For 90 years, Historic Route 66 has been America’s Road! It’s people have inspired writers, filmmakers, photographers, and artists. It’s a road that represents a simpler time of family road trips, neon, classic cars, cowboys, and mom and pop diners. Arizona’s stretch of Route 66 has ever-changing wonders from towering red cliffs, open spaces with endless blue skies, mountains, expansive forests, and distant mesas that look like painted pictures.
Dotted with mom and pop businesses, , neon signs, and eclectic roadside attractions tells the story of America’s historical move west. The creation of this 2,448-mile “super highway” in 1926 linked together small communities across eight states providing a new-found freedom to early travelers.
In 1939, John Steinbeck proclaimed Route 66 as the “Mother Road” in his classic novel, “The Grapes of Wrath,” which depicted life during the Great Depression. When the movie was made just a year later, it immortalized Route 66 in the American consciousness. Then on the heels of the Great Depression, came the dust bowl of the Midwest where 200,000 people traveled Route 66, the road to opportunity, migrating to California in search of new opportunity.
As World War II broke out, troops, equipment, and products were transported across Route 66 to California, and when the war ended in 1945, the Mother Road brought home thousands of servicemen. For these returning servicemen and their families, Route 66 became more than just a highway – it was a link to America’s wonders experienced through family road trips.
The lure of the Route has been immortalized in the hit song, “Get Your Kicks on Route 66,” written by Bobby Troupe and performed by Nate King Cole Trio, The Rolling Stones, and many others, and by the television series, “Route 66,” which brought the Mother Road in to homes all over America in the 1960’s.