Route 66 Road Trip to Catoosa, Oklahoma

U.S. Route 66 was one of the United State's first continuous stretches of paved highway, and served as a major path for those who migrated west.

"The Mother Road" was established on November 11, 1926, and ultimately stretched 2,448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Most travelers seem to start their journey on Route 66 in Chicago, and head westbound. That is the direction we take on this website. But others start in Santa Monica and drive eastward to Chicago.

The route through Kansas was the shortest of all the states, only about 30 miles. After traveling through Kansas, it entered Commerce, Oklahoma, and headed southwest through Miami, Chelsea, Claremore and Catoosa. In general, it followed the route of present-day Interstate I-44.

Catoosa Oklahoma

Catoosa is located in Rogers County in Oklahoma, and home to over 7,000 residents. It lies near Historic U.S. Route 66, and 14 miles northeast of Tulsa.

Rogers County was founded prior to Oklahoma statehood when the Arkansas Band of the Osage Nation settled in the Three Forks area (the junction of the Arkansas River, Grand River and Verdigris River) during the 1760s. The Osage established two villages called Pasuga and Pasona in what is now Rogers County.

Catoosa has an inland seaport and the terminus of the Kerr-McClellan Arkansas River Navigation System. The Port of Catoosa is one of the farthest inland seaports in the United States.

Catoosa is known far and wide as the home of the classic Blue Whale on Route 66. But the city offers other attractions and things to do, such as the Correll Museum, Rogers Point Park, Gazebo Park, Hathaway Park, and Hambly Park. The Rodger Berry Sports Complex is a popular venue, as it the nearby Redbud Valley Nature Preserve Center. Nearby Tulsa offers a number of additonal things to do such as the Hard Rock Casino and many Route 66 attractions.

Map of Historic Route 66 from Commerce to Tulsa showing the location of Catoosa
Map of Historic Route 66 from Kansas to Tulsa showing the location of Catoosa, Oklahoma

The Blue Whale

Built in the early 1970s by Hugh Davis as an anniversary gift, the 20-foot tall iron and cement Blue Whale turned into a swimming park, and closed in 1988.

Today, it remains one of the most popular stops on Route 66. In 2022 the Blue Whale is celebrating its 50th anniversary!

It is located at 2680 N. Highway 66, Catoosa, OK 74015

Welcome ... to the Blue Whale on Old Route 66 in Catoosa, Oklahoma Welcome ... to the Blue Whale on Old Route 66 in Catoosa, Oklahoma
Route 66 Roadside Attraction: The Blue Whale in Catoosa, Oklahoma
Walking across the top of the Blue Whale in Catoosa, Oklahoma Inside view of the Blue Whale in Catoosa, Oklahoma

The Chief Wolf Robe Hunt Trading Post was located just across the highway from the Blue Whale. Chief Wolf Robe Hunt was a full-blooded Acoma Indian who opened the trading post here in the early 1950s, selling Indian art and silverwork. He was the brother-in-law of Hugh Davis, who built the Blue Whale. The name was later changed to the Arrowood Trading Post, and then closed in the late 1990s.

Shown below is how the rear of the Trading Post appeared in November of 2018; the front is actually located at 2700 Rice Street, recently operated as an automobile repair shop.

The former Arrowood Trading Post, located just across Route 66 from the Blue Whale in Catoosa, Oklahoma

Bird Creek Bridges

The photo below (taken in November of 2018) shows the twin spans of Route 66 over the Bird Creek Bridges at the Virdigris River, just north of the Blue Whale. The area has been known as "The Twin Bridges".

The westbound bridge (left) was built in 1936 and replaced in 2011. Parts of the steel structure of that bridge were moved to a current location nearby, at the entrance to Molly's Landing, and to nearby Rogers Point Park.

The eastbound bridge (right) was built in 1956 and remains in place as of 2022. Studies are currently underway to determine the best alternative for replacement, and/or rehabilitation.
The Bird Creek Bridges just north of Catoosa, Oklahoma

The H. Tom Kight, Jr. Bridge

Portions of the historic H. Tom Kight, Jr. Bridge are located near Route 66, just north of Catoosa, heading into Molly's Landing Restaurant. It consists of remnants of the bridge built nearby in 1936.

Molly's Landing is an award winner restaurant opened in 1984. Its amenities include a private room for groups as large as 45 people, gift shop, chocolate fountains, outdoor chess game, helicopter pad, and home grown spices.Tom Kight Bridge on Route 66, just north of Catoosa, Oklahoma

Rogers Point Park

Rogers Point Park is operated by the City of Catoosa, and is located just east of the Blue Whale on old Route 66. It includes two more spans of the Tom Kight Bridge, along with a historic marker about Mr. Kight and the bridge.

