 1972 Volkswagen minibus still can be seen at the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac, along with a schoolbus he converted into living quarters for a time. And his intricate artwork can be bought here and at souvenir shops on the Mother Road. Waldmire also served as the indirect inspiration to the Fillmore VW minibus character in the Disney-Pixar “Cars” films.

The photography of Jeff Kunkle, co-founder of Vintage Roadside, also is featured in the gallery.

“The American Road” will run at the museum until Sept. 1.

(Images courtesy of Harley-Davidson Museum; hat tip to Ace Jackalope)

Photographer wants to document America’s neon signs June 25, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Photographs, Road trips, Signs.
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San Diego photographer Stefanie Poteet is traveling all over the United States the next four months so she can artistically document vintage neon signs, including on Route 66.

Here’s the video that comes with her Kickstarter fundraiser:

Poteet writes about her quest:

These signs and the places they were built for are an integral part of our history. Mom and pop motels, one of a kind diners and family owned businesses built this nation. They gave us reasons to explore Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, the Tamiami Trail.

These signs are beautiful and unique. They are art and hard work and hours of labor. These signs matter, and they are quickly disappearing from our landscape.

I want to encourage people to see, appreciate and preserve these pieces of Americana. I want to document as many signs as possible before they are lost from our roadsides and our memories. I want to spend 112 days chasing neon so future generations can stand in front of places like the Blue Swallow Motel and stare in awe.

Poteet said she fell in love with neon sign after seeing the Supai Motel sign on Route 66 in Seligman, Arizona.

Poteet hopes to raise $10,000 by July 22 to help cover some of her expenses. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and her blog.

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