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Route 66: Shamrock, Texas

Shamrock, on the rolling plains of the eastern Texas Panhandle, on Historic U.S. Route 66 is well known for its historic CONOCO Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Café, an iconic Art-Deco building dating back to the Great Depression, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. But there are many vintage motels and gas stations on Old Route 66 so below we list all the US 66 motels, diners, gas stations, monuments and landmarks in Shamrock

Shamrock TX

Classic Route 66 motels, stores, diners, gas stations and Landmarks in Shamrock

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About Shamrock, Texas

Facts, Trivia and useful information

Elevation: 2,343 ft. (714 m). Population: 1,910 (2010 census).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).

Shamrock is located in Wheeler County, in the eastern region of the Texas Panhandle. This is a map of the town.

Detail of the gas pumps at the Conoco Tower station in Shamrock TX
Detail showing the restored pumps at the CONOCO Tower Station, Shamrock, TX.
Click on image for Street View

The Texas Panhandle is the northernmost region of the state of Texas, it spans 26 counties. Oklahoma lies to the north and east and New Mexico to the west.
It is a dry region with an average annual rainfall that drops from east to west, from 21.5 inches to 17 inches. The High Plains cover most of the Panhandle and the upper tributaries of the Red River and the Canadian River drain the region. Under the flat plains, the Ogallala Aquifer provides abundant water for irrigating the plains.

Shamrock's History

Paleo-Indians dwelled here over 10,000 years ago and their stone tools have been found at the nearby site in Clovis NM. Later Spanish Conquistador Francisco Vásquez de Coronado crossed the plains seeking the gold of mythical Eldorado. By the 1800s buffalo hunting Comanche and Kiowa Indians lived in the region but were displaced to reservations after the Red River War (1874 - 1875) and Fort Elliott was built in Wheeler to protect the pioneers.

An Irish immigrant and sheep rancher, George Nickel used the name Shamrock when he applied to open a post office in 1890 some 6 miles from the current town's location. It was accepted by the postal officials but never opened. However the name lived on.

Shamrock (n.)
The word dates back to the 1570s. from Irish seamrog, diminutive of seamar clover and Gaelic seamrag trefoil.
The plant is native to Ireland and an emblem of the Green Island. One legend has it that Saint Patrick in AD 388 used it as a symbol of the Holy Trinity during his mission to heathen Ireland.

The Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railway reached the region in 1902 and named their stop Shamrock. A post office and a school soon opened next to it. Business followed and the town was incorporated in 1911.

Trivia

The closing scenes of the film «Cast Away» (2000), show the character Chuck Nolan (played by Tom Hanks) on U.S. Route 83 close to I-40, in Shamrock.

Oil was discovered in the area in 1925 bringing wealth and growth to Shamrock. Route 66 was the town's main street, filled with diners, garages, filling stations and motels.

When I-40 skipped the city center, most of these businesses closed or moved out of town, to the bypass.

Natural gas, oil and cattle, and increasingly Road Trip Tourism are the main pillars of the local economy.

Where to Stay in Shamrock

Hotels and Motels

Accommodation in Shamrock: There are plenty of hotels in the town.

Motels and Hotels in Shamrock:

>> Book your Hotels in    Shamrock

Lodging Near Shamrock along Route 66

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Shamrock Texas: Weather

Latest Shamrock, Texas, weather
Route 66 map with Shamrock Texas location
Location of Shamrock TX on Route 66

This is a relatively dry region with a yearly rainfall that reaches 24 in (618 mm). Summers are hot but with lower temperature during the night. The average highs during summer are over 90°F (30°C) and the average lows are around 65°F (19°C). During the winter the average temperature ranges between 50°F (10°C) and 25°F (-4°C).

Snow: Snow falls in the Panhandle region at any time between September and May (with the average first snowfall date on the first week of December). Its altitude causes greater snowfall than locations further east: averaging 17” per year (with maximum values of about 40”) - 43 to 102 cm.

Tornadoes can stike Shamrock, as it is located in the Tornado Alley. Read more: Tornadoes on Route 66.

Getting To Shamrock

Shamrock is the first town along I-40 and U.S. Route 66 after entering Texas from Oklahoma.

Shamrock is 15 miles (24 km) west of the Oklahoma - Texas state line.

