Clinton - Hub City of
Conveniently located at the crossroads of I-40
and Highway 183, with
running right through the downtown business district, Clinton
earned the nickname, the Hub City of Western
community got its start when two men by the names of J.L. Avant and E.E.
Blake stood atop a boxcar looking over the countryside in 1899. Spying the fertile Washita River Valley, one of them said, "There's the
place to build a town." And so it began, but not quite that easy.
The land was
and the Federal Government specified that an
could sell no more than ˝ of his 160 acre allotment, and only then after
Congressional approval. To get around this stipulation, the men made
plans to purchase 320 acres from four different
to begin the small settlement of Washita Junction. However, the town
could not obtain approval, as a political feud developed between Washita
Junction and the nearby frontier town of Arapaho.
Finally, after several
years, the approval was granted in 1902 and almost overnight Washita
Junction developed into a town. The first businesses were the townsite office, a newspaper called the Custer County Chronicle,
and the First National Bank Building. When a post office was
started, the postal department would not accept the name of Washita
was chosen in honor of the late Judge
Irwin. When the Frisco Railroad came through,
became an important shipping center for the area.
66 motel sign in
Oklahoma, Kathy Weiser, May, 2004.
continued to grow and when
came straight through town, several new businesses sprang up,
including Pop Hicks Restaurant in 1936. Sadly, what became a
landmark icon as the longest running restaurant on
Route 66 burned down in 1999.
In 1942 the federal
government built a naval airfield at nearby Burns Flat, bringing
further prosperity to the area. It was during this decade that
the population of
grew to nearly 7,000 residents. In 1949, the airfield was deeded
to the City of
specifying that the land could be recaptured in case of national
Just five years later,
the government leased the site back and used it as the Clinton-Sherman
Air Force Base. Purchasing more land, the site soon expanded to
more than 3,500 acres, where both the U.S. Air force and the Navy
utilized the airfield for training purposes. When military
operations were de-emphasized, the
base was designated for closure in 1969. The entire complex was
deeded to the City of Clinton
in 1971 and three years later became the
Industrial Air Park.
was the one time home of the National Highway
66 Association which operated for almost thirty years beginning after
World War II. Though the association was disbanded in the 1980s,
it instilled in
an adhering interest in the Mother Road and the town became home to
the first state sponsored
Museum in the nation in 1995.
The largest attraction in
the city, it draws tens of thousands of visitors to
Clinton from all
over the world. Complete with nostalgic photographs, vintage
cars, and hundreds of
Route 66 era
artifacts, the museum provides a narrated journey of the Mother Road,
decade by decade.
The museum’s most recent
addition is a restored
Valentine Diner, an absolute "must see” along the
Route 66 journey. Between 1938 and 1972, the Valentine Manufacturing Company
built thousands of these diners which could be ordered through a catalog
for just $5,000.
Constructed as an eight-to-ten-seat diner,
just one or two people could operate these small cafés almost overnight. The diners were made to fit on railroad flat cars and came complete with a
grill, counter and stools.
The restored Valentine
Diner at the
once stood in
Texas. Opening in 1956, it was called the Porter House Café until it closed in
1964. The owners simply picked it up and moved it their back
yard where it sat for the next thirty-eight years, deteriorating in the
weather. However, the old diner still contained its fixtures during
its years of service. In 2002, the diner was restored and moved to
in 2003. Though it no
longer serves up a tasty array of hot dogs, burgers and fries, visitors
can still enjoy a root beer and a moon pie during special events of the
Across the street from the museum you can
see the Tradewinds Best Western Inn, that was once a favorite of Elvis
Presley, and further on down the line, look for Jiggs Smoke House, a small
cabin cafe that’s been selling barbecue for years.
you begin to head west on old
Route 66 keep your eyes open for any clue to the lost Mexican gold mining town of
Cascorillo. Allegedly this 1830's mining town was located somewhere
and Canute. In 1895, tales of the legendary mines set off a gold
rush; however, little gold was found and no trace of the town was ever
discovered. Legend or fact? Who knows, but the fun is in the
of America, updated July, 2011.
Historic Valentine Diner at Clinton's Route 66 Museum, November, 2005,
Legends' General Store
66 Posters & Prints - From Chicago to
Los Angeles, and everywhere in between, see colorful posters depicting
many of the icons, colorful business, and fun characters along the more
than 2,000 miles of the beloved
These are original designs that you
will NOT find anywhere else!
Posters measure 11"x17" are are produced on semi-glossy, 12 point