As the Great Depression, part two, sweeps across the nation in slow motion there is an almost palpable sense of grey, except on Route 66. Framed by this dreary backdrop the colors, the warmth, and the allure of Route 66 seems magnified.
In the late 1920’s Route 66 was the road to a bright and promising future. During the dark days of the 1930’s, it was the nations trail of tears. To those who traveled it during the late 1940’s and 1950’s it was a road of discovery and adventure. In recent years it became a road of memories remembered, and memories made.
Today it is an old friend, an escape from the cares and worries of the day. It is a safe haven, a port in the storm, a return to the old neighborhood, an oasis in a desert where the vast wilderness seems to be a sea of uncertainty.
All along the course of this old road communities foster the illusion of being an oasis with gaily painted murals, time capsule motels, and diners that offer blue plate specials with a healthy dose of friendly. From Chicago to Santa Monica fans of the double six energize those who foster the illusion with their enthusiasm, their excitement, and their generosity.
Who can spend a night at the Wagon Wheel Motel, and savor a breakfast at Shelley’s, in Cuba, Missouri and not be refreshed, renewed, and filled with excitement about the future? Who can end a day of exploration among the haunting ruins of Glenrio and Endee at the Motel Safari and not feel that the sun is again shining bright?
Few communities have been immune to the optimism, the sense of excitement that is carried from town to town by the legions of fans who travel the old double six. Kingman was a bit slow to succumb but I am happy to report that this is about to change.
The transformation of the west wall of the historic Old Trails Garage into a cornerstone for historic district beautification is well underway. The first in a five window mural project is complete.
The Kingman Downtown Merchants Association have financed the art work for the second window. Today artist Julie Snider, who will be opening a gallery in the refurbished Brunswick Hotel complex in the spring of 2013, provided the funds for the third window this morning. This means we will be starting a new year with a renewed sense of optimism in Kingman.
It also means we will be ending the year having taken several steps toward the transformation of Kingman from a stop to a destination. The Old Trails Garage will mark the closing of the year. Refurbishment of the El Trovatore Motel neon and the extensive mural program on that property marked the beginning.
Now, looming on the horizon for the new year we have the grand reopening of the historic Brunswick Hotel, which in turn will mean the opening of our gallery and visitor center. Then there is the development of the phantom gallery project, another season of Chillin on Beale, another year of First Friday events at Beale Street Brews & Gallery, another Route 66 Fun Run, and, most importantly, another season filled with endless opportunities to meet with friends old and new as they travel along the legendary double six.
On the horizon grey skies may loom but along Route 66 the forecast is for sunny days.