Road News


Hampton Inn

 

Hampton Inn Pontiac

Boasting a convenient location off of Interstate 55 (exit 197) and near historic Route 66, Hampton Inn Pontiac offers easy access to local attractions and restaurants. Route 66 Museum, Livingston County War Museum and the Pontiac-Oakland Museum are just a short drive away.

Feel at home in your modern guest room with such amenities as free WiFi and a mini-fridge.The hotel welcomes families with children and offers double queen guest rooms and king guest rooms with sofa beds. We also have accessible rooms with all the standard amenities plus a variety of accessible features.

Enjoy the free hot breakfast buffet daily (6:00am – 10:00am), including freshly made waffles, oatmeal, fresh fruit and a variety of hearty hot selections. This Pontiac hotel also has an on-site 24-hour TREATS shop stocked with snacks, beverages and sundries. Make sure to stop by the Front Desk for some tips on restaurants and bars.

Reenergize in the fitness center with cardio, strength training and balance equipment before plunging into an indoor heated pool. Host your briefing, training or small gathering in our meeting room accommodating up to 25 people, with outside catering options available. Make final changes to your presentation in our business center.

Courtesy Hampton Inn


Route 66 Neon Park Development

Pulaski County Route 66 Preservation Corporation welcomed 4 additional historic Route 66 neon signs to Saint Robert on October 18, 2017. The signs will be refurbished and installed in the Route 66 Neon Park development, within the George M. Reed Roadside Park.

The neon beauties were donated by a passionate group of individuals, Friends of the Mother Road. The Stanley Cour-Tel and Lin-Air Motel signs originated along Route 66 in St. Louis. Both properties were razed for the expansion of St. Louis Lambert International Airport. Friends of the Mother Road took possession of the signage and then relocated them to Staunton, Illinois to the iconic Henry’s Rabbit Ranch in 2004.

The first sign acquired for the Route 66 Neon Park Development is the Modern Cabins sign that originated along the route in Saint Robert, donated by Ken and Sue Bassett.

To help “light up the night” and preserve the signs, the Pulaski County Route 66 Preservation is accepting tax-deductible donations. Sign sponsorships and personalized bricks are available. All monies go directly to the neon park development. For more information visit the website route66preservation.org or email info@route66preservation.org.

About Pulaski County Route 66 Preservation: The purpose of this corporation is to preserve and protect U. S. Route 66 in Pulaski County Missouri. The organization will create a better place to live for current and future residents of Pulaski County by increasing the social, economic, educational, historical, and recreational opportunities for all collectively to increase local capacity to respond to local needs and all other legal powers permitted by General Not for Profit Corporations. The corporation is organized exclusively for charitable, educational, religious, or scientific purposes with the meaning of section 501C 3 of the Internal Revenue Code. The first development, Route 66 Neon Park, is in partnership with the Route 66 Association of Missouri, the City of St. Robert and the Pulaski County Tourism Bureau.

Courtesy Pulaski County Route 66 Preservation


Nostalgia in Illinois

The 1928 Riviera Roadhouse in Gardner, IL. had an interesting history like no other. Stories are told of Al and Ralph Capone, old time cowboy heartthrob Tom Mix, dancer Gene Kelly. Folks remember the stalactites hanging from the ceiling (many with names) and unforgettable food served in the basement. Women will never forget the famous toilet throne.

Unfortunately the Riviera burned down on June 8, 2010. However all of the older Route 66 guide books and videos said that this was a must stop. Tourists were constantly asking where it was located. Well it might be gone but you can still visit the site. Then with a little imagination you can even experience a bit of the Riv.

Locals were the first to utilize this unique attraction. Whole families are again coming to the Riviera site for one last visit, a photo, and to share fond memories of a time now gone. (additional work to the grounds will be added in the future).

This attraction is sponsored by the Illinois Route 66 Association Preservation Committee, Fatlan Trucking and Mr. John Ruh.

Work crew members, Damon Sholtey, Steve Perkins, Tom Perkins, Tom Perkins Sr. (not pictured John Weiss.)

Courtesy John Weiss

Sign with men


Neon sign

Motel Sign Shines Again

On the night of September 5, 2014, one of Tucumcari, New Mexico’s, longest-standing buildings—the picturesque Tucumcari Motel—succumbed to flames. The next morning, the reddish two-story structure was a blackened heap of smoldering ruins with only the curbside neon-steel sign surviving. The fire was a sad finish to one of the few of the town’s remaining early 20th Century buildings and probably the first substantial hotel. The fire was purportedly an act of an arsonist with a former city police officer implicated in the crime.

The motel, at the corner of Smith and Adams Streets (301 East Smith), opened in early December 1907, under the banner of the Antlers House rooming house. Captained by J.M. Callison, it boasted a library, baths, and twenty-six furnished rooms. In 1910, it sported one of the few phones in town with an easy to remember call number of 33.

Over the years, the business had various name changes. In 1912, it became the Palace Hotel, and in 1917, the Oklahoma Hotel. It was under that latter name when it suffered its first fire in 1925. In 1932, the hotel was renamed the Oklahoma Rooms—a name it apparently held until becoming the Tucumcari Motel sometime after 1950.

Although located a little over one-half mile from the modern Route 66, the facility was still ideally situated for travelers on US Highway 54, 66’s precursor: the Ozark Trail, and the railroad. Gail Sanders, Tucumcari Chamber of Commerce, said that the hotel wasn’t a fancy place but because it was so close to the railroad, a lot of people stayed there. Guests were both train passengers and crewmembers.

No one seems to know exactly when the motel went out of business but it was evidentially in the late 1960s or early 1970s when it was being used as a private residence. At the time of the 2014 fire, the old motel was valued by the assessor’s office at $6,821 and was owned by Robert Hengstenberg of Chimayo, New Mexico. In 2015, the fire debris was removed from the lot leaving only the curbside sign. The lot is now owned by the city but there are no plans to build anything on it.

In 2017, Tucumcari’s popular New Mexico Route 66 Museum took charge of refurbishing the motel’s rusting curbside sign. Bob Beaulieu, Museum Board member, said Pacheco Construction had donated the sign and work was begun in July. After two months of labor and $5900.00—with the lion’s share going for redoing the neon—the sign was ready to be fired up. Beaulieu said the local McMullen Community Foundation also funded part of the project.

The time and money were rewarded on October 23, 2017, when locals gathered in the Museum to watch the unveiling of the Tucumcari Motel sign at its official relighting ceremony. Asked what was next on the Museum’s project agenda, Beaulieu said they’d be looking for another neon sign to do.

Hanging from the ceiling of its new permanent home at the Museum, the sign’s red neon says there will always be a vacancy.

Courtesy Keith Kofford