In 1926, Route 66 was designated as the official route from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California. Route 66 now became the principal east to west artery in the US. The planners intended for this road to connect the main streets of both rural and urban communities to give those rural communities access to a major thoroughfare. Interestingly, the road didn’t follow a linear course, instead it went diagonally connecting rural communities along the way. This allowed farmers ease in transporting grain and produce and it was good for the trucking industry as well.
During the Depression, the “Mother Road” allowed an estimated 210,00 people to migrate to California to escape the Dust Bowl.
You can’t think of Route 66 without thinking about the unique roadside architecture that you would find along the way. There were unique motels and gas stations up and down Route 66. As you traveled to your destination, there were all kinds of tourist- targeted attractions to visit.
By 1970, nearly all fragments of Route 66 were bypassed by modern 4-lane highways and by 1984 the final segment in Arizona was gone.