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The Nocturnal Photography of Noel Kerns

RESURRECTING THE GHOSTS OF
ROUTE 66

Article and photos by Noel Kerns
Like many Americans, I’ve long had an infatuation with the mystery and freedom of the open road; the insatiable desire to simply get in your car, head out on the highway, and drive…to see what you can see, to embark on an adventure that takes you to places you’ve never been and didn’t even know existed. In this vein, Route 66, the mythical “Mother Road”, has long held a particular fascination for me, with its unique roadside attractions, the art-deco & googie style architecture of her buildings, and stretches of unparalleled scenic beauty.

It was with this spirit in mind that I set out on a three-day adventure to drive and photograph the stretch of Route 66 between Oklahoma City and New Mexico. Of course, since I specialize primarily in night photography, almost all of the images from this three part series were taken after dark, and I hope that you find, as I do, that these old decaying roadside spots take on a new, special beauty when captured by moonlight.

ROUTE 66
Between Oklahoma City and New Mexico
A three-day adventure - in three states - in three parts

PART I -
El Reno, Oklahoma to Shamrock, Texas
MAP >

Route 66 El Reno Drive-In Theatre in El Reno, Oklahoma

All that’s left of the El Reno Drive-In Theater in El Reno, Oklahoma. The screen building is now home to a collection of random junk.

Route 66 Oklahoma TEXACO station ghost sign
TE_AC_ in Oklahoma
Route 66 Hydro Oklahoma Lucille' gas station

Lucille Hammon's Filling Station in Hydro, Oklahoma.
On the National Register of Historic Places

Phillips 66 gas pump at Lucille's filling station, Hydro, Oklahoma
A well-restored Phillips 66 gas pump at Lucille Hammons Filling Station in Hydro, Oklahoma.
Route 66 Drive-In ticket booth, Weatherford, Oklahoma
The Route 66 Drive-In Ticket booth, Weatherford, Oklahoma
Route 66 Drive-In Concession stand and screen, Weatherford, Oklahoma
The Route 66 Drive-In Concession stand and screen
Route 66 looking in Drive-In ticket booth, Weatherford, Oklahoma
In the Red (at the Route 66 Drive In)
Kobel’s Place, Foss, Oklahoma
Kobel’s Place, Foss, Oklahoma
Kobel’s Place, Foss, Oklahoma
Kobel’s Place was a well-known fuel stop along the old “Mother Road”. Located in Foss, Oklahoma, it now stands rotting away, with several large areas of the wooden floor already missing from years of decay and neglect. So many old places like this one along Route 66 are slowly fading into history, forgotten stepping stones to the conveniences we enjoy today when we travel our modern super-highways.
Texola Crossroads (Route 66 and Grand)
Texola Crossroads (Route 66 and Grand)
"Zapped" Abandoned Station in Texola, Route 66
"Zapped" Abandoned Station in Texola
Tower Conoco Station, Shamrock Texas, Route 66

Tower Conoco

Restored by the city of Shamrock, the magnificent art-deco “Tower” Conoco Station in Shamrock, Texas looks exactly as it did during it’s heyday, complete with the U Drop Inn Café signage at the right side of the photo. Sadly, the old station no longer sells gas or food; it’s now the Chamber of Commerce building for the city of Shamrock.

© Noel Kerns

See Part I - MAP >
Part II - Shamrock to Amarillo, Texas
>

Route 66 - Book Hotel Here >
Shamrock Hotels | Amarillo Hotels
See Route 66 in Texas




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