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Preservation of Roadside Architecture & Attractions Symposium

April 10 - April 12, 2018

Tulsa, OK

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April 10-12, 2018
Tulsa, Oklahoma

The National Center for Register NowPreservation Technology and Training (NCPTT) will host a  three-day symposium on the preservation of  roadside architecture and attractions that are uniquely American.  The symposium will focus on the preservation of these buildings and features that catered to tourists who traveled American roads during the 1920s-1970s.

The symposium will bring together architects, engineers, landscape architects, site managers, conservators, facility managers, and other cultural resource professionals to discuss issues related to the preservation of roadside features, such as:


  • Unusual and oversized structures and sculptures
  • Roadside attractions and theme parks
  • Motels and gas stations
  • Roadside signs
  • Grass roots preservation
  • Interpretation

The symposium is organized by NCPTT, the Friends of NCPTT and the NPS Route 66 Corridor Program, City of Tulsa, and the Tulsa Foundation for Architecture.


The conference agenda includes twenty-five invited and solicited papers, an optional evening neon-sign tour, and a half-day field session exploring local roadside attractions and disussing issues related to their preservation.


Keynote Speaker: Michael Wallis

Michael Wallis

It has been said, “Reading a Michael Wallis book is like dancing to a romantic ballad. He offers his hand and gently guides you across the floor, swaying to the song of the American West.”

A storyteller who likes nothing better than transporting audiences across time and space, Michael has published nineteen books, including the award winning Route 66: The Mother Road, the book credited with sparking the resurgence of interest in the highway. He also wrote The Lincoln Highway: Coast to Coast from Times to the Golden Gate. Michael’s latest book is the critically acclaimed best-seller The Best Land Under Heaven: The Donner Party in the Age of Manifest Destiny — was published in June 2017.

A best-selling author and award-winning reporter, Michael is a historian and biographer of the American West who also has gained international notoriety as a speaker and voice talent. In 2006 Michael’s distinctive voice was heard in CARS, an animated feature film from Pixar Studios. Michael also is featured in CARS 2, and CARS 3.  Michael is a co-founder of the non-profit preservation organization the Route 66 Alliance, and remains an advocate for all historic roads and trails.

His work has appeared in hundreds of national and international magazines and newspapers, including Time, Life, People, Smithsonian, The New Yorker, and The New York Times.  Michael and his wife, Suzanne Fitzgerald Wallis, have lived in Tulsa since 1982.

Scott Sundermeyer, Director, Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma Archeological Survey, Chad Moffett, Market Lead and Project Manager, Mead & Hunt, Inc., and Christina Slattery,  Business Unit Leader of Cultural Resources, Mead & Hunt, Inc., Getting the Word Out – Interpretation of Route 66 in Oklahoma.

Jim Thole, Chair of the Route 66 Association of Missouri Neon Heritage Preservation Committee, Grassroots Efforts: Neon Sign Restoration Along Route 66.

Mike Kertok, Mike Kertok, Architect, Sixty-Six Phillips 66 Stations: From Walking Dead to American Restoration.

Lynn Rostochil, architectural historian and founder of Okie Mod Squad, Signs of Oklahoma.

Stephanie M. Hoagland, Principal, Jablonski Building Conservation. Inc., Stymied by Success: Preservation Stagnation on the Jersey Shore.

Michelle Barnett, P.E., Brownfields Program Director, City of Tulsa, Brownfields Funding in Preservation.

Amy Webb, Senior Field Director and Grant Stevens, Senior Manager of Marketing Campaigns, National Trust for Historic Preservation, Celebrating the Roadside Architecture of Route 66—A Marketing Perspective

Kaisa Barthuli, Program Manager, National Park Service’s Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program Route 66: Preserving the Roadside Experience.

Amanda DeCort, Tulsa Foundation for Architecture, Reviving Route 66: A Team Effort in Tulsa.

Opening Reception

photo of the exterior of the Vault Restaurant

The Vault Restaurant, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Tuesday, 6:00 – 8:30 pm
Vault Restaurant, Tom Tom Room
620 S. Cincinnati Avenue, Tulsa.

The Vault is located  in the former First National Auto Bank building, built between 1958-1959.  The iconic mid-century modern building was the world’s largest auto bank with six drive through lanes.  The Tom Tom room was the bank’s private conference room, said to have held over 350 meetings a year.

The reception is included in conference registration.



Keynote Speaker: Dylan Thuras

Storytelling as Preservation: The Role of Media in Saving Roadside Architecture

Head shot of Dylan Thuras

Dylan Thuras

Dylan Thuras is the co-founder of Atlas Obscura, a multimedia company and “Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders” visited by over five million monthly users, co-author of NY Times #1 best seller Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders, and author of the forthcoming kids book “The Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid.”

Dylan has spoken at conferences including SXSW, DMAI, and TEDxVerona about discovery, wonder, and changing nature of travel. Dylan lives in Rosendale, New York with his wife Michelle, his three year old son Finn, and new addition to the household, daughter Jean.


