Route 66 Rising.

Route 66 Rising

Field review by the editors.

Tulsa, Oklahoma

Over 30 feet high and 70 feet long, "Route 66 Rising" was dedicated on July 2, 2019. It's a giant, gray Route 66 shield sign with "Tulsa" at the top, half-submerged in the ground, surrounded by swirls of tan and teal. Sculpted by Eric F. Garcia from New Mexico -- another state along Route 66 -- it cost $682,000. Garcia said that the sculpture reflects the hope that the Mother Road offered in the Great Depression, although that hope -- at least for poor Oklahoma farmers -- was to go west and get the hell out of Oklahoma.

The sculpture stands in the Avery Traffic Circle, built on the site of Cyrus Avery's "old alignment" Route 66 motor court, which had a gas station, restaurant, and tourist cabins. Avery was "The Father of Route 66" and his granddaughter Joy attended the dedication. In his dedication speech, Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell said that the sculpture was "really demonstrating that Route 66 is red hot."

The choice of gray for the Route 66 sign is odd, and with its tilted angle -- like a stricken ocean liner -- and no visual cues that it's emerging from the ground, the sculpture could also be viewed as "Route 66 Sinking." Some local critics called it "Route 66 Rusting" because it stood in the traffic circle for several months before receiving its final coat of paint.

Route 66 Rising

S. Mingo Rd, Tulsa, OK
East side of the city, just west of the Mingo Valley Expy. From Route 66 turn north at the stoplight onto S. Mingo Rd. Drive north one mile. The sculpture will be straight ahead, in the traffic circle at the intersection of S. Mingo Rd and E. Admiral Place.
Lit at night. Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Route 66 Interpretive PlazaRoute 66 Interpretive Plaza, Tulsa, OK - < 1 mi.
Big Big "Liquid Life" Bottle, Tulsa, OK - 2 mi.
VW Bug on Spider-LegsVW Bug on Spider-Legs, Tulsa, OK - 2 mi.
In the region:
Walk Under Route 66, Chelsea, OK - 36 mi.

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September 21, 2020

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