Tower Station and U-Drop Inn Cafe, Shamrock

#313 of 2,196 in Things to do in Texas
The U-Drop Inn, also known as Tower Station and U-Drop Inn and Tower Café, was built in 1936 in Shamrock, Texas along the historic Route 66 highway. Inspired by the image of a nail stuck in soil, the building was designed by J. C. Berry. An unusual example of art deco architecture applied to a gas station and restaurant, the building features two flared towers with geometric detailing, curvilinear massing, glazed ceramic tile walls, and neon light accents. It has traditionally held two separate business: "Tower Station", a gas station on the western side, and the "U-Drop Inn", a café on the eastern side. Though it has passed hands several times in its history, the building has consistently housed the same types of businesses it was originally constructed for.Once considered a beautiful and impressive example of Route 66 architecture in Texas, the U-Drop Inn fell into disrepair with the decommissioning of Route 66. It closed for business in the late 1990s. After it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in September 1997, the building was purchased by the First National Bank of Shamrock, which then gave it to the city. Primarily funded by a US$1.7 million federal grant, the city hired a firm specializing in historical renovation to restore the building to its original glory and adapt it into a museum, visitors' center, gift shop, and the city's chamber of commerce. In 2006 animated film Cars, the cartoon village of Radiator Springs was based on multiple real U.S. Route 66 landmarks from Peach Springs to Baxter Springs; the U-Drop Inn's distinctive architecture appears as Ramone's automotive body and paint shop.
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
210 reviews
  • August 10, 2017
    Very helpful staff provided a pathway along the road through the rest of the state noting good places to stop. Great place to take pictures and great to see the building preserved for future generatio...  more »
  • August 9, 2017
    I'm disappointed I didn't get to see it in its neon glory in the evening, but it's still special during the day. A night trip will have to be another time. The U-Drop Inn Cafe looks untouched with it'...  more »
  • August 6, 2017
    What an awesome display of neon. Getting there at night we did not get to go inside but the outside was plenty for us. Even the ATM across the street is loaded with neon.  more »
  • May 23, 2017
    So far, wins the Best Roadside Attraction contest in our Route 66 trip. Theresa and Hazel were wonderful hostesses. This is s visually stunning, beautifully restored art deco station, perfectly redone, makes you feel exactly like you're in the original place. Do NOT miss this if you're doing 66!!!
  • July 4, 2017
    A surprisingly large collection of Route 66 Americana greets U at the U-Drop-Inn but also in Shamrock as a whole. A knowledgeable and friendly staff sells t-shirts and signs and offers complimentary coffee. Outside, nestled amid the larger attractions rest a late 30's Chevrolet wrecker and a Studebaker M8 flatbed pickup. Both trucks eagerly await to be in front of your camera.
  • July 10, 2017
    Very nice visit with beautiful, friendly ladies with cool stories. Thank you so much for the hospitality. Awesome place for all.
  • April 6, 2017
    Cool little building to visit. Stopped by because it was an inspiration for Cars, and I'm glad we did. The woman on staff was so friendly and knowledgeable. Even got to sit at a diner table that Elvis himself ate at. I would recommend this place!
  • June 15, 2017
    Quaint place! Unfortunately, it's nowadays just a gift shop, although they did serve free coffee, too! Worth a visit for anyone interested in the history of Route 66.

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