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Sex, Murder, Scandal, and Celebrities on Route 66

In the 1940’s, W.A. “Tex” Thornton was a living legend, an almost

mythical figure whose exploits in the oil fields of Texas and Oklahoma made him seem larger than life. During the 1920’s he had perfected the use of nitroglycerin and dynamite to extinguish oil field fires, and in the era of the Great Depression, developed a steady rainmaking business using balloons, timed charges, and explosives.

The Park Plaza Motel on Route 66 in Amarillo was the scene of a murder that became a media sensation. Courtesy the Joe Sonderman collection.

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