Heading west from Shamrock, it is 93 miles (150 km) to Amarillo and 171 miles (275 km) to the New Mexico state line. It is 291 miles (468 km) to the northwest of Dallas.

Map of Shamrock on Route 66 Texas

Static Map showing Route 66 in Shamrock

Map of Shamrock Texas
Map showing Route 66 in Shamrock, Texas, by
Click on image to see the Google Map

Display Shamrock TX Map


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Map color key

Pale Blue: Historic Route 66 alignment;
Blue: Other original alignments of US 66 between Amarillo and Shamrock.
Black: Jericho Gap.

The red icon marks Shamrock.

Google Maps. Terms. Nicolas Mollet, CC BY SA 3.0 License

Alignment of Route 66 in Texas: Historic U.S. 66 through Shamrock

Route 66 logo

Route 66 across Texas

Click on the following link and see our overview of Route 66 across the state of Texas.

Below you will find full details on Old Route 66 in Shamrock

Shamrock: Attractions & Sights

Things to Do and See

Shamrock is renowned for its historic Art Deco style CONOCO Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Café, listed in the National Register of Historic Places. But it has plenty of old gas stations and motels which we describe below.

Shamrock: City Attractions

We will tour town from east to west along Old Route 66, starting at I-40s Exit 164 and heading west along East 12th Street. Ahead, on your left (south side of Route 66) is a 1950s Motel:

Sun ’n Sand Motel

800 E 12 Street, Shamrock

The Sun ’n Sand Motel romoted itself as "A Motel of Distinction" when it opened its 28 units in 1953 with its "Maverick Restaurant"; they stated that "We have everything for you". It is still open and lodging guests as the Route 66 Inn.

You can Book a Room in the Route 66 Inn

Sun ’n Sand Motel Shamrock Texas

Sun ’n Sand Motel in Shamrock
Sun ’n Sand Motel, Shamrock, Texas

It still has the same "U-shaped" layout around a central court with gabled roofs over its units and a "Sun" logo painted on its walls:

Present appearance of the Route 66 Inn, former Sun ’n Sand Motel Shamrock Texas

Route 66 Inn, former Sun ’n Sand Motel in Shamrock
Route 66 Inn former Sun ’n Sand Motel, Shamrock, Texas
Click image for Street view

Just ahead, to your right is the former Shamrock Ranger Motel from the 1950s:

Shamrock Ranger Motel

711 E 12 Street, Shamrock

The Shamrock Ranger Motel promoted itself in its postcards as: "Shamrock's Newest Motel 31 Ultra Modern Units Room Phones, Free TV, Refrigerated Air Conditioning, Hot Water Heat, Wall to Wall Carpeting, Tub and Shower Combination, Swimming for our Guests and lots of Hospitality". Now it is the Shamrock Country Inn, and although it has lost its classic neon sign and the swimming pool that it had in the courtyard is now gone, it retains its "U-shaped" layout and general appearance.

You can Book a Room in the Shamrock Country Inn

Shamrock Ranger Motel Shamrock Texas

Shamrock Ranger Motel in Shamrock
Shamrock Ranger Motel, Shamrock, Texas

Present appearance of the Shamrock Country Inn, former Shamrock Ranger Motel Shamrock Texas

Shamrock Country Inn, former Shamrock Ranger Motel in Shamrock
Shamrock Country Inn former Shamrock Ranger Motel, Shamrock, Texas
Click image for Street view

Facing it, to your left, is an "Art Decó" former gas station:

Art Deco

This style flourished between both World Wars (1914 to 1940). It adopted symmetry, rich colors and bold rectilinear geometric shapes to exalt technological progress. It was a symbol of elegance, luxury and wealth based on the mechanized technological world of the early twentieth century.

Whiting Bros. Gas Station

720 E 12 Street, Shamrock

This building with Art Deco decorations on the upper part of its parapets and walls was a Whiting Brothers gas station dating back to 1938. Whiting Brothers had over 100 service stations in the South West and all but one have closed: the only remaining service station still in operation is on Route 66 in New Mexico; it is the Moriarty Whiting Brothers Service Station.

There are remains of their gas stations along US66: in New Mexico you can see the Ruins of the San Fidel Gas Station, the Albuquerque Whiting Bros., the Whiting Brothers Service Station and Motel in Continental Divide and in Newberry California, the Whiting Brothers Station just to mention a few.

