Jim Hinckley’s Blog
The Route 66 Centennial
When it comes to utilizing tourism as a catalyst for economic development, and historic district revitalization, towns in the American southwest have a distinct advantage. And if those communities happen to be on Route 66, those opportunities are magnified exponentially, especially with the highways centennial fast approaching.
So, what do communities along this storied highwway need to do to capitalize on the Route 66 centennial?
An Eye On The Future
Personally I liked my adopted hometown of Kingman, Arizona the way it was 55 years ago. Everything was centrally located - a theater, shops, grocery store, drug store, restaurants, saloons and night clubs, and garages. The historic heart of the town was vibrant with...
End of An Era
The unexpected death of Scott Dunton about ten days ago was the end of era for Kingman, for Route 66, and for me personally. Scott I began working on projects to utilize the growing interest in Route 66 as a catalyst for historic district revitalization back in about 1992. That was shortly after he and his father had purchased the venerable old Kimo Cafe that dated to 1940, and initiated its transformation into Mr. D’z Route 66 Diner. As a bit of FYI, the “D’ in the name is for Dunton.
In 1994, Scott and I launched the Route 66 Association of Kingman Arizona. Fueled with a passion for the endeavor we hit the ground running. But as so often happens, life got in the way and the association went into a holding pattern.
Northern and western Arizona is a land of scenic wonders without equal. Here you will find the awe inspiring majesty of the Grand Canyon and the red rock country at Sedona. And in the Black Mountains you can drive a segment of Route 66 cut through landscapes so stunning a one eyed blinid man would have trouble taking a bad photo.
But before Route 66, the National Old Trails Road, Atlantic & Pacific Railroad, and the Beale Wagon Road cut across this vast desert wilderness this was the home of the Pai and Mojave people. It was their trade routes that were followed by an expedition led by Father Garces in 1776, and the explorers that followed. That trade route became the Mojave Road across the vast wilderness of the Mojave Desert.
Hiding in Plain Sight
There is a thriving arts community and the historic State Theater is being renovated as a performing arts center. Chillin on Beale, held on the third Saturday afternoon of each month, April through October, adds a colorful vibrancy to the historic district that is in the midst of a slow motion renaissance.
At the west end of the historic business district along Route 66 are two delightful parks, one of which is shaded by towering tress. As they are located adjacent to the Powerhouse Visitor Center and Mohave Museum of History & Arts, they are ideally suited for the hosting of events such as the Kingman Festival of The Arts, and for vendors during the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona sponsored annual Route 66 Fun Run. But, oddly enough, the annual Kingman Route 66 Fest is held in a park located miles from the historic heart of the city, and nearly a mile from the nearest restaurant.
For a brief moment in time it was designated U.S. 60. But by the time that signs had been placed along the highway that connected Chicago to Los Angeles a political compromise had given it a new identity - U.S.66. Exactly when Route 66 morphed from highway to icon...
Yesterday's epsiode of Coffee With JIm, our Sunday morning podcast, illustrated the infectious magic of iconic Route 66 in the era of renaissance. And it was a manifestation of the Jim Hinckley's America tag line - "Telling People Where to Go & Sharing America's...
Forgotten Cousin of Route 66
I have yet to fully explore U.S. 6. But it is on my “to do” list. And with with every mile driven, my eagerness to follow the highway from end to end grows stronger.
Recently I had Jim Hinckley’s America related business in Colorado. And that provided an opportunity for some backcountry exploration in southern Utah and northern Arizona. As a bonus I also had time to explore a bit of U.S. 6. in Utah and Colorado.
And once again I wasn’t disappointed. Counted among the highlights of that exploratory adventure was the discovery of the Grand Junction Palomino Inn in Grand Junction, Colorado.
Incentive With Inspiration
Telling people where to go and sharing America's story. In a nutshell that is what we do at Jim Hinckley's America. And we are always looking for new opportunities to do both. That is why we recently launched the podcast Car Talk From The Main Street of America, and...
Opportunity Is Knocking!!
The articles are a few years old, and the downturn in tourism that resulted from COVID related restrictions blunted the near vertical growth in tourism, but the evidence is still valid. “Atlanta (IL), sales tax revenue jumped 43 percent last year during the peak tourism season of April to August compared to four years ago.” From Waynesville, Missouri, “The city’s sales-tax revenue rose 7 percent last year.”
A simple Google search shows similar results in a number of Route 66 communities over the course of the past ten years. Further research indicates that the success in each of these communities has several common denominators.