The National Park Service, Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program is pleased to announce the seven grants that have been awarded for the 2018 cost-share grant cycle. 

The cost-share grant program provides grant assistance for eligible historic preservation, research, and educational projects related to historic Route 66. Grants are offered through an annual, competitive grant cycle. Since 2001, 146 projects have been awarded $2.17 million with $3.45 million in cost-share match, totaling $5.62 million in public-private investment toward the revitalization and understanding of Route 66.

To learn more about these projects and other past grant awards, search our grants database.

The 2018 grant awards go to:

Painted Desert Trading Post Stabilization
Location: Holbrook (near), Arizona
Applicant: Route 66 Co-op
NPS Grant: $20,000             Cost-Share Match: $20,000

 Standing in dramatic isolation in the Painted Desert is the iconic Painted Desert Trading Post. Its allure borders on the mythical, creating a fascination that stems from its isolation, vast landscape, and limited access. Abandoned for nearly 60 years, the trading post’s remarkable durability is due to the skill of its builder Dotch Windsor and to the arid Arizona climate. Alarmingly however, time has caught up with the building, and without immediate action, the building is in danger of total collapse.

The property has passed through several hands since it closed its doors for good in the early 1960s, but most recently a grass-roots preservation cooperative was organized to purchase and preserve the iconic property. The cooperative is seeking 501(c)(3) status with the goal of stabilizing the building and providing managed access for tourists and other interested parties. NPS grant funds will help with the immediate need to rescue the threatened building by stabilizing the walls, foundation, and roof. The intent is not to rehabilitate or return the trading post to like-new condition. Instead, its current authentic condition will be retained, achieving the goal of both preserving and commemorating the rich and storied history of trading post history along the Mother Road.


Risk Reduction Strategy for Historic Bridges on Route 66
Location: Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica
Applicant: The University of Texas at El Paso
NPS Grant: $13,181                Cost-Share Match: $21,028

Historic bridges on Route 66 are increasingly endangered as many of them continue to carry vehicular traffic, yet are over 50 years old. A key maintenance issue is that routine bridge inspections rarely consider or prioritize historic values. This typically leads to historic interests being considered only when it is too late, or when their condition is so poor that they are proposed for demolition and replacement. The value of bridges as an integral part of nationally significant Route 66 cannot be understated, and yet there is an ever-present danger of losing them by allowing perceived risks and maintenance to be addressed through conventional methods. NPS grant funds will assist researchers at The University of Texas at El Paso Department of Civil Engineering to help address these issues.

The first phase of this project was funded in 2017 and identified risks and quantified historic values for bridge inspection criteria. The current second phase will build upon this work to develop an intervention and risk reduction strategy for historic bridges. When completed, this novel concept has the potential to change the conversation between state departments of transportation, state historic preservation offices, and grass-roots advocates. Perhaps most importantly, motorists will be free to enjoy the history and beauty of Route 66 bridges knowing that preservation and safety issues have been equally addressed.


Pemco Gas Station Rehabilitation
Location: Tulsa, Oklahoma
Applicant: Private Owner
NPS Grant: $13,060               Cost-Share Match: $13,060

With its tilted façade and soaring butterfly canopy, the 1950’s PEMCO gas station located on Route 66 in Tulsa is a roadside gem. After closing its doors as a gas station, it took on a variety of other uses including a car lot and architecture studio, ultimately becoming vacant for many years. Today, the station stands as an excellent example of relatively unaltered, mid­century modern roadside architecture.

Although the property sat neglected for many years, new owners are now breathing new life into the building. With NPS grant assistance, the station will undergo repairs to the roof, exterior façade, concrete walkways, pump canopy, and electrical system. As part of the revitalization, the building will house a new Route 66 curio shop and event space, joining a host of other new businesses in the up-and-coming Route 66 Meadow Gold District of Tulsa. (Photo credit: Alexis Balbontin) 


Threatt Filling Station Historic Structures Report
Location: Luther, Oklahoma
Applicant: Private Owners
NPS Grant: $5,000             Cost-Share Match: $5,000

