Much like this postcard-filled book on the Lincoln Highway that I featured, I recently came across this book…
And it’s many vintage postcard images.
Learn a bit about the Allerton Hotel in the Chicago 1940-1950 post.
Previously the site of the Heidelberg Inn, it’s probably no coincidence that Bob Miller’s Restaurant moved in shortly after World War II, in time with Route 66’s renaissance as a tourist thoroughfare. Bob ran the place for the next three decades, according to this Route 66 website.
I’m not sure about Oklahoma sea food…
Diner Hunter dates Ben Stanley’s Cafe to 1947 on a page devoted to National Glass & Manufacturing Company. The Fort Smith, Arkansas-based company built a slew of prefab diners just like Ben Stanley’s.
The book’s author Michael Wallis writes of the Buffalo Ranch and Trading Post in Afton, Oklahoma:
…since 1953, tourists from across the country have stopped to see bison in their pens. There’s a trading post, a restaurant serving barbecue sandwiches, fries, sundaes, and–for the courageous–buffalo burgers. A patch of grass called the “Dog’s Restroom” is patrolled by noisy turkeys and peacocks. A small army of house cats lurks in the shadows of the buildings, waiting for tourists to pitch the last bite of their buffalo burger at a garbage barrel and miss.
The Route-66.com page on Afton, Oklahoma says this roadside attraction was founded by Russell and Aleene Kay. Russell died in 1963, but Aleene kept up the ranch until her death in 1997. The Kay’s had sold the trading post, restaurant, and “Dairy Ranch” ice cream parlor to Betty Wheatlye in 1958, and she ran that half of the operation until 2000. The establishment was then demolished to make way, it seems, for another restaurant and convenience store.
As for the jackrabbit postcard, there’s a whole postcard genre of exaggeration, and a subgenre just of oversized jackrabbits! Check out this post.
“As Spic and Span as Next Year”
This historic Oklahoma City blog reports that the Park-O-Tell opened in 1930 with 68 rooms, a 68-car garage and a gas station. The station also had a beauty parlor and barber shop. The blog post includes a 1930 newspaper article singing the hotel’s praises–“And what a bathroom!”–and other Park-O-Tell postcards.
U-Drop Inn/Nunn’s Cafe, Shamrock, Texas
Author Michael Wallis writes:
By 1936, the Shamrock skyline boasted the distinctive Art Deco tower of the U-Drop Inn, years later called Nunn’s Cafe, at the intersection of Route 66 and U.S. 83, a well-used highway running north and south.
Around Shamrock, the story goes that when J.M. Tindall decided to build the service station-restaurant, he used a design originally drawn by his friend john Nunn, who picked up an old nail and scratched out the plans for the building in the dirt. The local newspaper said it was “the swankiest of the swank eating places” and “the most up-to-date edifice of its kind on U.S. Highway 66 between Oklahoma City and Amarillo.” THe U-Drop Inn, where “Delicious Food Courteously Served” became the standard, was a welcoming sight to highway travelers and the many buses that pulled in at dinnertime.”
Recommended by Duncan Hines. Long Champ Dining Salon–East of City on Highway 60 & 66–Amarillo, Texas
Long Champ was known for its seafood, which the menu said was delivered “Quickly by air Express.” Here’s that menu on Love Menu Art.com.
As a nod to its location, however, Long Champ also served steaks, which diners could select before cooking.
Opened in 1945, Homer Rice bought Long Champ Dining Salon in 1947. In 1953, he changed the name to Rice’s Dining Salon, announcing it with a light-up sign consisting of thousands of bulbs.
Dig that three-font combination!
Longhorn Ranch Saloon of 1866 With Fixtures Used During the Gold Rush Da[ys] near Moriarty, New Mexico
The Sky Court, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Michael Wallis writes:
One of the town’s principal tourist palaces is El Rancho, a former Route 66 phantom that has now been completely resurrected. The original luster of the hotel was restored by Armand Ortega, a well-nown Indian trader who bought the property, rolled up his sleeves, broke out his checkbook, and put the grand old place back on its feet. After a traveler spends a day driving through the natural beauty of western New Mexico, this classic hotel remains a worthwhile stop, if only to look at all the photographs of celebrity guests covering the lobby walls.
First opened as the Depression was nearly at its end in 1937, El Rancho was from the beginning a gathering place for the stars. Attracted by the many films made in the region, El Rancho’s guest register logged such greats as Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Kirk Douglas, Alan Ladd, Humphrey Bogart, and Jack Benny. A thirsty Errol Flynn rode his horse into the bar…
Please comment if you know what they mean by “Nez.” My only association is the Nez Perce, the Pacific Northwest tribe, which wouldn’t make any sense here.
Check out my post The Mother Road for more Arizona Route 66 postcards!
The upper postcard is of the Mission Auto Court in San Bernardino, California.
It still looks like this! One of the most reliable places to spot hawks in L.A.
If you enjoyed this post, you’ll also love Fuel for the Road.