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Oklahoma City

Oklahoma Flag

"OKC"

Oklahoma City has many iconic Route 66 landmarks. It is also the state capital and the largest city on Route 66 in Oklahoma.
It has many classic Route 66 sights and attractions including motels, gas stations, historic buildings, different US 66 alignments, memorials, museums, diners and cafes. We list them below:

Oklahoma City OK

< Head West
Calumet ¦ El Reno ¦ Yukon

Head East >
Edmond ¦ Arcadia ¦ Luther

 

About Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Facts, Trivia and useful information

Elevation: 1,201 ft (366 m). Population: 579,999 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).

Oklahoma City is the Capital of Oklahoma State. It is known as "OKC", "The City". Its metro area has 1,320,000 residents.

The area around Oklahoma City has been inhabited for over ten thousand years, as proven by the nearby site at Luther, which dates back to 9,000 BP. The current Native Americans in Oklahoma were relocated there from their original territories in the eastern USA by the American government. The policy at the time was to resettle the natives west of the Mississippi River in the "Indian Territory". Later, in tle late 1880s, pressure to settle the area with European settlers led to a change in policy: the Oklahoma Territory was carved out of the Indian Territory (1890), and surplus land was acquired from the tribes to "open" it for settlement.

The land was settled by means of "Land Runs", where the future homesteaders rushed in to stake out and occupy their lot on a given day and time. It was a race to grab the land and it worked admiraly well.

Farming was the original economic base of the community and when Route 66 was aligned through the town in 1926, it brought a growing flow of travelers and prosperity until realigned in 1954 after the completion of two modern expressways on the northeastern part of Oklahoma City.

Where to Stay

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>> There are many RV campgrounds in Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City’s Weather

Latest Oklahoma City, Oklahoma weather
Route 66: Oklahoma City, Oklahoma location map
Location of Oklahoma City on Route 66

Summers in the central part of Oklahoma are hot and humid. Winters are relatively mild (but snowstorms can happen) and the other seasons are subject to frequent variations. North winds prevail in winter and during summer those from the south and southeast.

The average yearly temperature is about 61.5°F (16.4°C). During winter the mean temperature is 39.2 °F (4 °C), with highs and lows between 48.5°F (9.2°C) and 25.6°F (-3.5°C).

Snow: around 7.9 inches fall every year (20.1 cm), mostly between December and March.

During summer the average temperature is 83.0 °F (28.3 °C) with average highs and lows of 94°F (34.5°C) and 71°F (21.5°C).

The average yearly rainfall is around 36.5 in. (928 mm). And Oklahoma City has some 84 rainy days per year. Most rain falls during summer.

Storms (thunderstorms) are common in spring and also summer; some may come with hail and strong winds, and also tornadoes. Tornadoes can hit at any time.

Tornado risk

Oklahoma City's metro area is one of the most tornado-prone ones in the whole world: about 150 tornados have struk this area since 1890. Some of them were very strong (F5 on the Fujita scale, which is the maximum value).

Oklahoma City is located in the "Tornado Alley and experiences approximately 10 Tornado watches every year.

The 1999 F5 Tornado

It struck on 05.03.1999, with a path 38 miles long and 1,760 yards wide, killing 36 and injuring 583 people. It caused $1 billion in damages. It was part of an outbreak of nearly 60 tornados.

An F4 tornado hit neighboring Bethany on 11.19.1930, killing 23 people. It is one of the worst three tornados in Oklahoma since 1900.

Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
 

Getting to Oklahoma City

Heading east from Oklahoma City down Route 66 are the towns of: Edmond (11 mi) Arcadia (20 mi.), Luther (28 mi), Wellston (36 mi.), Warwick (40 mi.) and Chandler (48 mi.)

To the west, are Yukon (15 mi.) and El Reno (39 mi.)

Map of Route 66 through Oklahoma City Oklahoma

Display Oklahoma City Route 66 Map


  Click Map will appear below
 

The map above shows US 66 alignment through Oklahoma City, the color key For Oklahoma City only is the following:
(for the other parts of the map, check the color key of the map of the corresponding city)

Pale Blue: Historic Route 66 alignment
Green Line are the Beltline alignments.
Black segment cut by the freeway.

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

Route 66's alignment in Oklahoma: the Historic Route 66 through Oklahoma City

Route 66 logo

Route 66 in Oklahoma

Click to read the Full description of Route 66 across Oklahoma.

Read below for more information on Route 66's alignment in Oklahoma City.

Route 66 landmarks & attractions

Sights in Oklahoma City

Historic Context Route 66 in 1946

Jack DeVere Rittenhouse in his "Guide Book to Highway 66", which he published in 1946 after driving Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles, tells us what the road was like during its heyday.

