Route 66 in the News
Miami Gets Funding for Markers
MIAMI, Okla. - The National Scenic Byways Program has awarded the city of Miami $120,000 for the erection of historical markers and other projects along historic Route 66.
Larry Eller, community development and grant coordinator for the city, said the city will allocate $20,000 and the Miami Convention and Visitors’ Bureau will provide $10,000 to increase the total amount of available funds to $150,000.
Funded projects include:
- Reconstruction of a 1900-era 40-foot-wide metal overhead sign on Main Street just north of Steve Owens Boulevard. The archway, “Miami, Oklahoma — The Gateway,” will welcome visitors to the downtown area.
- Reconstruction of a 21-foot tall Ozark Trail milepost marker in downtown Miami. The original marker, constructed in 1919 in the middle of the street at Central and Main streets, marked the trail system, and cited the distance from Miami to other cities on the route.
- Installation of directional signs on state highways directing tourists to the Coleman Theatre and the Route 66 Ribbon Highway, located south of the city on Highway 69 near Narcissa.
- Erect historical markers in front of the Coleman Theater, at the Route 66 Ribbon Highway and at the Ozark Trail milepost marker and at the gateway arch.
Funds from the city and the Miami Convention and Visitors’ Bureau will be used to place an historical marker at the old Marathon Gas Station at 331 S. Main St., Eller said.
The historical markers will help to explain the significance of the sites that are on the National Register of Historic Sites, he said.
“It’s really going to help promote tourism,” Eller said.
Currently, he said, visitors might find it difficult to locate the stretch of Route 66 Ribbon Highway, the only remaining nine-foot section in the nation of the historic highway.
The stretch of highway now is a county road.
“It’s a very unique stretch of highway,” Eller said.
The concrete portion of the county road was the original Ribbon Highway that was built as a one-lane road, he said.
Another unique structure on Route 66 is the former Marathon Gas Station, which now houses a hair salon, Eller said.
The 1930-era building constructed by Marathon Oil Company is the only one of its kind in the country, he said.
The city is working to encourage property owners along the old Route 66 to restore buildings to their original design, Eller said.
The Federal Home Loan Bank of Topeka has low-interest loans available for historical renovations, he said.
Work is expected to begin in May on the projects, he said.
“We’re super excited about that,” said Mayor Brent Brassfield.
Brassfield said the city has a large contingent of national and international tourists who plan vacations around traveling the old Route 66.
The city also will be developing an advertising campaign on Interstate 44 to direct travelers to Route 66 sites, he said.
City Manager Michael Spurgeon said the projects will add to the city’s historical look and complement the downtown historic lights and improvements made by business owners.
~Debbie Robinson, JoplinGlobe.com