Skip to main content

Tower Station and U-Drop Inn - Shamrock, Texas

 

Take a drive down old US Route 66 and you will find an abundance of roadside architecture, stemming from its days as a major highway between Chicago and Santa Monica, California. It was during Route 66's heyday that art deco architecture was quite popular. Enter the small town of Shamrock, Texas, which you will find is the home to the Tower Station and U-Drop Inn, located at the northeast corner of Business Loop I-40 (historic US 66) and US 83.

Just 15 miles west of the Texas-Oklahoma border, the Tower Station was designed by architect J.C Berry and built in 1936 by J.M. Tindall at the cost of $23,000. A beacon for the weary traveler, the Tower Station was the first commercial business located on the historic US Route 66 within Shamrock, and is one of the most imposing and architecturally creative buildings along the length of the road.

The unique design of this building came to be when the design was drawn with a nail in the ground. The building was actually designed and constructed to be three separate structures. The first and most notable structure is the Tower Conoco Station, with its four sided obelisk rising from the flat roof and topped with a distinctive finial. The second structure is the U-Drop Inn café, which got its name from a local school boy's winning entry in a naming contest. The third structure was intended to be a retail store, but instead became an overflow seating area for the café. Once the Mother Road had been bypassed by Interstate 40, the building served as a bus station for a time, then sat abandoned until it was restored through grants and fundraising. Now, the building serves as a visitor center for Shamrock.

Up until around the late 1970s, the Tower Station and U-Drop Inn was sided with light brick and green tiles. Now renovated with light pink concrete highlighted by green paint, it still looks similar to what it looked like during historic US Route 66's heyday. The towering spire above the service station spells out Conoco, an ode to the the history of this building.

Fans of the movie Cars may find the Tower Station to look a bit familiar. That is because the sights and scenes of the fictional town of Radiator Springs in the movie is based on various landmarks of the historic US Route 66. In particular, Ramone's body art shop is exactly inspired by the Tower Station and the U-Drop Inn in Shamrock.


Tower Station with gas pumps.

A touch of Texas.

A wide view of the Tower Station and U-Drop Inn.

The Conoco Tower.

Vintage Conoco gas pumps.

Those vintage Conoco gas pumps.

Get your kicks.

A Texas historical marker explaining the history of the Tower Station.

Restored service bay.

Peering through the window of the U-Drop Inn café. This was closed during my visit.
How to Get There

Sources and Links:
The Texas Bucket List - Tower Station and U-Drop Inn in Shamrock
Texas Escapes - 1935 Tower Conoco Gas Station 
National Park Service - Tower Station and U-Drop Café
Route 66 News - A Route 66 Guide to the Cars Movie

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Hidden California State Route 710 and the Pasadena Gap in the Long Beach Freeway

Infamous and the subject of much controversy the Pasadena Gap in the Long Beach Freeway has long existed as a contentious topic regarding the completion of Interstate 710 and California State Route 710.  While the Pasadena Gap of the Long Beach Freeway effectively has been legislatively blocked the action only came after decades of controversy.  While the Pasadena Gap of the Long Beach Freeway is fairly well known what many don't know is that a small segment was actually constructed south Interstate 210 and the Foothill Freeway.  This disconnected segment of the Long Beach Freeway exists as the unsigned and largely hidden California State Route 710.  On June 29, 2022 the California Transportation Commission relinquished California State Route 710 to the city of Pasadena.  The blog cover above depicts a southward view on the completed Pasadena stub segment of the Long Beach Freeway which ends at California Boulevard.   Part 1; the history of the Pasadena Gap of the Long Beach Freewa

Deer Isle Bridge in Maine

As graceful a bridge that I ever set my eyes upon, the Deer Isle Bridge (officially known as the Deer Isle-Sedgwick Bridge) surprisingly caught my eye as I was driving around coastal Maine one Saturday afternoon. About 35 miles south of Bangor, Maine , the Deer Isle Bridge connects the Blue Hill Peninsula of Downeast Maine with Little Deer Isle over the Eggemoggin Reach on ME 15 between the towns of Sedgwick and Deer Isle . It should be noted that Little Deer Isle is connected to Deer Isle by way of a boulder lined causeway, and there is a storied regatta that takes place on the Eggemoggin Reach each summer. But the Deer Isle Bridge holds many stories, not just for the vacationers who spend part of their summer on Deer Isle or in nearby Stonington , but for the residents throughout the years and the folks who have had a hand bringing this vital link to life.   The Deer Isle Bridge was designed by David Steinman and built by the Phoenix Bridge Company of Phoenixville,

Paper Highways: Proposed US Route 66 Alternate to Las Vegas, Nevada

During February 1956 the State of Nevada in concurrence with the States of California and Arizona submitted a request to the American Association of State Highway Officials to establish US Route 66 Alternate to Las Vegas.  The proposed US Route 66 Alternate would have originated from mainline US Route 66 in Kingman Arizona and followed a multiplex of US Routes 93-466 to Las Vegas, Nevada.  From Las Vegas, Nevada the proposed US Route 66 Alternate would have multiplexed US Routes 91-466 back to mainline US Route 66 in Barstow, California.  The request to establish US Route 66 Alternate was denied during June 1956 due to it being completely multiplexed with other US Routes.  This blog will examine the timeline of the US Route 66 Alternate proposal to Las Vegas, Nevada. The history of the proposed US Route 66 Alternate to Las Vegas, Nevada On February 15, 1956, the Nevada State Highway Engineer in a letter to the American Association of State Highways Officials (AASHO) advising that six c