Rittenhouse mentions the "Belt Line 66" for those who do not wish to stop in the city, drivers could "cut across the northern suburbs of the city and save considerable time". He follows that route turning along Britton Road (there were two gas stations there) and going through Britton. The town had "Ford garage; Owl Court; stores and cafes", then, 3 blocks west of the town the road turned sharply south and passed through Nichol's Hills. to turn again sharply west 3 miles south and met the "City 66" 2 miles west, following this intersection were "many fine tourist courts" such as: "Boyer, Deluxe, Rush, Carlyle, Major, Oklahoma and Hutchinson".

For those entering the city he gives the names of several -now demolished- hotels: the Black, Kingkade, Park-O-Tell, Oklahoma Biltmore and Skirvin. He mentions the Dolores Restaurant as a "Good Cafe".

Leaving town, to the west, he tells us that Bethany was founded in 1906 by members of the Nazarene Church, which -even in 1946- did not allow cigarettes, tobacco or liquor to be sold in town, no movie theaters either. Just west, after the bridge across the North Canadian River was Lakeview Court overlooking Lake Overholser.

Route 66 in Oklahoma City

According to the Oklahoma DOT, these were the "official alignments of US 66 in Oklahoma City:

US 66 into OKC from the east:

  • 1926-54: Into Edmond on E 2nd St (OK-66 & US 77), south from Edmond along S Broadway and Kelley to present I-44 (then Grand Blvd.) to Lincoln, and from there into the city, turning west on 23rd St.
    Map with directions
  • 1954-79: Into Edmond on E 2nd St and south on former Sooner Rd. (now I-35) and along modern I-44 & I-35 to Lincoln, where Bus. 66 followed the previous alignment. The main alignment continued along modern I-44 to N May, where it met westbound Bus. 66
    Map with directions

The different alignments of City 66 west of the State Capitol:

  • 1926-30: Along 23rd to Classen to 39th St.
    Map with directions
  • 1930-33: Along 23rd to Western to 39th St.
    Map with directions
  • 1933-54: Along 23rd to May Ave. to 39th St.
    Map with directions
  • 1933-53: Western from 23rd to to 39th St. and west to May Ave. became Alt 66
  • 1954-79: Along 23rd to May Ave. to 39th St. became Bus. 66 as the City 66 was eliminated.
  • 03.05.1979 US 66 Business Route deleted in Oklahoma City

Beltline 66 alignments

Coming from Edmond southbound: (Green Line in Google map)

Main US 66 west of Lincoln Ave.

The end of US 66

04.01.1985: US 66 Designation removed across state

Drive Across Oklahoma City along "City 66"

Leave the freeway at Exit 128A and head south along Lincoln Avenue. In the distance, in the distance you can see the State Capitol. The motels and diners or restaurants that dotted the highway into the city are now gone. It is a wide boulevard with plenty of greenery and grass.

Finally, you reach the Capitol. In the past, as recently as 1956, Route 66 (in those days Business 66 and U.S. 77) met US 62, US 270 and State Hwy. 1 here in a "T" intersection on 23rd Street. Route 66 turned right (westwards). But nowadays the "Oklahoma State Capitol Complex" (Capitol Campus) surrounds it, so former US 66 curves gracefully around it.

Oklahoma State Capitol

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

2300 N. Lincoln Blvd

Capitol without dome 1950s  in Oklahoma City US66

Capitol without dome 1950s Oklahoma City, OK. www.66postcards.com. Click for large view

Oklahoma City was designated as the territorial capital in 1890 and it became state capital in 1910. Work began on the building Renaissance Revival, Neoclassicalin 1914 and although the original Renaissance Revival - Neoclassical design included a dome, it was not built due to cost overruns (see the vintage postcard). It was completed in 1917.

An eartquake of 5.5 magnitude in El Reno hit the building causing several cracks in the Capitol.

In 1998 the Oklahoma Centennial Act funded the dome which was completed in 2002.

Capitol Trivia

The complex that surrounds the building includes oil wells, making it the only state capitol grounds in the US with active oil rigs.

Oklahoma State Capitol today with its dome (notice the oil rig to the left) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma State Capitol (notice the oil rig to the left) in Oklahoma City Route 66
Oklahoma State Capitol (notice the oil rig to the left) in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Click to enlarge image

Drive around the Capitol Campus and take a right westwards along 23rd Street. One block past the overpass of I-235 ⁄ US 77, on its western tip is a rather old Tire repair shop (23rd St. and 2400 N Robinson Ave), maybe in the distant past it was a gas station.

Two blocks ahead, (don't miss the Neon Signs on the same block - street view), to your right is what once was a café:

O’Mealey’s Cafeteria

319-21 NW 23rd St.

Oklahoma City had at one time, more cafeterias per capita than any city in the US, it was known as the "Cafeteria Capital of the World", now most have gone out of business, like O'Mealey's.

