Saturday, August 18, 2012

Arizona's Route 66

I didn't realize until shortly before we left for Arizona that Route 66 had been decommissioned some time ago.

It was officially removed from the United States Highway System on June 27, 1985 after it had been decided the route had been replaced by the Interstate Highway System.

Portions of the road that passed through Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico, and Arizona have been designated a National Scenic Byway of the name "Historic Route 66", which is returning to some maps.

One of the original U.S. Highways, Route 66 was established on November 11, 1926. The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in America, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, before ending at Los Angeles, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km).

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 increase in tourism in turn gave rise to a burgeoning trade in all manner of roadside attractions including teepee-shaped motels.

We passed by the Wigwam Motel built in 1950 by Arizona motel owner Chester E. Lewis located in Holbrook. Lewis operated the motel successfully until closing it in 1974 when Interstate 40 bypassed downtown Holbrook. His children reopened it in 1988 who continue to operate the motel.

Current rooms contain the original restored hickory furniture, two double beds, cable TV and a window mounted air conditioner with no telephones or Internet access. Vintage restored automobiles from the 1960s and earlier are located throughout the parking area.

With the establishment of the interstates off of Route 66 many of the businesses went into decline but you do still see remnants of the old hotels and attractions, they make great photo ops!

And parts of Route 66 have been incorporated into the newer highways so you can still drive Route 66(or at least parts of it)!


Avril Tanner said...

Such a cool looking place! totally love it!

Deanna said...

Ack, it is all in the Cars movie that I have watched a million times with my kids! This is totally kewl!

Rosemary said...

Glad it is making it back to the maps

JanR said...

Ita with Deanna - straight out of the Cars movie. So cool!