Once again I have successfully managed to stave off boredom for another week, and its only Friday. As a bonus, I have a front row seat to the transformation of Kingman which will be picking up speed this summer.
Reestablishment of the Route Association of Kingman Arizona is on the fast track. The primary goal of the organization will be revitalization of the historic district and Route 66 corridor as a catalyst for city wide economic development and the fostering of a sense of community purpose.
This may seem a bit idealistic but my thought is that, perhaps, the structure and development of the organization could serve as a template for the establishment of similar organizations in communities along the Route 66 corridor. These organizations could then bolster and revitalize state associations and in turn serve as the foundation for a representative national organization similar to the original U.S. Highway 66 association. In a somewhat unrelated note, last evening there was an informal get together at the Ramada Kingman. The primary topic of discussion was harnessing the Route 66 renaissance as a means for the transformation of Kingman. Greg Arnold and Alie Reynolds of Giganticus Headicus fame, Allen and Lynette Greer from the Frontier Motel and restaurant in Truxton, Steve Wagner and his wife, Sonja Claw, and a few others made for lively, interesting, and productive conversation. We closed out our meeting of the minds with an agreement to make this a monthly gathering. I will post the date and time for the June meeting this weekend. If you would like to be added to the mailing list for updates or to be kept in the loop, drop me a note.
Meanwhile the self publishing endeavor that will manifest as a guide to the sites and attractions in the Kingman area is nearing completion, but at glacial speeds. Here too my active imagination is unleashed as I envision this as being the first of several guide books that profile Route 66 communities.
This ties in with serious discussions pertaining to the development of Kingman area tours. This will be an expansion of the current services offered to tour groups that include presentations and the development of special events. This neat little Kingman promotional package that includes the previously noted podcasts. Now that the flu is behind me and my voice isn’t giving the impression that I suffer from a late onset of puberty, that project is back on track. Plans are to send the first audio file to Gary Cron at Baby Boomer Radio for his editorial expertise. Stay tuned for details. Shifting focus a bit, I want to remind you that the date for the second annual Route 66 Festival takes place on the weekend of June 13. I hope to see you there. The steering committee that morphed into the Route 66: The Road initiative has been a topic of heated discussion in the Route 66 community over the course of the past few months. The primary complaint has centered on public involvement in the groups development. I am quite pleased to announce that a series of town hall meetings for discussing the groups progress to date as well as the next steps is being tentatively being scheduled for the month of July. Details have yet to be confirmed but as soon as they become available I will post them. Here is the proposed schedule and location for the meetings: Date: Tuesday, July 21 City: Springfield, IL
Date: Wednesday, July 22 City: Springfield, MO (KS/MO)
Date: Thursday, July 23 City: Oklahoma City, OK
Date: Friday, July 24 City: Amarillo, TX
Date: Saturday, July 25 City: Albuquerque, NM
Date: Tuesday, July 28 City: Flagstaff, AZ
Date: Wednesday, July 29 City: San Bernardino, CA The Birthplace of Route 66 Festival in Springfield, Missouri, a major event on the road this year kicks off on August 14. We have tentative plans on attendance but in either case this is not an event to be missed.
Also on our travel calendar is the Miles of Possibilities event that will take place in Edwardsville, Illinois on the last weekend in October. I especially recommend this event if you have interest in fostering development on Route 66 or in your community. The next few days holds the possibility of even more exciting developments. Details will be provided in the next installment of Route 66 Chronicles. Did you notice that my talented and dearest friend has worked her way through the trademark process? Now, to put the logo to work.
As you may have discerned by the lengthy title, this mornings post will be a bit random in content. I assure you, however, that it should be of interest to anyone who enjoys cold beer at interesting locations, fascinating books, a good movie, a variety of Route 66 adventures, exciting new developments in Kingman, a bit of exploration, or sober reflections on the meaning of a holiday. From Chicago to Santa Monica communities along the Route 66 corridor have harnessed the Route 66 renaissance as a catalyst for development and revitalization. Some communities, however, have yet to fully grasp the potential or take advantage of the unprecedented economic opportunities the renaissance represents. Until quite recently Kingman, Arizona was counted among the latter. The Route 66 International Festival last year changed everything. Manifestations of the great awakening are found throughout the historic district and along the Route 66 corridor from the airport to the Powerhouse. After years of contentious discussion the remnants of the building on the corner of Fourth Street and Andy Devine Avenue (Route 66)were recently removed and the lot cleared. Plans are for the addition of murals to the Beale Hotel wall, paving of the lot, and using the corner for events such as a Fourth of July celebration that is currently under development. Spearheaded by Scott Dunton, owner of Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner and Dunton Motors Dream Machines, the transformation of the corner from eyesore to destination was a volunteer initiative that exemplifies the sense of community that is often fostered by Route 66 corridor development. Ed Tapia from the City of Kingman, Doug Poole, Keith Walker of Walker Electric, Bobby Freiday of Freiday Construction, Craig Graves, and Tommy, Linda, and Brian Short of Desert Construction, as well as Damon Henderson representing the Henderson family that owns the Beale Hotel all contributed to the endeavor.