Naomi O'Mealey and her partner Ralph Geist opened their first cafeteria at NW 23 and Classen as "the Classen Cafeteria" then O'Mealey's, they eventualy had four of them, they all shut down by 1982.

Comparing the "Then and Now" photo sequence below, we can see that there have been changes, but the "feather style" frieze on the building to the left is unchanged. Now it sells cosmetics as a Queen's Beauty Supply store:

O’Mealey’s Cafeteria vintage postcard in Oklahoma City US66

O’Mealey’s Cafeteria vintage postcard, Oklahoma City, OK. Click for street view

O’Mealey’s Cafeteria current appearance in Oklahoma City US66

O’Mealey’s Cafeteria current appearance, Oklahoma City, OK. Click for street view

Just ahead, at the corner of 23rd and Hudson Ave. is a Cottage Style Gas Station:

Phillips 66 station

401 NW 23rd St, Oklahoma City

This station built in 1935 on Route 66 was a Phillips 66 built in the domestic - cottage style typical of that time which was used to blend into the surrounding urban setting.

Phillips 66 station in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Phillips 66 station in Oklahoma City Route 66
Phillips 66 station in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Click to enlarge image

Adjacent, to the north of the filling station is an early 1900s building:

Cheever’s Cafe in Oklahoma City US66

Cheever’s Cafe, Oklahoma City, OK. Click for street view

Cheever’s Cafe

2409 N. Hudson, Oklahoma City

The first baby born in Oklahoma City in 1889 was named "Oklahoma Belle Cunningham". She married Lawrence Cheever in 1912. When Lawrence lost his job during the Great Depression she kept the family going by selling rosers from her garden.

In 1938 they moved into her grandmother's Victorian style home on Hudson Ave, bought it from her and decorated it in Art Deco style: it became their flower shop and remained in the family for three generations until 1998 when they sold it. Cheever's building is now a cafe.

The block along 23rd Street has a Classic Movie Theater with an amazing neon light marquee:

Tower Theater

425 NW 23rd Street, Oklahoma City

The theater opened in 1937 it declined during the 1970s and closed in 1985. It was restored between 2014 and 2016 and is now open, it has the historic theatre space and five bars and restaurants. More at their website: https://towertheatreokc.com.

Tower Theater and its great marquee, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Tower Theater in Oklahoma City Route 66
Tower Theater in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Click to enlarge image

At the western tip of the block turn right and go north for one block. To your left is a Former Texaco filling station:

Former Texaco Station

2425 N Walker Ave, Oklahoma City

This is a former Texaco station built in 1929. It has the "Teague design" imposed by the company in the 1950s. It was Elmer's Texaco from 1953 to the 1970s. It has been restored and now is "The Pump" Bar.

Former Texaco Station in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Former Texaco Station in Oklahoma City Route 66
Former Texaco Station in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Click to enlarge image

Continue west. After six blocks, to your right is N Western Avenue, where the 1930-33 Route 66 City alignment and the 1933-54 Alt 66 alignment. We describe it below. You can skip it and continue west on 23rd street (the 1933-54 alignment) Here.

N Western Ave. Alignment (1930-33 City 66 & 1933-53 Alt 66)

There are only three places along Route 66 where an Alternate alignment existed: one north of Gardner IL, into Chicago, this one in Oklahoma City and the one leading into Los Angeles CA.

Turn right and head north along the avenue, you will pass by the imposing First Presbyterian Church and Fairlawn Cemetery, it is a residential district. After one mile, to your right at NW Eubanks St. is a Vintage gas station:

Former Canopy style gas station

3620 N Western Ave, Oklahoma City

This is a "Canopy" style gas station, a design favored by all gasoline companies from Texaco to Conoco to Sinclair in the 1920s and 30s, its main feature was an imposing canopy over the pumps, with thick columns supporting it. This one has retained its original shape and the two door garage is also visible. The pump island is now a wide and low wall. Crown Heights Florists has preserved the building as you can see in the image below:

Former Canopy style gas station in Oklahoma City US66

Former Canopy style gas station, Oklahoma City, OK. Click for street view

Former Texaco station in Oklahoma City US66

Former Texaco station, Oklahoma City, OK. Click for street view

Across the street is a former ice-box style gas station with two garage bays and the office on the north side, it is on a corner lot. Now it is Weldon Jack Barbershop & Provisions (3621 N Western Ave, Oklahoma City) and this is its Street View.

Keep northbound and two blocks ahead, to your left is an Old Texaco:

Former Texaco station

3721 N Western Ave, Oklahoma City

The place is now a repair shop (Autobahn Foreign Car Repair Inc), but it was a Texaco station based on its design (office and 2 bay garage) plus the old signpost still standing (without the texaco circle in it) at the corner. It is pictured above.

