Thursday, June 28, 2007

Grand Canyon Trip: Route 66 Signs

Route 66 was commissioned in 1926. It started in Chicago, and ended in L.A. (Santa Monica). It was 2448 miles long, crossed 8 states and 3 time zones. Route 66 was a major path of the migrants who went west, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, and supported the economies of the communities through which the road passed. Current maps do not include old Route 66. You can drive parts of it these days, but has been replaced by the interstate highways I-55, I-44, I-40, I-15 and I-10.

In the 1950s, Route 66 became the main highway for vacationers heading to Los Angeles. The road passed through the Painted Desert and near the Grand Canyon. Meteor Crater in Arizona was another popular stop. This sharp rise in tourism in turn gave rise to a burgeoning trade in all manner of roadside attractions including teepee-shaped motels, frozen custard stands, Indian curio shops, and reptile farms. Meramec Caverns near St. Louis began advertising on barns, billing itself as the "Jesse James hideout". The Big Texan advertised a free 72-ounce steak dinner to anyone who could eat the whole thing in an hour. It also marked the birth of the fast-food industry: Red's Giant Hamburgs in Springfield, Missouri, site of the first drive-through restaurant, and the first McDonald's in San Bernardino, California. Changes like these to the landscape further cemented 66's reputation as a near-perfect microcosm of the culture of America, now linked by the automobile. Thank you, Wikipedia


Anonymous said...

I love that stuff! Do you have MORE?!

Fair White Frogman said...

Those are the best of them. I bet google has more.