Route 66

Matt Trotter / KWGS

A commission recommends moving about one-third of the city’s concrete planters dotting Route 66 to east Tulsa in an effort to better identify the historic highway there.

Of the 48 planters purchased with funds from a 2003 sales tax package, 46 remain, and the Tulsa Route 66 Commission wants 16 of them placed on Mingo Road at 11th Street, where there’s an interpretive plaza and recreation area.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Tulsa Route 66 Commission plans to take a $1.5 million request for American Rescue Plan funds to the mayor and city council next week.

The virus relief money can be used to support industries that saw business drop during pandemic.

Oklahoma Historical Society

This summer has brought help to a family trying to restore their Luther, Oklahoma, gas station that was likely the first and only Black-owned and -operated one on Route 66.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation recently included Threatt Filling Station in a $3 million total grant award to preserve 40 Black historic sites in the U.S. That came after the trust named it one of its 11 most endangered historic places in the country. According to the trust, less than 5% of sites they designate “most endangered” have been lost.


A yearlong beautification project on Route 66 at 11th and Lewis should begin this month.

Improvements in what’s been dubbed the Market District were unveiled Wednesday. Plans include new water and sewer lines, traffic lights, traffic calming measures, dozens of trees and benches, and Route 66 signage.

Chris Polansky / KWGS News

The Tulsa Route 66 Commission this weekend launched "Shop 66 Saturdays," a program meant to boost business at establishments along the historic route's Tulsa portions by staging pop-up events, giveaways and discounts at participating businesses on the first Saturday of each month through the end of 2021.

Rhys Martin, who sits on the board of the Tulsa Route 66 Commission, said Saturday they hope the promotion inspires Tulsans and tourists alike.

Route 66 Commission Reaches For Message Of Inclusion

May 11, 2021
Tulsa Historical Society

With the anniversary of the 1921 Race Massacre approaching, Tulsa’s Route 66 Commission is looking for ways to put out a welcoming message.


"We want the whole world to come here and feel safe and enjoy all of what we are doing here," said City Councilor Kara Joy McKee. 


The Oklahoma Department of Transportation will be installing 400 new Route 66 signs along highways and interstates ahead of the Mother Road’s 2026 centennial.

"These signs will ensure motorists have an easier way to spot the Mother Road in Oklahoma and bring awareness to this incredible treasure we have in the state. Oklahoma has more drivable miles of Route 66 than any other state, with over 400 miles stretching from Quapaw in northeast," said a statement from the office of Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, who is also the state secretary of tourism and branding.

The route for Tulsa’s second bus rapid transit line is starting to shape up.

A study INCOG presented last week to the Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commission showed the Route 66 BRT would include segments on 11th Street from downtown to Harvard Avenue and on 21st Street from Garnett Road to Eastgate Metroplex.

Tulsa Metropolitan Area Planning Commissioner Ted Reeds said that presents a good opportunity for commuters near the city’s eastern edge.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Months after the Tulsa Route 66 Commission said it was time for the Brookshire Motel to be torn down, it’s being done.

The city started demolishing the 1940s landmark on Monday.

There were four fires in the span of two years at the motel. Two this year ended with firefighters finding a dead man. The Tulsa Route 66 Commission had toyed with the idea of preserving the motel but abandoned those plans in May.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

Preservation should be a main goal as the City of Tulsa considers Route 66 projects, according to a recently completed survey for a new master plan.

Nearly three in four responses picked incentives for neon signs, facade improvements and building rehab assistance as a top priority for revitalizing Tulsa’s stretches of the historic highway.

Roughly the same proportion of respondents said 11th Street from Peoria to Yale should be the top target area.

City of Tulsa

The Tulsa Route 66 Commission showed interest Tuesday in a proposal to revitalize west Tulsa’s Howard Park by opening an RV park there.

Tulsa County Deputy Treasurer John Fothergill made the pitch for putting out a request for proposals to build an RV park with up to 70 spaces. Fothergill said a set of Vision-funded limestone monoliths installed at Howard Park in 2017 hasn’t done enough to boost tourism.

Public Radio Tulsa, Pre-Pandemic

Public Radio Tulsa bids farewell today to Steve Clem. Steve is retiring after 11 years as our Operations Director, and a lifetime of work in this crazy, wonderful world of radio. We didn't let him leave without peppering him with questions, of course.

Public Radio Tulsa:  Steve, you're retiring from Public Radio Tulsa after more than 10 years as our Operations Director.  But you've worked in radio your whole life.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

The Tulsa Route 66 Commission may proceed with an asset survey even though the state historic preservation office is doing one statewide.