Two blocks north of this point, see the marker at the corner with a brass plaque on it which reads "Crown Heights", the name of the residential neighborhood created between 1930 and 1941 (street view).

Here, at N Western and 39th Street, 1930-33 Route 66 coming from the city met the 1931-36 Beltline coming from the North and both merged into US 66 heading west along 39th.

From 1933 to 1953 the southern road became ALT 66 and in 1936 the northern road moved two blocks west to Classen.

There are no other attractions along 39th here near N Western; but there are some to the north along N Western which we describe further down (Beltline along N Western).

So turn around and return to your starting point on 23rd and North Western and turn right, westbound.

West along 23rd Street: City 66

Leaving the N Western Ave alignment behind, just one block west is the very first alignment out of the city, the 1926-30 US 66 alignment along Classen to 39th St.

There are two landmarks right here and no need to drive Classen northwards beyond the first block. On the south side (left) of 23rd is the "Gold Dome":

Gold Dome

Gold Dome in Oklahoma City US66

Gold Dome, Oklahoma City, OK. Click for street view

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

1112 NW 23rd St, Oklahoma City, SE corner of Classen

This dome (see photo) is a historical landmark built in 1958 (not that old, in fact, younger than Route 66 here in the city, which no longer went along 23rd St. when it was built).

Commissioned by the now defunct Citizens State Bank it was the fifth geodesic dome constructed in the world, and also the first to be used as a bank.

Modern and futuristic back in 1958 it was designed by Bailey, Bozalis, Dickinson, and Roloff.

The "Geodesic dome" is the creation of architect Buckminster Fuller and is a hemispherical shell built with a lattice structure composed of small triangular elements that give it strength and distribute the load throughout the structure. This particular dome has 625 elements from 7.5 to 11.5 ft (2.3 - 3.5 m) and its diameter is 145 feet (44 m).

Turn right along Classen and just ahead (you won't be able to miss it with its Milk Bottle on the top of the roof), is another historic landmark:

The Milk Bottle Grocery

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places - Americana

2426 North Classen Blvd

It stands out and you just can't miss it, it is a typical example of Route 66 kitsch. Built in 1930 on the original alignment of US 66 it was on prime property: all the traffic through OKC passed in front of it.

It is located on a tiny trianguar block between Classen and N 25th St. a small 350 sq.ft. red brick building with a towering milk bottle atop its flat roof.

The bottle was built in 1948 and was leased to promote dairy related advertisings, repainted according to the milk brand being promoted.

It was originally a grocery but later housed many types of business, from cleaners, to a real estate office or a sandwich shop. Below is its current appearance:

The Milk Bottle Grocery in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

The Milk Bottle Grocery in Oklahoma City Route 66
The Milk Bottle Grocery in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Click to enlarge image

Continue west along 23rd following the 1933-54 US 66 alignment which further ahead followed May Ave and 39th St. On the next block, to your left, a former restaurant from the 1960s.

Former Heap Big Beef

1400 NW 23rd St. in Oklahoma City

Heap Big Beef Roast Beef Restaurant was a late 1960s franchise now defunct. This building is currently "Mutt's Hot Dogs (by the way, check out its neat sign). The outer building is almost unchanged as you can see below with a "Then and Now" comparison of Mutt's with the original franchise print ad from 1967:

Former Heap Big Beef in Oklahoma City US66

Former Heap Big Beef advert, Oklahoma City, OK. Click image to enlarge

Former Heap Big Beef now Mutt’s in Oklahoma City US66

Former Heap Big Beef now Mutt’s, Oklahoma City, OK. i.imgur.com Click for street view

Two blocks west to the right, on the corner is a former Texaco Gas Station:

Old Texaco Gas Station in Oklahoma City US66

Old Texaco Gas Station, Oklahoma City, OK. Click for street view

Old Texaco Gas Station

1601 NW 23rd St, Oklahoma City

The old and now empty sign on the corneris shaped like a Phillips 66 logo, but the building is Texaco with the Teague design.

The design is simple, clean and streamlined: a minimalist box-shaped station with a flat canopy. The canopy has rounded corners and two ridge-like crests running across its top.

Now it is "Magic Auto Repair".

Two blocks west to your left is what looks like an old motel, but no, it never was a motel, the "Flamingo Apartments":

The Flamingo Apartments

1844 NW 23rd St, Oklahoma City

Built in 1961 (several years after US 66 was moved further north, off 23rd Street), in bleak brown bricks it was known as "University Manor Apartments".

Now it has been renovated with pink walls, cacti, and a Southwestern US style, so it does look like a motel, even the name "Flamingo" is reminiscent of Road trip motels.

This is its street view.

Did you know that there was at one time a Flamingo Motel on Lincoln Avenue, just north of the State Capitol, but it closed in the 70s with all the other ones that were located there. See this Old 1960s postcard of the motel with its great blue neon sign.

