Route 66 Rises with Sculpture Dedication

MOTHER ROAD RIBBON CUTTING: Present at the Route 66 Rising ribbon cutting on July 2 are, from left, Rhys Martin; Executive Director & CEO of the Route 66 Alliance Ken Busby, Tulsa County Commissioner Karen Keith, Tulsa City Councilor Jeannie Cue, Oklahoma Lt. Gov. Matt Pinnell, Joy Avery, Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum, Tulsa City Councilor Phil Lakin Jr., Miss Route 66 and Mrs. Oklahoma.

Mayor G.T. Bynum welcomed Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell to Tulsa July 2 for the dedication and ribbon-cutting at the “Route 66 Rising” sculpture at the Avery Traffic Circle – East Admiral Place and Mingo Road.
“Route 66 is rising in Tulsa right now,” Bynum said. “Tulsa is the birthplace of Route 66, thanks to Cyrus Avery. Tulsa is home to one of the world’s foremost historians on Route 66, Michael Wallis. And now there is a new sense of revitalization along Route 66, with venues like Mother Road Market drawing new visitors and Buck Atom greeting travelers as they cruise through Tulsa. It is a special time in the history of this American icon, and we are excited for this latest improvement.”
Joy Avery, granddaughter of Cyrus Avery – Father of Route 66, was a special guest and speaker at the event. Avery, a former Tulsa County Commissioner and Oklahoma State Highway Commissioner, also served as a Consulting Highway Specialist to the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads. Cyrus Avery lived in Tulsa during the planning stages of Route 66 as a national highway, and he was influential in bringing the highway through Tulsa, including a bridge across the Arkansas River.
“Route 66 Rising” is approximately 70 feet wide and 30 feet high. This $682,000 project was funded by Vision 2025, a Tulsa County sales tax from 2004 through 2016 that provided for regional economic development and capital improvements. Vision 2025 included $15 million for projects on Route 66 in Tulsa. Beginning in 2017, the Vision Tulsa sales tax replaced Vision 2025 within the city limits of Tulsa.
An artist from New Mexico, which is another state along Route 66, created the “Route 66 Rising” sculpture. The artist, Eric F. Garcia, said his work was inspired by “a time when the Oklahoma dust bowl was a reminder of the hard times during the Depression and how the Old Route was a symbol of hope.”
The intersection of Admiral Place and Mingo Road has been named the Avery Traffic Circle, in honor of Cyrus Avery. This location is on the original 1926-1932 alignment of Route 66.
Avery Traffic Circle also is the former site of Cyrus Avery’s tourist court. With full-brick Tudor Revival architecture, the tourist court consisted of an auto service and gas station, the Old English Inn restaurant, and tourist cabins.