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Oklahoma Route 66

Miami

Oklahoma Route 66

 

Miami, Oklahoma is a vibrant Route 66 town that celebrates its Route 66 heritage. Part of that heritage includes a true Route 66 gem on this part of the Mother Road - the Coleman Theater. Miami (pronounced MY-AM-AH)  got its start back in 1890 as a trading post. In 1905 lead and zinc deposits were discovered in the area and the town boomed.
        

Route 66 in Miami
Route 66 winds through the Downtown Miami Historic District. Buildings here reflect the typical boom town optimism. The mines were going strong and   future held much promise.

Miami Historic District

 

Coleman Theater Zinc and lead-mining millionaire George   L. Coleman decided to bring a little culture to Miami and had a beautiful Spanish Revival Style theater build in his honor in 1929. This classic theater was used for vaudeville and movies alike. The Coleman theater has the distinction of never  having closed its doors in three-quarters of a century. Though the Coleman Theater never closed, it did fall on hard times as so many theaters did in the past few decades. In 1989 the theater was given to the City of Miami by the family of George Coleman, and has since undergone extensive restoration.
          
The beautiful Spanish Revival design makes the Coleman Theater stand out in downtown Miami. Over the years the original Wurlitzer organ disappeared. The city of Miami despaired of ever finding it again. But things sometimes have a habit of working out on Route 66. During the restoration process it was located in the collection of a Texas organ collector and generously returned to the Miami theater. Today the original Coleman Wurlitzer organ once again inspires audiences at the Coleman Theater.

Coleman Theater

       
Coleman Theater Organ
        
Coleman Theater Art The exterior of the Coleman Theater is an architectural wonder, but it only hints of the magical world inside. George Coleman spared no expense when building his show palace. Beautifully carved stairs with guilded statues light the way. Ornate, colorful ceilings and splendid furnishings impart a fairyland effect in this theater goers wonderland.

Coleman Theater Detail

 

 

The Ku Ku Drive In

        
Ku Ku Drive In During the 1960s, in an era of fast food franchising, the Ku-Ku Drive-Ins could be found all throughout the Midwest. The distinctive design of the building looked like a giant Ku-Ku clock and the bird at top chimed every hour. What a gimmick! In the mid-sixties there were over 200 Ku-Ku Drive-Ins in operation. But something happened and the food chain disappeared. Disappeared, that is, in all places but Miami, Oklahoma.

 

        
Owner Eugene Waylon bought this Miami drive-in three decades ago and has been in business here on Route 66 ever since. He operates the last of the Ku-Ku's and has become an icon of the road. These are the businesses that are on the verge of a new revival. People are starting to get off the Interstates and rediscovering national treasures like Miami's Coleman Theater and the Ku-Ku Drive-In.

Ku Ku Bird

 

Photographs Taken May, June 2003

Click on an area or city of Route 66 on the map below to take a cyber tour of that section of the  Mother Road

Travel Cyber Route 66 in Oklahoma

Go West on Route 66

NAVIGATION NOTE: Buckle up and hold on to your mouse! These pages are arranged like the map above, from the western state border to the eastern state border. I have set up this site as if you were traveling from EAST to WEST, much like the Joad family in The Grapes of Wrath. You can click on the Route 66 shields to "travel" the Mother Road in either direction though. Or you can select any shield below to take you to that specific state.

Go East on Route 66

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Oklahoma

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