To Do: Migrate

This presentation is part of the Are We There Yet: Preservation of Roadside Architecture and Attractions, April 10-12, 2018, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Speaker standing at the podium

Rhys Martin

Rhys Martin: Alright, thank you all very much. So, has anybody here ever heard of the term “imposter syndrome?” So, it’s generally a feeling that a lot of people kind of identify with that when you’re in a large group of people where you’re speaking or you’re even in sort of a professional capacity, you feel like you don’t belong there and you’re just like “someday they’re going to find out I don’t know what I’m talking about.”

This is the first time I’ve been involved in a symposium or a group or a meeting like this, with a bunch of people that have very technical attachments to roadside architecture, preservation, things like that and it’s been really fascinating to learn from everybody. But I do admit, I suffer from that a little bit, because I do some writing, I do some photography, but as the days have gone on I’ve realized that it is all another piece of this that’s all so important. I’ll tell you a little bit about my history, how I got involved in this and then kind of my perspective from that aspect of roadside architecture.

So the first thing I’ll talk about is how I got introduced to Route 66 and travel photography as a whole. It started in about 2009. I had – and some of you have heard this story – I had what I call my “quarter-life crisis.” I was not happy at my job, I was starting to question a lot of things from a personal standpoint, and thought “you know, I just need some perspective.” So, I sold everything I owned and left the country, and I backpacked internationally for ten months through Southeast Asia and Europe.

I bought a little point-and-shoot camera. I started a travel blog so that I could share with friends and family what I was seeing and what I was experiencing. And after such an experience, I came home and thought, “Wow, this is really great. I’ve lived in Tulsa my whole life and I don’t really know anything about it.”

What do we have here? After going to places like Angkor Wat where I could put my hand on a temple that’s been around for a thousand years, what could we possibly have to compete with that? So, I started taking road trips. I visited the remaining capital buildings of the five Indian tribes that were here when this was Indian territory, and I started turning to Tulsa history and Route 66.

So my catalyst for Route 66 was the Meadow Gold sign, and those of you that were on the Neon Tour last night heard a little about this, and we’re going to hear from Dennis again today when we stop at the tour later today. The Meadow Gold sign was originally built in the 1930’s. This is a historic photo from the Tulsa Historic Society. In the early 2000’s, the owner decided he wanted to demolish the building it was sitting on and the sign with it. But thankfully, the City of Tulsa, the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture stepped in, and with a grant from the National Park Service, was able to save it and rebuild it on a pavilion just about a mile away at 11th and Peoria. That happened in 2009, so this actually happened before I even left the country.

But when I came back, I didn’t know it’d been moved. I went out to go take a look at it and it was just gone, and I thought I’d completely lost my opportunity to take pictures of this sign I’d seen my whole life. And so I kind of, I kind of panicked. I thought, “It’s been here the whole time, I wasn’t paying attention, all is lost.” Which, of course, was not true. If I’d just driven a mile down the road, I’d have seen the sign…which I did.

But then that kind of woke me up and I thought, “You know, I need to start paying attention and I need to travel Route 66.” And so it was about 2013 when I took my first road trip up to Miami, Oklahoma to see a historic vaudeville theater and my, at least one foot has been on Route 66 ever since.

This is the Meadow Gold sign after it was rebuilt. Now, it does have clocks on it now, but this was the sign for a couple of years before they were able to do that.

And so, I’m going to go through a couple of sites that have changed over the last couple of years, because one thing I’ve learned is that photography, in and of it itself, is an important aspect of preservation. Everybody in this room knows we can’t save everything. No matter how hard we fight, some things get demolished, some things get restored to where they’re not anything like they used to be. And so, it’s important to capture these at all stages of their life. Even if a restoration is done perfectly, it’s important to capture what the conditions where before that happened, because somebody else is going to be going through the same experience with something else somewhere.

So this is Afton Station. This is a roadside attraction in Afton, Oklahoma, a small town. It was an DX Gas Station back when it opened in 1933. As we’ve talked about throughout the last couple of days, Route 66 had a really lovely period of energy, and then things kind of died off in the eighties. This station, like many others, fell into disrepair. But in about 2000, a woman named Laurel Cane and her husband purchased it and converted it into a Packard Automobile Museum.

This picture is from 2003. This is during a relay for the Bunion Derby, which you guys can ask me about that, it’s a really fascinating history lesson. But, as you can see, the station here is not in terrifically good shape, you know, they’ve started to do some restoration to it and by the time they were finished with it, they’d restored the roof and everything else and it’s a really great sight today. Even though Laurel’s passed on now, it is still open to travelers. It’s still a place people stop and see.

