As the song goes Route 66 went from Chicago to L.A., going through Missouri along the way. While much of it is gone, replaced by freeways, there are still portions that are intact.
Many unique places remain along these portions of the Mother Road. One such place is just west of Springfield, Missouri. It is a restored Sinclair Gas Station full of cool, quirky things, including numerous ‘vintage’ vehicles.
A very nice lady named Barbara is the current owner of the property, having taken over for her father after he passed away. Barbara enthusiastically welcome all visitors, and the visitors seem genuinely pleased to be there.
On the day we were there one of the old trucks her father had owned was returned to it’s rightful spot at the station.
As noted plenty of tourists make the stop to check it out. I suggest if you get the chance you do the same.
Those who follow this blog regularly know many of the postings are for architecture, and many of those have featured Frank Lloyd Wright. FLW generally is known for his homes, but did design some commercial properties as well.
One of his most famous commercial properties is the Price Tower in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. While a 19 floor building in a small city might seem out of place there are a few other buildings of similar height, as it was the headquarters for Phillip 66 petroleum company, and continues to be a major employer as part of Conoco – Phillips.
As usual there are many unique touches to the design, including these inlaid logos in the floor for the original owner’s company.
The building houses an art museum, as well as a collection of the original furnishings.
The building was built with offices and apartments. The apartments have been turned into a boutique hotel – we were lucky enough to get a 2 level room on the 13th and 14th floors.
The furnishings are new but fit the style perfectly.
As with many FLW designs there is quirkiness to the design (the bathroom was insanely small, and the stairs were narrow and at an angle) but it was worth it to spend the night in a work of art.
Next door is a performing arts center designed by a FLW student.
The Price Tower is one of America’s great buildings!
The small Mexican town of Boquillas was for many years a mining town, until that ended in 1919. Fortunately for Boquillas it lies directly across the Rio Grande from Big Bend National Park.
This worked great for years, with tourists crossing the border to go up into town for lunch, then returning to the park. All that ended with 9-11, and the border closings.
For more than 10 years the small town dwindled down to almost nothing, until finally the US Government built a remote immigration center and the flow started again.
The border crossing is only open on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but our good luck had us there on a Sunday so we headed across the river in a rowboat.
The ‘Park and Ride’ lot on the Mexican side was where we picked up our ‘ride’ into town – a burro.
The townsfolk have this worked out – the family own some burros, and they walk along with you as you ride up the 1/2 mile hill into town, where they take you to their family owned restaurant. (there are two restaurants in town).
The food and cold beer were excellent.
After lunch they showed us around town, stopping off at his wife’s souvenir stand where we picked up something.
Their little town is resourceful. With a church and a school, they have everything they need to survive 160 miles from the nearest town in Mexico.
They do make trips across to the Rio Grande Village in the park to pick up needed supplies.
We continued our tour around town. While there are a few abandoned buildings, most are in use.
We stopped at the Park and Ride lot in town for our trip back down the hill.
A quick ride across the Rio Grande, followed by a brief visit to US immigration and we were on our way – full from lunch and with great memories of a cool little Mexican town.
Langtry, Texas is a town in west Texas, but just barely. In the early 1900s it was a busy place as they built the railroad nearby. Today it is a post office and the Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center (detailed on another posting).
Most of the buildings in the area have been abandoned.
Those that remain have a sense of humor, as evidenced by a sign pointing toward the Rio Grande that says ‘Mexico’ this way.
The town does have a beautiful view of the Rio Grande Valley, and the cliffs and caverns across in Mexico.
In West Texas the story goes there are 3 types of people: Those who know Judge Roy Bean from a 1970s movie, those who know Judge Roy Bean from their Texas schoolbooks, and those who are ignorant to the most important person in the history of West Texas. I come from the first group.
Roy Bean was born in Kentucky in 1825, and lived an adventuresome life that eventually lead him to a small Texas town which he renamed after his favorite actress, Lily Langtry – and became the Justice of the Peace for the ‘Law West of the Pecos’
Today there isn’t much in Langtry except a visitor center with a fantastic cactus garden, as well as the original buildings the Judge built in the 1800s.
The cactus garden is very cool with numerous different types of cacti.
The Judge Roy Bean Visitor Center & Museum, and Cactus Garden was a very unexpectedly nice stop in the desolation of West Texas.