Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Cafe, Shamrock

#298 of 4,144 in Things to do in Texas
Must see · Observation Deck · Landmark
The U-Drop Inn, also known as Tower Station and U-Drop Inn and Tower Café, was built in 1936 in Shamrock, Texas along the historic Route 66 highway. Inspired by the image of a nail stuck in soil, the building was designed by J. C. Berry. An unusual example of art deco architecture applied to a gas station and restaurant, the building features two flared towers with geometric detailing, curvilinear massing, glazed ceramic tile walls, and neon light accents. It has traditionally held two separate business: "Tower Station", a gas station on the western side, and the "U-Drop Inn", a café on the eastern side. Though it has passed hands several times in its history, the building has consistently housed the same types of businesses it was originally constructed for.Once considered a beautiful and impressive example of Route 66 architecture in Texas, the U-Drop Inn fell into disrepair with the decommissioning of Route 66. It closed for business in the late 1990s. After it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in September 1997, the building was purchased by the First National Bank of Shamrock, which then gave it to the city. Primarily funded by a US$1.7 million federal grant, the city hired a firm specializing in historical renovation to restore the building to its original glory and adapt it into a museum, visitors' center, gift shop, and the city's chamber of commerce. In 2006 animated film Cars, the cartoon village of Radiator Springs was based on multiple real U.S. Route 66 landmarks from Peach Springs to Baxter Springs; the U-Drop Inn's distinctive architecture appears as Ramone's automotive body and paint shop.
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Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Cafe reviews

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326 reviews
  • Such an amazing piece of Americana. This used to be popular on Route 66. We stopped in Shamrock just to see this. It had a cute gift shop with the nicest lady working there. It was funny because it...  more »
  • Oh goodness, I don't think I could add much. But if you are an art deco fan, or just of an age to remember the glory days of pre-Interstate car travel, I think you would enjoy getting off I-40 and...  more »
  • Great stop on your way down Route 66! This old gas station has a retro feel and lots of history. The inside offers “Cars” themed merchandise because apparently the gas station in the movie was inspired by this gas station. They also have a bathroom making it a good place to stop on a long drive.
  • Makes a great, quick pit stop on your road trip. Fun sense of Route 66 here, and I bet it's even better at night. Not a whole lot to do, but the people are super friendly, and any excuse to get out of the car and stretch is nice. The building itself is historic if you like that kind of thing. There are some little things to look at inside.

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