So this is the Blue Whale in Catoosa. We’re going to go see him later today. This is a postcard courtesy of the folks at the Blue Whale. Brief history: it was built in 1972 as an anniversary gift from a man to his wife. It became a favorite attraction and was a swimming hole to many travelers and locals. There was also a reptile attraction on the grounds. Mr. Davis worked at the Tulsa Zoo and so he wanted to have a little snake cage and a petting zoo and all kinds of stuff. So it was one of those classic “stop and see the monsters” kind of stops.

But the whale was the focal point once it was built. Once the, once he got older and wasn’t able to maintain the grounds, the first time I saw the whale, he was closed. The fences were up, the grounds were overgrown, he was just not in good shape. You would drive by and think there’s nothing back there in the middle of the summer because everything was overgrown so much you couldn’t even see the guy. That was in 1988.

By the mid-nineties, efforts began to restore Blue and then by the mid-2000s he was hosting travelers again and he’s in really great shape. And they’ve started to work on the rest of the grounds around him now, and so you guys are really going to enjoy getting to see him. But it just makes my heart skip a beat to think how close we were to losing it completely before locals stepped in to save it, much like the Totem Pole. Donations were extremely important to them. It’s just people that are passionate about it that run the gift shop and keep it around. We’ll be talking to Linda Hobbs later today, who’s kind of the Whale’s caretaker. And if she’s not there, people will stop, see it, and move on. And so it’s in the arms of these people that are just passionate about it that places like this are able to stay alive.

This is the Rock Creek Bridge. This is in Sapulpa, which is just southwest of town. It was originally built in 1924 as part of the Ozark Trail Highway Network, which is one of the highways that was absorbed when Route 66 was created. It was bypassed in 1952 and due to the poor structural integrity of the bridge, it has closed several times over the years. And each time, there have been fears that would be the final time that it’s closed and people would no longer be able to cross it and, potentially, it could get demolished.

Today, the bridge is open once again. But it is available to limited traffic. You’ll see there’s actually quite a very low bar to get across this bridge because of the structural integrity of it. The city of Sapulpa is currently working on plans to actually bypass the bridge completely, because emergency vehicles can’t get across this bridge, and if someone on the other side has an issue, they got to go four miles out of the way just to get back there. But they recognize the historic value of this bridge and are going to put a city park around it, is the current plan, so that it has its own nice little roadside life after passing from an actual crossing. But again, there’s value in capturing this when people are able to travel it and even when it’s closed, both before and after, to document the life of this bridge.

Some things may not seem terribly important until it’s too late. This is the Coppedge Drug Store in Depew, Oklahoma, a very small community, as an early brick building on their main street. Depew has the distinction of being one of the first, if not the first town, to be bypassed by a very early Route 66 realignment. As you can imagine, as traffic went away, the town kind of, you know, their growth halted. And downtown Depew today is pretty quiet. It’s hard to believe they once had two movie theaters and multiple grocery stores. You go down there, it’s just a bunch of empty brick buildings, mostly.

But the first time I visited, I took pictures. The drugstore here, I liked the wooden panel they had on it. As a photographer, I just thought, “this is kind of interesting to capture,” but I didn’t think much of it. I could’ve just as easily not taken a picture of this building and just taken a few of the other ones around it.

However, in 2016, somebody posted this picture on Facebook and I was like, “that’s interesting, where is that?” and when they told me, my heart dropped, because that other picture is the only picture I have of this building, and if I hadn’t just arbitrarily decided this is something I want to capture, I would’ve lost my opportunity. And we’ll talk in a few minutes about perspective and how it’s not only important to capture the site you might be after specifically, but the things around it, the context of the land around it, and even the things that from like an artistic perspective on my end, I may be like “yeah that’s not that important,” it’s good to go ahead and get a picture of it anyway, because you have no idea what tomorrow’s going to hold for these sites.

This is a historic photo of the Round Barn in Arcadia, and we saw some pictures of this a couple days ago. Like many sites along Route 66, it was a popular tourist attraction for many years before it fell into disrepair. By the late 1970s, it was only partially standing and at one point, the iconic dome roof completely collapsed. If you ever get a chance to visit the Round Barn in Arcadia, which is down closer to Oklahoma City, they have some great photographs inside that show where that roof has collapsed and all the beams are just kind of sticking up from the top, because it collapsed in the middle. Heartbreaking to see.

