Day 3: April 28, 2016
Reviving and Relighting

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A reader who pointed out an error in yesterday's journal (Thanks Mark.) also pointed me toward this 114 year old bridge in Springfield. Looks very cool but I couldn't get on it today.

The 1926 Gillioz Theater is certainly historic and so is George Clinton. I just never expected to see them together.

Across the street from the wall that was decorated more than a decade ago, Springfield has a new Route 66 themed park that includes a replica of Red's Giant Hamburg sign.

The last time I was here the gates were locked and the place was silent. Gary Turner, its creator, had died just months before. A few weeks ago his daughter moved in and is bringing her dad's dream back to life. Springfield's KY3 TV was interviewing her when I arrived. I was talking with George when the interview ended and Barb popped up. I then had a nice chat with both of them.

The third picture shows reporter Paul Adler removing a clip-on mic from Barb so he could put it on me. I've included it primarily to show Paul who I soon learned spent some time in Cincinnati. The name sounded a bit familiar and my memory of him working on Cincinnati's Channel 12 with Paula Toti in a "Paul and Paula" news program was refreshed as I "interviewed" him before he interviewed me. The Millers from across the street arrived in one of their many Corvairs and I grabbed a shot of them talking with the camera man who has three Corvairs of his own. This is the sort of scene that isn't easy to drive away from. One thing that hasn't changed is stopping for a minute and staying for an hour. Gary's legacy is in good hands.

My stop down the road at Spencer's was much shorter. That straight stretch of concrete pavement is a strong pull.

I reached Carthage, the day's target, about noon. Even though I knew it was way too early for anything to be happening, I drove past the Powers Museum where the first event of the conference would be taking place. The conference website contained driving directions for the Jefferson Highway through Jasper County which I had entered into my GPS. I didn't think about it too long before deciding that driving it right now would be the right thing to do.

The county line is just north of the ton of Jasper and Jasper seems ready for JHA visitors. In fact, the first three pictures were taken there. The permanently decorated window is in the center of town and the signed pole just a couple of blocks south. The banner and the Old Jefferson Hwy street sign are at the south edge. The other two photos are from spots between Jasper and Carthage. Beyond Carthage the Route 66, which I've driven several times, essentially follows the route of the Jefferson Highway so, even though I drove it to the county/state line, I took no pictures.

Last year, on my way to the JHA conference in Muskogee, I happened upon a week old hamburger joint in Joplin. I ate there and learned it was the offspring of a fifty-two year old joint in Carthage. I put the original on my "to do" list and today presented the perfect opportunity to scratch it off. That place it Joplin was certainly true to the original Whisler's. No inside seating or drive-through and a streamlined menu. In Joplin I tried a "Sow 'n' Cow". That's a 'burger with bacon. There is also a "Pig 'n' Bull", which is a 'burger with ham, and a "Farm", which has both bacon and ham. Today I had the "Farm". A very tasty old-fashioned treat.

No one had been in the motel office when I stopped so I left my car there and walked the two blocks to Whisler's. I now walked back, checked in, and relaxed just a bit before heading to the reception at the museum. There was no formal program but give us road fans a little food and we're happy. It was a nice chance to reconnect with old friends and meet some new ones.

Back at the motel we waited for sundown. I'm staying at the historic Boots Court. Starting in 2012, new owners began returning the motel to its 1939 appearance. The most recent step was restoring the building's architectural neon which was lit for the first time in about fifteen years on April 9. The "we" that waited included the three ladies in the first picture and a friend I hadn't seen in person for more than a decade. The three ladies are owners and sisters Debye and Priscilla separated by manager Debbie Dee. Debye is on the photo's left; Priscilla on the right. The old friend was Ken "Landrunner" Turmel who came up with the idea of having Debye, Debbie, and Priscilla pose in front of the sign and who I captured giving them some guidance.

The magic moment finally arrived and the picture taking commenced. There was a big gathering and celebration for the official lighting three weeks ago and the motel crew has been entertained by photographers almost every night since. It's easy to see why.

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