Sunday, December 27, 2009

Roadie without a road

This has got to be a new record for this roadie, and frankly, she is going insane! Except for my 1-mile drive to dialysis and back yesterday, I haven't been out of the house for more than 72 hours. Generally, my restlessness begins after around 72 minutes without a steering wheel in my hands. I've made the decision to stay in one more day, although the roads are clearing and I'm sure I'd be ok out there. But now, this staying home thing has become a challenge. I'm learning how to use my time wisely. Hmm... well, maybe not TOO wisely. So far, I've rearranged the freezer, updated my address book, watched part of the movie "Knocked Up" (pretty good!), watched a little more Julia Child, and did my weekly load of laundry.

But then, I heard my Route 66 postcard albums calling, and that brought any really constructive work to a complete halt. I was just browsing through some of the albums I haven't looked at for a while, and here are a few things I found.

Here's a postcard of a motor court on Route 66 east of downtown Tulsa in the '50s. Individual cabins, big pool, very inviting place. It was called the Tulsa Mo-tel, and it had a wonderfully space age sign.
Here's the site now -- an abandoned used car lot. Sorry to bum you out, but it certainly did so for me.Photo from Google Images Street View

Here's another motel that was also on Route 66 in Tulsa in the 50s. Note the murals, which the back of the card describe as depicting the history of Tulsa. In it's place now is the Bama Pie manufacturing plant where they make the pies for McDonald's and other food establishments. Oh, well....

I'm fortunate enough to own an original copy of Rittenhouse's "A Guide Book To Highway 66", which is considered to be the first guidebook to the Mother Road. . . Copyright 1946, price: $1.00. It's in pretty good shape, too. The entry for Afton simply says: "A similar [to Narcissa] small community is AFTON. . . (population 1,261, alt. 290', Baker's Cafe, Northeast garage, and Eagle Service Station garage; Acme Court.)" The Eagle Service Station is now my Afton Station, so felt good to see it recognized in Rittenhouse, especially since there were about 8 service stations in Afton at that time.

You've heard me write about the mining district of Ottawa County (Picher, Cardin, Miami) several times in the past. I thought this was an interesting postcard which is captioned, "Birdseye View of Miami, Oklahoma Showing Mines in Distance". If anyone can see the mines in the distance, please let me know. That little puff of smoke, perhaps? I love old postcards that are ridiculously useless. This is one of them.
Here's one that actually shows the mining district. Note the pile of lead filings on the left. It's still there. :-(
(My other ramblings about the mining district can be found by doing a search of "Picher" on my blog.)

I guess that's all for today. I hope to get to Afton one day this week, hopefully Tuesday, to check on things and perhaps catch some folks traveling home from Christmas family visits.


Ken Riches said...

Hope you can get out on the road soon :o)

Bob swengrosh said...

Laurel, I was also fortunate to find a copy of Rittenhouse book on Amazon last year. Your town had more business places listed and named then most, and yes the Eagle Service Station jumped out at me also.

I have a favor to ask of you. When Robin and I stopped at Afton Station the last week of October, we took pictures of some old building - but - we missed the old Phillips 66 station. Could you scan your post card of the station in it's day- plus the building today. I would like to print them off for my Route 66 room.

Thanks in advance.

Laurel said...

I'll attach photos of both the old and new Phillips station. The old picture isn't a postcard, but instead was a photo from an old Afton yearbook from the 50s. I'll send the best copies I can make, but I'll need your email address. You can send it to me at if you don't want to post it here.

Thanks for writing. Hope you'll come back to Afton Station some day.