Many of the towns known along the Texas portion of Route 66 were started as railroad towns. The Rock Island Railroad established stations across the Texas panhandle. Ranching and farming were also important to the economy. During the Dust Bowl years, many farms in the Texas panhandle suffered the fate of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl
and people moved on West, many via Route 66. After World War II, tourism was a boon to the economy and many small Route 66 towns did rather well. Once Interstate Highway 40 siphoned off the tourists, many of these small towns fell into disrepair. You can still travel portions of Route 66 in Texas and happen across some great mementos of the era and even dine in a Route 66 diner.
Route 66 - East to West
Texas Route 66 Reference Maps
- The name Shamrock was first suggested by Irish immigrant sheep rancher George Nickel. In Shamrock you can see the famous business, a holdout of old Route 66, the Tower Service Station and U-Drop Inn. The building has been lovingly restored.
- Murals along Main St.(old U.S. 66) depict the history of McLean. A restored 1930s Phillips 66 station lies on old westbound U.S. 66 road and is considered one of best re-created sites by the Old Route 66 Association.
– Alanreed is almost a ghost town at this point. However there are some remnants of Route 66 which are worth a visit. For example, Alanreed Church, founded in 1904, is the oldest church on Texas Route 66.
- Groom was named after Colonel B.B. Groom who established a ranch in the area. Groom was an important Route 66 stop. Westbound travelers breathed a sigh of relief upon reaching this point.
– There isn’t much in Conway anymore. But you can have a look at the “Bug Farm” with five VW beetles buried nose down adjacent to the Trading Post.
– Spend a while in Amarillo. You can shop for antiques and collectibles right on Historic Route 66, one of the city’s first residential and business districts. Located along an original stretch of historic Route 66, the street features historic buildings that once housed theatres, cafes and drug stores and are now antique, craft and specialty shops. Some of Amarillo’s most unique dining experiences are along Historic Route 66. Located along 6th Ave. between Georgia and Western Sts. Amarillo is where you can see the “Cadillac Ranch
– Bushland is west of Amarillo, another of the small Texas panhandle towns on Route 66.
– The town was founded as a railroad stop. Just like the folks from the dustbowl in Oklahoma, Wildorado residents loaded up their belongings seeking a better life and headed down Route 66. After WWII, Wildorado enjoyed a brief boom when tourists traveled Route 66.
- The name Vega was chosen for this little town because it reflected the surrounding country side; Vega is Spanish for meadow. The town, a typical Route 66 stop, once had motels, a drive-in restaurant and gas station. You can still see some remnants of old Route 66 buildings in Vega. When in Vega, seek out the old cold storage building at 105 N. 12th. Dot Leavitt and her husband arrived in Vega in the 1940s and remodeled a building one block north of Route 66. Today, Old Route 66 ends at Dot's Mini Museum, which includes a wonderful display of Western artifacts and Route 66 memorabilia.
– Adrian is another town that was established because of the railroad. As businesses developed, Adrian became known as the midpoint of Route 66 between Chicago and Los Angeles, a popular stopping place for Mother Road travelers. Today, you can still stop at the Midpoint Café in Adrian. There are other Route 66 remnants such as the “Bent Door” trading post.
– Glenrio is another little down that has fallen into disrepair. Portions of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath were filmed in Glenrio. Now you can see a few buildings from the Route 66 era in Glenrio, all in a state of shambles.
Next... On to New Mexico