A wonderful story by Carol Wallace
As we start the New Year we need to keep focused on one of the biggest Route 66 projects ever: Route 66 The Road Ahead. Below is a condensed summary of what we have accomplished and where we are headed with a link to view all the details.
Rt. 66 Road Ahead Partnership website address: https://sites.google.com/site/66roadahead/
Rt. 66 Road Ahead Partnership Overview
Three years ago the National Park Service and the World Monuments Fund helped facilitate the creation of the the Rt. 66 Road Ahead Partnership. Following a meeting of Rt. 66 stakeholders in Anaheim, CA. a Steering Committee was formed, and charged with establishing this new organization. Bill Thomas from Atlanta, Illinois was appointed Steering Committee Chairman.
The mission of the Rt. 66 Road Ahead Partnership is to revitalize and sustain Route 66 as a national icon, for the benefit of all Rt. 66 communities, travelers, and businesses/attractions, through collaborative partnerships focused on promotion, preservation, research/education, and economic development. Our organization is focused on achieving the following outcomes:
Strong Cross-State Collaboration: We want to increase communication and participation among and between sectors (tourism, preservation, associations, transportation, economic/community development) to leverage their work for the benefit of the entire road.
Effective Promotion: We want to promote the road and increase the number of visitors, both domestic and international, coming to Rt. 66, with the specific aim of increasing their length of stay and the amount of money they spend along the Route.
Purposeful Preservation: We want to purposefully maintain and preserve as much of the authentic roadway design, original buildings, landscapes, traditions, and experiences that together make up the idiosyncratic experience that is the essence of Rt. 66.
Increased Prosperity: We want to act as a catalyst for community development, increasing the prosperity of the people who live along, and are connected to, Rt. 66 by helping sustain existing businesses and attractions, and by helping new ones develop.
Accurate Research and Education: We want to ensure that the history and stories associated with Route 66 are both accurate and accessible to the public, to researchers, and to educational institutions in order to enhance and encourage greater understanding of the mother road.
Our organization includes representatives from each of the states through which Rt. 66 runs, including members of the several state Rt. 66 associations, state directors of tourism, representatives from state departments of transportation, representatives from state and private historic preservation agencies/organizations, owners of Rt. 66 businesses and attractions, along with members of the general public. In addition, we have established an International Advisory Group and an American Tribal Advisory Group.
Additional information about the Rt. 66 Road Ahead Partnership can be found at its website: https://sites.google.com/site/66roadahead/. Questions, comments, requests can be forwarded to Mr. Bill Thomas: email@example.com. Onward and upward!
The Old Route 66 Association of Texas is proud to announce that House Bill 978 (HB978) was passed declaring Texas Route 66 a Historical Corridor!! www.capitol.state.tx.us (type in HB978 for the Bill information) Texas was the last of the eight Route 66 states to receive historical status.
Larry Clonts of Shamrock, TX was the driving force behind getting recognition for Texas 66! This project became Larry’s mission after attending the initial Route 66: The Road Ahead conference in 2013, and realizing Texas 66 was the only state that did not have historic status. Due to his hard work and unwavering dedication and many trips to Austin and visits with our State representatives his mission became reality in 2015! We also would like to THANK: Rep. John Smithee, Four Price, Drew Springer and Kel Seliger for presenting and endorsing the bill. Dan Quant of the Amarillo Convention and Visitors Council (CVC) was also a great champion of the bill and testified for the bill.
Since the passage of the bill, the Old Route 66 Association of Texas in partnership with the communities along the Route have begun the lengthy process of completing the application that must accompany our request to the Texas Historical Commission and TXDOT before signage will be approved. Currently the counties of Wheeler (Shamrock), Oldham (Vega & Adrian) and Potter (Amarillo) are working on their applications.
With only 178 miles of Route 66 in Texas one might think this will be an easy task, and with the exception of Amarillo that is the case. Route 66 across Amarillo has never been well defined and many travelers resort to using I-40 through Amarillo. In hopes of giving the Route 66 traveler a better experience when following the Route through the City, Eric Miller with the CVC asked Nick Gerlich, a professor at West Texas A & M University and an avid Route 66 traveler and historian to compile an inventory of the current Route 66 signage type and location. https://www.google.com/maps/d/edit?mid=14-a8I0S1xWH9N-D3pIH8BRaET9o With that knowledge the next step in the process for Amarillo will be to decide how many and where the new Texas Route 66 Historic Corridor Signs will be located.
