Day 5, Route 66 in Oklahoma

Apr 14, 2018 Sat0Route 66, Motorcycle
Home > Blog > Travel > 2018 40 to Phoenix > Day 5, Route 66 in Oklahoma
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 3:28 PM CDT Alt: 1273
Miles:406
Start Point:Conway, AR
Start Weather: At 6:00 AM the temperature was 60.3° with 100% humidity. The conditions were overcast with a windspeed of 3.5 miles per hour.
End Point:El Reno, OK
End Weather: At 6:00 PM the temperature was 42.3° with 41% humidity. The conditions were clear with a windspeed of 33.4 miles per hour and windgusts of 39.1 miles per hour.




Quick Links
  1. Bridge 18 at Rock Creek Sapulpa, OK
  2. Original Route 66 Road Bed West of Sapulpa, OK
  3. Rock Cafe Stroud, OK
  4. Ozark Trails Monument and Dirt Route 66 Road Bed West of Sapulpa, OK
  5. Seaba Station Warwick, OK
  6. Chandler Armory Chandler, OK
  7. Threatt Filling Station Luther, OK
  8. 1928 Route 66 Road Bed East of Arcadia, OK
  9. Arcadia Round Barn Arcadia, OK
  10. Lake Overholser Bridge Oklahoma City, OK
  11. Avant's Cities and Jackson Conoco Service Stations El Reno, OK
  12. Elevation Changes During the Day
  13. Track Log for Today
  14. Other Blogs About This Trip

The photo above sums up this day. Extremely windy, very cold and just a crappy day in general. 41 to 43° does not sound very cold but without my heated gear, I don’t think I could have handled the weather today. And I have a bad cold.

I did not get any great photos today but be sure to read the section about Threatt’s Filling Station. It made me stop and think.

Bridge 18 at Rock Creek Sapulpa, OK



Of the great number of bridges built on Route 66, Bridge #18 at Rock Creek is one of the better examples of the remaining steel-truss bridges in Oklahoma. Truss bridges were developed in the mid-1800s and used extensively until World War II, when technology changed and more standardized concrete designs were developed.

Bridge #18 is an illustration of the bridges of its era. Route 66 travelers who crossed Rock Creek near Sapulpa during the late 1920s would have thought the bridge the most dynamic design of its time, and it was. Constructed in 1924, #18 served as part of the old Ozark Trail, one of the few marked U. S. roads at the time. It became part of Route 66 in 1926. Just over a decade later the State’s entire section of Route 66 was paved. The bridge served Route 66 until the construction of a new alignment in 1952. The bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

This info was taken from the National Park Service website and more info can be found here.

Apr 14, 2018 Sat 11:49 AM CDT Alt: 644
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 11:52 AM CDT Alt: 677
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 11:54 AM CDT Alt: 677


Original Route 66 Road Bed West of Sapulpa, OK



This 3.3-mile section of meandering country road was originally an unpaved part of the Ozark Trails, a private road network that spearheaded Oklahoma’s early road development. Built in 1924-25, the current roadbed was part of a county, State, and Federal partnership to connect the eastern Oklahoma towns of Sapulpa and Bristow with a modern, paved road.

The construction materials and road design met the highest State and Federal standards in the 1920s. The two-lane roadbed of Portland Concrete was a standard 18 feet in width with graded three-foot shoulders on each side. After a long legal battle with the Frisco Railroad Company, the installation of a poured concrete railroad trestle allowed for a critical underpass about two miles into the road. This victory reflected the growing dominion of the automobile over the railroad.

This info was taken from the National Park Service website and more info can be found here.

Apr 14, 2018 Sat 12:04 PM CDT Alt: 694
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 12:05 PM CDT Alt: 694


Rock Cafe Stroud, OK



Like so many Route 66 roadside businesses, the landmark Rock Café in Stroud began as a start up business with modest capital. Owner Roy Rives took three years to finish construction and, at times, resorted to hiring high school students as a labor force. The concrete foundation of the Bungalow/Craftsman influenced café was poured by wheelbarrow, and its now famous Giraffe-style sandstone exterior may very well have been the result of economy over inspiration. Some say that Mr. Rives spotted a deal and purchased the entire supply of local colorful sandstone (leftovers from a recent construction project on Route 66) for just five dollars.

