On the Mother Road: Preservation Group to Launch Study of Historic Route 66

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Vintage Postcard

Route 66 was the stuff legends were made of. Immortalized in song and in writing, the highway on which so many got "their kicks" up until its de-certification in 1980 will now be the focus of an extensive study aimed at creating "the first definitive document on the storied highway's history," LA Now is reporting.

The California Preservation Foundation has named the engineering and architecture consulting firm Mead & Hunt as the company to helm the study. The project will be done in partnership with The National Park Service's Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, and they plan to produce a document in early 2011, and pave the way for nominating properties along the route in California to be named to the National Register.

Some quick facts about Route 66:

  • Route 66 was established on November 11, 1926
  • It originally was 2,448 miles long, from Chicago to Los Angeles
  • Int he 1930s Route 66 was a popular artery bringing workers from Oklahoma and other Midwestern states to California during the Dust Bowl. In his novel about the movement, The Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck dubbed Route 66 "The Mother Road."
  • Over the years the route was improved and altered. One such realignment shifted the western endpoint from downtown Los Angeles to Santa Monica.
  • Route 66 was the subject of a song by Bobby Troup, recorded by Nat King Cole and later Depeche Mode and The Rolling Stones. It was also the name of a television show in the 60s.
  • Considered irrelevant and surpassed by the newer highway system, Route 66 was officially removed from the United States Highway System on June 27, 1985