Fund raising for the new signs in Amarillo as well as all the other Route 66 Communities will begin soon!
2016 Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference in Illinois
My trip to Illinois for the 2016 Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference in Bloomington /Normal ILL. was a wonderful adventure as well as a learning experience.
As always the best part of any Route 66 event is the people! Thursday Oct 20 we were treated to a meet & greet hot dog cook out! While the weather was chilly the smiles were bright and the hugs were warm! I was greeted by old friends and met some Facebook friends for the first time and added some new Route 66 friends.
I attended 8 sessions at the conference. There were several more I would have liked to attend, the choices were hard because all of the topics sounded interesting. I also attended the Mayor’s breakfast, which was very entertaining and interesting.
I chose the sessions with thought to what I could learn and bring back that would/could benefit the Association(s) and Texas Ivy. I will start with the last session I attend, not only was it one of my favorites because it deals with one of the most important needs of Route 66, but because it was also lead by Author Phyllis Grey, an Old Route 66 of Texas Association member, a forward thinking Route 66 supporter, and a great friend! Phyllis is the author of Route 66 In Search of Ghosts and Treasures and her session was: Passing the Route 66 Torch: Igniting the interest of Generations beyond the Boomers. Phyllis’ main message was the Education of future generations and HOW do we do that? Phyllis has made copies of her 1st edition of Route 66 In Search of Ghosts and Treasures available to all 8 Route 66 State Associations to be distributed in elementary schools along the Route. In partnership with Roaming Rich they will have “Get Your Kids on Route 66” website.
The first step in reaching the next generation is to make our Route 66 attractions and businesses FAMILY FRIENDLY!
Some of the suggestions that Phyllis made:
If possible offer some kind of simple children’s activity: Coloring books, Kid’s corner (like the U Drop Inn in Shamrock has), geocaching, being part of a Route 66 passport program, and/or have photo ops that kids will enjoy too.
During the discussion period there was also suggestions made for;
Starting a Kids Passport
Finding “Waldmire” program
Have children do interviews with business owners and tourist on Route 66
Have Route 66 drawing contests in each community that could be used to sponsor an event.
Have Route 66 activists visit schools and offer activities.
Also suggested, be dog friendly as many people do travel with pets.
Phyllis has donated 40 of her books to the Texas Association. My hope was to start with the Amarillo 66 schools and go out from here. However the two meetings I have had scheduled with AISD have both been postponed so it has not happened yet. If anyone in Vega, Adrian, McLean, Groom, or Shamrock has the opportunity to discuss putting a few books in your elementary school library please let me know! Once we get the books in the schools we might be able to coordinate with Phyllis to come do a few readings to the children!
The other sessions I attended were:
(1). Communicating Value: Route 66 and Heritage Tourism
(2). Place Matters: Historic Preservation as Economic Development
(3). Art & Inviting People: An Artists experience invigorating Route 66
(4). Event Planning for your Community
(5). Market and Promote Your Route 66 Community/Business/Attraction
(6). American Indians and Route 66: Stories Untold
(7). Public Art and the Walldogs
Here is some of what I took away from these sessions. I believe the sessions will be added to U-tube and if I receive a link to them I will share it with everyone.
Route 66 was likened to the Great Wall of China in that it has the longevity of life simple from existing but it is up to us to see that it continues to survive with some of it’s history intact.
Many towns have Route 66 murals, some towns have many 66 murals! I have heard two totally different views on murals. At last years conference one of our well respected international tour guides said that while Route 66 murals & museums are wonderful we can only look at so many before we are tired of them, and I think that is probable true. However with that shared, I love Route 66 murals and I wish Texas had more of them! Vega & Shamrock are both doing a wonderful job in the mural department. On the plus side of murals: (1) No two murals are the same (2) a mural can give some vitality to an otherwise empty and/or derelict building (3) a mural can teach/portray the history of a the community/town or business they are in/on. (4) A mural makes a good photo op for locals as well as tourists. And time wise the experience can be as fast or long as the tourist wants it to be.