When the Rock Café finally opened for business in August 1939, conditions were favorable. Traffic along the Mother Road steadily increased as America emerged from the Great Depression. The café flourished even during the rationing years of World War II, in part because it doubled as a stop for the Greyhound bus lines that carried thousands of travelers and hungry, thirsty GIs to and from home leave. Following the war, the café went to a 24-hour schedule, a sign that Route 66 was entering its boom years. The café installed its strikingly modernistic neon sign in the late 1940s.

This info was taken from the National Park Service website and more info can be found here.

Apr 14, 2018 Sat 12:55 PM CDT Alt: 877
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 12:55 PM CDT Alt: 877


Ozark Trails Monument and Dirt Route 66 Road Bed West of Sapulpa, OK



The 1.3 mile Ozark Trails stretch of dirt roadbed does not automatically conjure up images usually associated with historic Route 66. This section has no asphalt, no neon signage, and no crowded roadside cafés, yet this short stretch of straight dirt road remains an important remnant of the Mother Road’s early history. The U.S. Highway 66 corridor created in November 1926 often took advantage of the pioneering work in road construction carried out in the early 20th century by private and local “good roads” associations from Missouri to Arizona. As part of the organization’s regional effort to modernize Oklahoma’s roads, a local subdivision of the Ozark Trails Association constructed this segment between 1915 and 1917.

Today, this section remains in its original condition as a so-called “improved” dirt road--a dirt road that was occasionally graveled and graded. It is approximately 18 feet wide, but with variations, as there is no precise edging to the pavement. An old and rare Ozark Trails Monument--a 21-foot stone obelisk that marked the intersection of Ozark Trails roads--sits at the eastern end of the segment.

After the road’s designation as Route 66, traffic increased and roadside businesses took root--a development cut short in 1930 with the construction of an improved alignment of Route 66 further north.

This info was taken from the National Park Service website and more info can be found here.

Apr 14, 2018 Sat 1:09 PM CDT Alt: 847
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 1:11 PM CDT Alt: 847
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 1:12 PM CDT Alt: 849


Seaba Station Warwick, OK



The Seaba Station, formerly known as Seaba’s Filling Station and Seaba Engine Rebuilding and Machine Shop, offers travelers an example of an early rural service station along historic Route 66. It also tells the story of commercial adaptation along the ever-changing Mother Road. In 1921, John Seaba constructed the filling station near Warwick along State Highway 7, which was part of the old Ozark Trails network. This already established thoroughfare was simply re-designated U.S. Highway 66 in 1926.

Now flanked by later additions to the north and south, the original irregular shaped red polychrome brick station had a five-sided open service bay. The gas pumps, which dispensed the cheerfully optimistic “NevrNox” brand, were located in the central bay. Although called a filling station, its additional auto repair function illustrates the growing trend in the 1920s toward full service stations. Brick and metal windows filled in the open service bays in the 1940s, but visitors today can easily see the original brick columns that supported them. Light brick rectangles decorate both the columns and the areas above the bays. A crenulated parapet capped with white brick rims the flat roof.

This info was taken from the National Park Service website and more info can be found here.

Apr 14, 2018 Sat 1:58 PM CDT Alt: 822
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 2:00 PM CDT Alt: 822
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 2:01 PM CDT Alt: 822
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 2:02 PM CDT Alt: 822
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 2:03 PM CDT Alt: 822


Chandler Armory Chandler, OK



Among the highlights of Chandler’s Route 66 landscape is the Chandler Armory. The Armory is an excellent example of Works Progress Administration (WPA) architecture; it is rich with history. The armory is also significant as the home of Battery F, Second Battalion of the 160th Field Artillery of the Oklahoma National Guard, 45th Infantry division and for its role in helping the men of Battery F prepare for their role in World War II after mobilization in 1940.

All in all, the Chandler Armory is evidence of the intention and the success of the WPA program. It used native materials, served the public, and employed local workers. More than 250 men worked the local quarry to keep laborers at the jobsite supplied with material. Staggered crews of 14 men were employed on the jobsite, because the schedule provided as much employment as possible for workers in need of jobs. Workers dressed the stone and hoisted it into place by hand. The wooden floor of the drill hall required a great deal of hand labor, too. Workers cut more than 156,000 wood blocks on the jobsite and set them into place manually. During the Great Depression, the armory put Chandler to work.

This info was taken from the National Park Service website and more info can be found here.

