Retro Travel 

Ghost Towns of Route 66 – Glenrio and Endee

While traveling the mother road (also known as Route 66) over spring break, we were fortunate enough to find out about a side road – well, it used to be Route 66 proper, but as Sally said in the movie “Cars”, “The town got bypassed just to save ten minutes of driving.” and that couldn’t ring more true with the towns of Endee and Glenrio.

Both are still fantastically picturesque but in a sad haunting way – you only wish you could picture them the way they had been.

Using the book “Ghost Towns of Route 66”, by Jim Hinkley and the photographs by Kerrick James, we went from San Jon through on this side road, past Endee and then onto Glenrio. Be sure to check out this book at Quarto Publishing Group.

The road is no longer paved, so be careful if it’s muddy, but the “towns” along the way are well worth the trip if you’re into history and photography.

Our first stop was Endee and as you drive into “town” you are greeted with this:

wpid-img_20140324_094350.jpgThe humor wasn’t lost on us, but the whole scene is sad. It’s hard to believe such a short time has passed since this was a vibrant stop along old Route 66.

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Another marvelous building fallen to ruins next to this great car.

wpid-img_20140324_094557.jpgRusting Cars gleam in the sun in Endee.

Moving down the road to Glenrio, you’re met with another vibrant stop of yesteryear. If you look at the book “Ghost Towns of Route 66” you’ll see how these stops looked at the height of Route 66, the Texas Longhorn Motel touted it’s “last stop in Texas” sign, now fallen to ruins.

wpid-img_20140324_095917.jpgI was particularly taken with the median, where you can see how this now decayed road once boasted a vibrant life of traffic and commerce.

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This little diner boasts great lines.

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And last the gas station with the fabulous roof line and decaying soda machines.

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Be sure to check out the book:

Ghost Towns of Route 66

, we’ll definitely use it on our next trip.

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4 Thoughts to “Ghost Towns of Route 66 – Glenrio and Endee”

  1. Lori

    Thanks for the tips. It would be great to take the trip myself.

  2. Not to be a party pooper but I just don’t get the fascination with touring Route 66 itself. There seems to be so little left of the Americana that draws us to this kind of place. What is left is so spread out too. It just doesn’t seem to be worth the effort.

    The Girlfriend and I hit the road every summer and have even driven along part of Route 66 from St. Louis westward. Actually, we’ve driven down hwy. 44 plenty of times…and yes, there are lots of cool things here in Missouri to stop and check out like The Cave Restaurant, tons of other caves to tour, Six Flags over Mid-America, Branson Mo. and The Strip at Lake Of The Ozarks…but then there’s like hundreds of miles of, well…just driving until you find anything else. And you’re not likely to find too many vintage businesses still operating.

    My suggestion is to forget Route 66 and start a roadtrip in Jacksonville Beach Fla. staying the night at The Palms Retro Motel then head south on hwy. 1 and A1A all the way down to Key West Fla. You’ll pass through St. Augestine, Daytona Beach, pass near enought to Cape Canaveral for a visit, Fort Pierce, Fort Lauderdale and Miami before crossing open water on the bridges between the Keys. It’s a lovely drive near enough to the ocean to stop at a beach almost anywhere and you’ll see TONS of mom and pop motels and restaurants that have obviously been around for ages. Start looking early enough and you’ll easily find one that you’ll be down with staying in. Support these businesses before they go by way of…well, old Route 66.

    1. editor

      I agree that there are a lot of other roads worth touring, but Route 66 has a ton of followers and fans! I’d love to see people more excited to see motels and roads that are still thriving. This stretch was just so sad – to be that run down in such a short time is a tragedy!

    2. Granted, Route 66 is heavily hyped. That, however, has been the case since inception. Today the road is more popular than ever with Route 66 specific tour companies or associations in ten countries. As a result the old road is morphing into a living, breathing time capsule with an overlay of Disneyland. It is now economically feasible to renovate a vintage motel or restaurant and people from all over the world are doing just that. The 1939 El Trovatore Motel in Kingman, three motels fully renovated in Tucumcari and a fourth currently being restored, the 1930s Palms Grill Café in Atlanta, Illinois, four restaurants in Galena, Kansas, the 1936 Wagon Wheel Motel in Cuba, Missouri are but a few examples. Surviving businesses are also thriving. The Ariston Café, one family owned and in one location since 1934, Clanton’s Café, same family, same location since 1929, are but to examples. I too enjoy exploring the two lane highways and back roads. However, there is but one Route 66.

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