Drive west until reaching North May, where Route 66 takes a right and goes north, here to your left is an old Filling station:

Former Cottage style filling station

2900 NW 23rd St Oklahoma City

Located on the SW corner of N May and 23rd, this is a strategic location and here is a former 1930s cottage "domestic" style filling station. The place is currently A&M Vape Shop.

Former Cottage style filling station in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Former Cottage style filling station in Oklahoma City Route 66
Former Cottage style filling station in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Click to enlarge image

Five blocks to the south, although it is not on Route 66, is a Gull Wing Phillips Gas Station which is worth the visit:

Phillips Gull Wing Station

1900 N May Ave, OKC

This gas station pictured below is a former Phillips 66 gas station from the 1960s. At that time, Phillips Petroleum Co. standardized their filling stations across the US, adopting a modern design.

This consisted of a triangular "gull-wing" canopy which was supported at its narrow tip by a pole designed to look like an oil derrick. The pole was capped with a Phillips 66 revolving sign.

There are two of them in this area (the other is now Pinos Tire Shop on 4843 NW 23rd St, OKC - Street View).

Below are more Gull Wings in different towns and states along Route 66:

Phillips Gull Wing Station in Oklahoma City US66

Phillips Gull Wing Station, Oklahoma City, OK. Click for street view

old gas Station in Oklahoma City US66

old gas Station, Oklahoma City, OK. Click for street view

Head north then along N. May and three blocks past 23rd, at 2700 N May to your right is a Gas station, pictured above, now a convenience store ("Bill's").

Keep northbound and 7 blocks ahead, to your left is a Classic 1950s building:

Metro Cleaners building

3131 N May Ave Oklahoma City

Built in 1953 on what then was the 1933-54 US 66 and which later became Bus. 66 until 1979, this building is the work of Thompson & Ball.

It has a revolutionary "drive-thru" laundry, a laundromat, now a vacant flower store (Granada Floral) and apartments on the second floor. Notice the slanted glass windows and the neon sign at the corner with an arrow included in its shape, now in disrepair.

Below is its current appearance and this is its 1950s look from its brochure.

Metro Cleaners building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Metro Cleaners building in Oklahoma City Route 66
Metro Cleaners building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Click to enlarge image

Northwest Shopping built across the street is also the work of Thompson & Ball (1953).

Route 66 along N. May turned left at 39th St. and met the Beltline alignment there. The 1955-76 Beltline came from the North along N. May Which we describe here.

Further down we detail the attractions west of this point (see Route 66 west towards Yukon).

But there are more landmarks to the east, between N May and Classen, so drive east along NW 39th Street to see some surviving gas stations and motels from:

Vintage Gas station

2256 NW 39th St. Oklahoma City

To your right, on the SE corner. A former gas station (pictured below), the two garage doors are visible on N Young Blvd. It has a red brick and a flat roof canopy. The concrete pump island is still there. Currently Bob's Automotive, an auto repair shop.

On the next block, to your left is a 1920s gas station:

1920s Gas Station

2139 NW 39th St

This 2,200 sq ft brick building dates back to 1920 has a gabled canopy over the former gas pump island. Is is located on the NE corner (at N. Barnes Ave.) which has always been part of Route 66 since 1926. Now a coffee shop.

It is pictured below (Gabled canopy)

Old Gas Station in Oklahoma City US66

Old Gas Station, Oklahoma City, OK. Click for street view

Gabled Canopy gas station in Oklahoma City US66

Gabled Canopy gas station, Oklahoma City, OK. Click for street view

Along NW 39th, east of this point which was part of Route 66 from 1926 to 1954, there are no other landmarks or attractions. So turn north along N. Barnes Ave. towards the post 1954 alingment. At the frontage road next to the freeway is a 1950s motel:

Habana Inn

2200 NW 40th St, Oklahoma City

This is now the Southwest's Largest Gay Resort, and dates back to the 1960s. The "Then and Now" sequence below shows us that the trees have grown, the sign has changed, but the building's exterior is unchanged.

Habana Inn 1970s in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Habana Inn 1970s in Oklahoma City Route 66
Habana Inn 1970s in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. www.habanainn.com Click to enlarge image

Habana Inn nowadays in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Habana Inn nowadays in Oklahoma City Route 66
Habana Inn nowadays in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Click to enlarge image

This is the End of the City Route 66 alignments in Oklahoma. Below we detail the sights west, from North May Ave. towards Yukon and the Beltline Alignments from Edmond that bypass OKC.

Beltline 66 alignments

The "Beltline" was in fact a bypass alignment so that through traffic could avoid driving through the congested city streets. They split from the main alignment south of Edmond and met the City alignment again, on the NW side of OKC.

