CommunityPecan FestivalTourismTravel

Deep Fork District Promotes Route 66 Towns

Arcadia, Luther, Wellston, Warwick, Chandler, Davenport

Bison Blinds

We drive it every day. We know where the speed limit is strictly 45 mph, and the stretches where its 65 mph. We know where the passing lanes are to get past a tractor. We know the curves and the landmarks. We can tell how busy The Chicken Shack is on a weekend night, and marvel at the long line at Butcher Barbecue before Noon. We pass the motorcycle museum in Warwick on the way to Chandler with its cute downtown and if we have a little time, we can walk the bricked streets in Davenport and marvel at the murals on just about every downtown building.

Attractions in the Deep Fork District of OK 66.

We see the seasons come and go through the dormancy of winter, the budding of spring, the green of summer when the travelers come, and a bit of foliage in the fall. Those cross timbers, with their brown leaves that stick to the limbs, don’t do much for us when it comes to autumn color. We get our winter color from the winter wheat fields.

We get to hear the music at the Arcadia Round Barn every weekend. Thanks Joe Baxter.

It’s our part of 66 where the Mother Road and the Deep Fork river cross each other, giving us historic bridges, and honey holes for fishing. While it is the path of our commutes to get from Point A to Point B, we also know of the draw Route 66 has for travelers from all over the world. There’s even a Route 66 association in The Czech Republic and many guidebooks to direct motorists, motorcyclists and bicyclists on the route from Santa Monica to Chicago.

Bridge over the Deep Fork River on Route 66 in Luther (1979). Photo via Gateway to Oklahoma History.

On the state level, Lt Governor and Tourism Secretary Matt Pinnell has focused on Route 66 tourism. The energy has led to some dreaming for the communities in east central Oklahoma. The dreaming led to meetings and action.

The meetings began with John Cobb, administrator, Town of Wellston and Kimberlee Adams, community affairs manager, OGE, and Dawn Shelton, publisher of The Luther Register and founder of the Luther Pecan Festival and grew to include others from the member towns, businesses, leaders and cheerleaders, who could make it to our inconvenient meeting times, wedged between other meetings, duties and work.

Before we knew it, the Deep Fork District of Route 66 was born. Doesn’t that have a catchy sound? The Deep Fork District is a lot more catchy than the group’s first working name, Central Oklahoma Route 66 Community Association, or CORCA. That name was going to win zero creativity awards.

Recent organizing meeting for the Deep Fork District representing Arcadia, Luther, Wellston, Warwick, Chandler and Davenport

The Deep Fork District continues organizing and working on the BIG question, how do we fund it? What’s your idea? We’ve talked membership, donations, grants and begging. But when dreams turn to action, we have to start somewhere. We want to tell everyone! So we have a logo, and a Deep Fork District OK 66 page. In less than 12 hours, with some of that including overnight sleeping/insomnia time, the page drew about 300 followers. THANK YOU. Goal is 300 thousand followers, or more. Actually, we are dreaming bigger – we want two million followers, a great sampling of the number of neighbors all around us from Oklahoma City, Tulsa, Shawnee, Edmond and Norman. Do we have an escape for them?

The logo depicts our distinctive of being on Route 66, our location connected to the Deep Fork River and our member spots including Arcadia, Luther, Wellston, Warwick, Chandler and Davenport.

It’s an unscientific fact but one well-observed correlation that with each mile you can drive without getting stopped at the “longest stoplight in the history of the world,” the weight of the world falls off your shoulders. Being able to sit up tall without that city chaos on you is perfect for enjoying the slower road and the quiet view on Route 66. Only one of our Deep Fork member towns even has a stoplight! Maybe two. But it’s never a contest we will have.

What do we want our city neighbors to know? About about our restaurants. From local diners to foodie fare, coffee shops and chicken and barbecue so good they’ve received some some great hype, and reviews. About our murals. Thanks Bob Palmer. About Historical markers and attractions. Thank you Pops. About our shopping options, featuring a refreshing lack of box stores (no offense to box stores), that feature local art, skin care, jewelry, antiques, clothing and more, plus shop owners with smiles (no offense to unhelpful unsmiling retail staff). About our events like the Luther Pecan Festival, our farmer’s markets, event venues and a place to hike with a llama. The Deep Fork District is where you’ll be hearing about more events. Hint, Wellston has something in the hopper.

As Cobb said, our part of 66 is so close to population centers, visitors could day trip the Deep Fork District out to explore, shop and dine, and be back home within an hour. Or they could stay a while longer and take the turnpike home.

“Improvement makes straight roads, crooked roads, without improvement, are roads of genius,” William Blake.

The quote from Blake was shared by famed author Michael Wallis during a recent Route 66 gathering put on by the Lt. Governor and the Oklahoma Tourism Department.

At the recent Route 66 stakeholders meeting at the Oklahoma History Center.

Would you share a comment below about your favorite spots in the Deep Fork District? Would you also give the Deep Fork District page a like and a share?


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