Project Postcard: Depew's Detour on Route 66

Learning Approach: Best Practices

| Sheraton New Orleans, Nottoway | Posted: Tuesday, 2:00-3:15 p.m.

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Project Postcard

During its heyday in the 1930s, the famous Route 66 made a U-shaped detour in Oklahoma and travelled along Depew’s, five-block-long Main Street. Today, Route 66 bypasses Depew, and its population has dropped considerably. No longer mentioned in Route 66 guidebooks, the town (population 476) is merely noted as a place between Bristow and Stroud, both with turnpike exits. The town came up with a simple but effective strategy, called Project Postcard, to get people to detour, to stop, to enjoy a photo op along their journey. Discover how the citizens of Depew rekindled community pride and expanded the idea beyond just a postcard.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Realize that small--and maybe even simple or whimsical--ideas can have an impact.
  2. Understand that small budget projects are just as important as very expensive projects.
  3. Realize that quick implementation of an idea is just fine (and not all projects need lengthy and expensive planning processes).
  4. Hear that the human spirit is resilient and that most people simply want to be a part of their community's improvement.


For more information contact:

Ronald H. Frantz, Jr., AIA, The University of Oklahoma
Ron Frantz is a licensed architect who specializes in historic preservation, small downtown revitalization, and urban neighborhoods issues. Previous presentations at the National Main Streets Conferences include Austin (1989); San Francisco (1990); Biloxi (1991); Tulsa (1992); Nashville (1996); Portland (1997); Cincinnati (2003); Albuquerque (2004); and Philadelphia (2008). Other Main Street presentations include Small Towns Conferences in Iowa and Oklahoma, statewide Main Street conferences, local resource teams, and the Center's Certification Institute. He also was part of the planning committees for the conferences in Tulsa (1992) and Oklahoma City (2010) as well as the National Trust's annual conferences in Savannah (1998) and Tulsa (2008).

Hope Mander, The University of Oklahoma
Hope Mander is the Associate Director of the Institute for Quality Communities at the University of Oklahoma. With a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design and a Master of Regional and City Planning, both from the University of Oklahoma, Hope's focus is working with small and medium size towns in Oklahoma. Previous work includes serving as the City Planner for the City of Newcastle, Oklahoma, an expanding town of 7,800 people that is part of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area.

Meagan Vandecar, Indian Nations Council of Governments
Meagan Vandecar is a Community Development Planner at the Indian Nations Council of Governments in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Her duties include grant writing and administration assistance to rural communities. Meagan has a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Rogers State University in Claremore, Oklahoma, and a Master of Science in Urban Studies from the Tulsa Urban Design Studio of the University of Oklahoma in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Meagan and her husband live in Depew, Oklahoma, a town of 476 people and have a small cattle operation.

Blair Humphreys, Institute for Quality Communities
Blair Humphreys is the Executive Director of the Institute for Quality Communities and is an Assistant Professor in the College of Architecture at the University of Oklahoma. He has a Bachelor of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship from the University of Oklahoma and a Master in City Planning and Urban Design degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a founding member of the Urban Land Institute Oklahoma chapter and is involved with many activities concerning urban commercial districts and neighborhoods.