The co-owner of The Boundary restaurant isn’t sure whether proposed improvements to Oklahoma Route 66 will force him out of business, but he’s going to to try to keep that from happening regardless.
The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will host a meeting at 6 p.m.Tuesday. at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church at 500 Odor St. in Arcadia about proposals to improve safety and traffic flow on Route 66 between Arcadia and Luther. The department also plans to reconstruct two intersections, including one very close to The Boundary, which is between Luther and Arcadia.
The Oklahoman newspaper reports:
Don Samara, who runs The Boundary on 66 with his wife, said the barbecue restaurant they started nine years ago as a retirement plan is on an easement. Samara said he is worried the state could annex the property to widen State Highway 66.
“There’s just so much (history) out here, and for two feet of easement, they’re going to take this building,” Samara said.
The old, wooden structure has housed several businesses since it was built in the 1930s, Samara said, such as a gas station, a tire shop and a bar. Samara said older residents of the community remember the building because it was long ago known for having the best well water in the area.
Lisa Shearer-Salim, spokeswoman for ODOT, said it’s too early to tell whether The Boundary would be endangered by the improvements.
“We are very sensitive to both the historic buildings and businesses there,” Shearer-Salim said.
“That’s not to say there won’t be some kind of right of way, but we’re trying to find the best option to meet the residents’ needs and improving the safety of the highway.”
The state says the highway needs upgrades because the number of vehicles on it keeps increasing. Luther has become a growing bedroom community for the Oklahoma City metro area, and many commuters travel on Route 66 to avoid tolls on the nearby Interstate 44.
Arcadia Mayor James H. Woodard also said the state needs to take the historic nature of the highway itself into account.
Then there’s the intersection itself at The Boundary. According to the restaurant:
The Boundary is so-called because Indian Meridian was the eastern boundary of the famous Land Run of 1889. A lesser-known fact is that Indian Meridian is also a true north-south line from which every foot of land in an immense area, including most of Oklahoma, Kansas, and Nebraska, is referenced in every deed or lease as being either East or West of Indian Meridian.
Hopefully, folks in the Luther and Arcadia areas, plus Route 66 fans, will attend that meeting Tuesday night. ODOT has a spotty record in preserving historical landmarks. But public pressure might persuade the agency to scale back parts of the project that would negatively affect such landmarks.
(Image of The Boundary via Facebook)