On a more personal note the month of May has been fraught with a few personal challenges, the most notable of which was a severe case of the flu and the enduring aftermath. If there is a silver lining to being sick it would be that it provides an opportunity to catch up on reading. I have been slowly working my way through a tremendous biography of Abraham Lincoln. In A. Lincoln author Ronald C. White Jr. does a masterful job of transporting the reader into the life and times of this astounding man. A full review will be posted soon on my Goodreads pagebut suffice to say this is the best book about Lincoln I have ever encountered. While on the subject of books, I have one more to recommend. As associate editor for Cars and Parts my duties included the penning of book reviews. After cessation of publication I maintained contact with several publishers and continued the writing of reviews for several publications. In recent weeks I received several titles for review. To date the most fascinating of these is Motorama by David W. Temple published by CarTech.
This publisher is best known for their in depth guides to automotive repair but on occasion they will deviate with a publication of a book like Motorama. Numerous books have been published about General Motor’s legendary show and concept cars but this one adds such depth and context to the subject through the weaving of informative as well as insightful text, and rich illustrative materials I highly recommend adding this book to your automotive library. Now lets talk about beer. In recent months beer aficionados in Kingman have been overwhelmed with opportunities for new experiences. Last evening I commenced the sampling of a growler from Black Bridge Brewery on Beale Street, a gift from Greg who is working on the support team as Atsuyuki Katsuyama recreates the historic Bunion Derby by running the length of Route 66.
Then there is the House of Hops that recently opened in the decades long closed Kingman Club. With its refurbished neon signage, beer selection, and pleasant ambiance this is fast becoming the “in” place in the Kingman historic district. At the other end of town, the former Holiday Inn that has been reborn as the Ramada Kingman, which includes Canyon 66 lounge and restaurant is fast becoming a destination for locals and travelers alike. Fittingly the lounge is offering sixty-six cent first round draft beers. Then there is the Hualapai Kwik Stop located on Hualapai Mountain Road south of the Dambar and Route 66. With several hundred different beers available the challenge is in making a selection. With summer fast approaching it seemed an ideal time for introducing Route 66 enthusiasts to the cities suds centers. So, this week, on Thursday the 28th of May, at around 5:30 PM, I will be stopping by Canyon 66 for a cold one. I hope you will be able to join me.
That take us to the adventure and a new chapter in the title for today’s post, both of which are intertwined. The publisher has requested a revision and update for Backroads of Arizona. So, composing an outline for this project is one item on the to do list this weekend. Another would be adding some polish to the guide book for the Kingman area, a self publishing endeavor. I noted a few weeks ago that an office at the historic Dunton Motors dealership building would be made available for my use soon. This will serve as a place to meet with groups and visit with Route 66 enthusiasts. It will also serve as a staging area for historic district walking tours. Added to this is an arrangement being finalized with the owners of the Ramada Kingman. In a nut shell, as the schedule allows, I will meet with guests, answer Route 66 questions, and assist with travel planning or Kingman exploration. There are also ongoing discussions about staging a one of a kind tour of Kingman from this facility but a number of details still need to be finalized. The past few weeks have been a bit of a challenge for my dearest friend and I. So, we decided that a date night was in order. It commenced with an excellent meal of chicken, dressing, and couscous courtesy of a charming and talented chef who just happens to also be my best friend. A glass of beer from Black Bridge Brewery before dinner and a bit of wine to enhance the flavor of the food, along with some most enjoyable conversation ensured it was an enjoyable and relaxing dinner. We rounded out the evening with a superb film, The Imitation Game. I will not spoil the story but suffice to say it was most refreshing to enjoy a film that featured a well written script, excellent photography, and top tier acting rather than mindless fluff or endless special effects. Last but not least, Memorial Day thoughts. As we rush to embrace the weekend with beer and barbecues, let us not forget what this holiday commemorates. Of even more importance lets take a moment to reflect on the veterans and the sacrifices made on our behalf.
To say the very least, on Route 66 it is shaping up to be a most interesting and, perhaps, historic summer and fall. First, there was completion of the report on the state of the Route 66 community (published in three parts here at Route 66 Chronicles) and its subsequent international distribution that has sparked a great deal of discussion.
Respondents almost universally agreed about the primary need facing the international Route 66 community so, as I see it the next challenge will be how to transform that passionate discussion into a representative organization that meets the needs of that community, an entity similar in nature to the original U.S. Highway 66 Association.
My hope was and is that the organizers of the Miles of Possibility conference in Edwardsville, Illinois will take the lead and in working with the various committees from the Route 66 The Road Ahead initiative steering committee, the National Park Service, and people who have a track record for success with the utilization of the highways renaissance as a catalyst for development facilitate an organizational meeting. This coupled with the array of fun filled Route 66 activities scheduled to coincide with the conference would ensure that this is an historic event.
Meanwhile, a bit closer to home, I have been asked to assist in the establishment and development of the Route 66 Association of Kingman. The primary goal will be to foster development of a sense of community and community purpose that will in turn support revitalization in the cities historic district and along the Route 66 corridor.
