Route 66, known by several names throughout the years, including the “Mother Road,” “Main Street of America,” and the “Will Rogers Highway,” this old highway served travelers for more than 50 years before totally succumbing to the “new and improved” interstate system.
Established in 1926, road signs began to be erected the following year, but it would be several years before the 2,448-mile highway would be continuously paved from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Running through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, the highway became one of the most famous roads in America. For decades, this historic path served thousands who were migrating west, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s.
Over the years, the road underwent many improvements and realignments, changing its path and overall length and moving its endpoint farther west to Santa Monica, California.
Route 66 was officially decommissioned in 1985, and the familiar highway markers came down.
But, it was not the end of this historic path. New generations wanted to travel this old road, signs began to go back up, and today, thousands enjoy these vintage peeks along the old highway. However, the original road is not indicated on most maps today, and this portion of Legends‘ website provides descriptions of the many towns, sites, and icons of the Mother Road, as well as additional articles and the Route 66 Emporium for those looking for books & maps, postcards, souvenirs, and memorabilia.
…and they come into 66 from the tributary side roads from the wagon tracks and the rutted country roads, 66 is the mother road, the road of flight.
– John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath
If you love Route 66, enjoy coloring, and like to share with others, this book is for you! The Route 66 Postcard Coloring Book contains 20 postcards of various places along America’s Mother Road, each ready for your own artistic touch. Made in Missouri, U.S.A. For more information, visit Legends’ General Store.
© Kathy Alexander/Legends of America, updated May 2022.
About Route 66 – History and Information about the Mother Road.
Mile By Mile Westbound: This very detailed section includes hundreds of pages of the many small towns along the mother road, “must-see” sites, and bucket loads of photographs.
More Information and Articles:
The Crucial Role of the Negro Motorist Green Book
History Beyond the Mother Road
Harvey Hotels & Restaurants on Route 66
Nostalgic Flashback Of The 1950s Era
The Sixties – The New Generation
Signs on the Mother Road (photo gallery)
Stuckey’s, Stuckey’s, Everywhere
Valentine Diners Along the Mother Road and Beyond
Where are the Burma Shave Signs?
Whiting Brothers on the Mother Road
View all our Route 66 Photo Galleries HERE!
Scenic Byways & Historic Trails