Coming from Edmond southbound along US 66 (N Kelly Ave), the "Beltline" split from the "City" US 66 on E. Britton Road, turning westwards along it, towards the town of Britton, this was the route taken by Rittenhouse in 1946. Below are the three alignments that US 66 "Beltline" followed over the years:

The first attraction is almost 2 miles west, past US 77; it is an Old Motel to your left on the SE corner of W Britton and N Cassen Blvd.:

Owl Courts Motel

742 W Britton Rd, Oklahoma City,

The Owl Courts (Motel) mentioned by Rittenhouse, was built back in the early 1930s on the brand new Beltline. It included a gas station and a Cafe and remained in operation until the 1970s. Now it is abandoned and in disrepair.

Owl Courts Motel vintage postcard in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Owl Courts Motel vintage postcard in Oklahoma City Route 66
Owl Courts Motel vintage postcard in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. National Park Service NCPTT. Click to enlarge image

Owl Courts Motel today in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Owl Courts Motel today in Oklahoma City Route 66
Owl Courts Motel today in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Click to enlarge image

To your right, facing Owl Courts is Tom's Tire Center (801 W Britton Rd), a former gas station now a tire shop (Street view). Continue west and as you enter the town of Britton, you will see more attractions:

Britton

Britton, Oklahoma used to be a town in Oklahoma County, Oklahoma, but now is a neighborhood which is part of Oklahoma City.

Former Sinclair Filling station

901 W Britton Rd, Oklahoma City

To your right on the NW corner of Britton and Francis Ave. is Penn Auto Glass, which used to be a Sinclair gas station from the 1930s (now lacking the canopy - see what the canopy looked like):

Former Sinclair Filling station in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Former Sinclair Filling station in Oklahoma City Route 66
Former Sinclair Filling station in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Click to enlarge image

Across the street, on the south side, is a Classic Movie Theater:

Ritz Theater

912 W. Britton Road, Oklahoma City

The first Ritz was built on the north side of the road in 1922, then (1930s?) a second one (pictured below) was built on the south side, with twice the capacity (586 seats). It was the "New Ritz", it closed and reopened over the years.

Just ahead, at the grade crossing of the railroad the Beltline turned south from 1931 to 1953, along North Western Ave. The additional Beltline along North May Ave from 1947 to 1953 lies ahead, straight along W. Britton Rd. So we will describe both of them:

Beltline on May Ave. (1947-53)

This 1947-53 has only one landmark worth seeing and it is very near, only 3 blocks west of the railroad crossing:

old gas station 1960s in Oklahoma City US66

old gas station 1960s, Oklahoma City, OK. Click for street view

1960s Service Station

1401 W Britton Rd, Oklahoma City

Ahead, to your right is this gas station with a very 1960s canopy. West of this point there are no other attractions. Turn back and turn south along N Western Ave.

Beltline along N Western Ave. (1931 - 53)

Turn south (left) along N Western Ave. And three blocks south, to the left is a Trading Post:

Ritz Theater, Britton Oklahoma City US66

Ritz Theater, Britton Oklahoma City, OK. Click for street view

Western Trail Trading Post in Oklahoma City US66

Western Trail Trading Post, Oklahoma City, OK. Click for street view

Western Trail Trading Post

9100 N Western Ave, Oklahoma City

This music store pictured above, used to be a "Western" Trading Post where city slicker tourists could by native art and handicrafts. Don't miss the two totem poles in the yard.

Crossing the NW 90th street also to your left is a Classic Restaurant, now closed, but its building still standing:

Dinah’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant

9014 N Western Ave, Oklahoma City

Now it is "Baker's Printing Co" and the old neon sign has gone, but the building is unchanged.

Dinah’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant 1950s postcard in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Dinah’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant postcard in Oklahoma City Route 66
Dinah’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant postcard in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. www.66postcards.com

Former Dinah’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant nowadays in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Former Dinah’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant nowadays in Oklahoma City Route 66
Former Dinah’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant nowadays in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Click to enlarge image

Continue southbound, and after half a mile, to your right is a 1960s drive-in:

Former Mr. Swiss

8301 N Western Ave, Oklahoma City

Mr. Swiss drive Inn

Former Mr. Swiss Hamburger Drive-in. Click for street view

To your right, at the Goodwill Donation Center, is a red roofed A-frame building that used to be a "Mr. Swiss" hamburger drive-in, a chain founded by L. Doefler in 1964, here in Oklahoma City. It sold burgers, ice cream and sandwiches.

It grew to have almost 200 stores across the US, folding in the 1970s. There are more Mr. Swiss on US 66: in Lebanon MO, Claremore OK and Joplin MO.

