Six projects, including four historic sites, will receive more than $103,000 in cost-share grants from the Route 66 Corridon Preservation Program under the auspices of the National Park Service.
The awards first were revealed Thursday in a social media post for the Road Runner’s Retreat complex, which received a grant, near Chambless, California.
Here are the grant awards; quotes are from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program’s announcement about the grants:
— Imperial Motel sign restoration, Albuquerque, $24,675 cost-share grant, $24,675 match by owner: The Imperial in Albuquerque was part of the long-defunct Imperial 400 Motels chain in the 1950s and early 1960s. “The Imperial Motel in Albuquerque has been unchanged since it was built in 1964, and the sign is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Grant funds will assist with restoring the sign to its historic appearance and operating condition as part of a larger redevelopment project.”
— Shamrock Court Restoration, Sullivan, Missouri, $30,000 cost-share grant, $30,000 match by owner: “With demolition on the horizon, a new owner has stepped in to rescue and stabilize the buildings, with plans to bring the Shamrock Court back to life as a functioning motel. Grant funds will assist with nominating the property to the National Register of Historic Places, and stabilizing the building through restoration of the subfloors, dormers, roof, gutters, HVAC system, electrical system, and plumbing system.” That new owner is Route 66 Association of Missouri President Rich Dinkela, who purchased the long-closed 1947 giraffe-stone property earlier this year.
— Road Runner’s Retreat sign restoration planning, Chambless, California, $5,386 cost-share grant, $5,386 match by owner. “The first phase will be to restore the neon sign, which features a large metal roadrunner. Historically the neon legs on the bird were lit in sequence to appear as if the roadrunner was running. Grant funds will assist with preparation of planning and design documents as part of the larger effort to restore the sign to operating condition.” The sign was partially and briefly relighted in December 2019. Roy and Helen Tull built Road Runner’s Retreat in the early 1960s. The business closed in the mid-1970s after Interstate 40 bypassed the area. Ryan Anderson, a grandson of the restaurant’s last owner, is the property’s owner and caretaker.
— Threatt Filling Station restoration, Luther, Oklahoma, $20,872 cost-share grant, $20,872 match by Threatt Filling Station Foundation. “Grant funds will assist with a new roof for the filling station, as part of a larger project to restore the property for use as a museum and destination site.” The station also received a $100,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation last month. Built by Allen Threatt in 1915, the gas station remains one of the few surviving African-American-owned businesses along Route 66. The bungalow-style station was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. The station operated until the early 1960s, when it was converted into living quarters.
— Music and entertainment project on Missouri Route 66, $7,484 cost-share grant, $15,011 match by Missouri State University’s Duane G. Meyer Library. “This project will focus on musical venues to offer a broad look of the community memory fostered by Route 66. While local residents enjoyed and benefited from these musical entertainment venues, so did Route 66 travelers and of course the musicians themselves. … The project will aid current and future generations in understanding the importance and impact of these musical entertainment venues and the connection to American culture. Grant funds will support researchers to identify and research venues and record a minimum of 12 oral history interviews in the greater Springfield, Missouri area. The oral histories will be made available online to the general public, free of charge through the Missouri State University Libraries online Collection Guide.” Music-history projects will include the Gillioz Theater, Jewell Theater, Alberta’s Hotel and Shrine Mosque in Springfield.
— “Route 66 Women” multi-episode documentary film, $15,000 cost-share grant, $37,000 match by Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership and Assertion Films. This is part of director Katrina Parks’ “Route 66 Women: The Untold Story of the Mother Road” project that gives perspectives of women who have lived and worked along Route 66. “Grant funds will support the final steps required to complete the film series to bring it to a wide audience through national broadcast by public television stations and international distribution.”
Since 2001, the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program has awarded a total of $2.37 million to 158 projects, with $3.69 million in cost-share matches. That totals $6.06 million in public-private investment toward the revitalization and commemoration of the Route 66 corridor.