Descendants of the family that ran the Threatt Filling Station near Luther, Oklahoma, want to reopen the Route 66 landmark as a visitors center and museum, but they first must resolve a land dispute involving the property.
Built by Allen Threatt in 1915, the gas station remains one of the few surviving African-American-owned businesses along Route 66. The Threatt Filling Station operated until the early 1960s, when it was converted into living quarters. The bungalow-style station made of rock from the Threatt farm’s quarry was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.
Last month, several members of the Threatt family met with Kaisa Barthuli of the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, Amy Webb and Grant Stevens of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Jimmy Blue of the Round Barn of Arcadia, Oklahoma, and Jennifer Farrell Tollison of Oklahoma Route 66 Association to discuss the station’s preservation.
Barthuli said in a phone interview Monday from her office in Santa Fe, New Mexico, that the Threatt Filling Station needs a new roof and new electrical work but is sound structurally.
“It’s an incredible wealth of history,” she said.
C. David Threatt, a grandson of Allen Threatt who lives in Maryland, agreed during a phone interview Monday the station is “in good shape.”
“We believe it won’t take an exorbitant amount to restore it,” he said.
However, Barthuli and Threatt said not much can be done to the property until a dispute about the rights to the land is resolved. Threatt says the matter likely will have to be resolved in court.
The Threatt family in January launched a GoFundMe.com campaign to help with the Threatt Filling Station’s restoration and legal bills surrounding the land dispute. The Threatts hope to raise $50,000.
According to the GoFundMe description:
Due to some unfortunate family disputes, and questionable land grabbing tactics by wealthy individuals preying on minority owned land, the Threatt Filling Station and the land it sits on is in jeopardy. Sadly enough we have been forced retain legal counsel to avoid losing any portion of our family land and its rich legacy.
Threatt was reluctant to name the other party in the land dispute but confirmed it was Andrew Thomas Tillison Jr. of nearby Lincoln County, Oklahoma. According to Oklahoma County land records, Tillison acquired interest in three parcels from the 180-acre Threatt farm — which dates to the Oklahoma Land Run of 1889 — during a three-day period in the summer of 2014.
“It’s questionable whether it was a legal transaction since the property never was subdivided and is on the National Register of Historic Places,” Threatt explained.
The Threatt family has posted several vintage photos of the station and ancestors on a Facebook page.
(Image of the Threatt Filling Station in 2014 by Melodbit via Wikimedia Commons; image of the Threatt Filling Station during the 1990s via National Register of Historic Places nominating petition)