Apr 14, 2018 Sat 1:40 PM CDT Alt: 926
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 1:40 PM CDT Alt: 926
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 1:41 PM CDT Alt: 926
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 1:42 PM CDT Alt: 931
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 1:43 PM CDT Alt: 931
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 1:44 PM CDT Alt: 931


Threatt Filling Station Luther, OK



Drive three miles east of Luther on U.S. 66, and you will arrive at a quiet intersection where old Route 66 and Pottawatomi Road meet at right angles. The historic Threatt Filling Station, an early gas station that catered to African American travelers along Route 66, is difficult to miss. It’s the only building there.

The Threatt family homesteaded in the Luther area, a part of modern-day Oklahoma that was opened to United States settlement in 1889, after the Federal system of American Indian reservations and land allotments had been established. Like many African Americans at the time, the Threatts saw Oklahoma land as a great opportunity. They joined former slaves of local Cherokee, Choctaw, Chickasaw, Creek, and Seminole owners, as well as former slaves from the southeast, in seeking greater security, economic opportunity, and racial solidarity in Oklahoma. The Threatt family raised crops on their farm, sold sandstone from their quarry, and, ultimately, opened and ran the filling station.

From the mid 1910s through the 1950s, the Threatt Filling Station was a popular roadside stop for locals and travelers alike. The station was one of a very few places on Route 66 where people of color were welcome during an age when African American children setting out on trips asked their parents why they needed to carry so much food and water, as well as toilet paper and empty jars. Black adults growing up along Route 66 in Chicago just “knew which stretches they weren’t allowed to use.” The National Park Service listed the Threatt Filling Station on the National Register of Historic Places in 1995.

This info was taken from the National Park Service website and more info can be found here.

Apr 14, 2018 Sat 2:20 PM CDT Alt: 992
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 2:18 PM CDT Alt: 989
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 2:18 PM CDT Alt: 989
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 2:17 PM CDT Alt: 989


1928 Route 66 Road Bed East of Arcadia, OK



This original Route 66 two-lane roadbed, about nine tenths of a mile in length, follows along a wooded hillside approximately one mile east of Arcadia. Constructed as an unpaved section of State Highway 7 in 1922, it was paved during the years 1928 and 1929, shortly after the newly designated U.S. Highway 66 incorporated Highway 7. The surfacing of this roadbed in the late 1920s-–with the most up to date materials and standards--illustrates the impact of the national highway system as increased traffic volume accelerated modernization. It also underscores the impact of federal funding. This section of roadbed includes the meeting point of two separate Federal aid, paving projects, each applying a different type of surfacing.

From the east, the 1928 project used a pure Portland Concrete, Bates Type surface, while the western part--paved in 1929--utilized a Modified Bates Type design, consisting of a two-inch asphalt surface over a five-inch concrete base with nine-inch concrete edgings. The more complex Modified Bates Type surfacing required an on-site chemist. Although the simpler Portland Concrete was cheaper, easier, and effective, the modified version shows the ongoing willingness to experiment as the steadily increasing volume and weight of traffic required better road surfaces.

This section served as part of Route 66 until the construction of a multi-lane alignment to the north in 1952.

This info was taken from the National Park Service website and more info can be found here.

Apr 14, 2018 Sat 2:34 PM CDT Alt: 943
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 2:34 PM CDT Alt: 943


Arcadia Round Barn Arcadia, OK



Sitting atop a low terrace overlooking the Deep Fork River, the Round Barn in Arcadia has been a center of community activity and curiosity for over a century. William Harrison “Big Bill” Odor arrived in Oklahoma County in 1892, and shortly after, in 1898, oxen cleared the ground for construction of his barn. He built a barn 60 feet in diameter and 43 feet high with a local red Permian rock foundation. Local burr oak timbers were soaked in water until soft and then banded into the mold to create the rafters. Mr. Odor apparently designed the barn himself, though no one knows how he chose the round design.

After its construction was completed in 1898, the barn housed hay, grain, and livestock, but almost from the start, it served as a community center. During the barn’s construction, three young workers, realizing what a fine place it would be for dances, persuaded Mr. Odor to let them pay the difference between planed rough flooring and hardwood, which was more suitable for dancing. From time to time for the next 25 years, barn dances drew crowds and musicians to Arcadia from a wide area. Mr. Odor compared the barn’s acoustics with those of the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, and it became a popular rallying point while Arcadia flourished.

