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Texas Route 66

Groom Area

Texas Route 66

 

Groom Sunset

Groom, Texas is another railroad town that dates back to 1902. Its main industry was cattle, wheat and maize. Groom was named after Colonel B.B. Groom who established a prosperous ranch in the area. Route 66 kept the town going, and west bound travelers breathed a sigh of relief upon reaching this outpost along the Mother Road. It meant they had crossed the infamous Jericho Gap and lived to tell the tale. Of course if you were heading east it was a different story; the worst was yet to come. In 1946 Rittenhouse gives the population at 475 with the tourist amenities being a small hotel, Wall's cafe and several others; gas; garages; stores.
     
Today the town boasts of the famous and neck-turning "Leaning Tower of Texas. This is a water tank that leans precariously to one side. One leg of the Britten USA water reservoir is actually shorter than the others. This was done to catch the tourist's eye and get them to stop in Groom. A bit of marketing to help this old Route 66 town bypassed by the Interstate.

Britten Tower Catches Your Eye

Tower Restaurant Sign

The Tower Lounge and Restaurant is now a memory of Route 66. It burned a few years back. Today all that is left to remind one of this Route 66 attraction is the unique Tower Restaurant sign. Notice the Britten Water Tank in the distance.

 

Memories of Route 66 in Groom, Texas

Groom 66 Courts

Old Groom Gas Station

Lonely relics of the Mother Road line Groom's Route 66

 

Groom Sunset

Groom Cows

    

Groom 66 Courts Against the  Western Sky

Groom 66 Courts Sign

 

Largest Cross in the Northern Hemisphere

Travelers can reflect on higher things as they pass by ...

Another attraction for the Interstate traveler is the Groom Cross, visible for miles as you approach this panhandle town. Though it doesn't date back to the days of Route 66 it is an attraction that is definitely in the spirit of the old Mother Road.

The Groom Cross is located between Interstate 40 and old Route 66 going west out of Groom, Texas. It was built by Steve Thomas of Pampa, Texas in 1995. Mr. Thomas, disgusted with the huge billboards advertising XXX pornography locations along I-40 wanted to make a public profession of faith along the Interstate. Originally he wanted to put up his own billboard with Bible verses but could never find the appropriate verse. Instead, inspired by a cross built by a rancher in Ballinger, Texas, Mr. Thomas knew that he would build a cross. Built on private property donated by Chris Britten to avoid legal issues with the ACLU at a height of 190 feet, the Groom Cross is reported as being the biggest cross in the northern hemisphere.

Christ Before Pilate Sculpture
Christ Before Pilate

       
Recent additions to the area around the Groom Cross include a memorial in memory of the victims of abortion and a replica of Calvary, with steps leading to the crosses, and a replica of Christ's tomb. The Stations of the Cross were just completed and feature life-sized sculptures of the events leading to Christ's crucifixion. The Groom Cross is fast becoming a roadside pilgrimage site with the number of travelers visiting the site increasing exponentially.

 

Route 66 Relics and Attractions in Conway, Texas

         
Old Conway Gas Station

Conway, Texas has been bypassed by the Interstate. In 1946 when Jack Rittenhouse passed through Conway on Route 66 he warned that it was the last gas stop for 25 miles. Today that lonely gas station stands empty and silent. And Conway's small Motor Court is slowly returning back to the land. These are the visible relics left over from a time when traffic whizzed by on the now empty highway called Route 66. Conway is another town that owed its existance to the railroad. Cattle and farming were the major industries. The economic boom provided by Route 66 further established Conway. Today both the railroad and Route 66 are gone and Conway is only full of memories.

     

Conway Motor Court

Ghost Sign at Conway

Small Conway Motor Court Ruins

A Faded Ghost Sign at Conway, Texas

 

The Bug Ranch

Conway Bug Ranch

Conway Bug Ranch Trading Post

     
A more modern highway attraction is located just off the Interstate at the Conway exit. The Bug Ranch undoubtedly was inspired by its famous big brother, The Cadillac Ranch, just outside of Amarillo, Texas. Though a more recent addition to highway attractions, it does indeed maintain the tried and true "Spirit of Route 66" in its attempt to lure visitors off the Interstate. There's even a trading post with live rattlesnakes!

Photographs Taken April, May 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 Texas

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

To Amarillo

To Alanreed, Texas

 

Select the Route 66 State to Visit

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