A few remnants of Route 66’s heyday can be found, even before you arrive in Chelsea, Oklahoma. A few miles on the east side of town, the old neon sign (minus the glass tubes) of the Country Court motel still stands at the side of the road. The sign is in amazingly good condition — you might even think it’s been restored, if not for the dead tree limbs resting on it. The property is fenced off, and the owner clearly isn’t making an effort to preserve the old road relic.
Heading on in to Chelsea, you’ll pass a few buildings that are definitely showing their age, such as the old Cox Motor Company building (Phone Number 159, according to the ghost painting on the outside). The old building is empty, vacant, and open to the elements.
Downtown are a few freshly painted advertisements and a mural, proudly proclaiming Chelsea’s history as the site of Oklahoma’s first oil well, back in 1889.
As I wandered the streets of Chelsea, a woman stopped me and asked why I was taking pictures of her town. Maybe it’s the first time anyone had ever taken pictures of downtown Chelsea, or maybe I looked suspicious, and she was being vigilant.
Note: This trip was first published in 2008.