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A sweet old look to a new Waynesville building February 14, 2014

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Food, Preservation, Toys.
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This article was going to be primarily about a new candy shop in downtown Waynesville, Mo. More on that later.

But first, it’s intriguing how the shop’s landlord transformed a vacant lot with a new building that manages to sport an attractive but old-fashioned look.

It is Roubidoux Square at 115 N. Benton St. (map here), a short stone’s throw from Route 66 in the center of Waynesville. The brick-and-iron facade structure comes with a courtyard and a fountain. It contains five business tenants, with a sixth coming soon:

The candy shop’s co-owner also said I Love Ice Cream will open within a month.

A recent article in the Waynesville Daily Guide reveals Roubidoux Plaza (named after the nearby river) is the brainchild of Ursula Lebioda and We Can Development. The company wisely wants to revamp older buildings and keep downtown’s quaint appearance.

With the vacant lot that was a Western Auto store, that wasn’t possible. But that doesn’t mean a new building to fill the space can’t have a classic look. It’s clear the owner had that in mind:

Lebioda said that the company decided on the name Roubidoux Plaza because they wanted to tribute the site to a historical, classic Waynesville favorite.

“We are proud of where we live and want to share a common name that’s a huge part of our town.”

Other city planners and developers should take note. Yes, old buildings should be preserved. But if that’s not possible, a new building should complement the appearance of a town from the Route 66 era. In my opinion, the folks who built Roubidoux Plaza are doing it right. Not only do you give suitable spaces for small businesses, but the look of the new building doesn’t look out of character from Waynesville’s historic downtown.

Back to the Route 66 Candy Shoppe. It’s decorated with old items from the farms of the co-owner’s parents and grandparents. According to a recent article in the Daily Guide:

“We were really going for an old-fashioned theme,” said Charley Dill, who co-owns the shop with Daniel Kallman. “We wanted it to be like Oleson’s Mercantile on ‘Little House on the Prairie.’”

That’s one goal Dill and Kallman definitely reached, with the small candy store having baskets of candy that look like they can from a different era, as well as glass bottles of coke, a seemingly endless variety of taffy, and an assortment of other items that many people haven’t seen in years.

A cotton candy machine, boxes of candy cigarettes, Bubble Tape, Moon Pies and wax lips are just a few of the other countless candy creations the shop owners sell.

Its website‘s slide show also will likely take you back. I saw images of Black Jack gum, Chase’s Cherry Mash, and GooGoo Clusters.

(Images courtesy of the Route 66 Candy Shoppe)

Man building miniature Route 66 of Legos June 19, 2013

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Toys.
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A man from Ozark, Mo., will re-create the length of Route 66 at the Ozark Empire Fair next month by using nothing by Lego pieces, reported the Springfield News-Leader.

Kendall Yost owns more than 1 million Lego pieces, and has created miniature versions of swimming pools, race tracks, and skateboard parks with them.

Yost will use three, possibly four, 6-foot-long tables for his display, depending on how much space he is given. […] He estimates the Route 66 project will be completed by day five or six, but he could have it done within a couple days because he’ll be there from morning until night. […]

The first thing he’ll do while creating Route 66 is lay down Lego pieces that look like a highway. He’ll add buildings along the back side of the table, and as he goes along the route, he’ll build historic landmarks, like the St. Louis Arch and a bridge over the Mississippi River.

He’ll also place red and white buildings to represent hotels, and once the route ends in California, he’ll add in an ocean scene and movie cameras and crews to represent Hollywood.

Here’s a video report from KSPR in Springfield about Yost’s hobby:

 

Rail museum in Kingman will likely open in late July July 17, 2012

Posted by Ron Warnick in Museums, Railroad, Toys.
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A room at the Amtrak Train Depot in Kingman, Ariz., will be devoted toy trains and other railroad memorabilia when when a local train club opens it later this month, reported the Kingman Daily Miner newspaper.

The Whistle Stop Railroad Club repaired some broken-down toy trains and railcars, and now have them operating. More about the museum at 400 E. Andy Devine Ave. (aka Route 66):

The 14,500-square-foot room will showcase various railroad relics, different types of model trains and several panels describing the history of railroads throughout the world, across the U.S. and here in Kingman. […]

The club is undecided whether it wants to keep the museum open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday or add Sunday to the schedule. Bacon said Kingman sees a lot of tour buses coming through town on Sundays and thinks it would be a smart move to stay open in order to attract passengers’ interest.

