Travel & Outdoors | 31 May 2017Thirteen Amazing Miles Share article facebook twitter google pinterest The shortest stretch of Route 66 is the 13 miles that run through Kansas. It was is also the only state that was bypassed when the new interstate highway replaced Route 66. In recent years there has been a resurgence of interest in Route 66, including these 13 amazing miles through The Sunflower State. In Kansas, the resurgence has come from locals and tourists alike. Read more about this below from Route 66: America’s Longest Small Town. Resurgence in Kansas In what started as a Kan-O-Tex service station at 119 North Main Street and the former site of the Bank’s Hotel (demolished in 1933), the three-way stop corner where Route 66 enters Galena is Cars on the Route, a landmark in the history of the Route 66 renaissance as well as a destination for countless Route 66 enthusiasts. Acquired by four women, Betty Courtney, Melba Rigg, Rigg’s sister Renee Charles, and Judy Courtney in 2007, the decrepit old service station mirrored the faded mining town of Galena. As renovations on the building progressed, and its transformation into a snack bar and souvenir shop developed, Melba would often stand on the corner handing out bottled water to travelers and invite them to stop. That simple beginning was the catalyst for the dramatic transformation of a community whose population had plummeted from 30,000 in 1905 to 2,995 in 2013. Now, Cars on the Route is a destination in itself. The increasing number of travelers who stopped at the station inspired Mayor Dale Oglesby to facilitate innovative cooperative partnerships between business owners, property owners, and the city of Galena. The results are most impressive. A long-abandoned late-nineteenth-century home across the street has been miraculously saved from imminent collapse and transformed into the “murder bordello,” a bed and breakfast that capitalizes on the city’s infamous Staffelback murders. Colorful murals and pocket parks have replaced debris-strewn vacant lots. Reproduction historic-styled street lamps add to the pleasant feel of the community. New businesses are opening, including several restaurants. Ed Klein, developer of the popular Route 66 World website and Facebook page, recently purchased the former Front Street Garage complex that closed decades ago. His long-term plans for the property include a museum dedicated to the Ford Model A, a White Rose Gas Museum, and a small, replicated 1940s diner. In a recent interview, Klein noted, “This is a longterm project. The next few years will have the façade and storefront brought back to the way it looked in 1947, and then the focus will be turned toward the inside.” When asked about the dramatic changes taking place in Galena and along the Route 66 corridor, Klein said, “We need to get new tourists on the route at an increased level each and every year. I believe we are doing this, but at a slower pace than we should. Also, I see more and more everyday folks taking a risk and purchasing Route 66 businesses, which are good for the route as well as the tourist.” Harnessing the resurgent interest in Route 66 as a catalyst for revitalization is transforming the former mining town. During the 2013 Route 66 International Festival, a special concert by the Road Crew held in Galena attracted several thousand people who filled the streets, shops, and restaurants. During the 2014 Route 66 International Festival in Kingman, Arizona, Dries Bessels, president of the Dutch Route 66 Association, presented Melba Rigg a model of Four Women on the Route created by internationally acclaimed Dutch model builder Willem Bor. Buy from an Online Retailer US: UK: AU: Part legend, part nostalgia, part working highway, part touchstone to an America of the past, Route 66 is the only road in the United States that American and international visitors read about without leaving their homes. Route 66: America’s Longest Small Town takes the reader on a virtual roadtrip, telling about the highway’s legends, stories, people, and businesses that are the essence of the Route 66 experience. You will be introduced to the road’s past, present, and future, including a nostalgic look at vintage diners, signs, advertisements, and roadside attractions. Featuring all-new photography along the existing and former 2,000-mile route of the highway, this book, from America’s foremost Route 66 author, combines the nostalgia of a storied past with the intriguing realities of an evolving present to create an intriguing portrait of the Mother Road of America. Share article facebook twitter google pinterest If you have any comments on this article please contact us or get in touch via social media.