What is: all that is left were the signs at the side of the road.

What was: Opened in 1935, as the Santa Rosa stretch of Route 66 was completed, The Club Café was a staple of the early Route 66.

It had a blue-tiled frontage and smiling ‘Fat Man’ logo, a happy gent wearing a polka dot tie and looking delighted after, presumably, dining on the Club Café’s home cooking–including the more than two million sourdough biscuits sold as it advertised. In its heyday, the parking lot was filled…with cars and buses.

Along came I-40 and the changing consumer demand for fast foods at big chains. The club closed for good in 1992. New owners thought of bringing it back to life, but the building required $750,000.00 of work so it was demolished. The signs remained until a couple years ago… tattered by wind, sunlight and rust they were removed and sold to a collector.

There is now significant alarm and concern within the Route 66 community over the continued removal of these priceless roadside attractions.

What is: “Self serve Diesel” but no pumps…the lights are still there and so is the sign. The garage remains too…but not the diner.

What was: The truck terminal dated back to the heyday of Route 66 in the early 1960s, maybe as early as 1955. The neon wheels, the cowboy truck driver, and his animated hand waved during its hey day.

It was one of seven truck stops and five cafes originally built and operated by Bessie (Rogers) Boren and husband Ira Lionel Boren of the Fort Sumner-based Rio Pecos Oil Company.“We had it from 1963 to 1969,” Martinez said. “We were doing a hell of a business at that truck stop.”The business declined from other truck-stop competition and the coming of Interstate 40.  It closed by the late 1970s or early 1980s.

Since then, it has become a growing eyesore to the city because it drew vandals and homeless squatters. The city tried to buy the sign…the owner wanted too much for it.

What is: The Nutty Brown Café cowboy neon sign. Driving from Austin on U.S. Highway 290 it was to be easy to recognize the neon cowboy with “Cafe” blazing in his lasso.

What was: The cowboy neon sign tells you that you have reached the Nutty Brown, “where fun is always the order of the day” and where musical acts play several nights a week.

In the 1930s Nutty Brown first opened as a bakery. In 1932 C. Allen Sears developed the mill, which by World War II was making enough low-starch cottonseed flour to bake four million loaves of bread annually . It eventually changed into the Nutty Brown Mill a confectionary and candy store, selling pecan pralines. At that time, the owners lived in this building; the family made candy in the morning and sold it during the day.

Then it became the Nutty Brown Café — a destination for the people of Central Texas. It was a unique local business with food and music. In the 1980s, a new owner wanted to build a zoo on the property and ran into zoning issues. The Nutty Brown building was instead used as a storefront with ever-changing merchandise, including clothes and antiques. In the ‘90s the property was also used as a hair salon and a car lot.

In 2000, the Nutty Brown Café became a restaurant with an outdoor patio and a small stage for artists to perform cover songs on the weekends. The back patio illuminated by string lights and a large raised concrete slab has hosted an array of both local and national icons including headliners like Merle Haggard and Kevin Fowler. Every concert was packed with people eager to experience this legendary Austin locale of good food and great music.

That small stage led to a larger stage and an ongoing music series, which featured local rock and country acts and attracted 700-800 people every Saturday for two years. It closed in the late 2010s and the concert venue will have a new home in Round Rock TX.