United Voice: Historic Route 66 Gas Station Has Ties To Oscar-Nominated Film
LUTHER, Oklahoma - The movie “Green Book” was nominated for five Oscars this week. It is based on a real-life directory of the same name that helped African-Americans navigate the roads during segregation. One destination was the Threatt Filling Station in Luther, and the family is making new efforts to revitalize it.
Americans have been traveling the Mother Road for more than a century, but not every pitstop was a safe one for everyone. That is why places like the Threatt Filling Station were so important.
Established in 1915 by Rev. Allen Threatt, Sr., word spread far and wide about the first Black-owned service station on Route 66.
“In the 60s it was kind of like your modern-day 7-Eleven,” says Threatt’s grandson Allen Threatt, III.
It was so popular that the location did not even need a listing in the Green Book, but time has left its mark on the old building. Grandson Edward Threatt says,
“We’ve got the original stools that were in here. We have the original cash register that was here, and it was just a place that people of color could come and feel comfortable.”
Threatt's grandchildren still own the property, which now resides on the National Register of Historic Places. They have been awarded two grants to bring it back to life, but significant investment is needed to restore it to its original glory.
“Grandfather was a very business-minded person,” Allen III remarks.
Situated on the line between Oklahoma and Lincoln Counties, Threatt's station sold groceries and meals, then turned into an outdoor party on weekends. Allen III remembers, “People would just be dancing and drop their coins, and so that was great, too. I picked up some extra money.”
Extra money is not the incentive to rebuild, however. The Threatts just hope to once again be a piece of living history for generations to come.
“We’ll refresh their thought or memory…their dad and mom, what they had to go through,” Allen III says.
You can expect to see the Threatt Filling Station in a new version of the Green Book, which is coming together now at the Smithsonian. To follow the family’s progress, click here.
Editor’s Note: News 9 is part of a local initiative that brings all of our local media outlets together to give Oklahoma a United Voice in promoting a healthy dialogue on race. To see more stories, visit UnitedVoiceOK.org.