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January to March 2005

Welcome to Roadside Peek News. This section will feature a news peek of what's happening out on the road. While not pretending to be comprehensive, we hope you'll visit this section from time to time to keep up on just a sample of issues that are roadside related. Don't forget to check out the Roadside Peek main page for the day's update.

News from: Current | Q3 '04 | Q2 '04 | Q1 '04 | 2003 | 2002 | Main

Roadside News - Thursday, March 28, 2005

The Bambu Hut sign... gone in Ontario. Mr Lucky's luck runs out in Phoenix

Ontario, CA - The Bambu Hut sign has been a familiar sight for years along the busy boulevard in Ontario. Unfortunately time has caught up to the Bambu Hut marquee, much like it has to many of the other locations along Holt.

Bambu Hut
Photo courtesy Dan MacPherson

Many thanks to Dan MacPherson for update on the Bambu Hut sign.

Phoenix, AZ - Mr. Lucky's along Grand Ave in Phoenix has been serving the community with live music since the 1960's. However, this era has now ended. The website for Mr. Lucky's states "Mr. Lucky's has always been about and stood for supporting live music. Country, Rock, whatever. Unfortunately this is becoming harder to find. It's a sad thing. Please continue to support this dying art form and help keep the spirit of "THE KING" alive in the music. Thank you very much to all of you who have supported us for many years. We will miss you!"

Mr. Lucky's
Photo by

Authors note: Change has been setting in Phoenix and its neighboring communities and has now reached busy Grand Ave. The notable Glendale Cafe and its classic marquee was torn down a couple of years ago and now Mr. Lucky's looks like its now facing a more than uncertain future. What will happen to the massive joker marquee? What will be left in the area other than chain eateries and plastic signs?

Update 04/08: Workers are on location fixing it up for a reopening. Not sure if it will the same business though. Many thanks to Elgin MacMillan for update.

Roadside News - Thursday, March 11, 2005

More roadside losses in the Soutwest. The fate of a couple of roadside icons solved

San Gabriel, CA - Travelers passing through San Gabriel for the first time in years would be shocked to see the changes that have taken place, namely the removal of many reminders to yesteryear. One stalwart neon sign that looked for a time like it would survive the changes may now be in a scrap heap somewhere. That sign? The Melody Lounge.

Gardena, CA - Once prevalent in Southern California, roadside tiki treasures have become a rare sight. Well, Southern California can chalk up another loss with the removal of the Kona Kai sign in Gardena. The Kona Kai little man was removed and all that remains is a new plastic sign for the Ted's Liquor next door.

Glendale, AZ - Sitting alongside busy Grand Avenue in Glendale, AZ (suburb of Phoenix) is the familiar motel sign of the Trails End. Unfortunately, the Trails End has met its end. Back in the day, Grand was U.S. 60, a busy throughfare. A couple of months ago, the Arizona Department of Transportation tore down the Trails End because they are widening and building a tunnel for Grand Avenue, in the vicinity. Both the motel and sign are now gone.

Many thanks to Jodey Elsner for update on the Trails End.

Las Vegas, NV - According to the February 15, 2005 edition of the Las Vegas SUN, the Vegas Valley Properties purchased the site of the Travel Inn and Golden Inn motels on Las Vegas Boulevard near the eastern end of the Fremont Street Experience area. The Travel Inn site was subsequently sold to Barrick Gaming Corp., which is the same company that purchased four casinos from longtime downtown casino owner Jackie Gaughan, including the Plaza and Gold Spike. It appears that more condos will now be built.

We will be posting the before and after photos of the motel sites in a future update to Lost Treasures.


Farmington, NM - In the December 20, 2004 news flash, the roadside man at the Western Tire Store in Farmington, NM faced an uncertain fate as the business was closing down.

The Farmington Man has been purchased by Sun Glass and will be proudly displayed on its rooftop soon. The best news for locals is that the statue will remain in Farmington as it has for the past half decade.

Many thanks to George Pulley for update.


Whittier, CA - The Midas Man that used to occupy the rooftop of the Midas store on Whittier Boulevard has now been located. In February, we received the update the Midas Man, removed in 2003, was safe in storage.

Well, the Midas Man has now turned up in a yard in a town called Unger in West Virginia. He survived the cross country trip intact.

Many thanks to George Pulley for update.

Roadside News - Sunday, March 6, 2005

Another Tulsa treasure will shut its doors.

