Route 66 Day 12: Small Towns Big Hearts

Today was another brilliant blue skied day in Oklahoma. We left the windy city of Weatherford, serenaded by wind farms that created a landscape of such uniqueness, our cameras really could not do it justice.

We passed through several small towns today. The one similarity they shared, is they all seemed to have once vibrant downtowns, that are now shuttered, empty storefronts. 

We stopped in Sayre, Oklahoma. As we drove down the Main Street, we were taken with a beautiful view of the court house, but also how the majority of stores and shops appeared closed. 

We were taking photos of an old abandoned theatre when a gentleman pulled up and offered to give us some history of the town. We met Danny, who told us about the town’s history and current state. 

Danny shared how many of the historic buildings were being renovated; some torn down, some keeping the outside architecture but not restoring or preserving the interiors. It is a shame, becuase Sayre has some beautiful old historic buildings. 

The Rexall drug store sign was kept on the outside of the building, while the inside and exterior were remodeled.

The old theater was demolished inside, the outside marque remains. 

Danny thank you for sharing your stories with us and introducing us to your town!

Our next small town stop, on high recommendation from Danny, was Erick, Oklahoma. He encouraged us to stop at the Sandhill Curiosity Shop and meet the owner, Harley. The Sandhill Curiosity Shop is the oldest building in Erick, it used to be the City Meat Market. It is now filled with antiques and memorabilia from Route 66.

Harley welcomed us into his shop and shared many good stories of his life and history of the town. While Harley’s place is called a shop, nothing is for sale here, but great stories and music abound. 

Harley’s guitars.

A view from the sidewalk in front of the curiosity shop. The majority of the stores are vacant in the town of Erick. 

Harley is quite a character, and after one of the most memorable conversations we have ever had, we left Erick Oklahoma on our way to Texas. We crossed some bridges and saw some gorgeous old barns.

We arrived in Shamrock, Texas, another small town. We stayed at the Western Motel. Jyoti and Uppen, the owners of the motel were so welcoming and ensured we were comfortable. We had a phenomenal view of theTower Station and U-Drop Inn across the street, and we captured the lights with some night shots. Tower Station was one of the many Route 66 inspirations for the movie Cars. 

Tower Station and U-Drop Inn.

Uppen shared how the small town of Shamrock is, like many others, seeing hard times. Downtown businesses are closing, and without the usual US and overseas numbers of Route 66 visitors (who have been a large percentage of those traveling Route 66) businesses are suffering. 

It is evident to us that despite the loss of business, the one thing that is not missing in the small towns we visit is the heart of the people who live there. Good people with big hearts. We are so very grateful. 

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