TULSA, OK – Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum welcomed Oklahoma Lieutenant Governor Matt Pinnell to Tulsa Tuesday for the dedication and ribbon-cutting at the “Route 66 Rising” sculpture, located at the Avery Traffic Circle – East Admiral Place and Mingo Road.
“Route 66 is rising in Tulsa right now,” Mayor G.T. Bynum said. “Tulsa is the birthplace of Route 66, thanks to Cyrus Avery. Tulsa is home to one of the world’s foremost historians on Route 66, Michael Wallis. And now there is a new sense of revitalization along Route 66, with venues like Mother Road Market drawing new visitors and Buck Atom greeting travelers as they cruise through Tulsa. It is a special time in the history of this American icon, and we are excited for this latest improvement.”
Joy Avery, granddaughter of Cyrus Avery – Father of Route 66, also was a special guest and speaker at this event. Cyrus Avery, a former Tulsa County Commissioner and Oklahoma State Highway Commissioner, also served as a Consulting Highway Specialist to the U.S. Bureau of Public Roads. Cyrus Avery lived in Tulsa during the planning stages of Route 66 as a national highway, and he was influential to bring the highway through Tulsa, including a bridge across the Arkansas River.
“Route 66 Rising” is approximately 70 feet wide and 30 feet high. This $682,000 project was funded by Vision 2025, a Tulsa County sales tax from 2004 through 2016 that provided for regional economic development and capital improvements. Vision 2025 included $15 million for projects on Route 66 in Tulsa. Beginning in 2017, the Vision Tulsa sales tax replaced Vision 2025 within the city limits of Tulsa.
An artist from New Mexico, which is another state along Route 66, created the “Route 66 Rising” sculpture. The artist, Eric F. Garcia, said his work was inspired by “a time when the Oklahoma dust bowl was a reminder of the hard times during the Depression and how the Old Route was a symbol of hope.”