This unique photo is of the popular tourist business, “Regal Reptile Ranch, Erick, Oklahoma” on Route 66. This image is of E. Mike Allred, of a time when the Regal Reptile Ranch was in Erick. It was photographed by Steve Fitch in about 1972. Jack Rittenhouse in his 1946 Guide Book to Route 66 wrote that Erick was “the first town you encounter, going west, which has any of the true ‘western’ look, with its wide, sun-baked street, frequent horsemen, occasional sidewalk awnings, and similar touches.” Erick prospered in the post World War II heyday of Route 66, with various roadside businesses catering to motorists. The four lanes of Route 66 from Sayre, Oklahoma to Erick were the last Oklahoma section of US 66 to be bypassed by I-40, in 1975.
Erick was home to two of Country music’s more idiosyncratic performers. Sheb Wooley, the actor, songwriter, and singer who recorded the saga of the “one-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater” was born there in 1921 and Roger Miller, country superstar and author of “King of the Road,” “Dang Me,” “You Can’t Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd.” H/T Route 66 Postcards >