Efforts Underway To Restore Historic Route 66 Landmark, The Threatt Filling Station In Luther

Tuesday, June 8th 2021, 6:58 pm

Allen Threatt built the Threatt Filling Station in the early 1900s and it became a refuge for Black travelers on Route 66. 

At the time it was called "the county line" because it sits between the markers for Oklahoma and Lincoln Counties in Luther. 

Luther was known as a sundown town, meaning African Americans were not allowed out after sundown. 

Threat's Filling Station became the place for them to stop, get gas and rest. 

Rev. Allen Threatt III the grandson of the elder Threatt described the store as a modern day 7-Eleven. You could go and get a loaf of bread, a quart of milk or even pork and beans.  

The store, however, was much more than a gas station or convenience store, it was a refuge.

“Travelers would come to the station and get some gas. And they would pull in behind the station and park their car, feel safe, and sleep over night or whatever they needed,” said David Threatt, Allen’s grandson.

And because hotels were not readily available for African Americans, the filling station was a valuable resource for Route 66 travelers. 

The filling station was also home to the Threatt family, with living quarters on the back side of the business. 

Next door to the filling station the family would later open a restaurant, known as the “Brown Bomber,” named after the former boxing heavy weight champ Joe Louis. It is speculated the boxer frequented the restaurant as well as the gas station in his travels. 

In the 50s and 60s, the 160-acre property became a hot spot for African Americans from all over the state. 

“All day Saturday and all day Sunday, we had Black negro baseball teams coming in,” Allen Threatt III described. “They were dressed like professionals, like the dodgers and the Yankees.” 

And over 100 years later this part of Oklahoma history is still owned by the Threatt family. They are working to restore the property into a tourist attraction.

They were recently selected by the National Trust for Historic Preservation as one of the 11 Most Endangered Places in America 2021. This is a significant recognition that will help in the family’s efforts to restore the property. 

“That’s really significant,” David said. “That’s gonna enable us to have a much further reach within the philanthropy and other grants and so forth.” 

Being selected for this list is also very important because 95% of the sites that make this list survive. The family plans to have the work done on the filling station in time for the 2026 centennial celebration on Route 66. 

Click here for more information about the filling station and to make donations.