Laurel Kane will be inducted into Oklahoma Route 66 Hall of Fame

Laurel Kane
Laurel Kane

Laurel Kane, co-owner of Afton Station in Afton, Oklahoma, will be inducted into the Oklahoma Route 66 Hall of Fame posthumously later this year, it was learned Saturday during a celebration of her life.

A panel from the Oklahoma Route 66 Association selects two winners — one living and one deceased — from a list of nominations every two years. The awards ceremony will be held 2 to 4 p.m. Aug. 6 at the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton.

David Kane and Sarah Kane during the Laurel Kane celebration of life at Afton Station in Afton, Oklahoma.
David Kane and Sarah Kane during the Laurel Kane celebration of life at Afton Station in Afton, Oklahoma.

Kane’s family members and friends organized the event shortly after her death in January at age 69. I counted 75 people Saturday in the Afton Station room that displays the Packard car and memorabilia collection owned by her former husband, David Kane, and still more people were arriving.

The event included a free catered lunch for those who attended.

Afton Station visitors center, Laurel Kane celebration
The Route 66 visitors center in Afton Station, where Laurel Kane spent endless hours.

David Kane also announced Afton Station would continue to be a Route 66 visitors center as feasibly possible — much the same as Laurel ran it for almost 15 years. He said, however, an admission fee of probably $5 would be charged, and more souvenirs would be offered for sale to generate revenue so he can pay the people who will run the shop.

David and Laurel Kane of Connecticut bought the former D-X gas station, built during the 1930s, in 1998 and spent two years restoring it. Laurel Kane moved to Oklahoma permanently in 2002 and met Route 66 tourists at Afton Station several times a week, except for a couple of slow winter months.

Laurel Kane also amassed a huge collection of postcards from Route 66 over the years. She also was a prolific writer — as longtime readers of her Ramblings of a Route 66 Business Owner blog will attest. But her daughter, Sarah, read two essays Laurel wrote, including a funny bit of reminiscing about drive-in movie theaters and a more poignant one where Laurel led a program that ultimately led to improved U.S.-Soviet relations during the Cold War.

The cake made for the Laurel Kane celebration of life.
The cake made for the Laurel Kane celebration of life.

Several people passed along stories about Laurel’s sense of humor and her upbeat attitude. She never felt compelled to brag about herself and probably would have been a little embarrassed over all the fuss about her during Saturday’s event. But there also is little doubt she would have enjoyed it, too.

6 thoughts on “Laurel Kane will be inducted into Oklahoma Route 66 Hall of Fame

  1. I came up early but couldn’t stay long — even in the few minutes I had to visit with people and wander the station, it’s clear that she was very loved by a great many people.

  2. I so wish I could have been there for this event. It sounds like it went off well. The announcement of her induction into the OK Rte. 66 HOF is great to hear, and well deserved.

  3. I corresponded with her this past year and I told her I would be driving all of Rt 66 later in 2016. She asked me to stop by at Afton Station so we could get acquainted. I really looked forward to it. Sadly I will miss that golden opportunity.

  4. I started corresponding with Laurel at the beginning of 2001, while I was planning my first trip on Route 66. I told Laurel that I would be bringing my wife’s Fiat Panda to the U.S.A and accompanied by my oldest friend, Ron Miles, we planned to arrive in New York for Ron’s birthday, July 23rd, travel through Connecticut to Niagara and on through Canada to Detroit, then ultimately to Chicago. After visiting Airventure at Oshkosh, Wisconsin, we would spend four days in Chicago and start the Mother Road trip on my 66th birthday, August 5th. Laurel offered help and told us that if we had problems with the Panda, her husband, David, would be more than willing to help. In the event, when we got to Afton, Laurel was still living in Connecticut so all we could do was leave a note in the door’s letter plate. Over the succeding years I kept up a regular correspondence with Laurel and five years later repeated the trip in the little Panda, again with Ron. This time we stayed three days with Laurel in Tulsa. Many years later I brought Cain my grandson to Chicago and drove to Afton, again spending time with Laurel. Laurel was always interested in my news from England and I was looking forward to meeting her again. Sadly it is not to be. A lovely, gracious lady.

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