Tulsa City and County Officials Host Historic Lights on Event for Route 66 Avery Plaza Southwest

GTR Media Group photo
ROADSIDE MEMORIES: Visitors to the Route 66 Lights-On Event were enhanced by the memories of the Tulsa Auto Court, Oil Capital Motel and the Will Rogers Motor Court.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum and District 2 City Councilor Jeannie Cue, joined by Tulsa County District 2 Commissioner Karen Keith, hosted a Lights-On Event Sept. 15 at the new Vision 2025 Route 66 attraction, the Avery Plaza Southwest neon sign park, on Southwest Boulevard just north of West 17th Street. The neon signs were lighted for the first time at this event. Going forward, the signs are scheduled to be lit up every night.
“Neon signs have added to the attraction of Route 66 for many decades, and we are excited to light up these historic replica signs at Avery Plaza Southwest,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “Continuing this tradition, the Vision Tulsa Route 66 Neon Sign Grant Program since April 2019 has awarded matching grants totaling more than $113,000 for 20 new neon signs along today’s Route 66 in Tulsa.”
Avery Plaza Southwest is on the opposite side of the Arkansas River from the Cyrus Avery Route 66 Centennial Plaza, where the East Meets West bronze sculpture is located. The two plazas were part of the Tulsa Route 66 Master Plan, developed as part of the Vision 2025 Tulsa County sales tax package approved in 2003. Vision 2025 has been replaced by the Vision Tulsa sales tax in the Tulsa city limits.
The plazas serve as bookends on both sides of the historic Eleventh Street Bridge, which was part of the original alignment of Route 66 and named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1996. The plazas and the bridge, also called the Cyrus Avery Route 66 Memorial Bridge, are named after Cyrus Stephens Avery, the Tulsan who became known as the Father of Route 66.
The 20-foot-tall neon signs are replicas of actual signs at past motels on Route 66 in Tulsa: Will Rogers Motor Court, Tulsa Auto Court and Oil Capital Motel. They stand in a decorative plaza designed by Howell & Vancuren landscape architects and Wallace Engineering and constructed by Crossland Heavy Contractors. The neon signs were designed by David Hoffer and fabricated by A-max Sign Co. In front of each sign is a plaque with a photo of the motel and information about its historical significance.
This $500,000 (design and construction) project is one of the final ones from the Vision 2025 Route 66 Enhancements and Promotion. Remaining Vision 2025 Route 66 items are a Kendall Whittier pedestrian lighting project now under construction at Admiral Place and Lewis Avenue, the Route 66 Experience and a historic preservation fund.

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