The legendary Route 66 is also known as America’s “Mother Road” and Will Rogers Highway. Route 66 is a two-lane highway that spans 2,448 miles. The highway was built to connect two large cities in the United States of America – Chicago and Los Angeles.
The Beginning of Route 66
As it is known, Route 66 was built in 1926. Route 66 has a long and interesting history that dates back to the beginning of the 20th century. Two famous US entrepreneurs, Cyrus Avery and John Woodruff, dreamt about building the link between Chicago and Los Angeles.
These two men played a key role in the history of Route 66. They made huge efforts to promote the idea of building the highway at the beginning. However, their first attempts to build the highway weren’t crowned with success. Later, the idea of building the highway was realized due to the support provided by the national program. So, the construction of the highway began. The process of building Route 66 took approximately 10 years.
Route 66 during the Formative Years
The United States quickly developed with construction during the beginning of the 20th century, and so the demands of the country changed as well. The manufacturing sector was actively developing in the United States these years, so the demand for transportation services were extremely high.
During the formative years a lot of Americans tried to find better jobs and had to move to other cities. Some people just wanted to travel around the country. Obviously, citizens of the United States needed more good highways.
Such popular US highways as Lincoln and the Dixie are known for following a traditionally linear course. Nevertheless, Route 66 is very much different from other US highways. Unlike many other highways, Route 66 has a diagonal course.
Moreover, Route 66 is also connected to numerous communities such as Illinois, Missouri and Kansas. Special attention should be drawn to the fact that Route 66 is actively used by farmers. Farmers use Route 66 to transport their farming and agriculture products to different areas of the country.
Due to its diagonal configuration, Route 66 became the innovation in the trucking industry. As a result, Route 66 became a good alternative to shipping and other means of transportation. It goes without saying that construction of the Route 66 highway had a powerful effect on the economic development and social life of the United States.
Route 66 during the Times of Depression
The Great Depression had its influence on the development of Route 66. For many Americans it was very difficult to find a good job. That’s why they had to travel to different parts of the country for better jobs. At this time, a high number of US residents preferred to move to California. This state was a ray of hope for many low income families. Route 66 was in high demand during the times of the Great Depression. It helped many US residents change their lives for the better.
Route 66 after the Second World War
The government of the United Stated decided to stop developing Route 66 after the Second World War. The U.S. President at that time, Dwight David Eisenhower, wanted to improve the country’s roads. He followed the sample of Germany and focused on building high speed roads with several lanes. As a result, the demand for Route 66 decreased significantly and the legendary highway began to lose its popularity.
However, people who lived near Route 66 didn’t like the government’s idea to close the highway. They didn’t want to lose the highway that helped a lot of Americans survive during tough times of country’s history. Finally, Route 66 became a historic highway.
We’ll continue this series of the Route 66 History, so stop back shortly for more!