Oklahoma is home to the longest stretch of Route 66 - over 400 miles! So as you can imagine it was no easy task to whittle down the many historic, iconic and interesting sights and attractions to a simple list of ten.
As with the previous posts in this series consider this a flavor of what Route 66 in Oklahoma has to offer. You can find a more extensive list of things to see along the whole length of Route 66 by clicking here.
Listed in order from east to west, here are my 10 things to see on Route 66 in Oklahoma…
The Coleman Theatre is a beautifully restored theatre that was donated to the City of Miami by the Coleman family in 1989. Originally opened in 1929 as a vaudeville theatre and movie palace, the Coleman was designed to bring a touch of glamour to the city. The Coleman Theatre is open for tours that are packed with stories of it’s past glories and supernatural history - legend has it that three ghosts roam the Coleman Theatre!
Read more about The Coleman Theatre.
This museum is free to enter but it does gratefully receive donations. In lieu of that maybe you'll purchase a vintage motorcycle tee shirt or Route 66 memorabilia from the well-stocked gift store. It features plenty of old Harley’s, Ducati’s and Indians to satisfy most bike lovers, as well as an original 1917 Harley Davidson and even some of Evel Knievels x-rays!
Afton Station is a small private Route 66 memorabilia and antique car museum housed in a 30’s era restored filling station. The car museum can hold 14 vintage autos and a collection of Route 66 and Buffalo Ranch memorabilia along with other interesting items. Sadly, Laurel Kane the beloved operator passed away in January 2016 but you can still access her terrific blog at aftonstationblog-laurel.blogspot.com
Built in the early ‘70’s as an anniversary gift from Hugh Davis to his wife Zelta the Blue Whale of Catoosa served locals and Route 66 travelers in need of a swim. Although no longer in use as a swimming pool the Whale has been given a lick of paint to spruce him up and the picnic area has been restored. This smiling chap is ready to welcome visitors all year round - you can't drive Route 66 in Oklahoma without saying "hi"!
The Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza, aims to celebrate and recognise the achievements of Cyrus Avery - often credited as the “Father of Route 66”. The Plaza features the flags of the eight states of Route 66, the Route 66 Skywalk (with its zig-zag art-deco style and familiar logo), a park, a pedestrian walk way over route 66, and several bronze statues including a land-run horse and wagon, and an old automobile featuring Will Rogers.
Read more about the Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza.
At 60’ in diameter and 45’ in height the Round Barn in Arcadia claims to be the only “true” round barn: “most are actually hexagonal or octagonal”. Built in 1898 the roof eventually collapsed in 1988 but has since been restored to it’s former glory. The loft space can now be hired for events and there’s a gift shop on the ground floor. The Round barn is a unique landmark of Route 66.
Boasting more than 28,000 exhibits celebrating Western and American Indian culture, the museum houses a huge collection of artworks and historical artefacts including the American Cowboy Gallery, the American Rodeo Gallery, the Native American Gallery and the Weitzenhoffer Gallery of Fine American Firearms. It also features Prosperity Junction, a 14,000-square-foot authentic turn-of-the-century Western prairie town!
Lucille Hamon operated this little gas station from 1941 to 2000 and was often referred to as the “Mother of the Mother Road” due to her hospitality to Route 66 travelers. It’s since been restored and a marker now tells the story of Lucille and her family. A great photo opportunity for all driving Route 66. Just down the road is a replica station, complete with a restaurant that is dedicated to Route 66.
This museum spans over 60 years of Route 66 history and showcases vehicles, artefacts, photographs, videos and an audio tour narrated by Michael Wallis (author of the Route 66 Travellers Guide). This is a fun stop and every effort has been made to make sure the exhibits are both eye-catching and informative. Each themed room comes to life with appropriate music of the time and the exhibits are colourful and often interactive.
Located in Erick’s oldest building, the City Meat Market, is the Sandhill Curiosity Shop. Containing a crazy jumble of Route 66 memorabilia this curiosity shop became very well known on the route due to it’s owners: Harley and Annabelle. They became well known on the route for bursting into song, and providing impromptu performances for visitors! Sadly Annabelle passed away in 2014 but Harley has continued to welcome guests to this unique Route 66 stop.