The Kingman Tourism Development Commission is funding the $15,400 project, which includes mandatory insurance. The club has promised to give back any money it doesn’t spend to get the museum up and running. Also, the city gets the rights to any property purchased for the museum with city funds.

The club is a nonprofit organization, so if there are months when the museum pulls in more revenue than it spends on expenses, the “profits” will be paid back to the city, Bacon said.

Admission will cost $2 a person, and children under five years old will get in free.

The museum and Amtrak station are housed in the Kingman Train Depot, which is more than 100 years old. It was renovated and reopened last spring.

UPDATE 7/20/2012: Read the comment from Dave Bacon below. It looks like the museum’s opening won’t be until August at the earliest.

On the road with a stuffed doll December 4, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Gas stations, Photographs, Road trips, Toys, Web sites.
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Today, I received an email from a Spaniard taking in Route 66 with Stabri, a stuffed doll that travels “hand to hand” around the globe, documented by photos and video posted on the Internet.

As of Sunday, Stabri and his companions were in Joplin, Mo. Here’s another photo of Stabri at Ambler’s Texaco Station in Dwight, Ill. You can see a few more photos from Route 66 on Stabri’s Flickr account.

An explanation of Stabri from one of its creators, via email:

Two European computer specialists, Mariano Munuera and Angel Téllez, decided to try how far the Internet links could reach. Then, to manage this idea, they invented the global doll Stabri, who travels all around the world from hand to hand. On the web site www.stabri.com, they organize his trips. So, his present bearer receives the proposals so that Stabri continues travelling. Besides, Stabri is in the social network where he talks with friends and fans in Facebook, Twitter, Tuenti, etc…

Stabri is more than a travelling doll, because wherever he goes he has a great impact on the Internet. The bearer takes Stabri to the most famous places of the country where they are and Stabri participates in bearer’s hobbies. In this way, the doll has lived experiences like playing instruments, visiting museums, practising sports, singing at Karaokes…even going paragliding!

According to Stabri’s website, the doll has reached more than 20 countries and 100 cities. Stabri even boasts its own YouTube channel.

This isn’t a new thing. The traveling gnome, which started as a prank with lawn gnomes, has been going for more than 25 years, to the point where Travelocity created its own Roaming Gnome mascot to get travelers involved and publicize its website on Twitter and Facebook.

And tons of variations exist out there. The Ace Jackalope blog contains hundreds of photos of a jackalope mascot photographed with landmarks and celebrities. Flat Stanley is another variation of the traveling figure, with him even having his own app. Over the years, I’ve seen a few Route 66 travelers adopt a figurine — a plastic Jesus, a stuffed animal, etc. — to include with their photographs.

The traveling mascot serves as a more whimsical and memorable way for travelers to document their journeys. It’s fun, and another small way to publicize Route 66’s attractions. But Stabri isn’t a fad. It’s most like a new variation on an old trend.

(Photos courtesy of Angel Teilez)

Toy car maker introduces Route 66 series March 10, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Businesses, Toys.
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GreenLight Collectibles, a toy maker based in Indianapolis, is creating a Route 66 series of tie-cast cars and trading cards featuring real-life Route 66 landmarks. Both will hit stores next month.

According to the news release:

Each car in the series will be packaged with a Route 66 trading card that highlights a stop along the highway.  When deciding which tourist attractions would go best with their respective cars, GreenLight had to define what makes a great Route 66 business.  The number one piece of criteria; you’ve got to have a gimmick. These stops all are an added reason that Route 66 gained its acclaim into motorist’s notoriety across the US.

The road side stops and attractions range from the modern and new, drawing on a modern wave of Route 66 enthusiasts to the aged and ancient, hardly recognizable points that have stood ground since inception.  Route 66 holds a large bit of mystic, and tells a story of adventure, independence, long distance travel and our cultural revolution.

The cars chosen to represent alongside these destinations are reflecting of the personality and time period of which the location was established.  Creating a great piece of collectible memorabilia for a route that paved the way into modern day automobile appreciation.

The first part of the Route 66 series includes:

  • 1961 Chevrolet Corvette – Fawn Beige – The Blue Swallow Hotel
  • 1965 Dodge D-100 Sweptline – Omaha Orange – Pops convenience store
  • 1965 Ford Galaxie Convertible – Poppy Red – The Launching Pad
  • 1965 Ford Mustang GT – Vintage Burgundy – Wigwam Motel
  • 1967 Chevrolet Impala SS – Royal Plum – “Here It Is” billboard
  • 1971 Plymouth ‘Cuda – Curious Yellow – Cadillac Ranch

The toy cars don’t always match the era in which the businesses were established. For instance, the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, N.M., opened in 1939, the surviving Wigwam Motels were built in the 1930s or ’40s, and Pops opened in 2007. Regardless, the cards of real-life attractions are a nice touch.

