To ensure I do not suffer from road trip withdrawals or boredom this winter several projects are either in the planning stage or are underway. As the weather has turned from absolutely delightful to windy, cold, and wet, it is now time to kick a few of them into high gear in anticipation of a very exciting 2013.As noted in a previous post, I am now under contract for two books – a travel guide with a Jim Hinckley twist, and an evolutionary view of Route 66 as seen through the development of promotional material. The completion of the latter has required a few research adventures and to complete the second, we will need a road trip or two into the California desert, and, possibly into the belly of the beast that is the Los Angeles basin. I am always fascinated with how the passing of time transforms the vibrancy of life into a thin, one dimensional subject labeled as history. As a case in point, in the research stage for the book on the highways evolution, I discovered some fascinating reports and studies from the early to mid thirties that detailed the “hot pillow trade” at motels, auto courts, and cabin camps.
|Gary Turner’s Gay Parita in Missouri.|
A small, four unit complex near Dallas rented those rooms 109 times in ten days, of which 102 guests listed addresses within twenty-five miles. One auto court owner near Springfield, Missouri proclaimed that the “hot pillow trade” accounted for 90% of his business. J. Edgar Hoover went so far as to proclaim many were havens for murders, white slave traders, and other miscreants. Interesting stuff to say the very least. While on the October adventure I hit upon the idea that for the travel book it would be interesting if small sidebars were added about points of interest for the automobile enthusiast. A few of these would be obvious places such as Afton Station, Gay Parita, and the Pontiac/Oakland Museum in Pontiac. However, I would like to also add a few of the obscure that are just as exciting to discover, such as the De Soto – Plymouth sign in Carthage. Others I found on this trip include an old Chevrolet dealership in El Reno with a bow tie in stone over the door, what may be an old Studebaker dealership with spoked wheels incorporated into the facade, and, of course, the Ford dealer in Bristow. Can you think of any others?As exciting as the research and writing are at this time, it is the Brunswick Hotel and the historic beautification projects in Kingman that are making it almost impossible to reign in my very active imagination. I am hoping to let it run free a bit this weekend by organizing a fund raiser for the mural program, photographing the hotel and writing a story about the property for Legends of America, and evaluating the area assigned for our gallery. This website has information about the hotel and plans for its future. You may also evaluate the floor plan in PDF format. As envisioned, our plan is to use the gallery/lobby area to meet with tour groups and travelers next year, and, perhaps, launch the Route 66 Information Center, a clearing house for all things Route 66. One step at a time.