But in 1988, the site was acquired by a local historic society and restoration began and it reopened to the public in 1992. In 2005, another round of repairs and restoration was partially funded by the National Park Service Corridor Preservation Program. And this is an excellent example of a local community rallying together, as well as what that grant program has provided to help people accomplish to sites that you see today and you think, “well, of course this should be saved, it’s a really wonderful site,” but for years people just took it for granted.

Lucille’s Service Station, which is out in Hydro, Oklahoma, was built in 1929. In 1941, the Hammonds family started operating it and Lucille Hammonds started serving travelers. She served them for 60 years and became known as the mother of the “mother road.” The space above the gas pump served as a living quarters.

Although the interstate was completed in 1971, Lucille kept the station open and ran it until she passed away in 2000. After her passing, people weren’t sure what was going to happen to the station. Even though it’s visible from the interstate, again, like the rest of Route 66, it wasn’t seeing nearly as much traffic as it was. However, it was restored and although it no longer serves as a gas station and a convenience store, it does allow for a great photo stop for people to learn about its history. And, as a matter of fact, just down the road, there is a Lucille’s Roadhouse, which is a restaurant that is built in the style of this gas station, to kind of elicit that feeling of it, and it encourages people to go just a few miles down the road and see the real thing.

So this is the Lincoln County Express. And this, this is a fascinating little story. So a few years back, I was driving Route 66 eastbound out of Stroud, Oklahoma, heading home. I’d driven that stretch a couple of times, I wasn’t really seeking out anything new. I’d kind of gotten into the “going home” mode and wasn’t really thinking about stopping again. But a glint of this caught the corner of my eye and it shocked me, and I slammed on the brakes – my poor wife, she’s gotten used to this, of just the kind of “brace yourself, because I’ve seen something and I have to pull over right now.”

I pulled over to investigate, and in the weeds and brush I found this child-sized locomotive that had been left to the elements. The site also has a small metal cactus and a few of what looks like metal cow skeletons. I took my pictures, I went back and I talked to some of my roadie friends, and I was like, “Hey this is great, what’s this called?” And everyone’s like, “Where is this? I’ve never seen this before.”

And so, I was able to track down the history of this by talking to the granddaughter of the guy that built it. His name was Paul Hicks. He was a welder for the oil pipeline and built this in the 1970s for his grandkids, and just thought he’d make a little roadside attraction for it. And when he passed away, it just kind of fell into disrepair. And when I was talking to her about it, she’s like, “well, we’re thinking about restoring it, we’ll clear out some of the brush, repaint it, and it’ll be great,” which is great, and I hope that’s going to happen. But there’s also a part of me that, as we’ve talked about, kind of restoring something and keeping it as a ruin. There’s a part of the aesthetic of this that’s going to be lost when that happens.

You know, you have this really wonderful patina on it. There’s just a charm to it kind of sitting in the weeds like it is. And so, I say that to bring up the point that there’s great value in capturing things, because you don’t know when it’ll be gone or when it might be restored. Even if it’s a perfect restoration and it looks absolutely brand new with no problems whatsoever, there’s something that’ll be lost when that happens.

Now this is not on Route 66, but this is here in Tulsa. This is a sign from Shaw’s Drive-In. This was back when it still served burgers and shakes, back near the end of its life in the 1980s. When that family who owned it had decided to retire, the building was sold and eventually became a Daylight Donuts. They decided to go with a different color scheme and over the years, you know, the paint they used wasn’t done very well, it started to rust, and so they hired somebody else to say, “You know, our sign’s looking kind of sad, let’s restore it.”

And so they did…but not very well. The letters aren’t done terribly well, the neon wasn’t restored, the lights stopped working, and the paint was chipping terribly. It was really an eyesore. So another person came in – they sold it to another lady that ran a donut shop – and decided, “I’m going to repaint the sign again and restore it.” And as you can see, the lines are much smoother. It’s a much different color scheme, but the lights are working again. They’re working on installing the neon. They’ve painted the building to match it instead of just kind of letting it go to the elements. And, from a restoration stand point, it’s in much better shape than it was when it was the previous colors.

But the uproar from the people around the donut shop was furious. They were like, “Why did you paint over the original colors?” And it’s like, those weren’t the original colors, and part of that history had been lost, that the red and yellow color scheme wasn’t original, and the sign really, to people’s memory, probably looks better than it did before they completely renovated this just last year. And so that’s another piece of the puzzle, that it’s really important to capture these things as they exist. Not necessarily for an “I told you so,” but just to kind of give people that comparison, you know, that you may not be as fond of these colors as you were of the old colors, but look at the quality difference, and especially once that neon’s on there. It’s going to look really fantastic.

