A couple of fires ago, historic preservationists still hoped that what was left of the old Brookshire Motel could be restored and turned into an east Tulsa tourist attraction for Route 66 enthusiasts.
But no one believed it was still possible by the time yet another fire, the fourth in less than two years, spread through the abandoned rooms Aug. 17. And the seemingly inevitable happened Monday — workers demolished what had once been considered a Route 66 icon.
“Frankly, after a certain point, you have to cut your losses,” said Ken Busby, chairman of the Tulsa Route 66 Commission, which had once envisioned turning the motel into a sort of “eastern gateway” to the city.
“It was beyond saving,” Busby said.
Demolition came after city officials condemned the motel as a health and safety hazard. A charming, cottage-style building that likely dated to the 1940s, the Brookshire had sat vacant for many years and had become a hangout for homeless trespassers, who often lit fires for warmth or for cooking.
Firefighters found a man dead inside the motel after a blaze in early May. And if there had been any hope left for structure, it vanished.
As recently as 2018, however, preservationists and Route 66 advocates were working together on plans to turn the Brookshire into a significant attraction.