Route 66 Beginning And End – US Highway 66 – commonly known as Route 66 – embodies a complex, rich history that goes beyond any chronicle of the road. It is a transportation artery, a means of social transformation, and a relic of America’s past. It extends 4,000 kilometers across two-thirds of the continent. The highway winds from the shores of Lake Michigan to the farmlands of Illinois, to the hills of the Ozarks in Missouri, through the mining towns of Kansas, through Oklahoma, where the forests of the east meet the open plains of the west. The open ranchlands of Texas, the enchanted mesa lands of New Mexico and Arizona, to the Mojave Desert and finally to the “Land of Milk and Honey” – the metropolis of Los Angeles and the shores of the Pacific Ocean. Dotted with historic buildings and diverse cultural resources, Route 66 spans the continent and reveals a process of historic change that has transformed the lives of people, their communities and the nation. The multi-directional lines of this fantastic highway connect not only East and West, but also past and present.
Route 66 officially began in 1926 when the Bureau of Public Roads began the nation’s first federal highway system. Like other highways in the system, Route 66 was a renewal of existing local, state, and national roads. The highway quickly became a popular route thanks to the active promotion of the US 66 Highway Association, which declared it “the shortest, best and most scenic route from Chicago to St. Louis to Los Angeles.”
- 1 Route 66 Beginning And End
- 2 The Highlights Of Route 66
- 3 Guide To Exploring Route 66’s Texan Landmarks
Route 66 Beginning And End
Merchants in small and large towns along the highway saw Route 66 as an opportunity to generate new income for their often rural and isolated communities. As the highway became busier, the roadbed was improved and the infrastructure of supporting businesses – especially those that provided fuel, shelter and food along it – expanded. Even in hard times, the Depression, which took its toll on the country, had an ironic effect on Route 66. A mom-and-pop business.
Route 66, America’s ‘mother Road,’ Readies For Its Centennial • Missouri Independent
World War II caused a marked decline in civilian and tourist traffic, but stimulated new activity along US 66 as it functioned as a military transportation corridor, moving troops and supplies from one military reserve to another. Motel occupancy increased as military families stationed at military bases stayed longer. But more importantly, Route 66 facilitated the largest mobilization of the war, as thousands of job seekers traveled to California, Oregon, and Washington to work in defense factories.
When the war ended, traffic increased due to the lifting of rationing and travel restrictions. Car ownership increased dramatically over the next decade, with 52.1 million vehicles registered in 1955 (compared to 25.8 million at the end of the war). With more cars and vacations, families headed west on Route 66 to the Grand Canyon, Disneyland and the beaches of Southern California.
With heavier traffic, businesses along the highway grew and Route 66, as a Dustbowl migration route, was replaced by the Freedom and Strike Road. The uncomfortable image of John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath faded as Bobby Troup’s upbeat lyrics for “Route 66” hit the airwaves. In the 1960s television series Route 66, the adventures of two young men immortalized Route 66 as a highway of excitement.
Just as the massive traffic of the post-World War II decade made Route 66 its peak, the highway’s popularity and congestion heralded its demise. In 1956, President Eisenhower, who had witnessed the military advantages of the German Autobahn during World War II, sponsored legislation to build a new system of high-speed, limited-access, four-lane highways – today’s Interstates.
The Highlights Of Route 66
Five new highways (I-55, I-44, I-40, I-15, and I-10) gradually replaced US 66 over the next three decades. The interstate construction coincided with strong forces of economic consolidation, as evidenced by the growth of branded gas stations, motels, and chain restaurants. The bypass of the final stretch of US 66 with I-40 in 1984 led to the official decommissioning of the highway in 1985, affecting many businesses and communities along the way.
After the cancellation of Route 66, members of public and private organizations, state and federal agencies, understanding the highway’s historical and social significance, began campaigns to preserve and commemorate the road. New associations have formed to promote travel and preservation of Route 66 and are working with government agencies to mark it with signs. Portions of the route have received new designations as state and/or national scenic byways. Businesses along the road have started selling again to tourists seeking the historic highway.
In 1990, the United States Congress passed Public Law 102-400, the Route 66 Study Act of 1990, which recognized that Route 66 “has become a symbol of the American people’s legacy of travel and search for a better life.” As a result of the law, the National Park Service conducted a Route 66 Special Resources Study to assess the significance of Route 66 and determine options for its preservation, interpretation, and use. cultural resources of the Route 66 corridor and to authorize the Secretary of the Interior to provide assistance. The law authorized the creation of the National Park Service’s Route 66 Corridor Maintenance Program. This program provides financial and technical assistance to individuals, nonprofit organizations, local communities, state, tribal and federal agencies, and others to promote the preservation of the most important and representative historic resources along the route.
In 2008, the importance of Route 66 and its conservation was again recognized when the World Monuments Fund included Route 66 in its list of 100 Most Endangered Sites. Watch draws international attention to endangered cultural sites around the world and seeks to build capacity and structures for the long-term, sustainable protection of these sites. As a result of this listing, the World Monuments Fund has partnered with American Express through its Sustainable Tourism Initiative to provide support for Route 66 projects, including historic preservation and research on the economic impact of tourism, this Route 66 National Park Service. Discover our shared heritage. itinerary and the formation of a national, collaborative nonprofit known as the Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership. The National Trust for Historic Places has also placed Route 66 on their list of America’s Most Endangered Species and designated the road as a National Treasure.
Historic Route 66 Sign Where Designating The Beginning Of This Historic Road Located In Downtown Chicago Illinois Stock Photo
There is a soul, a feeling that inhabits this highway. The spirit of Route 66 lives on in the people and their stories, in the landmarks and buildings, and in travelers’ perceptions of the highway. Today’s travelers can still experience a remarkable journey back in time on Route 66. Start your Mother Road adventure with a photo of the historic beginning of Route 66 in Chicago, Illinois! Whether you do the entire route or a shorter adventure, these are essential photo opportunities for any trip.
Technically, the official starting point of Route 66 has been moved several times since the road came into use. But today, travelers can mark the start of their journey near the intersection of E. Adams Street and Michigan Avenue.
The starting point of Route 66 has been moved several times. The 1926 line was located at Jackson Boulevard and Michigan Avenue, near the Art Institute. This problem has been resolved because the Federal Highway Administration stipulates that highways cannot be dead ends and must connect to a new route. In this case it was US 41. In 1933, the start of Route 66 was moved a few blocks east to Jackson and Lake Shore Drive, closer to the World’s Fair. Then, in 1955, Jackson became a one-way street heading east. So Adams Street, one block north, became the new westbound starting point for Route 66.
You’ll see the Begin Route 66 sign on E. Adams Street west of the intersection with Michigan Avenue, directly in front of the Art Institute of Chicago. This section of Adams Street is one-way westbound, which is convenient for Route 66 travelers. However, it can make parking difficult for a quick photo.
Guide To Exploring Route 66’s Texan Landmarks
If you just want to stop for a quick photo, the late David Clark, who was known as the Windy City Road Warrior, shared some good advice when he was on the Route 66 Podcast. The Begin Route 66 sign is located next to the Philippine Consulate General, which has several reserved spaces in the parking lane. If you are visiting outside consulate hours, this is a great place to stop for a few minutes. If you want even more history on where Route 66 begins, listen to the podcast episode!
As you drive west onto Adams, the sign will be on your left
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