This is the Archer building. This is over in the Tulsa Arts District. It was a block-long, building renovation project, which just recently underwent a seventeen million dollar infusion of funds by the George Kaiser Family Foundation, which is a really big proponent in the city of Tulsa.

A local nonprofit, Tulsa Literary Coalition, wanted to reintroduce a bookstore to downtown Tulsa. So Magic City Books opened in November of 2017, along with several other vendors in this space. They took all the paint off, they did what they could to preserve the go signs on the side of the building, and today this is full of all kinds of local businesses. There’s a great restaurant in there, there’s a chocolatier, there’s a guitar shop, a local-made goods, and then, of course, an independent bookstore, which the city’s really rallied around.

It’s going to feel like it’s always been there. But again, capturing it as it was helps people remember this is what it was like before we, you know, put some money into it and really invested in the community, and look at how many good things came out of it.

So another thing that’s important with a lot of these sites, is the context might change over time. This is a historic marker up in Miami, Oklahoma, right on Route 66. For a time, a lot of Oklahoma’s historic markers were made this way, with these nice stone holders and metal signs, and a picture of Will Rogers, since Route 66 is also known as the Will Rogers Highway. It’s been here for many decades.

“Lead was first discovered in this tri-state district in 1848, and from 1912 until 1938, over eleven million tons of zinc and lead concentrates have been mined, valued at 668 – is that million? – dollars. The average depth of the mines is about 280 feet.” That sounds really impressive, and that sounds like an excellent economic boon to the area. Does anybody know anything about this part of Oklahoma?

So, the part that this historic marker is talking about is actually a Superfund site. The town next to Miami was eminent domain and completely abandoned, because it is now essentially just a couple of empty buildings and a bunch of tall chat piles. They contaminated the water and it’s a big deal. In fact, I think, just last week, the Oklahoma Attorney General finally was able to release the findings of all of the ecological damage that was done to this region.

And so today, people will go up and look at this site and be like, “Oh my gosh, this is terrible, it’s devastating.” But here’s this marker from decades earlier talking about how wonderful the mining industry is. And so, you know, this marker’s probably not going to be there forever, but at least right now it’s an interesting way to view how the context of this has changed.

So before I transition into some best practices and some things to look out for when you’re out taking pictures of places you’re visiting, I’ll go through a couple of other sites that have been lost relatively recently that I’ve seen some pictures of around, but at least personally, if I hadn’t decided to stop and pull off and take a picture of, I would just, they would just be a memory that over time would be distorted.

This is the Elms Motel, which was in Claremore. It was one of their last examples of the kind of roadside cottage-style motels. They do still have some reviews up on Google, and if you look that up you’ll realize why they were demolished. They were in really bad shape. Served more roaches than people in the last few years. So, I don’t really argue with the idea that it needed to be torn down, but it still hurts that it’s just now kind of a strip center of generic people selling goods there. But it’s something that, I’m sure for the last 10 years, people drove by, saw the condition – Route 66 travelers, anyway – and was just like, “Oh, okay, I’ll move on and find something else that’s a little bit more flashy or showy.” But it’s gone now, and you can’t bring it back.

This is actually up by the Blue Whale. These mushrooms are actually still there, but their condition has deteriorated quite a bit over the last few years. Interestingly, during World War II, we had a Douglas bomber plant here in Tulsa, and so the tops of these mushrooms were made from some extra windows made at the bomber plant. Some of them are still out there and we should have plenty of time to kind of look around and poke around in them, but, again, this a piece of it that has changed dramatically, even over the last five years since I’ve really started paying attention.

This is Queenan’s Trading Post, west of Elk City. It dates back to 1948. They used to have a giant, a 14-tall kachina doll made out of oil drums, which has been saved. It’s at the Elk City Route 66 Museum. But the site of the actual trading post has been demolished. I pulled off to get some pictures of it because I like the stonework and I didn’t really think much about it. It looked like it was being used as a residence and I figured it was safe, but, you know, it’s gone now. And outside of a couple of postcards, I really haven’t seen much documentation of that site.

This is an old metal sign out near El Reno from the Beef Industry Council. This is another one that was just kind of in the weeds. I’m sure a lot of people would drive by and see it regularly on their commute to Oklahoma City or what have you and think, “Oh, you know, the sign, that’s great.” And when it was gone, people thought, “I wonder what happened to it,” and went on about their day. But especially to the more Route 66 focused travelers, these are the things people will pull off on the shoulder and take some pictures of, because there are fewer and fewer of them.

