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Route 66 from the OK state line to Vinita

Driving Route 66

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In this webpage we describe all the different alignments of Route 66 between the OK state line and Vinita in Oklahoma.

US Highway 66 had several road alignments in this area, including the Ribbon Road that preceded it. Here you will learn about its course across the towns from the OK state line to Vinita. We also include maps to help you find and drive the original roadbed of Route 66 and know all about the "missing" segments that have been abandoned.

Drive Historic Route 66 between the Oklahoma State Line and Vinita, OK.

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Route 66 in Kansas

Historic Route 66 OK state line to Vinita

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Background on Historic Route 66

The "Ribbon Road" in Miami, OK.

narrow 9-foot-wide paved section of Route 66 in Miami Oklahoma
The 9 foot wide 1920s Route 66 "Ribbon Road", Miami, Oklahoma
by
Route 66 on a Shell roadmap in northeast Oklahoma from 1948

1948 Shell Roadmap northeast Oklahoma
Click on map to enlarge
Credits

The thumbnail map (click it to enlarge) was published in 1948. It is a Shell Highway map. You can follow Route 66 from the upper right corner in Kansas, to the lower left corner through Vinita.

But before 1948, U.S. Highway 66 had already undergone sevral realignments from its original 1926 roadbed.

The original roads in the area were dirt surfaced highways that zig-zagged between the towns and were filled with potholes and ruts. It was not an easy feat to drive along them.

The Ozark Trails Association embarked on improving these roads in the early 1900s, and by 1924 (when the map below was published) there was a relatively good network of "Auto Trails".

These trails could be driven by cars and were quite good. They served as the basis for the State Highways that Oklahoma would build in the early 1920s, and later, in 1926 by the U.S. Highway system, including Route 66.

The map shows highway "50", meaning the "Ozark Trails", that would later become Route 66. You can follow it from Baxter Springs KS to Vinita OK (on the lower right left corner), notice that it bypassed Afton, which was later included along Route 66.

1924 roadmap of northeastern Oklahoma
1924 roadmap of northeastern Oklahoma, See large sized map
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From the Oklahoma State Line to Vinita

To Quapaw

We will drive west, coming from Baxter Springs (Kansas), towards Quapaw.

detail 1927 map showing US highways in Miami, Narcissa, Commrce Oklahoma

1927 Map Federal Aid Highways, Large size map

The map was published in 1927 shows the highways built under the 1921 Federal Aid Highway System. At that time there is no highway between Miami, Commerce and Quapaw, but you can make out the "Ribbon Road" highway south of Miami through Narcissa.
The Federal funded highway shown in the map runs through Cardin and Picher into Kansas. The letters "A", "C" and "E" indicate the type of paving used on the highways.

Route 66 alignment in Quapaw

The highway was paved in 1933 with Portland cement, the first one (1926-32) was a dirt road.

The original 1926-32 alignment was never paved. According to the Oklahoma DOT maps followed the course shown in this Map.
South of Quapaw it had an "L-shaped" course, that was dirt surfaced (See map) until 1933, when a soft curve made it safer and shorter. That same year the highway was paved with Portland concrete all the way to Commerce.

The railroad underpass west of Quapaw (Street view) was built in 1939.

Commerce

Head west towards Commerce. The map below (1950s) shows the alignment from Quapaw to Commerce.

1950s roadmap of Quapaw OK
1950s roadmap of Quapaw (upper right corner). See large sized map

Conoco "Cottage style" Service Station, US66 in Commerce

restored cottage style station, steep gabled roof, old pumps
Hole in the Wall Conoco gas station, Route 66 in Commerce, OK. Credits
satellite view showing old US66 roadbed in the park, Commerce Oklahoma

Commerce Roadside Park with US66 alignment through it. Click for satellite view

As you reach the Northeastern side of Commerce, both Route 66 and US69 change their east-west direction and curve south. Here is a "Roadside Park", bound by E 50 Rd. on the norht, US 69 (N Park Circle) on the easte, and on the west by N Mickey Mantle Blvd. it is roughly triangular. The original Route 66 alignment cuts an arch across the western side of the park and can be clearly seen from its northern and western sides. Only in 1952 would the present alignment (now US69) be built to the east of the older one.

All US 66 alignments headed south from here and followed the following alignments.

1. The original 1926 to 1952 Route 66 ran through Commerce 1926-52 US 66 map.

2. Then in 1952 it was routed to bypass the town 1952-85 US 66 map. The following map from the early 1950s shows the new bypass, and the original alignment renamed as BYP 66. Notice how US 69 had a different alignment to its present one, forking from US66 on the north side of Commerce. Now it does so further east.

1927 roadmap of SW MO, KS, and NE OK
1927 roadmap of the region around Commerce (in the lower middle part). See large sized map

Marathon Oil, a historic gas station from the 1920s

restored station, gabled canopy and old pumps
Historic Marathon Oil service station Miami, OK. Credits

Miami

Head southwards form Commerce to Miami. This is the map with US 66 alignment into Miami.

