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HISTORIC ROUTE 66
The Main Street of America, Route 66 was established on November 11th, 1926. It was one
of the original federal routes, beginning in Chicago, running southwesterly through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma,
until reaching Oklahoma City, then west through the remainder of Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and
California. At its inception, it was a total of 2,448 miles in length.
For some forty years, Route 66
earned the title "Main Street of America". Not fully paved until 1938, it followed old Indian trails, military roads,
and countless dirt roads through
small towns throughout the Midwest and Southwest.
In its heyday, it was lined by thousands of cafes, motels, camps, gas stations and tourist attractions.
Beginning during the time of the Great Depression, thousands of families
from Texas and Oklahoma, and adjacent areas of Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico during the
Dust Bowl, packed up their belongings and headed
West to California. In The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck coined the phrase,
"The Mother Road", referring to Route 66.
At the end of World War II, may more left the industrial areas of the East,
and traveled Route 66 looking for better jobs and warmer climates in
US Route 66 was officially decommissioned from the United States
Highway System on June 27, 1985, nearly fifty nine years after it had initially
entered the Highway System. But it won't die!
The route that had become a part of America's culture, is still alive today.
Portions of Old Route 66 have been designated a
National Scenic Byway of the name "Historic Route 66", and can be found on many maps
in that form.
Route 66 Associations have been established in all 8 of the original Route 66 states.
But the popularity of Route 66 isn't limited to the United States. Association have been
formed in a number of foreign countries.