Route 66 museum opens in time for Fun Run

Toby Orr cut the ribbon Thursday to open the Powerhouse Route 66 Museum that has been his - and Kingman's - dream for the past 10 years.

"Toby is the one person without whom we would not be standing here," Karen Goudy said.

"His vision and persuasion took a pigeon infested hunk of old concrete and turned it into a vibrant visitor center."

Goudy is the former museum director who spent the past year leading the effort to complete the museum in time for the 75th anniversary of the 1926 opening of Route 66.

A former director of the Mohave Museum of History and Art, Goudy was talked out of retirement by Orr to lead the museum project.

Historic Route 66 Executive Director and City Councilman Tom Spear called the nearly completed museum "amazing."

"This is the culmination of 10 years of a community-wide effort," he said.

"It makes me proud to be part Kingman and share the community with so many talented people, many of whom volunteered time and donated to this effort."

Goudy said she is both proud and relived to see the museum come to completion.

"The job was made easier by the many volunteers and the board that helped put this all together," she said.

Goudy has turned the museum over to new director Paul Snyder and is returning to her retirement.

Robert Smith brought his family to see the completion of a project he contributed to by tinting windows.

"The displays are so realistic and detailed," he said.

His teen children used words like "cool" and "neat."

Mohave Museum of History and Art directors Buffalo Hayden and Dan Messersmith said the museum is a "great addition" to Kingman's history.

They have discussed a joint admission arrangement with the two museums with each directing visitors to the other facility.

Goudy said the exhibit committee made her workload light.

Bob and Carma Yost were expert exhibit builders with a sharp eye for detail.

Doris Lightwine painted the mural in the street scene looking up Fourth Street to the courthouse.

Sandy Rusinko painted the murals at the entrance and all the backdrops in the street scene buildings.

Bob Aune donated items for the service station and made a gem out of the Studebaker donated by Larry and Sharon Butler.

Goudy had special thanks for Dave Heiselman and Dick Stokes, two talented carpenters who work for T.

R.

Orr Construction.

"They are can-do guys who got the cars in the building and designed and built the street scene buildings using a drawing by Doris (Lightwine) and a couple of photographs."

Nora Spear at JBS Dolls made the life-size figures in the displays.

Jack Cunningham built the display cases, Dave Coffman advised on the lighting and Maria Hough did the street lettering, completing the task after surgery.

A theater on the first floor of the museum features videos about Route 66 and its history and the spirit of the people who make the history of Route 66 live.

Park benches along the museum route allow visitors to stop and reflect on the story of transportation along the 45th parallel and Kingman's part in that history.

The museum officially opens Saturday.