Route 66 in the News
Route 66 Cost-Share Preservation Grants Awarded
The National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program announces the awarding of three cost-share grants to restore historic properties along Route 66.
Colors of the West, Williams, Arizona — Constructed in 1912, the Duffy Brothers building in downtown Williams, Arizona, served as a grocery until 1954, when it became the Indian House, a curio selling Indian crafts and tourist goods to travelers on Route 66. Today, it continues the tradition under the name Colors of the West. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, its owners will use the cost-share grant to upgrade the electrical system to code and eliminate unused wiring, circuits and exposed conduit.
Sunset Motel, Villa Ridge, Missouri — Built in 1946, the 12-unit, buff-brick motel in Villa Ridge, Missouri, served Route 66 travelers, and later traffic from the interstate, until the late 1990s. Its stunning porcelain neon sign, showing the sun sinking into the ocean, attracts photographers but no longer works. With the cost-share grant, the owner will restore the neon sign, reroof the motel and refurbish its cornice and dormers.
Beck’s City Service, Tulsa, Oklahoma — Situated near the Eleventh Street Bridge in southwest Tulsa, Oklahoma, the old Beck’s City Service station sits shuttered and surrounded by acres of concrete. In the 1960s, the two-bay service station catered to motorists from the neighborhood and those taking Route 66 over the bridge. With the cost-share grant, the owner will perform a total refurbishment—replacing the roof, rebuilding windows and doors, updating outdated water and electric lines, and installing new HVAC equipment, to bring the gas station back to new use.
The cost-share grant program provides grant assistance for eligible historic preservation projects. Grant assistance is additionally awarded for research, oral history, interpretation, and educational projects. Grants are offered through an annual, competitive grant cycle. Since the program’s inception in 2001, $3.8 million in grant requests have been submitted. To date, 86 projects have been awarded $1.3 million, based on funding availability.
For more information on cost-share grants, visit the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program website: http://www.nps.gov/history/rt66/grnts/index.htm
Sunset Motel, Villa Ridge, Missouri
The first thing you see is the sun—a multi-rayed orb sinking into inky blue water.
The stunning porcelain neon sign advertising the Sunset Motel, now apartments in the tiny town of Villa Ridge in eastern Missouri, will be restored as part of a Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program cost-share grant.
Built in 1946 by the Lovelace family, the 12-unit, buff-brick motel is shaped like a V; every room faces lawn instead of parking. The Sunset served travelers on Route 66, and later the interstate, until the 1990s.
Fresh from their success restoring the Donut Drive-in sign in St. Louis, the Missouri Route 66 Association worked with the motel owner to apply for a cost-share grant.
With the grant, the team that restored the St. Louis sign will refurbish the Sunset Motel sign, installing new neon tubing and bringing back the luster of its setting sun.
The owner, using grant monies, will reroof the motel and refurbish dormers, cornice, fascia and soffits. Fiery orange neon will again outline its gables.
Look for the sun not to set on this historic motel.
Beck’s City Service, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Situated at the bottom of an expressway onramp, the old Beck’s City Service station in southwest Tulsa sits shuttered and surrounded by acres of concrete. Looking like an oblong box, the steel-frame faced and porcelain panel structure awaits new use.
In the 1960s, the two-bay service station catered to motorists from the neighborhood and those taking Route 66 over the Eleventh Street Bridge. When traffic diverted to a nearby interstate, it turned into a used car business—most recently, Ron David’s Used Autos.
Its new owners, who run a nearby business, see something in this old gas station. Inspired by Tulsa’s “Vision 2025,” a 2003 voter-approved county tax program to fund capital improvements, they applied for a Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program cost-share grant.
With the grant they, with guidance of a historical architect, will do a total refurbishment—replacing the roof, rebuilding windows and doors, updating outdated water and electric lines, installing new HVAC equipment—getting the steel-and-glass box ready for new use.
Colors of the West, Williams, Arizona
Through its tall arch door, tourists saunter into Colors of the West looking for a souvenir. Inside, racks of leather belts, gleaming copper jewelry, and sombreros hanging from the ceiling compete for their hard-earned dollars.
For over 50 years, this one-story brick building in downtown Williams, Arizona, has sold a range of tourist goods, from handmade Indian pottery to mass-produced Polar Bear Socks.
Prominent Williams developer C.F. Boyle constructed the building in 1912, as Arizona became a state and the town experienced a building boom. After housing several grocery stores—starting with the Duffy Brothers and ending with Safeway —in 1954 it turned into the Indian House, a curio selling American Indian crafts and tourists goods, then became Colors of the West in 1991.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the nearly 100-year-old building is in sound condition but in need of a major update to its electrical system and wiring.
Using the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program cost-share grant, the owners will upgrade the electrical system to code and eliminate unused wiring, circuits and exposed conduits.
Without all the wire and fuss, customers may better appreciate the original tin ceiling that gives this storied business its patina and charm.
~National Park Service Press Release