On a crisp Saturday morning we decided to take off and road trip out old Route 66. This is always a beautiful drive, heading out west from Yukon, past the small town of Banner, into El Reno. From there keep going out west, past the farms and valleys, listening to the rhythmic thumping of the original Portland concrete. I love going down the Bridgeport hill, with the South Canadian River valley spread out in front of you as you glide down the incline. There is a small piece of original pavement where it swept to the left to go across the Pony Bridge. Past the crumbling Hinton Junction, with a quick stop at Lucille’s Provine Service Station, through Weatherford, then into Clinton. Lots to see on the way here but I am here to talk exclusively about the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum.
Opened in Sept 1995, this is a nice stop to learn about the history of Route 66 though the state of Oklahoma. Through the black double doors, the first stop is the building of the highway. Not just pictures but the actual tools used are on display. Smudge pots and surveyors tools that show how rough the building of the highway was back in 1926. The next display is of a service station. These were vital along the route back in its heyday. So many cars would fail along the trip, the service stations were a life line for those who had car trouble. Another display shows bus lines and freight transit along the route. Then into a replica diner, just like today, you needed to have a place with good food to sit and relax. Next up is a hippie painted VW Bus, to show how the route was used by their free spirits. Then onto the decertification of Route 66 and its resurgence over the past 25 years.
This is a really cool place to visit. Takes about an hour to go through but you learn a lot about the history of Route 66 through Oklahoma. I love seeing the pictures of what the road looked like not only during the building of the highway but of the years following. The museum also has plenty of static displays inside and out of life as it was on the old route. Of course the heyday of Route 66 was from the 1930’s to the late 1950’s. As the road was bypassed by Interstates 44 and 40 in Oklahoma, many sections of the old highway were left abandoned. Oklahoma does still have over 400 miles of Route 66 still drivable and I’ll talk about that some other time.
The Oklahoma Route 66 museum is a nice stop to get out of the car, stretch your legs, and learn about the old road as it meanders through the state.
Address: 2229 W Gary Blvd., Clinton.