Present appearance of the former Whiting Bros. Gas Station Shamrock Texas

former Whiting Bros. Gas Station in Shamrock
A former Whiting Bros. Gas Station, Shamrock, Texas
Click image for Street view

Former Gas Station?

The next block (621 E 12 St. to your right) has another Art Decó building, probably a gas station or a tire repair shop (no canopy, no gas pump islands). It is a white building with decorated parapets. This is its Street View.

Ahead, but now to your left is yet another Vintage Filling Station:

Vintage Gas Station, Shamrock Route 66

Vintage Gas Station in Shamrock. Google. Click for street view.

Vintage Gas Station

522 E 12 Street, Shamrock

It is a red-brick building that has a single bay and a flat roof canopy covering a single gas pump island.

The following block (to your left) has a 1950s motel:

Rambler Motel

402 E 12 Street, Shamrock

The Rambler Motel is still operating, now it is the Blarney Inn and its layout remains unchanged. It has updated its gabled roofs and replaced the old neon sign. It's name is a reference to Shamrock's Blarney Stone.

You can Book a Room in the Blarney Inn

Rambler Motel Shamrock Texas

Rambler Motel in Shamrock
Rambler Motel, Shamrock, Texas

Present appearance of the Blarney Inn, former Rambler Motel Shamrock Texas

Blarney Inn, former Rambler Motel in Shamrock
Blarney Inn former Rambler Motel, Shamrock, Texas
Click image for Street view

Clay Motor Company

To your left, on the SE corner of Route 66 and N. Houston St is the former Clay Motor Co. dealership of Ford's Edsel brand. It opened in 1947 and closed in 2014. Just west of it, also on your left is a former Motel:

Village Motel

288 E 12 Street, Shamrock

No longer a motel, but private property, this complex had lovely rock facing on its cabins and units.

Village Motel Shamrock Texas

Village Motel in Shamrock
Village Motel, Shamrock, Texas

Present appearance of the Private apartments, former Village Motel Shamrock Texas

Private apartments, former Village Motel in Shamrock
Private apartments former Village Motel, Shamrock, Texas
Click image for Street view

Old Gas Station

215 E 12 Street, Shamrock

Old Gas Station, Shamrock Route 66

Old Gas Station in Shamrock. Google. Click for street view.

To your right is an old gas station with a two bay garage, its pumps and canopy have long gone.

To your left, on the south side of the road an example of Route 66 Kitsch:

Big Vern’s Steakhouse

200 E. 12 Street, Shamrock

This steak house is notable for its gigantic red colored cowboy Texan boot and all. (Try its signature beer bread).

Big Vern’s Steakhouse Shamrock Texas

Big Vern’s Steakhouse   in Shamrock
Big Vern’s Steakhouse, Shamrock, Texas
Click image for Street view

On the next block is Shamrock's best known attraction:

The CONOCO Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Café

On the corner of 101 East 12th St. (intersection of US Highway 84 and Historic Route 66). (Shamrock TX)

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

The "Conoco Tower Station" is an iconic and unique Art Deco landmark crowned by a 100 foot tower located six blocks from Shamrock's commercial center.

Historic CONOCO Tower Station, Shamrock Texas

Route 66 Conoco service station at Shamrock
Historic Place: Art-Deco Conoco service station and diner, Shamrock, Texas.

John Nunn owned the lot on the corner of the crossroads of U.S. Route 66 and Highway 83 and it was a prime location: Developers built it for him in exchange for the land.

James Tindall and R. C. Lewis built it in 1936 (it cost $23,000 of those days), based on an outline of the design of the building traced by Nunn with a nail in the sandy ground of a neighboring plot. It was the first commercial business located on U.S. Highway 66 in Shamrock and was quickly nicknamed the «Tower Station».

It comprised a Conoco gas station, a diner named "U-Drop Inn" (the name was the winning entry in a naming contest, and was the suggestion of a local 8 year-old). The third building was a retail store, but became an extra area for the café, and provided extra seating space and also served as a ballroom.

Conoco Inc. was an American oil company founded in 1875 as the Continental Oil and Transportation Company. It evolved into a gasoline brand and its service stations now belong to Phillips 66 Company.

