Route 66, The Mother Road
US Highway 66, also known as Route 66 or the Mother Road, was created in 1926. It was also called the Will Rogers Highway after the popular comedian and western figure. Originating in Chicago Illinois, it extended for 2,448 miles to Los Angeles, California. On its way to Los Angeles, it took travelers through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. Before it was replaced by the Interstate Highway System in June, 1985, it was one of the most traveled roads in the U.S. Today, sections of this historical landmark have been named Historic Route 66 as a part of the National Scenic Byways.
The highway was named by officials in Springfield, Missouri in April of 1926, and legally became one of America’s first highways. The road was constructed of mostly gravel and dirt, and was not paved until 1938. The move west in the late 20’s and 30’s increased traffic on the route and was significantly increased in a greater way as people from Oklahoma and Arkansas sought to escape the dust bowl to look for work in California.
During World War II, the road became a route for transporting military equiptment across the country. But in the 50’s, it was a popular vacation road-trip to California with stops along the way at tourist attractions like the Grand Canyon.
Today, although decommissioned, 85% of the old highway is still drivable. Along its route, however rotting shells of once thriving roadside businesses represent ghosts of an American past. Some businesses, however, do remain and continue, even thrive. The famous Wigwam Motel, for instance, still offer guests a stay in one of its concrete wigwams.
The National Historic Route 66 Federation was formed to keep the historical and cultural importance of Route 66 before the public and to preserve landmarks, points of interest and communities along the road. There is even a smartphone app. for the interested traveler which includes roadside attractions and places to stay, eat and enjoy a bit of American history. http://historicroute66.com/
Route 66 in Arizona may be the most colorful stretch of the famous highway. There are volcanos, petrified forests, ghost towns, meteor craters, Indian trading posts and pine forests. There are historic old towns on the way: two ghost towns, Goldroad and Oatman, the historic railway town of Kingman, the small town of Peach Springs on the Hulapai Indian Reservation, Seligman, Ash Fork, and the historic towns of Williams, the gateway to the Grand Canyon, and the cool pine forests of Flagstaff.
If you need motor vehicle servcies along your travels, FooteWork Auto License and Title Service has offices in Williams, Cottonwood, Prescott, and Prescott Valley, Arizona. Drive Safely!!
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