Except for a few feature and printed stick matchbooks, all the matchcover images here are from flattened (matches removed) matchcovers. Only matchcovers that are 40-strikers and smaller are considered for this database.
Any such matchcover, regardless of its business or relevance to road travelers, that explicitly states that the enterprise itself was located on US Highway 66 (“Route 66”) will be included. (The number “66” must be printed on the matchcover.) Traveler-oriented businesses, like motels, restaurants and gas stations are the most interesting and relevant to Route 66 fans. But you will also find businesses that are car dealers, moving companies, golf courses, etc., that were also located on Highway 66 even though they are not traveler-oriented and likely not so interesting. Also if a business is slightly off of US Highway 66 and is a traveler-oriented business (most likely lodging) and the matchcover specifically references US Highway 66 in text we will also include it (for example, a motel that the matchcover notes was “1/4 Mile North of US 66”). But if the business was not on US Highway 66 but there is a locating map printed on the matchcover that shows US Highway 66 nearby, we will not include that matchcover in this collection. So for a business not on 66 a text reference to US Highway 66 allows it to be included here but just a map that shows US Highway 66 close does not. (That said, there are a few businesses for which the matchcover states that the business was on Route 66 but the maps shows them to be slightly off 66. In this case we do include the matchcover image. See Mickey Mantle’s Holiday Inn or Bob Cummings’ Motor Hotel in Joplin for example.)
For matchcovers from businesses where the matchcover does not say “66” on it anywhere, we only include them if the business is “traveler-oriented” and the era of the matchcover appears consistent with the commissioned or active era of Route 66. “Traveler-oriented” clearly includes lodging, food or gasoline or auto repairs. We are also including bars and taverns and general or grocery stores for now too. Many businesses printed a street address on their matchcover which is a 66 address but sometimes validation is provided by a postcard or some other source (city or telephone directory) or other internet reference.
There are few rear strike matchcovers in this Route 66 database. By federal law front strike matchbooks could not be manufactured after 1972 although all front strike matchbooks in manufacturers’ inventory or in the hands of the businesses could be furnished to the public after that time. When we include a rear strike matchcover image we prefer that it be from a business that we know was on Route 66 during that active era. One validation of that is to also have a front strike matchcover from the same business but other sources can be helpful too. We are not including clearly modern (say, last 35 years) matchcovers from businesses who began after the decommissioned era of Route 66.
We are or will be including matchcovers from a few entities that were commonly associated with Route 66 but actually were located a bit off of the highway. These include natural wonders like Meramec Caverns, Onondaga Cave and Meteor Crater. We will also include hotels like the Weatherford and Monte Vista in Flagstaff and the St. James and Lorraine in Sapulpa that were actually one block off Route 66, although some matchcovers indicate that they were on Route 66.
Now having said that, some matchcover images are included that are from traveler-oriented businesses but the cover does not have an address printed on it and we can find no information from any other source that validates the business location. But they are from small towns and we would think that the particular business would very likely be on Highway 66 as it was the main highway through that town but we can not prove it now. So there are a few of these matchcover images that are kind of “iffy.”
Matchcovers that have the same identical artwork but the colors are different are considered “identical” and we limit ourselves to only one example in the database, not all the color combinations. But if the artwork is distinct in some appreciable way, like a different stock cut on the rear cover, or a “girlie” or “safety” illustration, the different matchcovers will be included. But sometimes the distinction is much more subtle. Look for different telephone numbers, different manumarks, or slightly different wording somewhere on the matchcover image. If the artwork is the same but the only variation is a slightly-different typeface or line spacing from what we already have, then we do not usually include that too-much-similar matchcover.
A FEW AWKWARD SITUATIONS WHILE ORDERING THE DATABASE
This first issue is a problem for some businesses principally along the fifty eastern-most miles of Route 66 in Missouri (e.g., Sullivan to St. Louis). There are a number of businesses that issued matchbooks at different times and the “towns” that were printed on their matchbooks changed. The businesses did not change location but the town boundaries or postal names changed. So you can find matchcover images from the same business listed among two different town names. Arrgh!
This same issue was also present between La Grange and Countryside, Illinois, and Joliet and Lockport, Illinois, too.
The second issue is also not uncommon on Route 66 in Missouri and that is there are a number of matchcovers from businesses that locate the business by stating “between town A and town B” or “15 miles west of town A” or something like that. If a business sits between two cities close to each other like, say, Joplin and Webb City, we don’t care: the matchcover image will be listed in one town or the other and it’s close enough. But what about a business says that it is halfway between Waynesville and Rolla? Well, what I sometimes did is put the matchcover image into what I calculated would be the closest town if the business matchbook listed a town. So you will find some matchcovers with rather vague location information grouped along with other matchcovers from some town or other that is not listed on the matchcover. Please be flexible in your understanding. We’re trying our best here.
Interestingly, neither of the above two problems are significant for businesses in any of the other seven Route 66 states.
And a third issue concerns the town of Glenrio (“Glen Rio”) that straddles the Texas/New Mexico border. Nearly all of the matchcovers that I have seen say “New Mexico” on them since the post office that served both parts of Glenrio was in New Mexico. All of the bars were located in New Mexico since Deaf Smith County, Texas, was “dry.” The cheapest gasoline was found in Texas since the Texas state gas tax was lower. So we have made our best guesses and divided the Glenrio matchcover images between the Texas and New Mexico databases. The easiest way to see everything together is to simply type “Glenrio” into the “Keyword Search” box.