The Threatt Filling Station was constructed circa 1915 along State Highway 7 by Allen Threatt, Sr. on land homesteaded by the family during the Oklahoma Land Run. After State Highway 7 became US 66, a grocery and a cafe known as “The Junior” were added. The Threatt Filling Station served locals and travelers along Route 66 through the 1920’s, the Great Depression, the War Years, and the Post-War Boom, finally closing in the 1950’s. Currently vacant, the property has been in the Threatt family for over 100 years.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Threatt Filling Station is historically significant for its association with Route 66 and as an example of an African-American owned business on the highway during the era of segregation. Travel could be difficult in the early days, and African-Americans had even more difficulty, as they were not always welcome at roadside businesses, including service stations. This station catered to those who might be turned away elsewhere. Grant funds will assist with the preparation of a Historic Structures Report, which will include a thorough history of the building, condition assessment, measured drawings, and a preservation plan for the restoration of the station. The goal is to establish an interpretive center in the station that celebrates the history and contributions of the Threatt family, and African American experiences in Oklahoma.


Route 66 Gasconade River Bridge Study
Location: Hazelgreen, Missouri
Applicant: Gasconade Guardians
NPS Grant: $6,000              Cost-Share Match: $6,000

The Gasconade River Bridge was constructed from 1922-1924 and is one of the few bridges remaining that has supported traffic on Route 66 since its commissioning in 1926. The long-standing Parker through truss bridge was constructed by Riley-Bailey Construction Company of St. Louis, and is eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

In 2014, the bridge was closed by the Missouri Department of Transportation in order to replace it with a modem structure. Scheduled for demolition as early as 2019, a grass-roots group of concerned citizens formed an organization to save the bridge. NPS grant funds will assist with the preparation of an engineering report to document the condition of the bridge and develop options and cost estimates for restoring the bridge for public use, which may include pedestrian, bike and/or automobile-related use. The report will not only create an important, permanent record of the bridge, but will also assist the ongoing effort to identify a new owner capable of carrying forward the vision to restore the bridge.


Ariston Cafe Neon Sign and Window Accent Restoration
Location: Litchfield, Illinois
Applicant: Ariston Cafe
NPS Grant: $10,250               Cost-Share Match: $10,250

Built in 1935, the Ariston Cafe is a quintessential example of the development of roadside cafes and restaurants along Route 66. Even during the midst of the Great Depression, restaurants remained a good choice for budding entrepreneurs who were trying to better their financial situation. Relatively inexpensive to build – the Ariston cost $4,221 – and requiring little labor beyond immediate family members, restaurants offered the possibility of a decent living, especially if they were located along a U.S. Highway such as Route 66.

For over 80 years, the Ariston has lived up to its name, which derives from the Greek word “Aristos,” meaning “the best.” Built, owned and operated by the same family until very recently, the building retains many of its character-defining features including its original booths, counter, dining area and kitchen. Also original to the building are the two neon signs on its front façade. NPS funds will assist with the restoration of these signs to operating condition, as well as neon window accents that were removed when they became inoperable in the mid-1970’s.


Route 66 Green Book Sites National Register Nominations
Location: Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica
Applicant: Taylor Made Culture
NPS Grant: $20,000              Cost-Share Match: $20,000

Route 66 is widely recognized around the world as an icon of 20th-century America, emphasizing personal mobility and pursuit of the American Dream. However, the experience of driving and working on the road was not the same for everyone. Route 66 was a mirror-reflection of the social values of the time, and its history can tell many of the deeper and sometimes painful stories about American life in the first half of the 20th century. This includes stories of racial discrimination for African American and other travelers.

To travel safely on Route 66 during the Jim Crow era, black motorists used the “Green Book.” Published from 1937 to 1967, the Green Book was a travel guide written by Victor H. Green, a black postal worker from Harlem, New York. The Green Book listed businesses that served black travelers including hotels, restaurants, garages and other sites. Today, these sites reveal the little-told stories of African American entrepreneurs and travel experiences. They are physical evidence of racial integration, and provide a rich opportunity to reexamine America’s story of segregation, black migration, and the rise of the black leisure class. Grant funds will support a project to research and nominate eight Route 66 Green Book sites to the National Register. The research will be used for educational purposes including the development of a website that features the nominated sits. Listing on the National Register will also provide owners of those properties financial incentives for preservation.