The cars and trading cards will be in stores in April. Only 4,000 of each of the cars will be produced. Information on where to buy GreenLight toys online and in retail stores can be found here.

(Hat tip: Action Figure Insider)

New wooden toys created of “Cars” characters February 10, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in Movies, Toys.
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Those who love to collect the massive amount of memorabilia from the 2006 Disney/Pixar animated movie “Cars” will have a new bunch of toys to acquire.

Toys “R” Us and Disney announced today it is launching its first series of wooden vehicles from the film, much of which uses the fictional Route 66 town of Radiator Springs as its setting.

According to the news release:

[…] The current collection of 15 items consists of a variety of collectible Cars vehicle 2-packs, destination playsets and a track set giving kids a unique way to recreate the storyline from the 2006 blockbuster movie.  The wood line will soon be expanded with vehicles and playsets based on the highly anticipated release of Cars 2, in theaters June 24, 2011.

The Disney-Pixar Cars Wood Collection is one of this year’s first Toys”R”Us global exclusives with the full product line available in the U.S., Canada, Japan, Australia, U.K., Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Cars enthusiasts, both young and old, can collect all of their favorite, four-wheeled characters like Lightning McQueen, Mater, Doc Hudson and Sally, and race through an adventure-filled wood world of ramps and tracks down the iconic Route 66 to end up at original Cars destinations, such as Tow Mater’s Yard or Luigi’s Casa Della Tires.  Customers can find the distinctive wood vehicles, playsets and track set in the Imaginarium® department of Toys”R”Us stores.

The toys are available at Toys”R”Us stores and here at ToysRUs.com.

The series includes:

Disney-Pixar Cars wood collection vehicle 2-Packs (with photos below): “Radiator Springs Lightning McQueen and Sally; Doc Hudson and Dusty Lightning McQueen; Fillmore and Sarge; Flo and Ramone; Mater and Hudson Hornet Doc; The King and Chick Hicks; Dinoco McQueen and Tex; and Wingo and Boost.

“Additionally, the following Disney-Pixar Cars Wood Collection Vehicle 2-Packs will be available exclusively at Toys”R”Us this spring: DJ and Snot Rod; Cruisin’ Lightning McQueen and Ramone; Tractor and Young Tow Mater; Red and Guido.”

Luigi’s Casa Della Tires Playset (photo below): “While visiting Luigi’s, kids can spin his tower of tires, stop by the air pump for a “fill up,” or crank-up the vehicles onto the mechanic’s ramp for a quick tune-up before launching them onto the track.  This playset includes a Luigi vehicle.”

Tow Mater’s Yard Playset: “Kids can use the working crane to grab, lift, swing and drop the vehicles into the fenced-in tow yard or head out into Radiator Springs through the quick-escape ramp that exits through the garage. This playset includes a Mater vehicle.”

Sheriff’s Race ‘n Chase Track Set: Cars fans will be delighted to relive one of the film’s classic scenes – when Lightning McQueen first raced through Radiator Springs frantically searching for Mack with Sheriff hot on his bumper!  Kids can race through the set, knock down a row of cones and topple a tower of Luigi’s tires.  This set includes a special edition metallic Lightning McQueen vehicle, a Sheriff vehicle, a Radiator Springs billboard sign for Sheriff to hide behind, a race ‘n chase ramp, interchangeable track pieces and four tires.”

All told, the entire set likely will cost about $200.

Although “Cars” was a modest hit by Pixar’s lofty standards, the film has proven to be a bonanza for memorabilia sales. In just the first year the film was released, it was estimated that “Cars” memorabilia generated about $200 million in sales.

(Photos courtesy of Disney, Toys”R”Us)

The cutest little town in Carburetor County September 9, 2010

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses, Movies, Railroad, Toys.
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Roy Martinez Jr. began in January 2009 to build a miniature version of the fictional Route 66 town of Radiator Springs, as depicted from the hit 2006 animated film “Cars,” as part of a model train set.

Except for some shrubbery and foliage he’ll add later, Martinez reports that his own version Radiator Springs is finished. He also painted some “Cars”-related murals in the room. Here are photos that he provided:

The 4-by-10-foot miniature set can be found at his business, Rapid Force Exhaust Technology LLC, in La Habra, Calif.

(Photos courtesy of Roy Martinez Jr.)

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