A less congested version of Route 66 is tucked away in the Adirondack Mountains, in a village of about 300 that calls itself the “All Season Vacationland.”
John Van Buiten and his friend Richard Koert built their own Route 66 over a period of 14 years, starting with the gas station in 2000.
All the structures are 96 square feet (anything over 100 would’ve needed a building permit) and pay homage to the American road trip and Van Buiten’s own memories of his honeymoon along the route. On the couple’s 60th wedding anniversary, he and his wife Esther renewed their vows in the second building he and Richard made, a replica of a church from his hometown in New Jersey.
Each building took about a year to build, often using scrap wood from the lumber yard where his son worked and odds and ends found at garage sales and closed businesses. Besides the church and gas station, there’s a post office, a general store, a barber shop, a school, and an ice cream parlor.
Each building has been brought to life with antique objects and thoughtful details. The tiny school has a wood stove, inkwell desks, and a real bell. The General Store is topped with an elk weathervane and inside, the shelves are stocked with products. The gas station features antique pumps and two mannequins from Chicago occupy the barber shop.
John and his wife donated the project to the Historical Society of Lake Pleasant & Speculator in 2014. It was moved from John’s property in Lake Pleasant, New York, to a spot next to the Speculator Pavilion. It officially opened in July 2016.
Know Before You Go
Route 66 is located on the grounds of the Speculator Ball Field and Pavilion, directly across from the Speculator Public Beach on NYS Route 30. The site is free and parking is available.