Southern Nazarene University awarded a grant to document Route 66’s effect on Bethany

Southern Nazarene University in Bethany, Oklahoma, has been awarded $8,810 from the Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant Program to document the impact of Route 66 on that community.

According to The Echo, which is the university’s student newspaper:

Grant funds will pay for technology for converting older media; a camera, lighting, and wall backdrop arrangement to capture images from scrapbooks, student organization materials, three-dimensional objects, and the City of Bethany archives that cannot be scanned, as well as tape players and recorders for interview digitization and transcription. SNU will contribute an additional $881 to overall project expenses.
“Southern Nazarene University enjoys a rich history, having been a part of the founding of the City of Bethany and located on Route 66 before the Mother Road was created,” said Dr. J. Keith Newman, president of Southern Nazarene University. “The Route 66 project provides a great opportunity to preserve the narratives of the Mother Road across Oklahoma. We are grateful for this grant and the research it makes possible for the centennial celebration of Route 66 in 2026.”

Downtown Bethany, which Route 66 traverses, sits across the street from the university. The Bethany Main Street Association touts itself as having “friendly hometown charm in the midst of the big city” — the latter referring to neighboring Oklahoma City.

The Oklahoma Historical Society in recent weeks has awarded nearly three dozen awards from its Oklahoma Heritage Preservation Grant Program, including $9,846 to the Claremore Museum of History and Rogers County Historical Society Inc. for better storage of its collections and $1,000 to the Edmond Historic Preservation Trust to help it develop a strategic plan.

Southern Nazarene University essentially began in 1906 in downtown Oklahoma City, but acquired land a few years later in Bethany in 1909 and rechristened itself as Oklahoma Holiness College. It changed its name to Oklahoma Nazarene University in 1918. It went through a number of name changes after mergers with other colleges and settled on its current name by 1986.

(Image of downtown Bethany, Oklahoma, along Route 66 by H.L.I.T. via Flickr)

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