Monday, November 16, 2015

Route 66-Sayre and Erick


The Beckham County Courthouse, built in 1911 in Sayre Oklahoma, appeared for about 30 seconds in the background of the movie “Grapes of Wrath”

  The Western Motel with it’s original neon sign is still in business.


  The Stoval, built in 1950, is no longer a theater but the sign has been nicely restored


   Even though it was bypassed by I-40 in 1975 ( the last section of Route 66 in Oklahoma to be bypassed) Erick refuses to die. Every year the town hosts a Roger Miller Festival to honor it’s most famous hometown boy. We were familiar with Miller’s song “King of the Road” but that’s all so we visited the tiny Roger Miller Museum on the corner of Roger Miller Blvd and Sheb Wooley Ave. (yep, the guy who wrote “Purple People Eater” also lived in Erick!) We were surprised at the number of songs Miller wrote, the number of albums he recorded and the number of awards the received. And we even knew some of them like “Chug a Lug” and “England Swings”


  There’s not a lot going on in Erick so there’s plenty of parking along the side streets. A walk down Sheb Wooley Ave. is an interesting experience. Sandhills Curiosity Shop is covered on the outside with signs and filled on the inside with all kinds of stuff that Harley and Annabelle Russell collected. Nothing is for sale but tips are welcome. Harley and Annabelle loved entertaining visitors with songs and jokes. Sadly Annabelle passed away in 2014 but Harley still opens the shop occasionally.  It was closed when we passed through but the woman at the museum said we could try knocking on the door of his house. We didn’t. I think now that we should have.



   Most of the buildings along Sheb Wooley Ave. are closed so we peeked in the windows and found several of them we’re brimming with things. This one appears to be filled with both vintage items and garbage.



   The owners of the Bonebrake Hardware closed the store in the 1960s leaving everything in place. The city is hoping to acquire the building and turn it into a museum. They’re also in the process of opening the 100th Meridian Museum across the street from the Roger Miller Museum on a regular schedule rather than just by request.


  Watch for the West Winds Motel on the east edge of town. It was built of wood and stucco in the Mission style but the now trees block a good view of it.



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