* 21 … SHAPING HISTORY (10/30/2011)

The older couple had not intended to stay at the business all day, but they did, except for going to get food for themselves and the brothers around lunchtime. In between greetings Route 66 visitors, the conversation centered around the town, how it has evolved, and how the brothers’ parents helped shape it.

For a brief time after the loss of the train depot, many residents thought the town would become a ghost town. But, the brothers’ Dad and Mom spearheaded a campaign to keep interest in the town. In fact, it was the brothers’ parents that implored the local Route 66 association to help revive the town, given the association’s failure to keep the train depot. Thus, much to the state’s chagrin, the town council unanimously voted down a measure that would’ve dealt a further blow, declaring in part that the town “was a Route 66 treasure and, with the backing of the local Route 66 association, we will move forth with plans to restore more structures to keep interest in our town, and Route 66, alive for current and future generations. Any and all future attempts to devalue this town will not be taken lightly and will be fought to the fullest extent we are able.”

What most in the town didn’t know, at that time, was that the town’s newest business owners had been the driving force behind the revitalization of the town. The shopkeeper and his wife, however, did know and became fast friends with the newest family in town. Over the next several years, a few buildings received much-needed restoration work, including the shopkeepers’ business, and interest in the town increased to the point that it became a “must stop” destination along Route 66. It wasn’t until the death of the sibling’s Dad that it fully came to light just how much of a roll he and his wife had played in breathing life back into the town.

Furthering the discussion that day between the brothers’ and the shopkeeper and his wife was a surprise visit by author and blogger, Jim Hinckley, who was traveling Route 66 and was in the process of visiting several people and places, including Becky at Becky’s Barn, Rich at Henry’s Ra66it Ranch, Gary in Missouri, Melba at 4 Women On the Route, Laurel at Afton Station, Dawn at the Rock Cafe, Fran at the MidPoint Cafe, Angel in Seligman, and others. Jim shared some of the research he had done about the town as an “almost” Ghost Town….

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