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Route 66 Fades Into History On This Date

A section of old Route 66 thru Daggett, CA (Getty Images)

At one time it was called the Main Street of America. It stretched 2,200 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. Along the way it went thru St. Louis and Oklahoma City, then almost due west thru the states of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Calfornia. U-S Route 66 connected hundreds of small communities mainly along a route that at one time was a path thru the wilderness. Later it was a main wagon train route and eventually a major highway for cars and trucks.

The idea for a national highway came out of Oklahoma City in the 1920’s. Politicians and business leaders there wanted an easy, main leak between their state and Chicago and Los Angeles.

Route 66 was officially designated in 1926 and over the years it inspired songs, novels, movies and even a TV show.

It was the main route west for hundreds of thousands of Midwest ranchers and farmers who went broke during the Dust Bowl Years of the 1930’s.

But in the 1950’s interstate highways made roads like Route 66 obsolete. Bit by bit interstates took over stretches of Route 66 and bypassed the small towns along the way.

It was on this date in 1984 Interstate 40 in Arizona bypassed the final section of Route 66 and after 59 years it was decertified.

It’s mainly a tourist road now, but you can still travel along most of the original sections of America’s first main road.


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