Historic Route 66 Tulsa to Chandler
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Background on Historic Route 66
When US Highway 66 was created in 1926 it was aligned along the previous highways. The map below shows these first highways, called "AutoTrails". They were paved and unpaved roads that could be driven relatively safely by cars. This map was published in 1924, only two years before Route 66 was created.
Chandler is in the middle, and Tulsa on the upper right side, on a secondary highway. The main road from Luther bypassed Arcadia and Edmond. The highway marked as "50" (in a black square) meaning the "Ozark Trails" would mostly become Route 66. You can follow it from Tulsa, through Chandler and westwards to Oklahoma City.
Route 66 itineraries from Tulsa to Chandler
Starting point: Tulsa
We will begin our itinerary on the western side of Tulsa.
On the western side of the Arkansas River, US 66 took different courses over the years:
- 1926 to 1951: US 66 turned sharply south along Quanah Ave., current Southwest Blvd. which curved with a SW course becoming Sapulpa Rd. It went through Red Fork (at W 41st St.) and curved along Southwest Blvd. and Frankoma Rd. through Oakhurst. (see map)
- In 1951 it ran next to the Turner Turnpike along what is now OK-66 (New Sapulpa Rd.) meeting the older alignment at what is now I-244's Exit 1. (see map)
- In 1959 it shifted to I-44 (see map).
On the 1926-51 Route 66, just 4 miles southwest of Tulsa, this stretch of higway was known as "Sapulpa Road".
The photo below shows Turney's & Casey's was a filling station, garage, diner, and cafe. Now vacant.
Drive west, and you will reach Sapulpa.
Route 66 in Sapulpa
Historic Old Alignment of Route 66 west of Sapulpa
West Sapulpa Segment (1924-1952)
Route 66 continues westwards towards Kellyville.
This segment is 3.3 miles long and was originally part of the unpaved Ozark Trails built in 1915. In 1921 it became State Highway No. 7 as part of a project to link Sapulpa and Bristow with a modern highway. The roadbed had two lanes and a width of 18 ft., and was paved in 1924-25 with Portland Concrete. It even has a 2-mile section with a concrete retaining wall and guardrail.
In 1926 it was incorporated into Route 66 and is in use until this day as OK-66 (Historic Route 66), although its original concrete has been overlaid with later asphalt paving.
This segment includes the historic Bridge #18 at Rock Creek.
Bridge #18 at Rock Creek (Sapulpa)
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
The old Route 66 (1926-52) alignment crossed Rock Creek using this bridge. It is one of the remaining steel-truss bridges that carried Route 66 in Oklahoma. This particular bridge is a Parker through truss bridge and, as an unusual feature, it has a brick decking (it is paved with red bricks).
> Read more about Brick paved sections of Route 66.
It is 120 ft. long and 18 ft. wide. Its steel truss has a compound truss and a polygonal top cord which allow its long span.
It was built in 1924, just two years before Route 66 was created, and was originally part of the old Ozark Trail, which was incorporated into Route 66 when the U.S. highway system was laid down.
It remained part of Route 66 until the road was realigned in 1952. It still carries traffic as Historic Route 66.
A straighter and wider alignment for Route 66 was built further south which replaced this section in 1952.
Route 66 in Sapulpa
The road meanders through the countryside, among trees, blending in with it, instead of cutting across it in straight lines. It is a good example of the days when the trip was as important as the destination. (see image below).
Old Route 66 in Kellyville
At the end of the historic segment the highway takes a NE-SW course into Kellyville.
It was first paved in concrete in 1926. And it was realigned later (we don't know the date but probably in 1938). You can still see two of the old 1926 segments of Route 66 in Kellyville: The first is on the north side of OK-66, east of the town, just west of Maple Dr. to your right on the north side of modern OK-66 is a curved paved segment; this is Map of it.
Another segment lies further west, to your left. It begins on the south side of OK-66, it is Oak Street, curving towards the railroad starting at Allen St. (See map).
Both sections were paved in Portland concrete in 1926.
A third section can be seen west of Kelyville, on the south side of the modern US-66 where Polecat Creek approaches the highway, it is hidden among the trees, it can be seen on its western tip (see image, red arrows). It crosses the road in a long S (it is marked with the blue line in this "missing segments" map that we prepared). You can also see it in this 1956 aerial photograph.
Continue west, and cross the interstate (see map) driving the 1926-65 alignment until you reach the historic segment.
The Historic "Original" segments of Route 66 into Bristow
Drive along the original Route 66:
We will describe below, in deetail the three sections from east to west, driving from Kellyville to Bristow and then west of Bristow towards Depew.
