Longtime Route 66 researcher and artist Jerry McClanahan flagged an article in a local newspaper that reported Wellston, Oklahoma, is planning what reputedly would be the “world’s largest” Route 66 sign.
In a Facebook post, McClanahan posted a photograph of an Oct. 8 article from The Lincoln County News, based in Chandler, Oklahoma, that stated the Wellston Chamber of Commerce is raising money to build a 25-by-25-foot metal Route 66 sign that would be the “world’s largest.”
Andrew Steffenson, a member of the chamber, said the sign would be set up at Route 66B at a curve where Ash Street turns into Second Street as motorists head into downtown. The sign also would be lighted at night. He and other members hoped the sign would draw more tourists into town.
According to Jim Ross’ book “Oklahoma Route 66” (Amazon link), Route 66B that goes through downtown Wellston was created in 1932 after a lengthy dispute with the state highway department. The official alignment of U.S. 66 goes through the southern outskirts of town and essentially bypasses Wellston.
Wellston city manager John Cobb told the newspaper a parking lot would be built near the sign, and he wanted it to be a “selfie station.” He estimated the project would cost about $16,500, including a $3,000 grant from the state.
The article did not report a completion date for the project.
Donations can be made to the Wellston branch of the Stroud National Bank under the Wellston Chamber of Commerce Route 66 Sign Project or at Steffenson Insurance in Wellston. Anyone with questions should call (405) 356-2477.
However, the claim it would be the world’s largest Route 66 sign is specious. As McClanahan points out, the recently erected Route 66 sign at Route 66 Motorheads Bar and Grill in Springfield, Illinois, measures 32 by 32 feet. It’s also uncertain whether the Wellston sign would be bigger than the one outside the National Route 66 Museum in Elk City, Oklahoma, though he and I have been unable to ascertain its size.
McClanahan said “whatever the size, this new attraction will be a welcome sight along Oklahoma 66.” And I always had a soft spot in my heart for the Route 66B alignment in Wellston. The downtown has an old-fashioned feel, and the historic Captain Creek Bridge sits on the city’s west edge.
(Image of the future site of the Route 66 sign in Wellston, Oklahoma, via the Wellston Chamber of Commerce via Facebook)