Saturday, January 31, 2009

The beautiful decay of McLean, Texas

A cool British dude who calls himself The Old Nail has a great blog with the wonderful title of "Beautiful Decay." ( I love that phrase. There's something poignant and melancholy about seeing something once new and gleaming falling into disrepair and neglect. We passed through the little town of McLean, Texas, 75 miles east of Amarillo, on I-40 and Old Route 66, in 2004 and it had some awesome decay. According to their website, "in 1927, McLean profited from the oil boom, becoming a major shipping point for area livestock, gas, and oil. And, in the very same year, Route 66 insured the town’s growth for the next several decades. During the golden age of Route 66, McLean boasted 16 service stations, six motels and numerous cafes. Oklahoma based Phillips Petroleum Company built its first Texas service station in McLean in 1927. By 1940, McLean had six churches, a newspaper, fifty-nine businesses, and a population of more than 1,500." Unfortunately, today McLean isn't as prosperous as it was in those glory days, but it's still a very cool place to visit for fans of roadside Americana. They've done an awesome job restoring that 1927 Phillips gas station, and they have one of the best quirky museums I've ever been to: The Devil's Rope Museum, which bills itself as the world's largest barbed wire historical museum. I'll get to those places in a later post, but first here's some very cool abandoned gas stations. Here's McLean's website:

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