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Why Route 66 became America’s most famous road

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Route 66 is iconic. Why?
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Route 66 has gained a reputation as the United States of America’s most famous road. How did that happen, and why does it still matter?
In this episode of Vox Almanac, Vox’s Phil Edwards explores the history of the road and the textures of its present, from the road itself to the roadside attractions along the way, to the people who enjoy its diversions and those who help maintain them. It reveals a road that’s changed a lot over the decades but remains vital in unexpected ways.
When Cyrus Avery helped found Route 66 in the 1920s, he strived to create a road that would connect the Midwest to the West, and he resorted to promotional tricks and wheeling and dealing to get it done. The road quickly became a key route for migrants escaping the dust bowl and depression, forming its early reputation as “the Mother Road.”
That’s because it’s a road that’s more than a strip of concrete (or gravel, or dirt). It’s a historical document of everyone who’s traveled on it - as the many contributions from Vox’s RUvid subscribers show, that keeps it going even as the interstates run alongside it.
The number of Route 66 resources out there is huge, but we found these particularly helpful.
Check out Ron's site!
www.route66news.com/
The Curt Teich Archives
www.newberry.org/curt-teich-p...
You won't find essays here, but you will find a treasure trove of postcards that we used in this piece, including tons of Route 66 arcana.
Route 66: The Highway and Its People
www.amazon.com/gp/product/080...
I got to speak with Quinta Scott about her gorgeous photographs of Route 66, as well as the interviews she recorded with coauthor Susan Kelly. This book is a pleasure to look at and is packed full of information and interviews that you just can’t get any more.
The Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership
route66roadahead.com/
If you’re curious about Route 66 preservation and revitalization, this group is one of the strongest interstate partnerships searching for new ways to promote and improve the road.
Our video about the Green Book, a critical resource for black Americans wanting to travel across the country on Route 66 and beyond in the mid-1900s. ruvid.net/video/video-b33PN2NB2Do.html
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Aug 16, 2019

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Comments 1 304
SwiPia Sci
SwiPia Sci 7 hours ago
I came here to hear about Pixar’s Cars Anyone else?
Moris Sombre
Moris Sombre 23 hours ago
But what about route 69?
Jason Learakos
It's an important piece of history. Neon signs, diners, drive-ins, motels, roadside attractions, the many streetcars and interurbans that followed it, etc
Jaysen Bresnahan
The bridge at 14:14, that goes in to Oro grande a small town in California that has one of the best pizza places I’ve ever been to and me and my freinds still go there all the time. My school is there as well so I cross it literally everyday. Strange to see something I see everyday on a video
Amelie Xoxo
Amelie Xoxo 4 days ago
If you ever.. plant to mayor west... Travel my way take the highway that’s the best. Get your kicks On Route 66!
Amelie Xoxo
Amelie Xoxo 4 days ago
If you ever.. plant to mayor west... Travel my way take the highway that’s the best. Get your kicks On Route 66!
Cory R
Cory R 4 days ago
a long forgotton section of the road lies outside of my town, it sees very little travel due to how roads went around it and still have a few miles of original road left falling apart. Sometimes travelers show up in town looking for how to get to it.
John Smith
John Smith 5 days ago
"On the Road" by Jack Kerouac
Elmo Missing!!!
Elmo Missing!!! 5 days ago
Rte 66: I am the mother road Rte I-80: *“Am I a joke to you?”*
Quix
Quix 7 days ago
11:27 This stands in Japan wich I believe is NOT suoth east asia.
Holiday Bread
Holiday Bread 7 days ago
As someone who has lived like than 500FT from the mother road in a small town just located west of OKC, ive never really thought about the sentimental value the road has to The world. My town even has a little roadside attraction, two flour mills one on each side with a large glowing sign reading "Yukons Best Flour" and it litterally is a state landmark. Ive been as far west on 66 as new Mexico visting The Cadillac Ranch, Big Texan Steak House. And as Far east as Uranus to visit the fudge packing plant. There are so many more hidden jems that I havent been to, when I get done with my contract and head home I'll probably drive the Mother Road.
Samy
Samy 8 days ago
Whats the name of the song at 5:16 ?
Allicia C
Allicia C 9 days ago
"very very close apart" 17:04
Michael Inglis
Michael Inglis 9 days ago
Unfortunate name...
SuicideBunny6
SuicideBunny6 10 days ago
I didn't even know Route 66 wasn't a thing anymore
aarblg
aarblg 10 days ago
As someone from a city being forgotten this brings me hope, that one day they will see it how I do.
Kanoshe
Kanoshe 11 days ago
oh god a vox video? i left the room i didn't mean it go away vox you wil NOT have ad revenue
Niks Eris
Niks Eris 13 days ago
Because of the pixar movie Cars (duh) but yeah _childhood days_
Bora Gul
Bora Gul 13 days ago
I crossed it in Arizona just two weeks ago. I was in Seligman. It’s awesome
Adonis Top of Men
Adonis Top of Men 13 days ago
good documentation …….
Noey Tindol
Noey Tindol 16 days ago
I couldn't understand the lady in Magnolia. What did she say was in the gas station?
