In our community, most of us are familiar with the story of the Threatt Filling Station, and the legacy of the family’s patriarch, Allen Threatt, Senior. As a Black man in the Jim Crow era, he built his filling station on the land he had purchased and farmed, built thriving businesses, and raised a family that continues to honor him, more than 70 years after his passing. Right here in Luther.
The Threatt Legacy represents stories of perseverance, kindness, faith, success – all on our beloved Route 66, in Luther.
We know the story of the station, or we should. Still, each time a documentarian, podcast creator, or author tells it, the Threatt legacy of rich history and deep hope comes across in new inspiring ways. It happened again with a new episode from Vanishing Postcards, a podcast for backroad wanderers. This season focuses on Route 66.
The podcast episode is called This Place Matters, about the Threatt station on the corner of Highway 66 and County Line, on the edge of Luther’s town limits.
In an email exchange with The Luther Register, creator Evan Stern said there’s a lot more to Route 66 than milkshakes and tail fins, and believes its full history must be explored for it to endure.
“A great irony exists in the fact that while Nat King Cole was the first to popularize the song, ‘Get Your Kicks on Route 66,’ as a black traveler, motoring west would have hardly been a leisure trip for him. With this in mind, I knew that I had to somehow include a piece that touched on the segregation era, as well as its role as an artery during the Great Migration.
“I asked author Michael Wallis if he knew of any people and places that bore witness to this chapter, and he immediately told me of the Threatts who graciously welcomed me with open arms.
“Over the course of my trip, I drove 6,845 miles, spoke with over 100 people, and was privileged to see and experience many impressive sites. But the Threatt Filling Station is one I have vowed to return to, and hope its renovation will inspire others to pull over to reflect and learn before hitting Pops or The Round Barn,” Stern told The Luther Register.
Treat yourself to a listen. It’s a 30-minute show that will leave you inspired and maybe move you to want to help. Since Stern’s visit to Luther earlier this year, renovation work has begun with local contractor Holman Construction. Ed Threatt said construction costs have skyrocketed, and more fundraising is underway to meet the goal of having the station re-opened as a visitor center by the Route 66 Centennial Celebration in 2026.
Give to the Threatt Filling Station’s nonprofit organization here. Because This Place Matters.