Route 66 Legacy Business Grant Fund Supporting Legacy Businesses Along Route 66

Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway
National Trust for Historic Preservation

Small, locally owned businesses are the heart and soul of Route 66. To recognize the value of the long standing local businesses that contribute to the Route 66 experience and help make the preservation of Route 66 structures economically viable, the National Trust has been working to identify Route 66 legacy businesses since June of 2023 with the help of three research associates.

Recognizing the tremendous challenges facing many of these small businesses, the National Trust’s Preserve Route 66 Legacy Business Grant Fund’s inaugural round of funding is providing $171,890 in grants to 18 businesses located in all eight Route 66 states. Read more about these projects below. Route 66 businesses interested in the 2025 round of Preserve Route 66 Legacy Business grants can sign up for email reminders, and if you know of a business on Route 66 whose story you would like to tell, consider submitting it to the Share Your Route 66 Story campaign.

$10,000 to the 1940 Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico for exterior repairs from a dangerous hailstorm in May of 2023. Repairs will include repairs to the hand-troweled stuccoed shell design as well as repainting of the exterior and the motel’s sign.

$10,000 to the 1958 Cactus Inn and RV Parking in McLean, Texas for exterior work including replacing a hail damaged overhang, painting the exterior, and upgrading the parking lot and signage. The motel was purchased by a retired schoolteacher in 2020 and she has been updating each of the motel’s 10 rooms.

$10,000 to Cars on the Route in Galena, Kansas for an updated HVAC system which will include an energy efficient head pump system, duct adapters and a mini split. Cars on the Route is located in a restored 1934 Kanotex gas station.

$10,000 to the Cowboy Motel in Amarillo, Texas to match historic colors on the motel’s neon sign and add neon to the sign as well as painting the exterior, replacing windows and adding awnings. The motel was built in the 1940s as the Del Camino Motel and became the Cowboy Motel in 1954.

$8,458.23 to the 1953 Delgadillo’s Snow Cap in Seligman, Arizona to repair the original sign so that it rotates as it once did many years ago. Now operated by the children of the original owners, replacing the motor on this historic sign is the final step in a series of repairs and improvements made with a 2023 Backing Historic Small Restaurants grant.

$10,000 to Docs Just Off 66 in Girard, Illinois for tuckpointing and the installation of new front windows. This 1872 building became Decks Drug Store in 1884, and the current restaurant still has the original 1929 Soda Fountain and a museum of original pharmacy and drug store items from Deck’s 117 years in business.

$10,000 to the 1895 Grey Gables on Walnut in Springfield, Missouri to complete exterior painting of this Queen Anne Victorian landmark. This business, located a block from the original alignment of Route 66, houses vacation and long-term rentals as well as Gilardi’s Ristorante.

$10,000 to the Junkyard on 66 Brewery in Grants, New Mexico to create a drive-in movie screen that will double as a billboard for the brewery. The movie screen replaces a temporary screen erected during COVID, and honors the legacy of a former drive in movie theater in Grants that was several hundred yards from the proposed location of the new screen.

$10,000 to the La Paloma Mexican Restaurant in La Verne, California to repair and replace roof damaged at this 100-year-old restaurant caused by extremely heavy rains, as well as applying a white, reflective elastomeric coating to flat sections of the roof to both seal the roof and reflect the sun’s rays to lower utility costs.

$10,000 to the Miami Marathon Plant Shop in Miami, Oklahoma to revitalize the exterior with repairs to lighting receptacles and to purchase two Wayne 615 visible gas pumps to replicate what once was there as well as upgrades to the concrete driveway and parking area. Purchased by a young local Cherokee entrepreneur in 2019, the owner and his fiancé and business partner named their plant business after the only surviving Marathon station out of six built by the transcontinental oil company in the 1920s.

$10,000 to 1925 Nelson’s Old Riverton Store in Riverton, Kansas to replace the store’s iconic wooden French doors while preserving the historic integrity of the structure. This local grocery has been serving the Riverton community and Route 66 travelers for almost a century, and still offers souvenirs, groceries and deli services.

$10,000 to the Oasis Motel in Tulsa, Oklahoma to repair the original neon sign as well as completing cosmetic painting and exterior work to preserve the original structure. The original sign has rust damage, and some of the neon letters are not operational.

$10,000 to the 1935 Odeon Theater in Tucumcari, New Mexico for exterior façade repairs including stucco and signage repair.

$10,0000 to Scoops on 66 in Kingman, Arizona to put a new roof on the 100 year old Little Stone Building, transforming a building that had been vacant for 3 decades into a walk up ice cream shop. Originally built some time before 1911, this building served as a café from the 1930s through the 1970s.

$10,000 to Sooner Printing and Office Supplies in Miami, Oklahoma to replace deteriorated second floor exterior windows and completed exterior façade repairs on a 1925 building on Route 66. This commercial building has been home to WA Bundy Jewelers (1927-1929) and the Scott-Livingston Dry Good Store which opened in 1929.

$4,000 to Spencer Station in Miller, Missouri to lengthen and widen the sidewalk in front of a cluster of Route 66 buildings that had been vacant since 1961 so that they are safer and more accessible for travelers. The complex includes a 1910 general store, a 1926 brick general store, a 1927 stone service station and a 1928 barbershop and café. New owners purchased the buildings in 2022 and are restoring and reopening the site.

$10,000 to The Big Texan Steak Ranch in Amarillo, Texas to support the first phase of revitalization for the 60 foot neon Big Texan Cowboy sign, planning for structural repairs, lighting and landscape upgrades. This Route 66 eatery was originally established in 1960 along historic Route 66 and relocated the restaurant off of I-40 once Route 66 was decommissioned, including moving the original cowboy sign to the new location.

$9,431 to Urban Sapphire Commercial LLC in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to support the Los Caminos Motel neon sign restoration project. A woman-owned neon business in Oklahoma City’s LGBTQ 39th Street District is bringing a new neon art installation to Route 66 that includes elements from the Los Caminos Motel sign from Woodward, Oklahoma.

This article from Amy Webb, a senior director of preservation programs at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, manages the Trust’s Preserve Route 66 Initiative.

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Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway