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January to March 2006

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.

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Roadside News - Wednesday, March 1, 2006

The End Of The Road For These Tucson Landmarks; Merced Sign Icon Torn Down

Tucson, AZ - Traveling through Tucson has always been like traveling through time to the days when unique roadside signage were the norm and not the exception. Familiar sights along the road have included the Ghost Ranch Lodge and the Ye Olde Lantern on Oracle.

The Ghost Ranch Lodge along the Miracle Mile closed down in 2005 to become affordable housing for the elderly. After over 60 years in business, the loss of the Ghost Ranch was felt in the roadside community. Well, now word has come in that another Tucson landmark, the Ye Olde Lantern restaurant has shut down after over 80 years as a restaurant and almost 50 in its current iteration. The Elks Lodge has purchased the building after the owners decided to move out of state.

Like many cities and small towns, the luster of Tucson's roadside is slowly dying away.


Merced, CA - A familiar sight as you travel along the Highway 99 in the Central California town of Merced is the huge marquee for the Pine Cone Inn. Located on the west side of the 99, the Pine Cone Inn features a can't miss sign and a heart-warming sight during the late nights traveling the 99, knowing that soon enough you will be reaching your destination for the night.

The Pine Cone Inn is no more. Letter by letter, the marquee was taken down leaving the highway with yet another familiar sight that has become a memory. Part of the road trip experience is seeing the familiar sights along the highway, whether as a beacon to remind you how close you are to returning home, or as a familiar friend to welcome your return. The Pine Cone Inn sign was such a familiar sight.

Many thanks to Jimmy Bowman for photos and alert about the Pine Cone Inn.

Roadside News - Friday, February 10, 2006

More News From The Mother Road

Fortunately not all updates from the road these days is grim. The following updates are direct from the author of the website. Please be sure to check for additional information.

Albuquerque, NM - Route 66 won a battle with El Vado Motel this week. The Albuquerque City Council voted 7-1 to give it landmark status effective June 1, which gives it protection against the wrecking ball. Included is a moratorium against any demolition permits to the property prior to June 1. The mayor and city did not want it to come down.


Tucumcari, NM - The Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, NM, is under contract to be purchased. No official word yet on the owners; we ought to know more in a few weeks once the deal closes. Fortunately, there are assurance that this Route 66 treasure will continue to be run as a motel.

Many thanks to Ron Warnick of for above updates.

Roadside News - Thursday, February 9, 2006

A Brief Update With Info on More Roadside Losses

Las Vegas, NV - Months seem like an eternity when it comes to lost roadside treasures. In Las Vegas, weeks are an eternity.

It was quite a shock to see Fremont Blvd. and the Valley Motel without its western themed neon sign. When Fremont lost the giant Ugly Duckling sign, it was a disappointment. Losing the great neon sign of the Valley Motel to a backlit plastic sign is a real shame.

Casinos come and casinos go. At least that appears to be the latest Vegas theme. Or rather, it's condos come and casinos go. As widely reported, the Showboat/Castaways is just a lot with large mounds of rubble, though a couple of the marquees still remain. The Boardwalk is now boarded up. The Westward Ho is walled and also boarded up. Bourbon Street has already met the wrecking ball and is partially demolished. Even the venerable Stardust Hotel is scheduled to disappear, to be replaced by a mega-resort. It's amazing how the valet's can keep their attitudes up as they have given the uncertainty of the Stardust. Must have been the pleasant conversation about digital SLR's... gadgets will do that to you. Word is the Frontier and the Tropicana are also in danger. Not to mention the Riviera and the Imperial Palace. There was a bulldozer at the Lady Luck though the casino was open for business.

More info on other places that have changed or disappeared as well as both pre and current photos to come in the next few days.


Dallas, TX - Now you see them now you don't. Oh, we're talking about the Circle Inn and Prince of Hamburgers of Dallas, TX. Yes, the Circle and Prince have joined the Armet and Davis coffee shop EZ Burgers at the roadside treasure chest in the sky. The Circle Inn lot is planned for a light rail system. Photos and more info to come!

Many thanks to Mary Schlepphorst for this info and soon to come photos.


Route 66 - Changes are also underfoot along The Mother Road. A recent trip to the great NM Route 66 town of Gallup showed quite a few closed landmarks, including the Ranch Kitchen, Kristy's Coffee Shop, the Paramount Cafe, the Shalimar Inn, and others. Not to mention the loss of the Log Cabin Motel which had been vacant for quite some time. The El Vado in Albuquerque has been on a seesaw for sometime with the new owner wanting to tear down this landmark.

Now, after perusing the Route 66 News website with its daily news information about the Mother Road, shocking is the right term for the news that the Diamonds Restaurant near Pacific, MO may soon become rubble. During a visit to the site, most recently a couple of years ago, the building was completely vacant, so I guess this news is as much of a shock after all. Not as much of a surprise as when the Red Garter Inn announced that it was closing. Now, what's was really gut-wrenching to read is that The Chain of Rocks Motel marquee was replaced by an Economy Inn plastic sign. The Chain of Rocks sign was always a delight to stop and see as it was not too far from the Chain of Rocks Bridge and the remains of the Bel Air Drive-in. I recommend reading the Route 66 News website routinely as the updates are well written and updates are daily.

More info coming soon on some lost treasures here in California as well as photos of all of the locations discussed here.

Roadside News - Monday, January 2, 2006

Allegany Landmark Demolished

Allegany, NY - As stated in a December update to the site, the landmark Castle Restaurant in Allegany, NY is being demolished. In its place will be some sort of strip mall.

Demolition in progress 12/19/05
Photo courtesy Dave Wagner

According to the November 28, 2005 edition of the Olean Times Herald, the demolition crew began tearing down the Castle Restaurant for a mixed-use project, including retail shops and restaurant, office space, and residential units. According to the newspaper's source, the Castle began life as gas station.

Demolition almost complete 12/26/05
Photo courtesy Dave Wagner

See more photos at Lost Treasures.

Many thanks to Dave Wagner for photos and update.




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