|In the 1930s it became clear that the newly established Route-66
would cut through the north end of Shamrock, TX. The owners of the prime
corner lot at the new crossroads of the Del Rio Canadian Road (83) and Route-66
were offered a deal. Sell the land and have a beautiful custom designed
building constructed on the site for their own use. The owners jumped at
the deal and one immediately grabbed a stick and sketched the building he
wanted in the dirt for the prospective buyer. The drawing was transferred
to paper and the station was born.
The building was constructed as three separate businesses: 1. The Tower
Conoco Station, so named for the tall tower gracing its roof. 2. The U-Drop
Inn Cafe, named by a local schoolboy in a contest that awarded him $50.00
for his idea. 3. A retail store, never used as such, but soon taken over
by the cafe folks for use as a ballroom and overflow dining room.
The building was beautiful in its day; neon lighting, deco details and
glazed ceramic tile walls. It gradually took a beating, the biggest hit
coming in the 70s when it was painted red-white-and-blue and converted
to a FINA station. The building operated successfully for most of its
life, finally closing completely in the mid 90s.
The Shamrock Chamber of Commerce is utilizing a federal transportation
enhancement grant (TEA-21) administered by the Texas Department of Transportation
to restore the building to its original grandeur. Soon the chamber will
occupy the retail space as the Chamber/Tourism office. The Cafe will be
restored as a stopping place for weary travelers to get a cup of coffee,
a soda or just to play some dominoes and chat with local old-timers. The
station is to be restored as, well, a sort of museum of itself; restored
to what it looked like as an operating 1940 station so route-66ers and
gas station buffs can stop and walk through. The plan also calls for a
picnic area, dump station, and travel info kiosk.
If you want to lend a hand, there is plenty you can do. The grant program
won't pay for what they consider artifacts like reproduction signs, reproduction
gas pumps, and stuff that might have stocked the station like equipment,
oil cans and the like. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor you
can contact me (214)748-4561 or David Rushing in the Shamrock Chamber
Office (806)256-2516. Mr. Rushing has arranged for all contributions to
be tax deductible.
A r c h i T e x a s
Architecture, Planning and Historic Preservation, Inc