The property is a sturdy one-story concrete and brick building with a flat roof. But its Art-Deco embellishments make it stand out: the gas station has two canopies, each facing a different highway, and two obelisks top the building. The tallest, over the service station, is a tower that extends almost 100 feet into the air (30 m). It is emblazoned with the letters that spell "CONOCO" and topped with a metal "tulip".

It is one of the tallest structures in the center of Shamrock and the neon-lighted tower lured in the customers. The building's facade is decorated with green and gold terracotta tiles and a distinctively Art Deco relief motif on canopies and tower bases.

As it was built during the Great Depression its extravagance may seem out of place, being located in a small and remote town, but at that time, Shamrock was doing fine, oil was a good source of revenue for the region and business was thriving.

John Nunn passed away in 1957 and the building changed hands over the following decade. In the 1970's it became a Fina gas station and its color theme switched to red-white and blue. The builder's son, James Tindall Jr. bought it in the early 1980s, but closed the business in 1997. That same year it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

It was purchased by the First National Bank of Shamrock in 1999 and donated to the town of Shamrock. A careful restoration was completed in 2003 recovering its 1940s charm.

Disney - Pixar spotted the building and included it in their 2006 movie, Cars, styling the "House of Body Art", the business of the character Ramone after the Conoco gas station.

Nowadays it is a museum portraying a 1940s filling station it is also the seat of the Shamrock Economic Development Corporation, operating as a visitor center, chamber of commerce office, and community center.

Across the street, on the SE corner of Route 66 and Main is a classic motel:

Western Motel

104 E 12 Street, Shamrock

The Western Motel is still open and lodging guests. The "Then and Now" sequence below shows us that not too much has changed, a new entrance portico was added to the western facade:

You can Book a Room in the Western Motel

Western Motel Shamrock Texas in a 1960s postcard

vinage postcardWestern Motel in Shamrock
Western Motel in a vintage postcard, Shamrock, Texas

Present appearance of the Western Motel Shamrock Texas

Western Motel in Shamrock
Current view of the Western Motel, Shamrock, Texas
Click image for Street view

Head west out of town along W 12th Street, and ahead, to your left is the Texan Motel:

Sun Tan Motel

412 W 12 Street, Shamrock

This 1950s motel was very avant-garde in its days with a modern entrance canopy and a glassed office. Its neon sign was great. The canopy and glassed office have been taken down, but the two floor building is clearly recognizable:

Sun Tan Motel Shamrock Texas

Sun Tan Motel in Shamrock
Sun Tan Motel, Shamrock, Texas

Present appearance of the Texan Motel, former Sun Tan Motel Shamrock Texas

Texan Motel, former Sun Tan Motel in Shamrock
Texan Motel former Sun Tan Motel, Shamrock, Texas
Click image for Street view

Turn back and return to Main street to visit the other attractions in town. Take a right and go south for 10 blocks until reaching E 2nd St. take a left along it on the corner to your left is the Restored Magnolia Station.

Red Brick Street Paving

Don't miss the red bricks that pave Second Street as you drive towards the old Magnolia Station

Magnolia Gas Station

On 204 N Madden Street, Shamrock.

A restored vintage gasoline filling station

The Magnolia Petroleum Company was established in 1911; Standard Oil Co. absorbed it in 1925 and by 1959 it was part of their Mobil division. Mobil had already adopted the Pegasus logo in the 1930s.

Route 66 Magnolia service station at Shamrock
Restored Magnolia gasoline station. Route 66, Shamrock TX. By Billy Hathorn

The Pioneer West Museum

204 North Madden St., Shamrock TX. Open: weekdays 10 am - noon and 1 - 3 pm.

The museum is located in the former Reynolds Hotel, finished in 1928 belonging to Marion Reynolds. Just north of the "Magnolia Gas Station". It served travelers and traveling salespeople during 50 years. The exhibits focus on the Great Plains Indians, Apollo XII Moon mission (astronaut Alan Bean was born in Wheeler county) and cowboy and western frontier artifacts.

Saint Patrick's Day

Since 1938, Shamrock celebrates St. Patrick's day on the weekend that is closest to March 17.

The celebration includes a parade, banquet and Irish food and festivities. A Miss Irish Rose is crowned too!

The Blarney Stone

Elmore Park, on the corner of S. Texas St. and E 1st St. (Street View).

