Thursday, June 21, 2007

On Da 66: Miami, Pontiac and Carthage

A few items of interest I've come across regarding The Mother Road:

1. Miami, Oklahoma, appears to be getting involved more with its Route 66 heritage, By the way, if you pronounced it like that place in Florida, you were wrong. It's pronounced My-ah-muh. So, now you know.

Of course, they have that beautiful Coleman Theater which was built in 1929 with Spanish Mission-style architecture. Then there is Waylan's Ku Ku Burgers from 1960, the last remaining of a 200 unit chain. Great food in a unique building and sign.

Miami was one of the very first Route 66 towns to be bypassed by the Will Rodgers Turnpike. Plans are underway to do a lot of stuff that will once again bring back the 66 ties.

One thing they are planning is to recreate a gateway that tourists passed through in the 1920s. Also, there will be a mile marker for the old Ozark Trail, which predated 66. Close to $1.8 million will be spent on Main Street's streetscape. A sign will be erected by the famous one lane "Ribbon Road" where Route 66 was just one lane wide to make funds stretch in the attempt to continously pave the road the whole way.

Grants have been received to renovate an old Marathon station which is described as looking like a Greek temple. I've never seen it, though, in the several times I've passed through the town.

2. Pontiac, Illinois, one of my favorite 66 towns, and home of that magnificent courthouse, the Old Log Cabin Restaurant as well as the Route 66 Association of Illinois' Hall of Fame and Museum, is considering more to promote Route 66.

Two Route 66 murals and a $3000 road turnout are on the docket. The bridge is significant because it was an original Illinois Hwy 4 one. This is the road Route 66 replaced. It was rebuilt in 2006, but the original ends were kept. One has a faded, but still discernable old Illinois hwy sign with a 4 inside a map of the state. I wish we'd go back to that design. The one we use today is very generic. The rest of the bridge was built to look the same as the old one. There will be a bench or several benches as well as a kiosk that will describe the place of the bridge in history.

One of the murals will be seven by twenty-five feet and will show a 1950s era car on Route 66 with the words "Enjoy Pontiac, Illinois on Route 66."

3. The June 20th Carthage Press reports that the owner of the art deco 1939 Boots Motel would sure like someone to come and buy it.

Vince Scott bought it about four years ago as an investment. He had hoped to sell it to WALGREENS which planned on tearing it down to build a corner store. Imagine that, a Walgreens tearing down a historic building to construct a new store. Has that ever happened before? Fortunately for us, the deal fell through.

Now, he's "stuck" with it. "I bought it to turn around and make some fast money and now I still have it. Now, I've gotten a lot of advice from people, but not many people stepping up with any money to back up that advice." Somehow, I feel sorry for him, don't you?

The article said it was built in the 1920s by Arthur Boots, and, according to Scott, the rooms still look pretty much the same.

"Local icon could be tourist attraction" by John Hacker.

Forward the 66. --RoadDog

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