Federal grant may restore neon sign at Route 66 motel

The 50-year-old neon sign at the Hill Top Motel could be restored through a National Park Service program dedicated to preservation of the cultural icons of Route 66.

Route 66 Corridor Preservation program manager Michael Taylor visited motel owner Dennis Schroeder on Thursday to discuss the application requirements.

Laura Stevens, operations manager for Historic Route 66 of Arizona, took Taylor and program assistant Kaisa Barthuli on a tour of historic places along the route from Seligman to Kingman and introduced them to property owners and others interested in Route 66.

The neon sign at the Frontier Motel in Truxton is another icon being considered for corridor preservation funding.

Taylor visited Angel Delgadillo in Seligman and talked to him while getting a haircut in Delgadillo 's internationally famous Route 66 barbershop.

The Delgadillo family has lived for several generations on Route 66 and Delgadillo is credited with saving the road when Interstate 40 opened and bypassed his Seligman barbershop.

The Harvey House and railroad offices in Seligman are being considered for renovation, and Taylor visited with the parties trying to get the project off the ground.

Congress passed the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Act in 1999 with the intent of creating a program of preservation assistance and grants.

Taylor said a majority of the 30 congressional districts along Route 66 are in rural areas with communities that need economic development which tourism could provide.

He visited Seligman, Truxton, Peach Springs and Kingman during his fact-finding tour from his Santa Fe, N.M., office.

Tom Spear, executive director of the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona, talked to Taylor and Barthuli about the plans of the local group to leverage funds from the annual Route 66 Fun Run for preservation projects in Arizona.

He told them of local landmarks and the tourism impact in Kingman of the 75-year-old highway.

"We recognize Route 66 as the top tourist attraction in Kingman," Spear said.

"The highway is internationally known and draws visitors from all over the world."

Taylor said the leveraging effort of groups like the Arizona Route 66 Association with other grant sources, including the Arizona Department of Transportation and the State Historical Preservation Commission, is the kind of effort the National Park Service likes to promote.

Stevens, Taylor and Barthuli visited the Powerhouse Visitor Center, the Route 66 gift shop and the recently completed Route 66 Museum.

Taylor said the distribution of guidelines and technical information by the National Park Service will be through a Web site, a technical resource guide and regular meetings with stakeholders along the route.

Route 66 extends from Chicago to Los Angeles through eight states and was the first highway across the west.

Taylor can be reached in Santa Fe at (505) 988-6742 and by email at michael_taylor@nps.gov.