Frank Matero, Professor of Architecture and Chair, Graduate Program in Historic Preservation, Architectural Conservation Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania, After the Fair: Preserving the Texaco Road Map Pavement at the New York State Pavilion.

Mary Jean (MJ) Wojewodzki, Associate, Anath Ranon, Principal, Cho Benn Holback, a Quinn Evans Company, Echoes of American Culture – Glen Echo Park.

Suzanne Wray, Independent Researcher, A Tale of Two Survivors: the Gettysburg and Atlanta Cycloramas.

Renee Benn, Historian, Texas Department of Transportation, Field Guide to Gas Stations in Texas.

Reba Ashby, Assistant Project Manager, CANY Architecture + Engineering, Roadside Architecture: A Laboratory for Innovation in Concrete Technology.

Cynthia Brandimarte, Ph.D., Director, Historic Sites & Structures Program,Texas State Parks/Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Roads, Model T’s, Tourists, and Tea Rooms.

Kevin Barni, Policy Scientist, University of Delaware, Center for Historic Architecture and Design (CHAD), A Sign of the Times: Delaware’s Historical Markers as Roadside Attractions and Artifact.

Jennifer Carpenter, Preservation, Research, and Outreach Specialist, Historic Sites & Structures Program, Texas State Parks/Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, Tourism & T. Rex Tracks: Sinclair Oil’s Dinoland and Dinosaur Valley State Park.


 Neon Sign Tour – Tulsa

Rhys MArtin and the Meadow Gold Sign.

Rhys Martin will lead the tour of Tulsa’s neon signs.

Tulsa has a rich collection of vintage neon signs found throughout the city. The Tulsa Foundation for Architecture conducted a survey of Tulsa’s neon signs and recorded the details of 259 signs. The Meadow Gold Sign, perhaps the most iconic in Tulsa, was among the signs surveyed. No trip to Tulsa would be complete without an excursion to see these sites. Rhys Martin, a photographer, Route 66 enthusiast, and a native of Tulsa will be our tour guide for this evening event. We will travel by trolley through the city to learn more about the neon signs of Tulsa and have an opportunity to photograph some of our favorites. Sign up now and be sure to bring your camera! This optional Wednesday evening tour is a ticketed event.


Joel Baker, American Gaints, Bringing Back American Giants.

Kelly Caldwell, Conservator, and Sophia Zweifel, Assistant Conservator, CSI Conservation Solutions ULC, Concrete Jungle: Conserving Canada’s menagerie of concrete sculptures.

Tania Alam, Architectural Conservator, Jablonski Building Conservation, Inc., Color Palettes to the Rescue: Saving Buildings from Demolition.

Erin Turner, site-specific installation artist and social practice artist, Ed Galloway’s Totem Pole Park

Rhys Martin, Photographer, Photography as Preservation


Field Session

The half-day  tour of Tulsa area roadside architecture and attractions Thursday afternoon is included in conference registration.

Details to follow.



Register Now

Step 1: Register for the Conference

$299 Registration
$199 NPS Employee Registration
$199 Speaker Registration
$ 99 Student Registration(Limited seats are available.  Students must email a photocopy of current student ID and a letter of interest to debbie_smith@nps.gov)

Step 2: Select Special Event Options:

Opening Reception (free with conference registration)
Neon Tour ($35.00)
Half-Day Field Session (free with conference registration)


Click here to register for the symposium and for the special events you plan to attend.


Friends of NCPTT Events Cancellation Policy

Since workshops and symposia fill quickly, please sign up as early as possible. If you need to withdraw from a Friends of NCPTT event, you must inform us in writing via email or fax at (318) 356-9119. Cancellations more than 30 days prior to an event will be fully refunded less a $30 administrative fee. No refunds will be available for cancellations within 30 days of the event, so please take this into account when you sign up for the symposium.
In the unlikely event that the Friends of NCPTT must cancel an event, you may choose to receive a full refund of the registration fee or a credit for a future Friends of NCPTT event.

Conference Location

Tulsa City-County Library
400 Civic Center, Tulsa, OK 74103

Conference Lodging

Aloft Tulsa Downtown
200 Civic Center, Tulsa, OK 74103

A block of rooms is available at the conference lodging for a rate of $93 per night plus tax. Rooms at the discounted rate are available from Saturday, April 7 to Friday, April 13.

The Group Number is AD07AA.  Click here to reserve your room.

The cut-off date for reserving rooms is 5:00 PM on February 25. Please let Mary Striegel at (mary_striegel.nps.gov) know if you have any issues reserving a room.


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April 10 @ 8:00 AM
April 12 @ 6:00 PM
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Tulsa City-County Library
400 Civic Center, Tulsa, OK 74103 United States
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National Center for Preservation Technology and Training
645 University Parkway
Natchitoches, LA 71457

Email: ncptt[at]nps.gov
Phone: (318) 356-7444
Fax: (318) 356-9119