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.Illustration by JJ Ritchey
Route 66 celebrates nine decades this year, and there’s still plenty to explore along the 400 miles of Oklahoma’s Mother Road.
By Steve Larese
Published May/June 2016
Miami: Coleman Theatre
Opened in 1929, Miami’s ornate Coleman Theatre entertains audiences with silent movies and live shows much as it did in its Route 66 heyday. 103 North Main Street, (918) 540-2425 or colemantheatre.org.
Foyil: Ed Galloway Totem Pole Park
Foyil’s Ed Galloway Totem Pole Park, home of the world’s largest concrete totem pole—standing ninety feet tall—took almost thirty years to build. 21300 East State Highway 28A, (918) 283-8035 or totempolepark.org.
Catoosa: Blue Whale
Catoosa’s Blue Whale is one of Route 66’s most famous attractions. Completed in 1972, the eighty-foot concrete “Ol’ Blue” still is a popular picnicking and fishing destination. 2680 North State Highway 66, (918) 694-7390 or bluewhaleroute66.com.
Sapulpa, Chandler, Clinton, and Elk City: Route 66 Museums
Travelers can learn about the fascinating history of America’s favorite highway at the Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum in Sapulpa (heartofroute66.org), the Route 66 Interpretive Center in Chandler (405/258-1300 or route66interpretivecenter.org), the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton (580/323-7866 or okhistory.org), and the National Route 66 Museum Complex in Elk City (580/225-6266 or visitelkcity.com).
Arcadia: Round Barn
Finished in 1898, Arcadia’s iconic Round Barn is a wooden architectural masterpiece that continues to inspire admiration—and a quick stop for photos—from drivers along Route 66 to this day. 107 East State Highway 66, (405) 396-0824 or arcadiaroundbarn.com.
Bridgeport: William H. Murray Pony Truss Bridge
The 1933 William H. Murray Pony Truss Bridge near Bridgeport is the second-longest bridge of its kind in Oklahoma. This engineering marvel on Route 66 between Bridgeport and Hydro is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and appears in the 1940 film The Grapes of Wrath. From I-40, take exit 101 and head north to U.S. Highway 281, then go two miles northeast to the Canadian River.
Erick: Roger Miller Museum
The King of the Road himself was an Oklahoman, and his home state celebrates his life and career at the Roger Miller Museum in Erick. Featured memorabilia includes handwritten lyrics and stage clothing, as well as three original flamboyant Nudie suits. 101 East Roger Miller Boulevard, (580) 526-3889 or rogermillermuseum.com.