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Elvis ate here February 19, 2009

Posted by Ron Warnick in Museums, Music, Preservation, Restaurants.

Here’s something interesting that just came from the latest newsletter by the Oklahoma Route 66 Association.

The Heartland of America Heritage Museum in Weatherford, Okla., is about finished restoring the Porter House Diner, an original Valentine diner. The museum estimates the refurbishment will be done later this month or early March.

The article by Marion Davidson doesn’t have an exact fix when the diner was built, but it was operating on Route 66 in Weatherford in the 1950s by the Porter and Snow families.

Then there’s this:

A guest book provided by Porter’s sister Mrs. Snow, still a resident of Weatherford, reveals that Elvis Presley frequented the Porter House Diner on his Route 66 travels through Oklahoma heading to the West Coast. One entry in the guest book is dated April 22, 1960, with his name, home as Memphis, and remarks as “Cool, Daddy.” The guest book will be part of the Heartland Museum display.

Presley also stayed several times at the Trade Winds Motel in Clinton, Okla., during his trips out west. So the notion that Elvis would have stopped for a bite to eat at the Porter House before getting some shuteye down the road in Clinton makes sense.

(Photo by Marion Davidson)


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I stayed at the Trade Winds in 2004 and it had to be one of the worst places I’ve ever stayed. But, I did notice the room above mine was ‘The Elvis Room’ and promoted as such. It had some extra features, like a larger bed and some Elvis related stuff. Next door at Del’s I talked with some locals who remember Elvis would come into town real late, but usually early in the am. No one recalled his ever eating in Clinton but couldn’t say if he did so near town.

Elvis’ trips seem to be well covered in the various books about him. I haven’t read on yet which mentions Clinton, but some talk about Albuquerque and Amarillo as favorite stops. Elvis did make several such trips during the 60’s when he made up to three movies a year from 1960-1969. I think the date noted above may be wrong as Elvis took the train to LA around that time, not long after leaving the Army, to make the movie GI Blues. His crew started driving, if I read correctly, early in 1961 because train travel was a hassle, and Elvis loved to drive. You could say he was an early Route 66 Fan.

Given his m.o., however, it’s easy to believe Elvis would have stopped to eat in such a place. He loved junk food and would gravitate to a small diner like this one. But, Elvis travelled with a large ‘posse’ and they certainly would have taken over the entire diner and then some. More than the 8 or 10 stools the diner probably has.

But, it is a good story, and I imagine someone who did the trips with Elvis, could certainly verify it.

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