This info was taken from the National Park Service website and more info can be found here.

Apr 14, 2018 Sat 2:41 PM CDT Alt: 945
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 2:46 PM CDT Alt: 961
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 2:46 PM CDT Alt: 962


Lake Overholser Bridge Oklahoma City, OK



The Lake Overholser Bridge in Oklahoma City is a proud reminder of Route 66. During the early 1920s, automobiles were replacing horses and buggies on Oklahoma roads which, at that time, were not part of an organized system but were instead an assortment of poorly maintained lanes connecting rural villages to county seats. Navigating from one part of Oklahoma to another was not always easy. The development of a State highway system and the coming of Route 66 changed all that.

The need for a new bridge was obvious. Construction of the Overholser Bridge began in 1924 and the bridge opened for traffic in August of 1925. Accommodating a wide bed of 20 feet for traffic, the Overholser was no ordinary bridge. The engineers who designed it not only used the new steel truss technology, but also combined a variety of trusses in unusual ways. With both Parker through trusses and pony trusses, the 748-foot bridge is not only an unusual design, but a balanced and elegant one. The bridge was no sooner finished than its status began to change. The local press reported that the old Highway 3 was being considered as part of one of the routes to be designated a U.S. Highway. When the path of Route 66 was announced the next year, Highway 3 was part of the plan. When Route 66 left Oklahoma City, it carried travelers over the Lake Overholser Bridge.

Today it carries only local traffic, yet the symmetry and size of the old bridge still catch the eye of drivers speeding by on the more recent replacement lanes just north of the bridge. Officially, the Overholser Bridge lost its association with Route 66 in 1958, but its size and symmetry and long-time service as part of old Route 66, make it a landmark today for anyone traveling America’s Mother Road. The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.

This info was taken from the National Park Service website and more info can be found here.

Apr 14, 2018 Sat 3:27 PM CDT Alt: 1273
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 3:29 PM CDT Alt: 1248


Avant's Cities and Jackson Conoco Service Stations El Reno, OK



Driving along the old alignment of Route 66 in the western Oklahoma town of El Reno, travelers will come to a sharp turn at the corner of Wade and Choctaw where two very distinctive reminders of the service station business along Route 66 remain. At 220 North Choctaw is the old Avant’s Cities Service Station, and immediately to the south, at 121 West Wade, is the Jackson Conoco Service Station. Both businesses began in the 1930s, a favorable time when the paving of Oklahoma Route 66 west of Oklahoma City neared completion.

Mr. Avant’s station is an Art Moderne /Art Deco mixed design favored by the Cities Service Oil Company in the 1920s and 1930s. Its overall streamlined and trimmed down look with smooth walls and a flat roof is typical Art Moderne. Art Deco elements include the prominent zigzag parapet and stepped out pilasters. The circular depression beneath the parapet once held the Cities Service logo. A lonely overhead light socket that illuminated the logo still remains. The station’s original color scheme was Cities Service’s trademark white with green trim.

The Jackson Conoco Service Station across the street is a sharp contrast. Unlike the 1930s futuristic approach of Cities Service, but very similar to other competitors such as Phillips 66 and Pure Oil, Conoco Oil opted for the welcoming and domesticated look. The station is styled in the Conoco’s house-with-bays style, resembling a residential home or cottage with a steeply pitched gabled roof, chimney, and decorative corbelling at the eaves under the corners. Distinguishing Conoco’s version of this cottage look is the white glazed brick exterior with red brick trim.

Each of the stations replaced earlier casualties of the automobile age. Built in 1933, the Avant Station is on the site of the once flourishing Campbell Hotel, a traditional downtown-lodging establishment that did not appeal to hurried motorists along Route 66. Travelers in automobiles ultimately preferred motor courts and motels at the city’s edge.

This info was taken from the National Park Service website and more info can be found here.

Apr 14, 2018 Sat 4:05 PM CDT Alt: 1324
Apr 14, 2018 Sat 4:08 PM CDT Alt: 1333


Elevation Changes During the Day



The day started at 332 feet and ended at 1,402 feet. The highest altitude was 1,402 feet and the lowest altitude was 292 feet.



Track Log for Today




You may be interested in the next article, Day 6, Route 66 El Reno OK to Amarillo TX.

The previous article is Day 4, Dickson TN to Conway AR.

© Bobby Daniel