Way up near the Oklahoma border, Texas has a gorgeous architectural example of Art Deco, which has survived many changes since its initial construction in 1936. The U-Drop Inn can be found in Shamrock, along the historic highway made popular in song, “Route 66.” At the time of the grand opening, the U-Drop Inn was the only café within 100 miles of the town. Elvis Presley even ate here once! In modern times, a Tesla charging station is located on-site.
The building was inspired from the image of a nail stuck in dirt. The building features two flared towers with green neon light accents best viewed at night, geometric detailing, glazed ceramic tile walls, and curvilinear massing. Its name comes from a contest, which was won by an eight-year-old who received a cash prize for his entry. Traditionally, each side of the building has been home to two different businesses: “Tower Station,” a gas station to the West, and the “U-Drop Inn,” a café to the Eastern. Despite having various owners throughout the years, the building had surprisingly housed the same types of businesses as originally planned for the spaces.
Photo: @thinktk via Twenty20
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in September 1997, the building was gifted to the city by the First National Bank of Shamrock. Afterward, with the assistance of a federal grant, the city hired a specialty firm to restore the rundown iconic building to its glory. Today, although it no longer serves food or gas, it is a visitors’ center, museum, and home to the city’s chamber of commerce. Annually, the U-Drop Inn enjoys over 10,000 visitors from over 70 countries including the United States. It has also been featured in movies and television shows. Perhaps you can spot this distinctive building as it was drawn into the 2006 animated film “Cars”?