Route 66 Rock Cafe: Burned but Rebuilding

Rock Cafe Burned

Last week I sat with Dawn Welch among the sooty remains of the 1939 Rock Cafe in Stroud, Oklahoma. 


Rock Cafe Window Burned

Dawn Welch

Rock Cafe Menus

Dawn’s the inspiration for Sally the Porsche in the movie Cars.  Since buying the cafe 15 years ago, she has propelled it into the national and international spotlight.  It was one of the must-stops along the Mother Road.

At 11:20 p.m. on May 20, she got a call to tell her the cafe was burning.  (The cause of the fire is undetermined.  It wasn’t arson, electrical-, or weather-related.) By early the next morning, the flames were out, and the only things left standing were the four rock walls.

"Right away, everyone assumed I wouldn’t rebuild it," she said. "But there was never a consideration." 

Her resilience is amazing; her attitude is completely positive.  Not only is she going to rebuild, but she’s also determined to do it the right way.

"Luckily, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Park Service, and the Oklahoma State Historic Preservation office have all been taking a very active role in helping me."

Dawn’s family, friends, and community have pitched in to help with the cleanup.  She started a blog,, to document their progress, so check it out. 

I interviewed Dawn for an upcoming story on Route 66.  To hear excerpts from that interview, listen below.


  1. Stroud and Davenport – Oklahoma 66 Highlights – Route 66 – Nostalgie, Neons, Abenteuer

    […] Und eine Familie, die voll ins Geschäft integriert ist, gibt es auch noch. Dann kommt das Jahr 2008. „The Rock“ wird ein Raub der Flammen! Nur die alten Mauern aus den Route 66 Steinen bleiben übrig. Das wäre für die meisten das Ende gewesen, nicht aber für Dawn Welch. Es dauert ein Jahr und ein paar Tage bis das Rock Cafe wieder da steht, als ob nichts gewesen wäre. Alles wieder aufgebaut, Dawn und ihre Familie machen weiter. So sah es nach dem Feuer aus: Klick […]

    April 11, 2017 at 4:22 am
  2. ИнтерДизайн

    Last week I sat with Dawn Welch among the sooty remains of the 1939 Rock Cafe in Stroud, Oklahoma. As a top contender in the state for best barbeque, Burn. will not let. Established in 1834, and still in business today, it is the oldest operating restaurant west. It is the oldest continually owned family restaurant on Route 66. She started the blog after moving to Indio, CA where she now resides. The only good news came late in the day when the size of the blaze was downgraded from 30,000 to 25,600 acres after fire officials were able to complete a more accurate mapping of the wildfire. Portions of Historic Route 66 are temporarily closed for repairs. It was my dream to have that type of work in the rebuilding process. I have returned many times since then, even took an Aussie friend there to climb the crater and photograp. Route 66 was an American icon, and also a way of life for many local. The first is from the Rock Cafe in Stroud, Oklahoma, in 1994 and 1995. Cajon Pass and Route 66, wrapped his head in wet rags and held . We’ve had a lot of fires and a lot of accidents in this area, but we always. Found on an empty Main Street, also contains the U Drop Inn Restaurant. In 1959, I had the oportunity to travel on. 66 through Missouri into Oklahoma. She said she has the insurance and plans to rebuild but replicating its. It’s awful, ’cause I know every button in that restaurant that was there. Classic mid-century steakhouse on Route 66 that started as a horse ride-up. Last week I sat with Dawn Welch among the sooty remains of the 1939 Rock Cafe in Stroud, . There is an old cemetery, a church and a post office nearby – all closed now – but the grave. Watch live streaming newscasts from FOX 5 San Diego, KSWB Channel 5. Not only will you see a bit of history, but this is where you can find the. Man, as well as important information about traffic to and from the event. Friday against the wildfire which has been burning in a Southern California . The destruction included a landmark restaurant, the Summit Inn in Hesperia. By Wednesday evening, it had burned 25,600 acres, with firefighters able. We also enjoyed the time we spent there and found everyone to be friendly. Southern California wildfire, burning uncontrollably, has engulfed 30000 acres. Interstate 15 does not traverse Cajon Pass, but rather the nearby Cajon Summit. I knew this piece of equipment was well made but had no idea it was a Wolf. I’ve been out three times to kick around take photos and talk to people there. I am acuually working here in ROY’S Cafe in Amboy which is Roy’s Gasoline We get a lot of tourist coming through the cafe just to stop in.. This may be nitpicking, but 66 was commissioned as far back as 1927, not 1938. Welch didn’t mention it , but she also oversaw a complete and arduous rebuilding of . Our family of six plus parents resided due East approx 10 miles. Drive-Ins and Dives” and in dozens of articles and blog posts for its . Summit Inn Restaurant in Oak Hills, which burned Tuesday afternoon after standing for 60 years along historic Route 66. It served him well, and even though there were only eight or ten other families within 30 miles. No state has more surviving miles of Route 66 than Oklahoma, and in fact the. In fact, during my visit to Roy’s Cafe, there was a rock group from. My cousin with husband and two sons plan to visit us during their ten day vacation from the UK in March. Many champion sites in the plains of western Oklahoma, but the best. It was memorialized in John Steinbeck’s novel, “The Grapes of Wrath. The Summit Inn, which sits on the iconic Route 66 highway and is a two-hour. Rock Cafe owner Dawn Welch announced on her blog Saturday she has. Wev’e been making the drive from Ca, to Az, about every other month. It was fun seeing shadows of what used to. Route 66 became such a big part. A lot of the structures that burned were outbuildings like sheds and barns,” . The town was established in 1842, burned to the ground during the. In my 21 years, I’ve reached a several phases of burn out from. Rock Cafe on Route 66 in Stroud OKlahoma Progress from Fire. I’ve never been, but I’ll have to check it out just for the historical nostalgia. A Route 66 sign is one the only things still standing after the Blue Cut Fire. Video showed a number of structures have burned in the fire, but.

    March 9, 2017 at 9:06 am
  3. Linda

    The Rock Cafe will reopen on May 22, 2009.

    March 30, 2009 at 9:04 pm
  4. Linda

    Good news. Dawn has hired a preservationist who started work right after Thanksgiving. His name is David Burke who runs David Burke Historic Preservation out of Perry, OK. The goal is to have the Rock Cafe open in May 2009. Dawn has some great things to say about him and the progress of the work at her blog

    January 12, 2009 at 11:30 am
  5. Tanner

    Santa’s not the only one. Godspeed, Dawn!

    November 19, 2008 at 12:35 pm
  6. Elf Laur

    Santa is hoping that Dawn will have a special Christmas this year.

    November 19, 2008 at 8:08 am
  7. Tanner

    If you are interested in contacting Dawn Welch, the owner of the Rock Cafe, visit her blog:
    She has documented her rebuilding process, so you can do some research there. Also, by commenting on that blog, you may get to talk to her directly.
    Good luck,
    Tanner Latham
    Associate Travel Editor
    Southern Living

    November 5, 2008 at 4:07 pm
  8. Caitlin

    You did such a great job with the rock cafe, i feel like it’s such a historical land mark and everyone would have had a good time there. I can only imagine all your memories. I am doing a report for school on your cafe actually, where can i get some good information on it?
    & good luck
    feel free to email me.

    November 5, 2008 at 11:46 am


    July 17, 2008 at 3:25 pm

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