This was here in Tulsa. The 11th Street Cleaners, which actually wasn’t far from where we are now. And I found this completely by accident. This was before I even took my first Route 66 road trip. I had come down here for one reason or another and noticed that they’d demolished the Cleaners and the sign was still there. And so I pulled off and I took a few pictures. We have a couple of groups in town that try to save neon signs and I thought, “Oh, you know, I’m sure it’ll be saved or it’ll be here, I’ll come back for it,” but it was taken down the next day and I have no idea what happened to it. So, it may have been destroyed, it may be in someone’s private collection, but as my wife is fond of telling me, “Don’t question yourself. If you feel like you want to pull over and take a picture, you turn around and you go take that picture, because you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

So, I just have a few minutes. I’ll go through a couple of best practices quickly, and it really all revolves around context, getting a perspective of sites and paying attention to the surroundings. This is the Westerner Drive-In in Tucumcari, New Mexico. I took this in the summer of 2013. It’s the first time I’d driven through town. There was this drive-in sitting there, and a sign. You can see there’s not any sign left, just kind of the housing for it. And so I took this nice artistic picture where, I was like, “you know, you’re looking through the old menu board and this says so much with one picture,” and then someone had asked, “What’s the rest of the drive-in look like?” And I looked at my pictures and I realized I didn’t take any other pictures of this place. It’s now gone.

And so, I found this picture, it’s courtesy of Light Rain Productions. And it had a very interesting design, I’ve never seen another quite like it, but that’s one that I missed because I really wasn’t paying attention. I was more concerned with making, creating an artistic picture for myself as opposed to documenting something. And that’s something that I’ve had to kind of change my mindset of. There’s no problem in taking artistic pictures that I’d like to print and frame on the wall, but if I’m there I might as well take a couple of pictures to capture the rest of the site, because I may be missing something that I’ll find value in later.

Picture of the Cadillac Ranch. We’ve seen a few of these already and just the very nature of this place, it changes every time you go out there. There was a picture just last week I saw where they’re doing some modeling shoots out there and they’d painted several of the cars a single color. So, you had a gray car, a white car, a black car, which was very unusual because you always see it, of course, with the bright colors, like you have here. But even different seasons, since there are active cattle grazing here, sometimes you’ll have grass, sometimes it’ll be mud, sometimes it’s just, you know, dust blowing in the wind. So the area around it changes quite a bit.

Now the next couple of pictures I’m going to go through talk about, come from the Tulsa Historic Society and it’s an archive that they obtained from a gentleman that took pictures for an insurance company, and so they’re all car wrecks in the city of Tulsa and around.

And so, although he’d taken these pictures for, you know, to assess value and determine fault and things like that, there are many things around these car accidents that have become of great value to the Historic Society and to folks like myself that have gone in to research other things.

This is from 1955, and you have several buildings in the back that are still there. There’s an old Dairy Queen back there that I’ve not been able to find any other pictures of. And so, because not only did he take this picture but it’s now in an archive I can search, I was able to get value out of it that I’m sure there was absolutely no intention at all in this guy in providing.

Here’s another one. This is from about Sixth and Quincy here, also in the mid-1950s. Great sign up there, but that wasn’t the point of the photograph. But without it, we wouldn’t be able to kind of look at that. You’ve got the café across the street, you’ve even got, in the very background, you can see a skyscraper up there, and that’s the 320 Boston Building, that’s the one with the spire lights up different colors to let people know what the weather’s going to be the next day.

Here’s one just down the road at Eighteenth and Boston. A firetruck got hit by a train. And so, you’ve got the Phoenix Cleaners behind it, which is, this site has changed dramatically. The neon sign is still there. So this is one that’s easy to get modern-day context in, because part of it’s still the same. And I’ve got a couple here at the tail end to kind of show you where the value is there.

This is Tenth and Main here, 1961, and this is looking north into downtown Tulsa. And this is right on Route 66. And so you’ve got a car here that’s been hit, but you’ve got all these signs lining the street, you’ve got the Philtower there on the far right, which has the tile roof that some of you have asked me about while you’ve been here. So this not only gives context for research purposes, but it also shows how the city’s grown up.

