Route 66: Texas

Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Café
Shamrock TX

The Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Café is located along historic Route 66 in Shamrock. Built in 1936 by J. M. Tindall and R. C. Lewis at the cost of $23,000, this gem of a building got its start in the dust when John Nunn drew his idea for the station on the ground with an old nail. Plans were later given to architect Joseph Berry who set the final wheels in motion.

With its Art Deco detailing and two towers, the building was designed and constructed to be three separate structures. The first was the Tower Conoco Station, named for the dominating four-sided obelisk rising from the flat roof and topped by a metal tulip. The second was the U-Drop Inn Café, which got its name from a local schooolboy's winning entry in a naming contest. The third structure was supposed to be a retail store that instead became an overflow seating area for the café. The Tower Station was the first commercial business located on the newly designated Route 66 in Shamrock, and is one of the most imposing and architecturally creative buildings along the length of the road.

Quote from: National Park Service

Texas Route 66 Museum
McLean TX

Only 178 miles of the 2,000-mile-long Mother Road is in Texas. Nevertheless, "the first Route 66 museum ever," is in the Texas panhandle, according to Delbert Trew, its curator. It opened in 1991, which gives some sense of how young the whole Route 66 nostalgia movement really is.

The museum stands between the east- and west-bound lanes of the old highway, and holds a modest collection of artifacts. Because it was the first Route 66 museum, Delbert noted with pride that everything in it is authentic; there are no replicas. Most of the collection was donated by former Texas Route 66 businesses, while the rest was "rescued" by Delbert on his own initiative. "I know it's authentic because I stole it myself," he cracked.

Quote from: Roadside America

Avalon Theatre
McLean TX

McLean Texas is a must stop for the Route 66 fans, with three museums, numerous old vintage buildings and tons of history. Among the more interesting buildings is the Avalon Theatre. Built in the 1930s, the theatre has an Art Deco façade and operated for over fifty years. Today it is restored and maintained by the Old Route 66 Association of Texas.

Quote from: Hampton Landmarks

Phillips 66 Station
McLean TX

One of the most photographed gas stations on Route 66, this vintage service station dates back to 1927 when construction began. Built in typical "cottage fashion," the station was the first Route 66 to be built outside of Oklahoma (Phillips' Headquarters.) The station was completed in 1928 and for the next 50 years, would serve travelers along Route 66. operating under various owners and product brands.
However, like many businesses in McLean, when I-40 bypassed the town, the business failed. It sat neglected and abandoned until the Old Route 66 Association of Texas renovated it in 1992.

Quote from: Legends of America

66 Super Service Station
Alanreed TX

Alanreed is yet another ghost town along Route 66 in the Texas panhandle. Just like McLean and Shamrock, it boomed in the 1920's, during a few years when oil was big in this part of Texas. And just like those other towns, the population dwindled in the decades that followed. The only difference is, Alanreed was never as big as some of its neighbors, and now, it's barely there at all.
Like its two neighbors to the east, Alanreed also has a picturesque old filling station. Its canopy proudly displays the boastful name "66 Super Service Station".
Some restoration has already taken place here, even though there isn't a business currently operating out of the old building.

Quote from: Take my Trip

Leaning Water Tower
Groom TX

A previous tipster indicated the tower is leaning 45 degrees! It is actually leaning only 10 degrees. If you look closely, the center of mass is located directly above the two buried red legs. The white center water pipe is merely serving as the third leg of a tripod. It's a trick often taught in the first year of architecture school. The Leaning Tower of Pisa is still standing for the same reason.

The leaning water tower displaying the words "Britten USA" has nothing at all to do with Britains living in the area. The Britten family is a huge ranching and farming family in the area. There once was a truck stop and restaurant which is now gone.

Quote from: Roadside America

Bug Ranch
Conway TX

A more modern highway attraction is located just off the Interstate at the Conway exit. The Bug Ranch undoubtedly was inspired by its famous big brother, The Cadillac Ranch, just outside of Amarillo, Texas. Though a more recent addition to highway attractions, it does indeed maintain the tried and true "Spirit of Route 66" in its attempt to lure visitors off the Interstate. There's even a trading post with live rattlesnakes!

Quote from: The Road Wanderer

Big Texan Steak Ranch
Amarillo TX

In 1960, R. J. “Bob” Lee opened The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo on Route 66, the “Mother Road. Its distinctive architecture soon became recognized across the Mother Road as a good stopping place for great steaks grilled over an open flame.

