The future King of Rock ‘n’ Roll’s tours brought him to a few Route 66 landmarks that year. According to the newspaper.
— “By May 1956, Elvis was much better known and had already had a couple of No. 1 hits. On May 17, he headlined at the Shrine Mosque in Springfield. He was not so well known that he made a big splash in the local newspapers. Accompanied by both his mother and Colonel Parker, he stayed at the Rail Haven Motel on Route 66 in Springfield,” the newspaper said. The Shrine Mosque and the Rail Haven still are standing and going strong.
— Presley also disappeared for a few hours during his Springfield stop, but was found watching a Glenn Ford western at the Gillioz Theatre, also a Route 66 landmark.
Also, the Jordanaires, who became Presley’s backing singers for many years, were formed in Springfield, although those members soon would be replaced by non-Springfieldians.
I recently was told by a local tourism official Elvis stayed what now is the Route 66 Inn in Shamrock, Texas.
Other places were Presley stopped or slept on the Mother Road:
— The Porter House Diner, an original Valentine diner, in Weatherford, Oklahoma. The diner, relocated to the Heartland of America Heritage Museum in Weatherford, has Presley’s autograph in its guest book offered as proof.
— It’s been reported Presley stayed at the Sands Motel in Grants, New Mexico.
— The Summit Inn restaurant in Oak Hills, California, reputedly had an Elvis sighting, although the circumstances of it sound a tad embroidered, if it happened at all.
Because Elvis drove straight west of his home in Memphis to Las Vegas or Hollywood during his many cross-country trips, Route 66 sightings tend to be scarce east of Oklahoma City.
There may be other genuine Elvis sightings on Route 66 that we’ve overlooked. If you know of any, let us know in the comments section.
(Image of Room 215, aka the Elvis Room, at the Trade Winds Inn in Clinton, Oklahoma, via Facebook)