A similar organization existed a decade or so ago but it was stillborn. Now, however, there is a growing passion within the city, largely resultant of last years Route 66 International Festival. One manifestation of this is the transformation of the former Holiday Inn into the Ramada, a facility that also includes the Canyon 66 restaurant and lounge. The owners are continuing to develop the property and plans call for electric vehicle charging stations, a play ground for children, and a dog park.
Chillin’ on Beale
Even more exciting are their ongoing plans to assist in the development of, and centralize area tours from the hotel with the goal of making Kingman a destination rather than just a stop. With miles of scenic hiking and mountain bike trails, ghost towns, museums, Route 66, Grand Canyon West Resort in the immediate area, and events such as Chillin’ on Beale on the third Saturday evening of the month, this is long overdue. Meanwhile, we are counting down the days to the big event in Holbrook (the weekend of June 13). In addition to the Route 66 festival itself, there are plans afoot for another Sean and Karen Evans led adventure. Then there are pending visits. After years of correspondence we will finally be meeting with Adele Mossetter, and her husband Robert, from the land down under, and Sylvia and Bernhard Hohn from Germany. Visiting with pen pals, friends, and enthusiasts traveling Route 66 is always the highlight of our summer season. The enthusiasm and excitement they have for the adventure is quite infectious. This year promises to be even more exciting as we move closer toward the long envisioned dream of providing assistance to those planning trips, and developing customized tours in the local area as well as along Route 66 and in the southwest. Toward that end we will have an office with reception area at Dunton Motors Dream Machines next to Mr. D’z.
Author Jim Hinckley with a tour from the Czech Republic led by Zdnek Jurasek. Courtesy Judy Hinckley
For details about these ventures or for inquiries drop me a note. You may also give me a call at (928)897-7766. Meanwhile, here is to grand adventures and living the dream.
. if we can only transform that discussion into a representative My personal hope is that all of this discussion will be channeled into the
Respondents noted the growing interest in bicycle tourism and the recent initiatives pertaining to Route 66 put forth by the Adventure Cycling Association as an example of potential new markets (link “n”).
Those that addressed this issue cited the Chain of Rocks Bridge as a positive example of how abandoned infrastructure can be utilized to meet the needs of this market. The loss of the bridge at Route 66 State Park in Missouri was referenced as an example of threats that jeopardize capitalizing on it. They also noted that preservation of these components was crucial if this potential market was to be fully capitalized on.
Building preservation and repurposing is also an issue of pressing concern. This is a wide ranging issue that runs the gamut from preserving structures in an arrested state of decay similar to Bodie, California to full refurbishment of long abandoned businesses.
Underlying the urgency expressed by some respondents is the need to educate communities about utilizing the Route 66 renaissance as a catalyst for development and redevelopment that is linked to the preservation of historic structures. Several respondents proposed a relatively simplistic and similar means of resolution.
Cuba, Missouri, Galena, Kansas, Pontiac, Illinois, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Tucumcari, New Mexico were often cited as examples of communities that had successfully harnessed the resurgent interest in Route as a catalyst for transformation. The suggestion was to compile a report that detailed how these and other communities utilized innovative zoning ordinances, beautification programs, the repurposing of historic structures, and other initiatives to make this transition, and submit it to city managers and mayors in communities along the Route 66 corridor.
Specific examples cited for inclusion in the report include:
a)The opening of the Route 66 Arcade Museum in Atlanta, Illinois–
b)Transformation of the Old Trails dealership showroom in Kingman, Arizonainto the Route 66 Ice Cream Shop & Bakery –
c)Refurbishment and reopening of the Roadrunner Lodge in Tucumcari, New Mexico –
d)The mural program in Cuba, Missouri –
e)Renovation of the Eagle Theater in Pontiac, Illinoisto serve as multipurpose facility suitable diner theater, musical revues , meetings, conferences, etc. –
f)Refurbishment of the Boots Court in Carthage, Missouri–
g)Refurbishment of the Campbell Hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma–
h)Establishment of the Route 66 ElectricVehicle Museumin Kingman, Arizona –
i)The El Garces project in Needles, California –
j)The City of Albuquerque’s initiatives to prevent demolition of the historic El Vado Motel –
k)Development of the promotional partnership between Galena, Kansas and Joplin, Missouri–
l)Façade renovation project in Sapulpa, Oklahoma–
It was also suggested that workshops and conferences be included in at least one major Route 66 event annually. These educational venues should include information about grants, grant acquisition, zoning, social media, the needs of the international market, and related subjects.
A centralized source for the listing of Route 66 properties that are for sale, endangered properties, and properties being scheduled for demolition was also proposed. This source could also serve as a venue to solicit support from the international community to intervene when properties are threatened.
As with issues pertaining to promotion, marketing, and education, the general consensus in regards to resolving problems associated with infrastructure preservation and development was that establishment of a representative organization would be the best means to address them. Such an organization could provide the leadership to initiate, assist, magnify, support, and coordinate grassroots initiatives.