First Historic Section 1926-1938 US66
Driving west from Kellyville along OK-66 and 0.6 miles after crossing I-44, on the right side of OK-66 is the "Old Highway 66", take it. This is the beginning of the first section of the original winding segment of US66.
It is the original 1926 to 1938 alignment.
The original 1926-38 road crosses towards the south of OK-66 (built in 1938 and cutting the older roadbed). After 2 miles returns again to meet the 1938 OK-66.
Both of these segments were paved with Portland concrete in 1926. In those days, the concrete was poured in fifty foot sections, 10 inches thick. Over the years the original concrete has been paved with asphalt.
Click to see the map of this 1926-38 section.
Replaced in 1938
This section was replaced by the later alignment, both shorter and straighter, built in 1938 and used until US 66 was decomissioned, see map.
Second Section 1926 - 65
Head west along OK-66 and after 0.8 miles, OK-66 curves southwards along the later 1965 alignment of Route 66.
The original alignment continues straight along E 0770 Rd (1926 to 1965 Route 66), see map.
The eastern tip is shown in this see map in violet.
This segment was paved with Portland concrete in 1924, two years before Route 66 was created. The fact that it was paved was a reason to add it to the new US 66 highway.
At the junction with OK-48, turn left along it, see the now modified curve in this map, in yellow. Follow the old 1926-65 segment and just before reaching OK-66 again head right along S353W Rd., it crosses OK-66 and heads south (see image).
Follow this alignment until you reach the 1935 Warren pony truss bridge across Sand Creek, cross it. Ahead it meets the later alignment (now OK-66).
1965 realignment into Bristow
The highway adopted a shorter course avoiding the right angle curve at OK-48 as shown in this map.
From here the highway crosses the freeway into Bristow. The original pre-1965 highway had another alignment (you can see it in this 1956 aerial photograph) and it is also marked in this map in white.
Route 66 crosses Bristow from north to south along Main Street and has different alignments on the south side of town.
One of the old bridges on the 1926-28 US66, credits
- 1926-28 Roadbed. Followed Main, crossed the railroad and ran along its south side, then crossed the Deep Fork River and the Little Deep Fork (the original 1913 bridge is still there, read more below), as shown in this map, now there is a "missing section" in private property, with two now abandoned concrete bridges (see the maps of bridge 1 and bridge 2, shown in picture), the alignment is marked with a black line in this map.
- After 1928. It turned west along 4th St and south on Roland keeping on the north side of the railroad (see map).
The bridge over Catfish Creek was replaced in 1940 and when it was replaced for a second time in 1995, it was moved south a few feet (pink line in the map).
Bridge on Little Deep Fork Creek
Little Deep Fork Creek Bridge. Credits
Two miles west of Bristow see map, is the beadstead Warren pony truss, with a wood plank deck. It gets its name because the steel end posts are vertical and they extend down, deep into the river banks like the legs of a bed, furthermore, the two sides of the bridge resemble the head and foot of a bed.
The bridge was built in 1913 as part of the road system planned and improved by the Ozark Trail Association, a private organization that promoted better highways.
Route 66 runs west to Depew. The first alignment from Bristow to Depew of Route 66, between 1926 and 1928 was unpaved, and it had a slightly different alignment to the later one built in 1928 (see map), at the point where 49th W Ave. meets OK-66, the old road had a sharp 90° turn west, and crossed the Little Deep Fork Creek using a steel bridge. The concrete abutements can still be seen (red circle in image). In 1928 the road was moved to its current location and the bridge was also moved. It was replaced in 1973. The original missing alignment can be seen in this map in gray.
In Depew, the business district had been paved by the city in 1925, so Route 66 went through the center of the town: south down Flynn Ave. then right along Main St. and again, another right along Ladd. Ave. back to current OK-66.
In 1928 it was moved to the north side of the town to avoid the U-shaped alignment and the two grade crossings of the railroad. You can see it, south of the current OK-66 (it was realigned and widened in 1984), between Flynn and Ladd, is the original 1928 paved segment of road, now cutoff from the highway, both alignments are pictured above.
West of Depew
The original 1926 to 1984 alignment ran north of the current alignment (built in 1984), following the course marked in this map with a pale green line. Just ahead the 1926-28 and the 1928-84 alignments split so we will describe them separately.
1926-28 Route 66
It went straight, west (see map as it can be driven here) and then turned 90° south at the cemeteries and followed the alignment shown in the map with a pale blue line, which has vanished and cannot be driven.
At its western tip, it meets the later 1928-84 alignment, and runs on the eastern side of the current OK-66.
1928-84 Route 66
It follows the southern fork, and can be driven in some sections with gaps between them, it runs on the north side of OK-66 (see these two maps of this segment map 1 and map 2). It is pictured below, looking west, you can see the original roadbed on the right, and the newer (1984) one to the left.
