Arts, Travel leaves Okla., Texas tour starts Feb. 24

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By Joyce McClellan

The Arts and Travel Tour Bus pulled up to the home of Jeaneane Buckmeier on Monday, Feb. 10, and after a short business meeting conducted by president Betty Reich, members boarded the bus for our imaginary trip on Route 66 through Oklahoma.
Our tour guide Jeaneane picked us up at Oklahoma City and we started across western Oklahoma. Nowhere is Route 66 more at home than in Oklahoma as the pavement follows the contours of the land in this state and in a way Route 66 was born in Oklahoma as it was home of Cyrus Avery, who was called the father of the route as he was very interested in road building.
Oklahoma was just 19 years old when word got out that this highway was to be built (1926). But in the 1930s it quickly became “the road of desperation” as many took this route and headed to California. It was estimated that 15 percent of the population left the state at this time.
After WW II this road became more popular as travel for leisure became more popular. Disneyland opened but then President Eisenhower started to build an Interstate Highway system across the United States. It did take several years to complete but it ended much of the Route 66 highway use. Later the Route 66 association began a program to help increase interest in the old road and many people try to follow the route today. However, they find that a lot of the businesses have deteriorated along the way.
The Phillips Petroleum Company was founded in 1917 by oil tycoon Frank Phillips and coincidentally, almost every major Midwestern city on their oil line happened to be located on this old highway. It is said that two oil executives were driving along the road trying to come up with a company name and one said, “We’re going 66 miles an hour on Highway 66 so let’s call it Phillips 66.” They did and their logo was put on a 6-pointed shield with Phillips 66 on it.
As our tour across Oklahoma came to an end we realize we now have to wait until Feb. 24 when we meet at the Pizza Ranch with Delphine Steuck as the hostess before we enter Texas.
After the program, hostess Jeaneane Buckmeier served a dessert lunch.

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