Oklahoma is home to a sizable portion of Route 66 - maybe even the longest portion in
the United States. This state's Route 66 is also where the legend really began - John
Steinbeck's description of the Mother Road, Will Rogers traveling along the highway,
the Phillips 66 gas station. The state also maintains large sections of the highway as
State Highway 66, so unlike Texas, a traveler can take the road almost in its entirety.
Above and left: This beautiful, long truss bridge
sits west of Oklahoma City on an old section of
Route 66. The bridge is drivable, though is mostly
used by cyclists and walkers. It spans the North
Canadian River just north of the point where it
empties into Lake Overholser.
Arcadia is home to the red round barn, a bona-fide must-see along
the Route 66 trek. It's hard to believe that just a little over ten years
ago, this beautiful 19th century barn was falling in on itself. Inside is
a cool souvenir shop, and you can climb up for a view.
Click here to visit
Route 66 in Texas!
The grave of Jesse Chisholm, famous Cherokee trader and supposed
namesake of the
Chisholm Trail, lies just north of Route 66 outside the
town of Geary, by Left Hand Spring.
A great neon sign for the Capri Hotel on Rte 66 in Tulsa. This motel
sits where Rte 66 becomes a feeder road to I44 and I 244. What's
great about Oklahoma's Rte 66 is that it's been re-created as a state
highway, and the old sections are still part of the state's cities. In
Tulsa, Rte 66 is along 11th Street.
Along Rte 66 in Tulsa I came across a store called "The Stove
Hospital." They repair old stoves, ovens, and heaters here. I have
never been so fascinated by kitchen appliances before! I just had to
take a picture of one of the stoves, even if only through the window.
The famous Blue Whale at Catoosa, a Rte 66 town just northeast of
Tulsa that is growing by leaps and bounds. The Blue Whale was built by
a man named Davis for his wife, and they opened the Whale and the
pond as a swimming hole for locals (the whale acted as a slide and diving
board). Today, the Davis descendants and the City of Catoosa operate
the Blue Whale as a free attraction to anyone driving along the old road.
Though no swimming is allowed, you can still hear the echoes of
laughter and enjoyment of a generation inside the belly of the Whale.
This concrete bridge over the Arkansas River in Tulsa was built in 1916
and carried drivers until the 1970s, when a newer bridge was built
beside it. Luckily, Tulsa kept the old bridge. When you walk on it, you are
standing on the actual Mother Road!
Tulsa's old Bell Motor Court is just a shell with the skeleton of its
neon sign waving to tourists who miss the way travel used to be.
Oklahoma's Route 66
Pops is a soda store and restaurant in Arcadia that has all sorts of
different sodas for sale, including really weird ones, like bacon-flavored
coke. This is one of Route 66's newest attractions. On our last trip, we
ate at one of the Mother Road's oldest places: the
Rock Cafe in Stroud.
Questions or comments? E-mail me:
robin@redriverhistorian.com