Paving the Way Behind The Wheel Full Speed Ahead The Kicks of Route66 Mappin It  

Introduction

U.S. Highway 66. America's Highway. The Main Street of America. Will Roger's Highway. The Road of Flight. America's fascination with the West was hardly new in the beginning of the 20th century yet this 2448 mile cross continental highway, most commonly known as "Route 66," has still become a legend and myth in American popular culture. From the root beer to the TV show to the songs, Route 66 has found its way into our consumer culture. People today travel its broken pathways to leave the crowded and impersonal interstates of today. They either want to get in touch with a simpler way of life or buy a Route 66 T-shirt. Yet, this road symbolizes more than just a commercialized myth. Its presence in the 1920's and 1930's forged a new meaning to "going West" in America. Created during the roaring twenties, Route 66's main objective was to bring prosperity to a vastly un-traveled Western backdrop. The road linked the MidWest to the West, allowing its travelors to vacation, escape, and journey to the golden land of California. With the Crash three years after its birth, however, the purpose of this national roadway changed.

Beginning with its foundational history, "Paving The Way" shows the origin of America's Main Street in addition to the man behind America's road movement. Moving on to its people, "Behind the Wheel" takes a closer look at just who was traveling this road during its first twenty years. Probably the most significant aspect to American highway creation was the democratization of the automobile. "Full Speed Ahead" not only examines how these horseless carriages made it possible for the road's beginning but also how they transformed American travel. If the automobile made the travel of this road possible, its commercialized culture along the way made the travel attractive and legendary. Thus, "The Kicks of Route 66" investigates the early fascination with this Mid-Western road and its appeal to American songwriters, authors, and advertisers. The final page shows the map of Route 66, a 2448 mile transcontinental legend.

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This site was created and maintained by Tiffiney Carney.
Last updated May 11, 2001