The Introduction of an American Icon Known as Route 66

September 5, 2010

If you are looking for information about this famous and historic highway, known as Route 66, the Mother Road, or the Main Street of America, it’s certainly not hard to find.

Many people in the United States as well as other countries honor this legendary road and are a part of its continued existence through clubs or organizations which keep the spirit and road, alive.

According to the National Historic Route 66 Federation, entrepreneurs Cyrus Avery and John Woodruff are the individuals who deserve most of the credit for supporting the idea that this highway should be built in the first place.”

In the early 1900’s, the United States government realized that there was a definite need for a national highway system. Legislation for public highways first appeared in 1916 and in 1925. The result was a more comprehensive version of the act that Congress enacted.

In 1925, the government implemented a plan for national highway construction. Early on in the construction, the plan was to connect the main streets to the famous Route 66.

One of the original federal routes, Route 66, was established on November 11, 1926, and originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, ending in Los Angeles.

The total of miles, from start to finish totaled 2,448 miles. Highway signs, however, were not seen until the next year.

Eight states formed what was called, “The Route 66 Highway Association.” The purpose of the association was so that the US Highway 66 would be built faster than planned! These folks couldn’t wait for the final product! In their eyes, US 66 could not be built soon enough! Soon thereafter, the name, “Main Street of America,” was adopted.

This famous Mainstreet of America highway even has a song named after it, too. You may not be old enough to remember the song, but it was produced many years ago in 1946 and was a pretty popular American song. The song was composed by Bobby Troup and first recorded by the unmistakable sound of Nat King Cole in the same year. The song was both a hit on both the rhythm and blues and pop charts in the United States. You can hear this song on many of the “oldies” stations across U.S. airwaves.

In the song lyrics, the artist mentions the many cities that this historic legendary highway passes through (in order from east to west) such as St. Louis, Missouri; Joplin, Missouri; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Amarillo, Texas; Gallup, New Mexico; Flagstaff, Arizona; Winona, Arizona; Kingman, Arizona; Barstow, California; and San Bernardino, California. (According to the online encyclopedia known as Wikipedia, the city of Winona is the only town that is mentioned out of sequence in the list of cities that Route 66 passes through.)

Route 66 has a special place for many Americans as it really was the bread and butter for many. Many “mom and pop” stores, diners, gas stations and other small businesses that sprung up along Route 66 prospered until Interstate 40 came along and became the new main highway for travel from the Midwest to the west. This caused many of these once thriving businesses to go out of business. Some of these businesses still exist today, however, with the preservation of some parts of Route 66.

This famous US highway is an American historic icon. Many dreams were discovered along the famous highway 66 only to be shattered many years later with the demise of this famous highway. There are so many emotions tied to the Mother Road.

Big dreams, hope, shattered dreams, love and entrepreneurship, are a sampling of what this highway meant to people who not only built the road, but those whose businesses sustained because of the famous highway.

After the highway was replaced by Interstate 40, there were those who felt like a part of them had died after they had traveled on it for many years and for so many (what seemed) endless miles.

The story of the Mother Road, Route 66, or the Main Street of America is a story of success as well as defeat. Nevertheless, US Highway 66 had become a part of the early business advancements. It allowed many entrepreneurs to be able to transport their goods in fast fashion like never before, certainly better than any of the best dirt roads that existed previously.

There has never been such a relationship with a road and automobiles that involved so many people who wanted to move west to explore the awaited possibilities of financial success.

Whether you remember the legendary stretch of highway as the main artery that folks traveled on from the Midwest to the west or not, doesn’t matter. To many, this famous highway is just as alive as it was when it was considered the Mother Road or Main Street of America.

This historic road is still very much alive today. The legendary information about the historic highway that you will find will astound you.

To many peoples satisfaction, it is still possible to travel on America’s first roadway. You can experience the highway along with many of the roadside attractions that still exist today, such as the little diners along the way. There are guided tours that you can purchase online to assist you if you decide to make a mini-vacation out of your Route 66 road trip.

You can find photos of the famous highway, shop for Route 66 products and have no difficulty finding just about anything! Facts and history about the Mother Road, or the Main Street of America, as it is commonly referred to as, are likely to impress any history buff. There are other parts of the United States, other than the state of Arizona, where you can visit this world famous road!

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