Then it crosses to the south side of OK-66 and follows the 1926-84 alignment west, towards Stroud. We show this part of the road with these two maps: map 3 (eastern section, can be driven), map 4 with the western section, cannot be driven (dark green line).
Here it heads west, all alignments following the same roadbed once again until it reaches the interstate on the eastern side of Stroud.
East side of Stroud
There are two alignments in this area.
a) 1926-1930 Route 66
This segment was never paved when it was US66. It is now cut by I-44, but it can be driven see map.
As you head west after I-44 you will cross an original concrete bridge built in 1930, spanning Lilly Creek. It has concrete spans 30 ft. long. It is shown below.
And then, after turning south, you will cross another bridge, a steel pony truss bridge (pictured below) that was built across Salt Creek in 1921.
b) 1930-1960 Alignment
The highway was paved with Portland concrete and realigned in 1930. It runs on the north side of modern OK-66, and forks from the earlier alignment at the curve, taking a NE-SW course. This 1930-1960 Route 66 follows a course parallel to the later one built in 1960, when it was upgraded.
It can be seen from the current highway, but then it moves away, through private property. You can follow this Rte. 66 alignment in this map (burgundy colored line). Above is a view of the old highway to the right, and the later post-1960 road to the left (red arrow).
Both alignments meet on the eastern side of the city and run through Stroud with an east to west direction for one mile. At 8th St, they separate once again.
This is the map of this segment.
It is known as the "Ozark Trail Section of Route 66" and was build in 1915. This section predates Route 66.
The private organization, the Ozark Trail Association petitioned the Lincoln County commissioner to create and designate a county road system belonging to the "Frisco-Ozark Trail system". The roadbed was built between 1915 and 1917 and was incorporated into the Ozark Trail highway network.
The network was a collection of dirt or gravel roads linking the towns in Lincoln county. Later, when Route 66 was created in 1926 it used these roads in its initial alignment.
The old road however remains in use until this day as a "improved" dirt road, that is, one that is ocassionally graded and surfaced with some gravel.
Ozark Trail Monument
The Ozark Trails Monument is a concrete obelisk that is 21 feet tall, with a base that is 48 inches square and 46 inches tall.It is quite unique and rare. It marked the intersection of Ozark Trail roads.
There was one, now gone in Romeroville, New Mexico, on what would become the 1926 US 66 alignment. It was the western terminus of the Ozark Trail. Another obelisk stood in Tucumcari, on Route 66.
This map marks the site of the obelisk.
It is one of only two of these monuments surviving in Oklahoma (the second is in Langston). On the apex of the obelisk you can see some square recesses that once held electric light fixtures that lit it up from abovebove. It was recently whitewashed by the Oklahoma Route 66 Association as you can see in the image below.
Original whitewashed O.T. obelisk, old US66 Stroud. Credits
Obelisk Replica in Stroud
On Route 66 on the SW corner with 2nd Ave you can see a replica of the obelisk pictured above (street view), it was inaugurated in 2020, it has a bronze plaque that reads: "This obelisk is an exact replica of the original Ozark Trail Marker now located between Stroud and Davenport. The Ozark Trail was a precursor for Route 66 and existed from 1915 to 1926. The first markers were telephone poles painted green and white. These were replaced with obelisks painted white with green directional lettering of cities with the mileage to point travelers along their way. Twenty-one of these markers were constructed while only two remain in Oklahoma, one in Stroud and the other in Langston. The marker stands 21' tall, is 48" square at the base and is 6' below ground. It contains 12 yards of concrete and weighs around 48,600 pounds. The original marker was located at the intersection of Highway 66 and Highway 99. After becoming a traffic hazard with the increase of vehicles, it was relocated to its current location 3 miles West (N3540 Road) and 1.3 miles South (E890 Road) of Stroud."
When US 66 was paved in 1930 from the Creek County Line to Chandler with Portland Concrete, it was shortened and shifted to a new roadbed, leaving the Ozark Trail segment, see map.
Both 1930 and 1926 alignments met and continued west into Davenport. The 1.6 miles through Davenport were paved in 1931 with asphalt and in 1933 rebuilt in Portland concrete. Until 1993 there was a viaduct south of Davenport, which carried Route 66 over the old tracks of the Santa Fe railway. The tracks and viaduct are now gone.
Final part into Chandler
The higway continues west, all the way to Chandler following the alignment shown in this map.
This is the end of the itinerary, on the eastern side of Chandler.
Route 66's alignments from Chandler to Yukon
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Credits and Sources
Banner image: Hackberry General Store, Hackberry, Arizona by Perla Eichenblat.
Route 66 Maps. Oklahoma D.O.T.