Unique Authentic Experience is what Heritage Tourism and Route 66 have in common. And is what your business/attraction/community needs to offer to attract travelers & tourist. Keep your options open and have an open mind when it comes to historic buildings and their future- with those two things the possibilities for the future of every building is almost limitless.
A group of Artists in Bloomington have created a community space for artists & have First Friday Art Walks. Both are similar to what Sunset Center in Amarillo already does. It would be great if Historic Route 66 (6th Street) in Amarillo could do something similar. This could also be a model for all businesses in any town to all come together for an after normal hours shopping event once a month. Increase the community perception of the value of the “arts” so that there is economic impact (sales) generated as well as entertainment.
In community event planning a 3 way partnership of Public, Private & Non-profit is the most effective in bringing together the diverse variety of ideas, energy, leadership and money to the table.
What ever event needs:
~ Energy (people)
~ Experienced leaders
~ Workers (people)
~ Buy In (stake holders)
Every event should generate two things: Mission fulfillment and Revenue
To market your community/business/attraction the number 1 thing you need to know is “What is the tourist expecting?” A group of international tourists were polled ( I think it was in Pontiac ILL) and they said they wanted to See/Experience the “Real America” – Music, Cars, People, Rural America, sites and sounds of 66.
Remember that your destination is just ONE of MANY along the Route. How do you make yours Special? Different? Unique? Memorable?
Memorable is one of the most important. You need to make a positive impact and a shareable experience for everyone that visits, so that they will all promote it with family and friends. A photo op they share over social media so that everyone they know will want to come to your destinations and have that experience also. Social currency is just as valuable as money, maybe even more so.
Work on powerful emotional advertising. Illinois hosted a Route 66 Street Party on a Street In London. They painted a ILL. 66 Mural on a building in London then had a street party under the Mural with live music and refreshments. It generated more media coverage & social media buzz than could ever been bought. Illinois’ also sponsored an booth at the International Route 66 festival in Germany this year. These are goals that the Texas Association could strive to do.
Thanks to everyone for your continued support of the Old Route 66 Association of Texas!
The Old Route 66 Association of Texas was honored to have the National Park Service head the Texas Collaboration Workshop that was held on July 24, 2015 at Gray’s Studio on Route 66 in Amarillo Texas. We would like to thank everyone that was able to take part in this roundtable workshop. We would also like to Thank Art Gray for allowing us to use his studio, Ken Spencer, with Parties & Events, for supplying the tables and chairs, Aaron Huffaker, with Biti Pies, for providing Itty Biti Pies for refreshments, and Mike Pryor with C&B printing for supplying bottles water for the event.
We look forward to the next step in Route 66 The Road Ahead project.
For more information on this project go to http://www.nps.gov/rt66 or Contact Mr. Bill Thomas, Steering Committee Chair, at firstname.lastname@example.org
I just received some fantastic news relating to Texas Route 66! Larry Clonts of Shamrock, Texas and an officer with Texas Old Route 66 Association has been working for over a year & a half to get a historic designation for Route 66 across Texas. The bill, HB 978 was introduced by Four Price and Larry goes to Austin on Tuesday (March 10th 2015) to testify!
Here is some of the information or you can go to http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/
and type the bill number in and see all the history of it.
By: Price H.B.No.978
A BILL TO BE ENTITLED
relating to the designation of the Route 66 Historic Corridor.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF TEXAS:
SECTION1.Subchapter A, Chapter 442, Government Code, is
amended by adding Section 442.030 to read as follows:
ROUTE 66 HISTORIC CORRIDOR. (a) The
commission shall identify relevant segments of former U.S. Highway
66 located in this state that are still in use and designate those
segments as a historic corridor.
(b)The historic corridor designated by the commission
shall be known as the Route 66 Historic Corridor.
SECTION2.This Act takes effect September 1, 2015.
This is such a giant step forward for Texas Route 66!