The state is taking an inventory of structures like movie theaters, gas stations and restaurants built during the Mother Road’s heyday that may be eligible for preservation tax credits. Tulsa Route 66 Commission member Amanda De Cort said that work is not looking at an alternate alignment of Route 66 on Admiral Boulevard from Lewis Avenue to downtown.

Matt Trotter / KWGS

It appears to be the end of an era on Route 66 in east Tulsa.

After a third fire in 18 months and the death of a man in it last week, the Route 66 Commission is abandoning its efforts to have the Brookshire Motel at 11th Street and Garnett Road redeveloped with its existing buildings.

"We are not going to try to save the buildings anymore. We’ve now had too many fires and loss of life. But we would very much like to pursue saving the neon sign," said commission member Amanda DeCort.

(Note: This interview originally aired back in January.) Our guest is Terrence Moore, an acclaimed photographer who's been shooting images along Route 66 for 40+ years. He tells us about his new book, "66 on 66," which gathers his finest images culled from the many hundreds he's made over the years of "the Mother Road." This book also has a corresponding text by local historian and author Michael Wallis.

Our guest is Terrence Moore, a widely acclaimed photographer who's been shooting images along Route 66 for 40+ years. He tells us about his new book, "66 on 66," which gathers his finest images culled from the many hundreds he's made over the years of "the Mother Road." This book, with a corresponding text by local historian and author Michael Wallis, is just being published, and both Moore and Wallis will appear at a Magic City Books signing here in Tulsa on Friday the 18th. Details are posted here.

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we talk about the ongoing effort to make Route 66 a part of the U.S. National Park Serivce's National Historic Trail System. If this were to happen, Route 66 would become the 20th such trail in America, joining The Lewis and Clark Trail, The Oregon Trail, and others. This designation could mean a serious economic boost to our state, as Oklahoma has more Route 66 mileage than any other state through which the highway runs. We have two guests today.

The National Center for Preservation Technology and Training, which is part of the National Park Service, will soon host a three-day symposium here in Tulsa regarding the preservation of roadside architecture and attractions. It happens April 10th through the 12th, and it will include 20+ invited as well as solicited papers, an evening neon-sign tour, and a half-day field session exploring local roadside attractions and issues related to their preservation.

On this edition of ST, we welcome Ron Spigelman back to our show. He'll be the Guest Conductor for the next Tulsa Symphony Orchestra concert, which happens tomorrow night (Saturday the 11th) at the Tulsa PAC. As we learn on today's show, it's a Pops evening that will celebrate Route 66 -- indeed, a wide-ranging multimedia presentation (in image, text, and music) that will offer everything from Kander and Ebb's "Chicago" to Aaron Copland's "Buckaroo Holiday," and from W.C. Handy's "St.

Our guest today is Ken Busby, the CEO and executive director of the non-profit Route 66 Alliance, which is based here in Tulsa, and which is, per its website, "dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and enhancement of historic Route 66 -- past, present, and future." Formerly the director of the Arts and Humanities Council of Tulsa, Busby was asked to lead the "Mother Road"-focused organization in 2014; today, he brings us up to speed on the Route 66 Experience Museum, a large-scale development for which funds are still being raised and plans

In 1963, the up-and-coming pop artist Andy Warhol took a road trip across America, from New York to Los Angeles.

Europeans Take a Trip Along Route 66 Thru Oklahoma

Sep 9, 2015

Route 66, America’s Mother Road, holds great interest for Europeans. Every year several travel all or part of the iconic roadway. In Tulsa recently were Corin Minshall from London and Estella Vall of Barcelona, about halfway through their trip along the entire route from Chicago to Santa Monica.

They say many Europeans consider it the ‘road trip of a lifetime’. They’re taking in the tourist stops like the Blue Whale and the Cadillac Ranch, but also staying in some homes and B and B’s along the route to get a feel for what it’s like for those living along the famous roadway.

On this edition of our show, we learn about "Mother Road," which is "an exploration of Route 66 by artist Jessica Harvey" that will be on view at the AHHA space (in the Brady Arts District in downtown Tulsa) through November 23rd. Harvey, who's originally from Chicago, has exhibited throughout the United States, and is currently in residence at the AHHA Creative Studios, is our guest on ST today.

On this edition of ST, we cover some interesting and less-familiar Tulsa history by way of a new biography of Cy Avery. Our guest is the Missouri-based author Susan Croce Kelly, author of "Father of Route 66: The Story of Cy Avery," which is just out from OU Press. Kelly will be speaking about and signing copies of this book on Saturday the 27th at the Tulsa Historical Society; the event is free to the public and begins at 10:30am.