It’s labeled Mother Road or the Main Street of America. It also known as the Will Rogers Highway.
It became one of the most famous roads in the United States.
It’s the Route 66 (or U.S. Route 66 or simply US 66).
Route 66 crosses eight States and three time zones.
From Chicago to Santa Monica, if you love adventures on the road in direction east to west, catch your Harley Davidson and go for it! You will have a great time.
Route 66 was one of the original highways within the U.S. Highway System.
It was established on November 11, 1926, with road signs erected the following year.
The highway ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending at Santa Monica, California, covering a total of
2,448 miles ( 3,940 km).
US 66 served as a major path for those who migrated west, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and the road supported the economies of the communities through which it passed.
The Dust Bowl, also known as the Dirty Thirties, was a period of severe dust storms that greatly damaged the ecology and agriculture of the American and Canadian prairies during the 1930s; severe drought and a failure to apply dryland farming methods to prevent wind erosion (the Aeolian processes) caused the phenomenon.
People doing business along the route became prosperous due to the growing popularity of the highway, and those same people later fought to keep the highway alive in the face of the growing threat of being bypassed by the new Interstate Highway System.
The route was inaugurated on 11th November 1926.
In rising of the route, the publicity worked: several dignitaries, including Will Rogers, greeted the runners at certain points on the route. The race ended in Madison Square Garden, where the $25,000 first prize (equal to $356,298 in 2017) was awarded to Andy Hartley Payne, a Cherokee runner from Oklahoma. The U.S. Highway 66 Association also placed its first advertisement in the July 16, 1932, issue of the Saturday Evening Post. The ad invited Americans to take US 66 to the 1932 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. A U.S. Highway 66 Association office in Oklahoma received hundreds of requests for information after the ad was published. The association went on to serve as a voice for businesses along the highway until it disbanded in 1976.
Traffic grew on the highway because of the geography through which it passed. Much of the highway was essentially flat and this made the highway a popular truck route. The Dust Bowl of the 1930s saw many farming families, mainly from Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, and Texas, heading west for agricultural jobs in California. US 66 became the main road of travel for these people, often derogatorily called "Okies" or "Arkies." During the Depression, it gave some relief to communities located on the highway. The route passed through numerous small towns and, with the growing traffic on the highway, helped create the rise of mom-and-pop businesses, such as service stations, restaurants, and motor courts, all readily accessible to passing motorists.
Much of the early highway, like all the other early highways, was gravel or graded dirt. Due to the efforts of the U.S. Highway 66 Association, US 66 became the first highway to be completely paved in 1938. Several places were dangerous: more than one part of the highway was nicknamed "Bloody 66" and gradually work was done to realign these segments to remove dangerous curves.
However, one section through the Black Mountains outside Oatman, Arizona, was fraught with hairpin turns and was the steepest along the entire route, so much so that some early travelers, too frightened at the prospect of driving such a potentially dangerous road, hired locals to navigate the winding grade. The section remained as US 66 until 1953 and is still open to traffic today as the Oatman Highway. Despite such hazards in some areas, US 66 continued to be a popular route.
During World War II, more migration west occurred because of war-related industries in California. US 66, already popular and fully paved, became one of the main routes and also served for moving military equipment.
In the 1950s, US 66 became the main highway for vacationers heading to Los Angeles.
In 1953, the Oatman Highway through the Black Mountains was completely bypassed by a new route between Kingman, Arizona, and Needles, California; by the 1960s, Oatman, Arizona, was virtually abandoned as a ghost town.
The beginning of the decline for US 66 came in 1956 with the signing of the Interstate Highway Act by President Dwight D. Eisenhower who was influenced by his experiences in 1919 as a young Army officer crossing the country in a truck convoy (following the route of the Lincoln Highway), and his appreciation of the autobahn network as a necessary component of a national defense system.
During its nearly 60-year existence, US 66 was under constant change. As highway engineering became more sophisticated, engineers constantly sought more direct routes between cities and towns.
US 66 underwent many improvements and realignments over its lifetime, and it was officially removed from the United States Highway System in 1985 (2nd of June), after it had been replaced in its entirety by segments of the Interstate Highway System. Portions of the road that passed through Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, and Arizona have been designated a National Scenic Byway of the name "Historic Route 66", which is returning to some maps. Several states have adopted significant bypassed sections of the former US 66 into the state road network as State Route 66.
US 66 has been a fixture in popular culture. Pixar's 2006 animated film Cars describes the decline of a once-booming Radiator Springs, nearly a ghost town once its mother road, US 66, was bypassed by Interstate 40. The movie's success generated a resurgence of public interest in US 66.
The National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. has a section on US
its "America on the Move" exhibition.