Sapulpa, Oklahoma

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After the big city feel of Tulsa, and then the industrial area that followed, Sapulpa, Oklahoma welcomes you back to what the old Route is all about: small town America.

Between downtown Tulsa and Sapulpa, Route 66 follows I-244 through a mostly industrial area, then turns away from the urban sprawl, following the railroad tracks along Southwest Boulevard (which turns into Frankhoma Road).  This part of the drive travels an old portion of the road, that’s mostly rural with a few homes, but not a lot of traffic.  Route 66 joins US Alt-75 briefly, while following OK Rte. 66 for the drive through downtown Sapulpa.

Sapulpa has a street called Main Street, but you get the real “main street” feeling along Dewey Boulevard, which is also Route 66.  Aside from clean sidewalks and businesses that are still open, Sapulpa’s most attractive features are…

… the newly repainted signs on the sides of brick buildings.  The town has carefully restored these “ghost signs” to match their original beauty.  From this sign, advertising hardware and buggies…

… to this one, for the City Drug Store and ice cream fountain, the restored wall signs are quite impressive, and give you an idea of what downtown Sapulpa would have looked like as much as 100 years ago.

I’m surprised Sapulpa doesn’t make a bigger deal about its restored ghost signs.  The project only gets a brief mention, and no pictures, on the chamber’s website.  The chamber explains that the old signs have been restored, using funds raised by local school children and private donors.

Not all of Sapulpa’s old ghost signs have been repainted, which is good, too.  (Notice the sign in the upstairs window, advertising a surgeon.)

Wander one block north of Dewey Street, and you’ll find even more old buildings and painted alleys.

Note: This trip was first published in 2008.

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