Continue south for 1.9 miles, and when you reach I-44, you will get to the spot where the 1936 - 53 Beltline forked off to the left along N Classen Blvd. Now the area has been drastically modifed due to the presence of the freeway. Below we will describe this alignment, but now keep straight along the 1931 - 1936 N Western alignment. Cross the freeway and 0.8 mi. ahead, to your left is another Old Theater:

Will Rogers Theatre in Oklahoma City US66

Will Rogers Theatre, Oklahoma City, OK. Click for street view

Will Rogers Theatre

4322 N Western Ave, Oklahoma City

It was built after WWII, opening in 1946. It could sit 1,000 viewers and was decorated with murals, which have survived. The theater is now an event center with a Lobby Cafe and Bar, Sushi, Japanese Steakhouse and The Coach House Restaurant. See its original appearance in this 1950s photo.

Just 0.3 miles ahead is where this "Beltline 66" met the "City 66" while it was aligned along N Western, and both merged here into US 66, heading west along NW 39th Street. The end of this Beltline. Now head back to the freeway to visit the later "North Classen Blvd. Alignment":

1936 - 53 Beltline Variant along N Classen Blvd.

Route 66 used the alignment described above, along N Western until 1936. After that date it forked west, along Classen Blvd. to 39th Street where it met the City 66 alignment.

This area between N Western Ave. and I-44 in the north and Classen Blvd and NW 50th St. has changed considerably over the years:

The 1948 Shell roadmap shows N Western Ave on the right side, and, after crossing the Deep Fork River, Classen Blvd. branches off to the left with a NE-SW course, turning south again at NW 50th St. Belle Isle Lake lies just west of it.

Three years later, the USGS map (1951) shows the new freeway under construction which was the western extension of Grand Blvd, which coincides with modern I-44 east of N Western Ave. west of this point it continued along Classen to a circle or roundabout between 50th and 49ths Streets. There was no Northwest Expwy at that time and the land west of N. Georgia Ave was open countryside. Which is why I-44 was later built there.

1948 Shell Oil Road map of Oklahoma City US66

1948 Shell road map, Oklahoma City, OK. David Rumsay

1951 USGS map of Oklahoma City US66

1951 USGS map, Oklahoma City, OK.

1954 brought more changes:

1954 Aerial photograph Classen Circle in Oklahoma City US66

1954 Aerial photograph Classen Circle, Oklahoma City, OK. www.okctalk.com, click for larger map

The aerial photograph from 1954 shows more changes: the NW expressway has been built and meets the roundabout from the west, the freeway from the east has been finished and what is now I-44 is being built south of the NW expressway (from present Exit 125 B) up to Altadena Ave.

This would change later when Bell Island Lake was filled in and I-44 was completed between N. Western and Exit 125 B, running in an arch around former Classen Circle, acquiring its present configuration.

The "Circle" no longer exists as a roundabout, though it remains in the street's name. Therei is a classic building is still standing next to it:

Donnay Building

Classen Circle and NW 50th St. OKC

The Donnay building was built in the late 1940s and during 2017 was at risk when Braum's petitioned the City Council to have the triangular block rezoned. It wanted to raze the buildings on it and construct a new drive-through store. The neighbors opposed and the Council put the request on hold. Braum's then withdrew it but the owner of the property has said that if it is not sold to Braum's, the Donnay Building will still be demolished.

Now it has five different tenants. Hilo bar is one of them. In the past it was "The Patio" restaurant. Below is a "Now and Then" sequence of this property on Route 66:

Donnay Building 1950s photo in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Donnay Building 1950s photo in Oklahoma City Route 66
Donnay Building 1950s photo in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. newsok.com

Donnay Building today in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Donnay Building today in Oklahoma City Route 66
Donnay Building today in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Click to enlarge image

This is the end of the "Classen" Beltline (1936-53) and our description of all the Beltline alignments. You can drive west from here for more attractions:

US 66 West of OKC towards Yukon

It is a 20.4 mile drive. See this Map with Directions.

Now head west along I-44 and switch to the NW 39th Expressway all the way to Mariner Dr. Here take a left leaving the expressway and take a right at N Overholser Dr., the road will take you after 2.5 miles to the Route 66 Park:

Route 66 Park

9901 NW 23rd St

It includes a watchtower, an amphitheatre and for Route 66 fans, a scaled down walkable version of Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles with seals for the most important towns along the road.

It is Open daily and admission is free.

Retrace your steps and at the eastern tip of Overholser Lake is the Historic Bridge:

Lake Overholser Bridge

Overholser Bridge Route 66

Overholser Bridge, Route 66. A. Whittall

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

It is part of OKC, though it is nearer Yukon

It combines two kinds of steel trusses: each end is a camelback Warren Pony Truss while the four central spans are Parker Through Trusses. It was built between 1924 and 1925, predating Route 66 which later incorporated it into its alignment for over three decades.

It was rehauled in 2001 and reopened to local vehicular traffic once again.

