Commentary by DEWEY F. BARTLETT JR.
Mayor of Tulsa
Tulsa is fortunate to have a piece of U.S. Highway 66 – Route 66 – running through the middle of our city from southwest to Admiral Place. For years, groups have come together to shine the light on Tulsa’s Route 66, and now, businesses are cropping up, car shows are attracting thousands and the work of a few is now becoming a formal City of Tulsa commission to promote the “Mother Road.”
Working with the councilors who have part of Route 66 in their districts – and working particularly with Councilor Jeannie Cue, District 2, I formalized a citywide Tulsa Route 66 Commission, to officially support and continue efforts for promotion and development along historic Route 66 in Tulsa.
Route 66 is a worldwide destination and an important part of Tulsa’s history. We have a great opportunity with the Route 66 Commission to help concentrate and leverage our resources to enhance the Route 66 experience in Tulsa.
The citywide Commission will be composed of 15 members. I will be responsible for the appointment of five members, and the Councilors of Districts two, three, four, five and six will be responsible for five members. Other members will include the Chair of the Board of Directors for INCOG, currently Tulsa County Commissioner John Smaligo; Ken Busby, executive director of the Route 66 Interpretive Center; and a member at large. Two seats will also be selected by Tulsa Route 66 Main Street, an organization in Southwest Tulsa.
The members will support and assist all ongoing efforts locally and statewide with both public and private entities involved in furthering Route 66 tourism, development and promotion. Members will also create and help implement specific strategies and plans to encourage economic development and promotion for Route 66.
Route 66, also known as the Mother Road and America’s Main Street, stretches across the country from the West to the Northeast, right across Oklahoma. The final 1932 – 1979 alignment entered Tulsa from the southwest: Route 66 begins on Southwest Boulevard (then Quanah Avenue), goes to the old 11th Street Bridge over the Arkansas River, turns east on 11th Street, extending to South 193rd East Avenue and the city limits.
From the west into downtown, the original 1926 – 1932 alignment turned north on Cheyenne Avenue, east on Seventh Street, north on Detroit Avenue, east on Second Street, north on Lewis Avenue, and east on Admiral Place to Mingo Road, where it turned south to East 11th Street, continuing east to South 193rd East Avenue.