Route 66: The Empires of Amusement
Book Info
Photos and Excerpts


American Road



Meet Turtles


The ringmaster has returned to Route 66.

Route 66: The Empires of Amusement - Cover Only those spectators with ears perked heard his second coming—a kind of soft-shoe sashay over a pavement of peanut shells. Early reports say his spats are still shiny—although sticky with ice cream stains. His top hat looks crisp, and his collar appears fluffy with fresh ostrich feathers. This is no small trick after 70 years of service.

His, after all, was once the world's greatest traveling show: the extravaganza that was the roadside amusement world on Route 66 . . .

From Whoopee Coasters to show caves, snake pits to trading posts with piano-playing chickens, Route 66: The Empires of Amusement revisits those classic roadside attractions that entertained travelers on America's favorite highway. It focuses on the people who operated such attractions and gives them a forum in which to see their stories told. It features over 200 color and vintage photographs that chronicle the manner in which fun developed on the Mother Road. So dive into that radium bath and pump out the Submarine Room. Break bread with the Talking Crow of Pontiac. And save a Zingo or two for the Supernatural Raccoons.

Art Deco Shield

"Delightful! The absolute antidote for the road-weary!"

Western RV News

"Profusely illustrated . . . set down in authentic detail . . . Route 66: The Empires of Amusement is a rare and precious glimpse into an American yesteryear, and the people who made Route 66 a highway of legend and nostalgic memory."

Midwest Book Review

"Great! Superb! Truly inspired!"

—Darleen Wright, The Tri-Cities Journal

"Thomas Repp delivers one of the great missing links in the Mother Road story with punch and pizzazz. In Route 66: The Empires of Amusement, he piles us into the back seat for a bug-eyed trip through the fun house of yesteryear, where we are entertained by an amazing cast of characters and where the ride through each chapter is as unpredictable as the last. Buckle up, because this Tilt-A-Whirl spins full speed!"

—Jim Ross, Route 66 historian and author, Oklahoma's Mother Road

"Oozes with American history"

—Erich Murphy, The Pontiac Daily Leader

"Route 66: The Empires of Amusement is an outstanding book. I heartily compliment Mr. Repp in what must have been a long and arduous research process."

—Jim Futrell, Director, National Amusement Park Historical Association

"Fascinating pages of text and photos!"

The Daily Oklahoman

"Great job! Great photos! I am enjoying the heck out of my copy!"

—Jerry McClanahan, Route 66 artist and co-host, Bones of the Old Road

"This is what Route 66 really is . . . "

Delbert Trew, historian and curator, Route 66 Museum of McLean, Texas

"The photos included in this book are outstanding! Mr. Repp has pictures never before published in Route 66 books. Photos he could have only received from the personal albums of those he wrote about. This book is an absolute must for avid Route 66ers and those people just interested in some of the wonderful attractions that were part of our 20th Century history."

—Becky Ransom, Vice-President of the Texas Route 66 Association

"The Mother Road has had another jewel put in her crown."

The Tulsa World

"Repp's painstaking research, his obvious passion for the open road, and his attention to detail make this book an important contribution to the growing Route 66 revival. Bravo, Thomas Repp! Bravo!"

—Michael Wallis, author, Route 66: The Mother Road


    Introduction: The Empires of Amusement
    Fairyland Park & the Whoopee Coaster
    Montana Charlie's Little America
    Rossi's Ballroom at Eagle Park
    The Riviera
    The Talking Crow at the Log Cabin Inn & the Pontiac Air Circus
    Dreamland Park
    A. Lincoln Wax Museum
    Chain of Rocks Amusement Park & Fun Fair at Chain of Rocks Park
    Hilliard's Character Dolls
    Ozark Rock Curios
    The Snake Man at Silver Star Court
    Meramec Caverns & Fisher's Cave
    Jesse James Wax Museum
    Onondaga Cave, Missouri Caverns & Daniel Boone Park
    Mule Trading Post
    Totem Pole Trading Post & Basketville
    King Cave, Onyx Cave Park & Onyx Mountain Caverns
    The Musical Fountain at Nelson Dream Village
    Buena Vista's Exotic Animal Paradise
    Crystal Cave
    Mullen's 66 Rock Shop
    Buffalo Ranch
    Ed Galloway's Totem Pole Park
    Radium Town & The Will Rogers Hotel Baths
    Wolf Robe's Trading Post, Nature's Acres & the Blue Whale
    Electric Park & Crystal City Amusement Park
    Dixieland Park
    Frontier City, USA
    Queenan's Trading Post
    Reptile Village
    Mike's Menagerie and Reptile Garden, Cunningham's Neon Steer & Regal Reptile Ranch
    Prairie Dog Town
    Mr. Lloyd's Snake Pit
    Intermission: Cadillac Ranch & the Dynamite Museum
    Selected Bibliography
    Photo Credits

Route 66: The Empires of Amusement by Thomas Arthur Repp $34.95; 
      Mock Turtle Press, PO Box 46519, Mt. Clemens, MI, 48046; 1-877-285-5434; 
      ISBN: 0-9669148-0-5; Hardbound; 192 pages; 8.5 x 11 inches; 
      Index and bibliography.

Text and images contained on this site Copyright ©2002 by Mock Turtle Press. Protected under the Berne Convention.