Bethany

Elevation: 1,309 ft (399 m). Population: 19,051 (2010).

This city in Oklahoma County was founded in 1909 by followers of the Church of the Nazarene from Oklahoma City. It had "blue laws" banning alcohol, dancing, tobacco, movies and working on Sundays, which have been relaxed since then.

Ahead the road merges into NW 39th Expressway, go east for 0.8 miles and to your right is a Classic Motel:

Western Motel

7600 NW 39th Expy. Bethany

The Western Motel in the 1960s postcard pictured below tells us: "Mr. and Mrs. J. C. Diffee, Owners-Operators - 24 Units with Tile Baths - Tub or Shower... Wall-to-Wal Carpeting Heavy Duty Beautyrest Mattresses".

Still up and running, its neon sign is intact, which is quite unusual. See its "Then and Now" sequence below:

Western Motel vintage postcard in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Western Motel vintage postcard in Oklahoma City Route 66
Western Motel vintage postcard in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. amazon.com

Western Motel nowadays in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Western Motel nowadays in Oklahoma City Route 66
Western Motel nowadays in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Click to enlarge image

Continue east and leave the Expressway at St. Claire Ave., turn left to see a Route 66 Motel:

Arcadia Motel

3520 NW 39th

The empty lot to the right, was the site of the now razed Nuhoma Motel (Gone).

The old motel's postcard tells us that it had "Pool - TV- Restaurant", it is relatively unchanged (The "L" layot has changed, as the foot of the L has gone), and its old neon sign is still in use except for the red arrow, which has gone. It is now a used car lot, "Italauto". Below is a "Then and Now" sequence:

Arcadia Motel vintage postcard in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Arcadia Motel vintage postcard in Oklahoma City Route 66
Arcadia Motel vintage postcard in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. www.hippostcard.com Click to enlarge image

Arcadia Motel now an auto dealer in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Arcadia Motel now an auto dealer in Oklahoma City Route 66
Arcadia Motel now an auto dealer in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Click to enlarge image

Just ahead, to the east is the interchange where I-44 curves south and both 39th St. Expressway and State Highway 3 branch off westwards and northwards respectively. Follow the frontage road up to NW 36th St. where you can cross I-44. Turn north along the frontage road (W I 44 Service Road). It curves around the site of the now razed (2017) Suntide Motel (Gone), but ahead is another survivor, the Tower Motel:

Tower Motel

3126 NW 39th Oklahoma City

This motel with a "U" shaped layout figures in the 1957 guide of Oklahoma City Hotels and Motels. The brick units with gabled roofs and the office to the right with its flat roof canopy are still there. Below is a "Then and Now" photo sequence:

Tower Motel 1950s postcard in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Tower Motel 1950s postcard in Oklahoma City Route 66
Tower Motel 1950s postcard in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. www.hippostcard.com (detail)

Tower Motel nowadays in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Tower Motel  nowadays in Oklahoma City Route 66
Tower Motel nowadays in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Click to enlarge image

Your Route 66 sightseeing tour ends here. You can visit some of the town's non-66 sights, which we describe below:

Oklahoma City National Memorial & Museum

620 N Harvey Ave, Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum in Oklahoma City US66

Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum, Oklahoma City, OK. Click for street view

"We come here to remember those who were killed, those who survived and those changed forever. May all who leave here know the impact of violence. May this memorial offer comfort, strength, peace, hope and serenity."

The Federal Building in Oklahoma City was blown up in a domestic terrorist attack perpetraded on April 19, 1995 by Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols. 168 people were killed and over 680 more were wounded. The attack caused over $650 million in damage. Tried and convicted, McVeigh was executed in 2001, and Nichols was sentenced to life in prison.

The National Park Service memorial was dedicated in 2000, and includes a reflecting pool with two gates and a field with empty chairs made from stone and brass, symbolizing the victims.

Now, a less tragic sight, some vintage gas stations nearby (though not related to Route 66):

Two old gas stations

520 N Walker Ave

This station was built in the 1920s, and was a Wirt Frankling station. This is its Street View; it has been restored.

Main and 101 N Western Ave

See its street view. Built in the 1930s it was a Deep Rock brand. It has also been recently renovated.

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

1700 NE 63rd St, Oklahoma City

Located on the NE side of the city (location map). You can reach it easily by taking Exit 149 on I-44 or, if you are driving south into Oklahoma City from Edmond, take a left from N Kelly onto NE 63rd St. it is just straight ahead to your right.

Full details at their website: nationalcowboymuseum.org. There is an admission fee. Founded in 1955 it preserves a collection of Western art and artifacts, including galleries on Native Americans, their culture, American cobowys, historic gear, firearms and artifacts.

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City Route 66
National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Marcin Wichary

Sources

Banner is the Dead Man's Curve, Laguna, New Mexico; by Perla Eichenblat.