Winslow’s 66 motor palace
The 66 Motor Palace is one of the most visible buildings in the historic Route 66 district, sitting diagonally from Winslow’s famous corner and the large Route 66 road emblem in the middle of 2nd and Kinsley Ave. While closed to the public during the preservation process, the plan is to open a curated exhibit of classic motorcycles, automobiles, and transportation-related art and artifacts.
The twenty-five-foot wide, eighty-foot-deep brick building is one of the oldest remaining buildings in Winslow’s Commercial Historic District, dating somewhere between 1892 and 1901. The pedestrian-oriented structure contributes to the overall historic character of Winslow’s commercial historic district because it has no setback from the sidewalk–one of the most important physical characteristics distinguishing historic buildings from later commercial development. The building is seen here in a 1910 photo of downtown.
Billy Burke’s Saloon
The building is most associated in the early days as Billy Burke’s Saloon, seen below with its original tin ceilings in this 1903 photograph.
During the heyday of Route 66, the building was a pool hall with snooker tables and pinball machines. The pool hall remained in operation until the early 90s, when the city bought the building from owner Larry Benham with plans to demolish it for a parking lot. According to city council reports in the Winslow Mail newspaper, resident Marie LaMar fought to save the building in hopes of preserving Winslow’s historic past. The council agreed.
In 1999, Jennifer Lee, a California resident, petitioned the city to buy the building after filming a documentary on the La Posada Hotel’s architect Mary Colter. Her plan was to create a live-work space including a sound stage and gallery. While Lee did much demolition of the original interior and reinstated the front windows, the plans for her adaptive reuse project stalled when her husband’s California-based business grew, and in 2010, the current owners bought the building and continued the preservation.
a LABOR OF LOVE
Much has been done to preserve the building under current ownership. The facade was painted to bring out the details in the brickwork
The north wall rollup door and window were reinstated after the collapse of the neighboring building, Jenny’s Tavern, with custom doors made by John Suttman, the artist behind the gorgeous gates and lanterns at the famed La Posada Hotel.
Inside, they cleared away years of construction debris, tuck pointed the bricks, and began reinstating electricity and plumbing.
The Final touches
The owners are now in the final stages of finishing this historic property, including the electrical, insulation, and reinstating the tin ceiling.