Jonathan Madi
Jonathan Madi 18 days ago
someone flip that 6 making it route 69
GershwinDecoBeck
GershwinDecoBeck 18 days ago
My city o' Tulsa!
مولانا أكبري
The Rolling Stones.
Pedro Provan
Pedro Provan 18 days ago
May the road rise up to meet your wheels
Elias Chen
Elias Chen 18 days ago
Amazing video! You guys should over America’s loneliest road in Route 50 in Nevada!
Edo Ragadna P Saragih
What a great video
IEJ7to1 *IEJ7654321*
But taking route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica is slower than what Google maps recommends.
aman deep
aman deep 19 days ago
I am going there one day.
Marshall Cohen Carter
*Cars enters chat*
jesust_is _bigmac
jesust_is _bigmac 20 days ago
*causally drives near a cow* *_“hey”_*
Terry Himes
Terry Himes 20 days ago
explain why route 66 is almost the number 666 the devil created that road!?!?!?!?!?
lyle recollet
lyle recollet 20 days ago
Wouldn't it nice if they recommissioned Route 66 and out some money into refurbishing the highway
ACDC Fan
ACDC Fan 21 day ago
What about Route *666* ?
Lucas Reid
Lucas Reid 22 days ago
Pantura roads in indonesia almost has the same story.
Chiara Maria Inocencio
Yup, gonna watch Cars now
Lorinda Strouse
Lorinda Strouse 22 days ago
This is such an amazing documentary! Thank you, I truly appreciate this video. Please do more. I will be your biggest fan! Since my road trip to California in 2014 I have been so amazed by Route 66. I love it’s history, It reminds me of the true American Dream. I love Route 66, because it allows me to step back in time, dream, and wonder what it would’ve been like. Next to Heaven it gives me hope and excitement. I pray that before I leave this earth I will be able to travel the whole thing and explore the old American Dream. Thanks again. I look forward to more Route 66 videos by you.
Wally & Tony !!!
Wally & Tony !!! 22 days ago
I remember Oklahoma Joe's. It was so racist in there it was hilarious.
joseph Rapoza
joseph Rapoza 22 days ago
Thank GOD for the new Highways.
joseph Rapoza
joseph Rapoza 22 days ago
It was the only road. That is the only reason it mattered. No different than Route 6 in Massachusetts to Cape Cod, it was the only tourist trap road. Thank you GOD for the new highways.
XxXedy RBLX and more!
Roblox :Road 66 Middle in story a wolf that looks like an human End train. Sign up or login and go to road 66 to find part 2
Solomon Ayalew
Solomon Ayalew 22 days ago
Route 66 It's not about the destination, it's about the journey.
Sam Stephens
Sam Stephens 23 days ago
take a shot everytime he says "66"
BulletproofMerc
BulletproofMerc 23 days ago
I wish we could petition to make route 66 an interstate highway
Nathan Johnson
Nathan Johnson 23 days ago
This made me surprisingly emotional.
Caliado
Caliado 23 days ago
those dogs werent angry - look at their tails :) Also a sweet doggo at 12:17 !
Diego Moreno
Diego Moreno 24 days ago
Every time he says "Amarilo" instead of "Amarillo" I get ear cancer
bastet469
bastet469 24 days ago
Who's gonna clean up after that site with the hunk of metal stuck in it?😆😆😆
imnotgay_butineedthemoney
Wait did that guy compare his trip to Oregon trail.
Phil Edwards
Phil Edwards 23 days ago
Yes! He had a lot of crazy stuff happen on the way that I didn't include for time (got stranded due to weather for a couple days, etc). It sounded pretty epic.
Duncan Pohl
Duncan Pohl 24 days ago
While I have had the opportunity to only travel a limited part of Route 66, my wife's family has had a long history of traveling on it. Starting with her parents moving from Missouri to California back during the WWII period and traveling on a regular basis back and forth on 66 to visit family in Missouri. In fact, her Mom died at the age of 73 after she and my wife's Dad drove back to Missouri to visit family. When her father died, one of his requests was to have some of his ashes scattered along Rt 66. [Dare I say] one of his sons carried out his wishes. So now if traveling Route 66 I can think about how he is with us along the way.
ChannelX24
ChannelX24 24 days ago
Because CARS
roger hazeldon
roger hazeldon 25 days ago
Can any one please id the music @ 6:50 ?
Kobe Lebron
Kobe Lebron 26 days ago
where are my overwatch route 66 players
Jaydon Faal
Jaydon Faal 26 days ago
0:37 Pasadena babyyyyyyyy
Twice Trash
Twice Trash 26 days ago
*I aM sPeEd*
Simply Katherine
Simply Katherine 26 days ago
Such a boring drive for me.
finn bell
finn bell 26 days ago
this is me next road trip!
Bhavya Prakash Gupta
Bruhh I did my Corsun Killer on Route 66!
Minecraft Boy
Minecraft Boy 26 days ago
1 Septa bus Route i picked is the 66! It's a trolleybus! And also the Route 59 and 75 are Trolleybuses but both are at previous MFL Station: 66: Frankford Transportation Center 59 & 75: Arrott Transportation Center *3: 33rd & Cecil B Moore* _I think_
Scott Harris
Scott Harris 26 days ago
I think it would be very cool to do a Lincoln Highway / Route 66 round trip
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