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The two alignments of Route 66 on the south side of Miami

1. Old 1926-37 Route 66 Alignment

The original Route 66 alignment, laid down in 1926, didn't turn on 3rd Ave, instead it continued straight southwards along Main Street and became the Ribbon Road or Sidewalk Road. This is the 1926 alignment map of US 66 in Miami.

You can drive this alignment which meets the later one, 6.4 miles southwest of this point.

2. The 1937-1985 US 66

This one heads west, along E 3rd Ave., crossing the Neosho River and then curving southwards.

A view of the Historic Ribbon Road

the Ribbon Road amont trees and open fields
Another view of the "Sidewalk Road", Miami, Oklahoma. Tony Hisgett

The Ribbon Road or Nine-Foot-Section of Route 66

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

This very old section of Route 66 lies between Miami and Afton. It predates the creation of the highway as it was completed between 1921 and 1922, over four years before the creation of Route 66. Actually Route66 was aligned along this pre-existing road when it was commissioned in 1926.

The original Route 66 was pieced together linking different State highways, and these roads had different surfaces, paving and even widths.

The famous "Sidewalk road" or "Ribbon Road" is a very narrow section of the Mother Road. It was used between 1921 and 1937 when it was replaced by a shorter and, even more important, wider stretch of road (current U.S. 69) between Miami and Afton.

This section has a paved surface that is only 9 feet wide (2.75 m), flanked by two five-foot gravel shoulders.

The road has sharp 90° curves and can still be driven along. It has been resurfaced but is still operational. There is a marker near Narcissa next 140 Rd. and U.S. 69 detailing its history. Map showing where marker is.

View of the Marker (red arrow) and the Historic Ribbon road (blue arrow) at the point where it meets the 1937 alignment.

Monument marking the Ribbon Road
Ribbon Road and Monument marker, Narcissa, near Miami Oklahoma. Arrows show the road and the marker. Click image for street view

> > Learn more about the Route 66: The Ribbon Road

1927 Map showing the Historic Ribbon Road, US 66 in Oklahoma

Map detail showing Ribbon Road in 1927, Miami to Afton
"Ribbon Road" map, 1927, Miami, Oklahoma

Map of the Ribbon Road

a map of the Ribbon Road

Ribbon Road map
Click on map to enlarge

The thumbnail map (click it to enlarge) shows the alignment of the Ribbon Road from Miami to Narcissa, in orange. The pale blue line marks the later (1935) Route 66 alignment.

Miami is in on the upper right side.

See this Map with directions of the Ribbon Road to Narcissa.

Narcissa

The Original alginment and later one meet at Narcissa. And from here head south towards Afton.

Afton

There are two alignments into Afton.

  • 1926-37 alignment, following the Ribbon Road into Afton (map)
  • 1937-85 alignment, slight changes on the eastern side of Afton (map)

On the eastern side of Afton you can see a segment of the original Ribbon Road. There is a marker there and the old roadbed that curves on the south side of the later alignment.

curved roadway by stone marker and fields in Afton
The curve on the Ribbon Road with the marker, Afton, Oklahoma. Click for Street View

Historic Afton Bridge

Ahead is a historic bridge as you enter Afton. Planners had expected the town to grow eastwards, but it didn't.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1995

It was built in 1936 by Pharaoh & Co. as part of the Public Works program during the Great Depression. It is unique because it has two pedestrian walkways protected by concrete guard rails (see arrows in the image below).

The concrete bridge with steel girders has three spans and a total length of 143 ft.

concrete bridge on Route 66 with two pedestrian walkways
Looking East along Route 66 at Horse Creek Bridge, Afton, Oklahoma. Click for Street View

Route 66 passes through Afton as its main Street, and on the western side of the town it runs sharply southwards and after 4 miles, it takes another sharp 90° turn westwards towards Vinita. At this last turn, is the old Springerville Gas Station.

Gable roof Canopy-style 1920s gas station and trees
1920s Canopy-style gas station, Springerville, near Afton. Click for Street View

Ahead is McDougal Filling Station. built in 1940 by Grace and George McDougal. It was designed to look like a house.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Historic McDougal Gasoline Station, Vinita

Old stone faced cottage style McDougal Filling Station
Old McDougal Filling Station, Vinita, Oklahoma
, click image for street view
Cabin Creek Bridge

Little Cabin Creek Bridge, Vanessa Ezekowitz Click image for Street View

It is followed by he now closed Historic Little Cabin Creek Bridge.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Built in 1934-5 to carry Route 66 across the Little Cabin Creek. It is closed to traffic. The bridge is 388 ft. long and is 24 feet wide between curbs. It consists of 8 steel stringer I-beam approach spans and a central 95-foot Parker Pony Truss.
Continue west along Route 66, pass under I-44 and enter Vinita.

This is the end of the itinerary at the eastern side of Vinita.

Next Section

Route 66's alignments from Vinita to Tulsa

Previous Section

Route 66 in Kansas

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Credits and Sources

Banner image: Hackberry General Store, Hackberry, Arizona by Perla Eichenblat.
Route 66 Maps. Oklahoma D.O.T.

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