The towering sign of a long-legged cowboy that Bob erected next to the building became a major landmark on Route 66. From the beginning, the Big Texan welcomed weary travelers and migrating families whose roots spread all across America.

The now World-famous FREE 72-oz. steak came to life not long after Bob opened the doors to the Big Texan Steak Ranch.

Beginning in the mid-1960s signs began cropping up along the Mother Road inviting travelers to come in for a 72-oz. steak dinner that was FREE if it could be eaten in one hour. Thousands of road-weary youngsters practiced their ciphering as they converted 72 ounces into four and one-half pounds. Those Big Texan signs became as much of the nation’s culture as the old Burma Shave signs. One company has long-since disappeared with the dust of the old road, but the other still flourishes. Big Texan Steak Ranch billboards can still be seen to the east and west of Amarillo along Interstate 40 and on major north-south routes that run through the Panhandle.

Quote from: The Road Wanderer

Cadillac Ranch
Amarillo TX

Standing along Route 66 west of Amarillo, Texas, Cadillac Ranch was invented and built by a group of art-hippies imported from San Francisco. They called themselves The Ant Farm, and their silent partner was Amarillo billionaire Stanley Marsh 3. He wanted a piece of public art that would baffle the locals, and the hippies came up with a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin. Ten Caddies were driven into one of Stanley Marsh 3's fields, then half-buried, nose-down, in the dirt (supposedly at the same angle as the Great Pyramid of Giza). They faced west in a line, from the 1949 Club Sedan to the 1963 Sedan de Ville, their tail fins held high for all to see on the empty Texas panhandle.

Quote from: Roadside America

Magnolia Gas Station
Vega TX

Built in the early 1920s, this station was one of the first along Old Route 66. Restored through the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, the station offers a glimpse into the past and interpretive insight of travel from the 1920s to the 1950s.

Quote from: Travel Tex

Dot's Mini Museum
Vega TX

Old Route 66 ends at Dot's Mini Museum. Dot has spent a lifetime collecting western artifacts and Route 66 memorabilia and she would love to share her collection with you. If you are into stories about the old highway Dot has one or two she can share with you too. Dot Levitt came to Vega with her husband, Harold Levitt, in the forties. They bought a building and remodeled a store called Vega Zero Lockers one block north of busy Route 66. This store served the locals and tourists alike on old Route 66. The home folks utilized the freezer storage units called lockers. During the 40's and 50's most families didn't have a home freezer. And the Route 66 travelers bought fresh fruits, vegetables, lunch meat and all sorts of canned goods for there trek down the highway.

Quote from: The Road Wanderer

Mid Point Cafe
Adrian TX

If there is one thing makes Adrian stand out among the lore of the old highway is that it is the halfway point between Chicago and Santa Monica on Route 66. This claim to fame is celebrated at Adrian's Mid Point Cafe, a fun place to stop and mingle with the locals over a piece of pie and a cup of coffee. And let me tell you about the pies ~ they are all homemade. Can you say that about the last place you stopped to eat just off the Interstate? If you are traveling the entire length of Route 66 from either end then this is the place to stop and celebrate, you've made it halfway. The MidPoint Cafe is located at the exact "geo-mathematical" MidPoint of Route 66 and is the oldest continuously operated cafe along Route 66 between Amarillo, Texas and Tucumcari, New Mexico.

Quote from: The Road Wanderer

First/Last Motel
Glenrio TX

The most photographed site in Glenrio is the First/Last Motel in Texas. The motel sits immediately east of the state line (the buildings west of the motel are all in New Mexico--but there's no state welcome sign). Unlike that cafe a few blocks up the street, nobody seems to care if you wander around the motel.

Walk inside, and you find the ceiling falling down, the tiles on the floor peeling up, and miscellaneous furniture and debris scattered all around.

It's hard to imagine travelers staring out this window as they downed a hamburger and a milk shake, on their way to Santa Fe or Amarillo.

Quote from: Take my Trip

Little Juarez Diner
Glenrio TX

Located on Route 66 in the modern ghost town of Glenrio at the New Mexico border is this old Valentine Diner. It was also once known as the Little Juarez Diner. When I-40 decided to pass by Glenrio, the town quickly choked and died. Only 20 years ago, this was the resting point after a long day's drive through Texas. Now it's a dusty collection of empty buildings; a motel, a cafe, a post office.

Quote from: Coyne-op Diner