Tulsa, OK - The Rose Bowl bowling alley, not to be mistaken for the stadium by the same name in Pasadena CA, will shut its doors next Saturday 3/12/05.

The Rose Bowl Lanes was built in March of 1961 and is well known for its large arch at the entranceway with the pink "Rose Bowl" lettering.

Rose Bowl
Photo courtesy Charles Brock

All the bowling equipment will be removed.

Vintage postcard
Courtesy Rich Schmigle

Any future plans for the structure have not been communicated yet.

All the bowling equipment will be removed. Any future plans for the structure have not been communicated yet.

Many thanks to Rick Schmigle for news.


Authors note: It's sad to see yet another Route 66 treasure shut its doors. In this case, it's probably unlikely that the facility will reopen as a bowling alley, given AMF's recent history. Looks like Route 66 has lost another ten pin alley.

Roadside News - Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Tucumcari Tonite? A Roadside Icon Closes Down and is Put Up For Sale.

Tucumcari, NM - The Blue Swallow Motel, one of the best-preserved historic motels on Route 66, has been put up for sale, its owners have announced.

Hilda Bakke and her husband, Dale, who have owned the motel in Tucumcari, N.M., since 1998, are selling it so they can help care for a seriously ill relative in Minnesota.

"Time to pass the baton," Hilda Bakke wrote on a Route 66 Internet group.

The 12-unit motel, built in 1939, is known for its large, elaborate neon blue swallow sign, extensive
architectural neon, attached garages and old-style dial telephones in the rooms. The late Lillian Redman received the motel as an engagement gift in 1958 and ran it for nearly 40 years.

The Bakkes purchased the motel shortly before Redman's death and restored it. The Blue Swallow Motel is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and received the 2003 Cyrus Avery Award for the best restoration project on Route 66. It also is featured in several books, including the recently released "Hogs on 66," a collection of recipes and road lore from noted Route 66 authors Michael Wallis and Marian Clark.

The asking price for the motel is $165,000.

The Blue Swallow Motel is one of the most-photographed sites on Route 66. Smithsonian magazine said: "The Blue Swallow may be the last, best, friendliest motel in the country."

The Blue Swallow Motel is listed by Richard Randals of the New Mexico Property Group in Tucumcari. Randals can be reached at or by phone at
888-461-4426. Visit the Blue Swallow Motel's website or the realty group's website for more information about this historic property.

Many thanks to Ron Warnick for news and update.


Authors note: The Blue Swallow Motel is a legend, not only in Tucumcari, but for all of Route 66. The Bakkes have done tremendous work on the motel, operating the motel with care that would make former owner and proprietress Lillian Redman smile. The Blue Swallow Motel has been my pick during my travels through New Mexico and my thanks go out to the Bakkes for not only giving us a pleasant stay, but for keeping the Route 66 tradition alive.

My hopes are that the Blue Swallow will reopen and find a new owner that wlll put in the care that its previous owners have. Anything less would be a tragedy for all Route 66 and roadside travelers, both present and future.

Roadside News - Friday, February 11, 2005

Another roadside treasure from Nevada is torn down

Fallon, NV - This just in. Word is the 1953 Lariat Motel in Fallon, NV was torn down on Wednesday February 9, 2005. The fate of the fantastic neon sign is unknown.

Lariat Motel by day
Photo by
Lariat Motel by night
Photo by

Updated 6:30pm PST:

According to the Fallon Star Press, the Lariat Motel was torn down to make way for commercial development in the heart of the city. Although the motel buildings have been razed over, the new owners have donated the neon cowboy sign to the Churchill Arts Council. The sign will eventually be placed at Oats Park, on the opposite side of town.

Many thanks to Austin Metz for news and update.

Roadside News - Thursday, February 10, 2005

Pontiac sign in danger of being destroyed

El Monte, CA - The giant "Pontiac" neon sign south of the 10 freeway along Valley Blvd in El Monte is in danger of being demolished. This giant Indian head is outlined in yellow and red neon, with blue 4 point stars. It's huge and beautiful, all original.

Word on the street is that some "politically correct folks" are offended by it, even though it's been the Pontiac logo for years, and the Pontiac dealership has moved across the street. For some reason Pontiac is not allowed to use that logo anymore.

If you're interested in saving this roadside icon, please email me.

Many thanks to Dan MacPherson and Tom Rice for news.




News from: Current | Q3 '04 | Q2 '04 | Q1 '04 | 2003 | 2002 | Main



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Page Last Updated April 17, 2005