Now this is one of mine, and some of you might wonder why I took a picture of McDonald’s. But, at some point I realized that all the McDonald’s buildings were changing and there might be a day when I look up and none of the McDonald’s shapes that I remember growing up, you know, to get my Fraggle Rock Happy Meal toys – there just wouldn’t be any around. And so, it’s just a matter of pulling over, taking a picture of something that has some kind of value to you, even if it’s something kind of chintzy like this, because it’s going to have value to somebody else. And by the time you look up and think, “you know what, I haven’t seen one of those in a long time,” it might be too late.

I mentioned on the Neon Sign Tour, Tulsa has quite an amount of neon Arby’s signs, because the local franchisee that owns them is passionate about them and has saved them from several other locations. But I didn’t realize those were more of a rarity until somebody pointed that out to me.

So, by doing this, you really don’t know what the value is of a picture any of you take with your cellphone might have in the future. I just finished researching a book about lost Tulsa restaurants and so, what I was able to do, is take modern pictures of sites today and essentially merge them with old historic pictures that I found in archives, to give a real feeling of how things have changed over time. This is in Utica Square here in Tulsa and then the second one here is a drive-in that has been completely demolished, and it’s one that was very beloved by the citizens of Tulsa.

And so by showing them, here’s what once existed, here’s what exists today, which is really a parking lot, hopefully that gets people to think more about preservation and how something that you may take for granted today, tomorrow you might wish you had actually taken some action.

So, in summary, things change. Sometimes it’s for the better, sometimes it’s for the worse, but there is value in capturing all of it and doing what you can to include surroundings with that. Through photography, it becomes easier to show the impact of grant programs, local advocacy, and the progression of time. The best part about being where we are, technologically, is everybody has a camera of some value. So if all you have is a cellphone, don’t worry that it’s going to be a crummy picture, because fifty years from now that might be the only picture anybody can find. So, thank you.

Speaker 1:  We have time for one or two questions. Somebody have a question? I see…Kelly?

Kelly Caldwell:  Thanks. I was wondering – so what are you doing with all your photographs? I mean, this seems to be a personal research, so is there an intent for a public platform or trying to submission for archives for the long-term preservation of your research and documentation?

Rhys Martin:  Well, the hope is that when I’m old and gray I’ll just be able to go to like the Tulsa Historic Society or something and say, “you know, here’s whatever now’s version of a hard-drive is, here’s all my stuff, have at it.” But, personally, right now, I do a little bit with it commercially. You know, postcards, prints, that kind of thing and art exhibitions. I’ve started giving presentations, kind of showing trips down Route 66 to try to spur some tourism and economic development and things like that. So, it’s a little – I wouldn’t say it’s totally clear-cut, but eventually the hope is to be able to have this in a format where people are able to access it and kind of plan their own trips around it.

Speaker 1:  One last question, anybody have another question?

Speaker 2:   I think it’s not so much a question but a comment, in that I tend to want to stop alongside the road, too, and I’m most drawn to things that I think will be gone. Paintings on buildings, barns, things that are covered in vines, and, I don’t know why, they’re more appealing to me than things that have been restored. So, I think we share that.

Rhys Martin:  Yeah, and getting involved with the Route 66 community and the roadie enthusiast group, you find that. Some people are drawn to restored things, but most people are drawn to the items that are either threatened with loss or have some kind of unique quality that has developed over time. And, from an archival standpoint, you know, like I mentioned, sometimes that might be the only picture that is available or that people are aware of to either do their own research, plan their own road trips around, or find things that inspire them. Because it was my own research and seeing pictures like that of some of these old signs that I thought, “you know, if this sign way out in Ohio is, you know, rusted and falling apart, I need to get up there and see it.” And that will inspire me to create an entire road trip to go up there, and I’ll see all these little attractions and other things on the way. And so, you know, that kind of ties a little bit more into kind of the marketing things that we’ve talked about at this symposium and social media’s really big into this. I do a lot of digging through social media of various kinds to find things other people have shared – Instagram’s great, because then I’ll mark it on my map and I’ll plan trips around it, so.

Speaker 1:   Thank you.

Rhys Martin:   Thank you.


Rhys Martin is a photographer and travel writer from Tulsa, OK.  After a 10-month international backpacking journey, he focused his attention on Route 66 and the American experience.  He has traveled all 2,400 miles of the Mother Road and regularly seeks out forgotten corners of the Midwest.  Rhys writes a monthly travel column for Tulsa People Magazine and his work has been featured in This Land, Route 66 Magazine, Nimrod Journal, Inbound Asia Magazine, The Oklahoman, and the Tulsa World.

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