Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Route 66

Flagstaff was on the path of old US Route 66, and the town has gone to some efforts to preserve its memory.

Route 66 began as a way to link main streets of rural and urban communities that had no access to national highways, allowing farmers on the prairies and plains to get grain and other crops to major markets. Its diagonal path from Chicago to Los Angeles is fairly flat and temperate, making it popular and practical for truck shipping. During the Dustbowl of the 1930s, Route 66 was a major route for migrants heading west to California. In the 1950s it was the main highway for vacationers to Los Angeles.

When Route 66 received its numerical designation in 1926 it was the first interstate highway. The entire 2,448-mile length of Route 66 was not paved until 1938. US66 was officially decommissioned in 1985, after it was deemed irrelevant due to the Interstate Highway System. This has crippled many small towns that were economically dependent on the highway.

Old Route 66 in Flagstaff: 1950 and Today. Grew from two lanes to five, but seems the weather hasn't changed. (N35.19012 W111.66433)

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