Route History ‘tells stories that haven’t been told’

Kenneth Lockhart, Stacy Grundy and Gina Lathan are co-owners of Route History, a museum and visitors center at 737 E. Cook St. that focuses on the history of African-American commerce, especially as it relates to Route 66 and the Springfield area. Ted Schurter/The State Journal-Register

From The State Journal-Register: Route History, which opened to the public last month in the former Texaco gas station at 737 E. Cook St., highlights stories around the African-American experience on Route 66, Jim Crow laws and the Great Migration.

The museum and visitors center also sheds light on local African-American history, including Eva Carroll Monroe’s role in founding the Lincoln Colored Home and the Ambidexter Institute, a briefly run industrial school in the 20th century patterned after Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute.

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Effort to save Natick’s ‘Man on the Ladder’

A well-known Rte. 9 landmark may be in jeopardy now that C & T Design in Natick moved to downtown Natick. Daily News and Wicked Local Staff Photo/Ken McGagh

From the MetroWest Daily News: NATICK – The man in white overalls climbing a ladder has presided over the Rte. 9/27 North interchange for 60 years, but his future is in doubt.

A change in business threatens the towering aluminum sign that has been the trademark for C & T Design and its predecessor, as well as a local landmark.

Last week, C & T’s owner, Darlene MacKenzie, sold the building and can’t take the sign with her to her new location in Natick Center. She worries about its fate.

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Surrey’s history unfolds in time-lapse photo map

The Tara Supper Club opened in 1946 at the northwest corner of King George Boulevard and Crescent Road in Surrey. STAN MCKINNON / PNG

From the Vancouver Sun: The Tara Supper Club was a Surrey landmark from the late 1940s through the mid-’60s.

At the tail end of the big-band era, it was a swingin’ nightspot where patrons would smuggle in bottles of booze and dance till the wee small hours.

“Set on a knoll overlooking the highway link between New Westminster and the border, Tara was the scene of parties, weddings, graduations and community events for over 30 years,” says a story on the Surrey History website.

It also had a fabulous neon sign, which was a signal to motorists on the King George Highway that they were almost at Crescent Beach.

Alas, like many former landmarks, Tara is just a memory — the building it was in burned down in 1981. But it’s been resurrected, digitally, in a new time-lapse map of historic Surrey. The map was recently launched by Surrey’s heritage department and features 103 historic photos linked to an Earthstar Geographics map of the Lower Mainland.

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Haines Shoe House opens for its first season since owner Melanie Schmuck’s death

Melanie Schmuck owned the Shoe House with her husband, Jeff. She passed away Feb. 28 at the age of 38, but the iconic landmark has reopened for the season. “Mel would have wanted to keep it going for future generations, and so do I,” Jeff said. Photo: York Daily Record file

From the York Daily Record: Less than a month after Melanie Schmuck died, the Haines Shoe House she co-owned opened to visitors for a new season on the first day of spring.

Hours are 11 a.m. until 5 p.m. Wednesday. It will also be open the same hours Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until Memorial Day, with additional days after that.

Jeff Schmuck, Melanie’s husband, said he will handle behind-the-scenes aspects of the business. The pair bought the iconic landmark, which can be seen from Route 30, in 2015.

“We have a great team of helpers and tour guides that helped Mel out in the past, as well as some fresh faces helping out,” Schmuck said by email.

“It was not an easy decision (to reopen), as the shoe became synonymous with Mel. The famous roadside attraction means so much to us, we simply must try. Mel would have wanted to keep it going for future generations, and so do I.”

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Pekin Noodle Parlor

Front facade. Public Domain

From Atlas Obscura: According to the U.S. Census, Chinese communities accounted for nearly 10 percent of the then-territory of Montana’s population in 1870. Those figures have since dwindled, but a brick building in the town of Butte’s shrunken Chinatown neighborhood hides a landmark of the nation’s Asian immigration history.

Pekin Noodle Parlor, the oldest continuously-operating Chinese restaurant in the United States, is unassuming, its flickering neon sign above the door a feeble indicator of its cultural significance. A narrow flight of stairs leads up to the vintage interiors of the Parlor, whose distinctive orange booths (with matching orange curtains) are individual cubicles offering a truly intimate meal. When the food arrives, it is rolled into the booths in trolleys.

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