The park offers a variety of outdoor activities, including walking trails, covered picnic pavilions, fishing, and a ramp for putting a boat in the adjacent Virdigris River.

Rogers Point Park operated by the City of Catoosa in Oklahoma on old Route 66

Historic marker for the H. Tom Kight, Jr. Bridge at Rogers Point Park in Catoosa, Oklahoma Twin spans of the H. Tom Kight, Jr. Route 66 Bridge at Rogers Point Park in Catoosa, Oklahoma

 

The D.W. Correll Museum in Catoosa

This main building of the museum in Catoosa contains a rare collection of rocks, gems, fossils and minerals from around the world.

The second building houses antique automobiles restored by Mr. Correll, and other items of broad curiosity and antiquity such as the historical Texaco gas pump. There is also a collection of antique toy tractors, cars, pickups, etc. on display.

The main building has a beautiful, painted mural on the outside (see photo below) done by the award-winning artist Lance Hunter that honors the late D.W. Correll, the museum's benefactor and a beloved Catoosa resident. The brightly colored, attention-getting mural, is 8 feet tall and 72 feet wide.

read more about the Correll Museum in Catoosa

Mural at the D.W. Correll Museum in Catoosa, Oklahoma

Catoosa's Historical Society Museum

Catoosa's Historical Museum was founded by Catoosa's Historical Society. The train depot and railroad have played an important part in Catoosa's history, and it's only appropriate that the Catoosa Historical Society Museum is housed in the old depot. Visitors will find numerous local history displays including vintage photographs of Catoosa's early residents, a mailbox that was used when mail was delivered on horseback, a train depot log book dating from 1897 and a check from the Farmers and Merchants Bank dated 1907.

The Catoosa Historical Museum is easily recognized by the bright red caboose outside of the museum. It is located at 207 South Cherokee Street in Catoosa. Hours are typically 10:00am - 3:00pm on Tuesday and Friday. Phone 918.266.3296 for current opening days and hours.

Catoosa Historical Museum on Historic US Route 66 in Catoosa, Oklahoma

Sign for the Catoosa Historical Museum on Historic US Route 66 in Catoosa, Oklahoma Red caboose at the Catoosa Historical Museum on Historic US Route 66 in Catoosa, Oklahoma

The Redbud Valley Nature Preserve

The Redbud Valley Nature Preserve is a place of quiet beauty and rugged scenery. Here are plants and animals found nowhere else in northeastern Oklahoma. It is a very special habitat, preserved for all of us to enjoy. The trail will take you to some of the most interesting parts of the Preserve.

Redbud Valley was originally purchased by The Nature Conservancy in the late 1960's. The was transferred to the City of Tulsa in 1990, and it is now managed as a part of Oxley Nature Center in cooperation with The Nature Conservancy. Under guidance from The Friends of Oxley Nature Center, the caretaker's house was renovated and the Barclay Visitor's Center created.

read more about the Redbud Valley Nature Preserve

Logan County Tourism Bureau in Lincoln, Illinois

Lodging, Dining and Attractions in the Catoosa Area

TripAdvisor

Catoosa Travel Guide at TripAdvisor

Hotels in/near Catoosa with traveler reviews at TripAdvisor

Catoosa restaurant reviews at TripAdvisor

Attractions and Things to Do in Catoosa

Interactive Map of Catoosa Oklahoma

More Information about Catoosa and Route 66

City of Catoosa

 

Catoosa Chamber of Commerce

 

Rogers County Oklahoma

 

Travel Oklahoma: Route 66

 

Oklahoma Historical Society: Route 66

 

Oklahoma Route 66 Association

 

Catoosa Weather at WeatherUnderground

 

Catoosa Travel Guide at TripAdvisor: Hotels, restaurants, things to do


Continuing West
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From Tulsa to Oklahoma City

Route 66 Road Trip from Tulsa to Oklahoma City

Oklahoma Route 66 Passport

The Official Oklahoma Route 66 Passport

The Oklahoma Route 66 Passport from the Oklahoma Tourism & Recreation Department helps Route 66 travelers find new destinations to explore and document their progress along the way.

The Route 66 Passport, which is available free at TravelOK.com, features 66 of the state’s memorable Mother Road attractions. It includes iconic stops like Catoosa’s Blue Whale, the Stroud’s Rock Cafe and Clinton’s Oklahoma Route 66 Museum along with many newer favorites.

Get your passport stamped at each stop, then take it to a Tourism Information Center to be verified and earn an exclusive Route 66 coin.

More information about the Oklahoma Route 66 Passport

Order the Oklahoma Route 66 Passport online

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