From the "Magnolia Station" take a right and head south along Madden St till E 1st.; take a left and on the second block, to your right, is the Park and monument.

A fragment of the original Blarney stone is mounted on a cylindrical concrete pillar at Shamrock's Elmore Park. The monument is painted Irish green and a brass plaque states that it was placed there on March 17, 1959 by Texas Secretary of State, Zollie Stearley.

The Blarney Stone
The walls of Blarney Castle, Cork, Island hold a block of limestone that was set into the battlements in 1446. Local lore has it that those who kiss the stone will be endowed with the gift of «clever, flattering or coaxing talk», that is, witty eloquence.

There is another monument closer to downtown Shamrock (on Main St. between E 3rd and 4th Streets), it is cuter than the original Blarney stone: an upright stone plaque with a painting of a leprechaun and a clover. It wishes visitors "Top O' the Mornin' to Ya" (Irish for Good Morning) and invites them to kiss the stone for "Everlasting Good Luck", a horse shoe is embedded in the concrete base for additional positive vibes.

And this is the end of your Shamrock City Tour.

Tours & Itineraries

Historic Route 66 in Shamrock

Below we describe the historic Route 66 alignment from Texola, OK to Shamrock, TX.

Route 66 Bridge over the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railroad

Interstate 40 Service Road. Shamrock, TX. USAGPS: 35.226474, -100.105552

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Located on the Interstate 40 Service Road, about 30 feet (10 m) to the south of I-40, 8.5 mi (13.7 km) east of Shamrock. Head east from Shamrock and 1.4 miles after the Farm to Market 1802 crossing you will reach the bridge. It is 5.5 mi west of the Texas - Oklahoma state line.

Although the area is flat and dry, the five-span steel bridge was built to allow the old Route 66 to span the former CRI&G Railroad (Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railroad). The railway bed ran 25 feet (7.6 m) below the bridge's deck.

Historic Bridge, Shamrock Route 66

Historic Bridge in Shamrock. Google. Click for street view.

The steel and concrete bridge was designed by M. L. Grady built by E. T. Prater in 1932 at a total cost of $28,568.74. It is 125 feet (38 m) long and has a 24 foot wide roadway (7.3 m).

Its main span has steel-I-beams encased in concrete, which was quite unique: it lightened the structure and reduced its cost. The other spans were built with reinforced concrete as were the retaining walls slabs.

The concrete casing protected the steel (and those driving across the bridge) from being blasted by the steam engines running under the bridge.

Route 66 traffic crossed this bridge until 1960 when Interstate 40 was completed. Nowadays, the historic U.S. 66 roadbed is part of the I-40 frontage road system.

CRI&G began operating as a chartered company back in 1847. It was the first railroad to bridge the Mississippi and its demise in 1980 was the longest one in the history of U.S. railways. The tracks (rails and ties) that ran below the bridge have been removed.

The bridge stands today as it did back in 1932, it has not been altered since it was built. In 2007 it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

McLean Commercial Historic District

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

In the neighboring town of McLean, 19 miles (31 km) west of Shamrock. Read more about: McLean's Attractions

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Route 66 itinerary: how to reach Shamrock

Route 66 logo

See previous sections of US Route 66:

From: Texola, OK to Shamrock, TX

From Texola, Oklahoma (mile zero), take the main road westwards. At the Texas state line (0.6 mi.) it becomes Spur TX 30 which becomes the south service road of Interstate 40, and is the Historic Route 66 alignment. It crosses the Route 66 Bridge over the Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railroad (6.6 mi.).

It becomes Business Loop I-40 at the interchange with I-40 (13.6 mi.) and enters Shamrock as East 12th St.

At the northeastern corner of Main (U.S. Hwy 83) and E. 12th St. is the Conoco Tower Station (15 mi.).

See next leg Lela to Mc Lean, TX.

Road Safety:Texas Tips

Check the Road Information online: TxDOT Highway Conditions

Be aware that the exit and entry ramps of I-40 do not intersect its service roads; they merge with them. Those driving along the frontage roads must yield to the vehicles driving along the exit ramps of I-40, who have the right of way.

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Sources

H. Allen Anderson, "Shamrock, TX," Handbook of Texas Online. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary Route 66, National Park Service.

Banner image: Dead Man's Curve, Laguna New Mexico by Perla Eichenblat.