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 It’s a historical document of everyone who’s traveled on it - as the many contributions from Vox’s IN-top subscribers show, that keeps it going even as the interstates run alongside it.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!
The Curt Teich Archives
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
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
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. in-top.org/ok/%E0%A4%B5%E0%A5%80%E0%A4%A1%E0%A4%BF%E0%A4%AF%E0%A5%8B-b33PN2NB2Do.html
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  • Amelie Xoxo

    Amelie Xoxo

    दिन पहले

    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

    दिन पहले

    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

    2 दिन पहले

    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

    3 दिन पहले

    "On the Road" by Jack Kerouac

  • Elmo Missing!!!

    Elmo Missing!!!

    3 दिन पहले

    Rte 66: I am the mother road
    Rte I-80: *“Am I a joke to you?”*

  • Quix


    4 दिन पहले

    11:27 This stands in Japan wich I believe is NOT suoth east asia.

  • Holiday Bread

    Holiday Bread

    4 दिन पहले

    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


    6 दिन पहले

    Whats the name of the song at 5:16 ?

  • Allicia C

    Allicia C

    7 दिन पहले

    "very very close apart" 17:04

  • Michael Inglis

    Michael Inglis

    7 दिन पहले

    Unfortunate name...

  • SuicideBunny6


    7 दिन पहले

    I didn't even know Route 66 wasn't a thing anymore

  • aarblg


    7 दिन पहले

    As someone from a city being forgotten this brings me hope, that one day they will see it how I do.

  • Kanoshe


    9 दिन पहले

    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

    10 दिन पहले

    Because of the pixar movie Cars (duh) but yeah _childhood days_

  • Bora Gul

    Bora Gul

    11 दिन पहले

    I crossed it in Arizona just two weeks ago. I was in Seligman. It’s awesome

  • Adonis Top of Men

    Adonis Top of Men

    11 दिन पहले

    good documentation …….

  • Noey Tindol

    Noey Tindol

    13 दिन पहले

    I couldn't understand the lady in Magnolia. What did she say was in the gas station?

  • Jonathan Madi

    Jonathan Madi

    15 दिन पहले

    someone flip that 6 making it route 69

  • GershwinDecoBeck


    15 दिन पहले

    My city o' Tulsa!

  • مولانا أكبري

    مولانا أكبري

    15 दिन पहले

    The Rolling Stones.

  • Pedro Provan

    Pedro Provan

    16 दिन पहले

    May the road rise up to meet your wheels

  • Elias Chen

    Elias Chen

    16 दिन पहले

    Amazing video! You guys should over America’s loneliest road in Route 50 in Nevada!

  • Edo Ragadna P Saragih

    Edo Ragadna P Saragih

    16 दिन पहले

    What a great video

  • IEJ7to1 *IEJ7654321*

    IEJ7to1 *IEJ7654321*

    17 दिन पहले

    But taking route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica is slower than what Google maps recommends.

  • aman deep

    aman deep

    17 दिन पहले

    I am going there one day.

  • Marshall Cohen Carter

    Marshall Cohen Carter

    17 दिन पहले

    *Cars enters chat*

  • jesust_is _bigmac

    jesust_is _bigmac

    17 दिन पहले

    *causally drives near a cow*


  • Terry Himes

    Terry Himes

    18 दिन पहले

    explain why route 66 is almost the number 666 the devil created that road!?!?!?!?!?

  • lyle recollet

    lyle recollet

    18 दिन पहले

    Wouldn't it nice if they recommissioned Route 66 and out some money into refurbishing the highway

  • ACDC Fan

    ACDC Fan

    18 दिन पहले

    What about Route *666* ?

  • Lucas Reid

    Lucas Reid

    19 दिन पहले

    Pantura roads in indonesia almost has the same story.

  • Chiara Maria Inocencio

    Chiara Maria Inocencio

    19 दिन पहले

    Yup, gonna watch Cars now

  • Lorinda Strouse

    Lorinda Strouse

    20 दिन पहले

    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 !!!

    20 दिन पहले

    I remember Oklahoma Joe's. It was so racist in there it was hilarious.

  • joseph Rapoza

    joseph Rapoza

    20 दिन पहले

    Thank GOD for the new Highways.

  • joseph Rapoza

    joseph Rapoza

    20 दिन पहले

    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 Roblox!

    XxXedy Roblox!

    20 दिन पहले

    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

    20 दिन पहले

    Route 66 It's not about the destination, it's about the journey.

  • Sam Stephens

    Sam Stephens

    20 दिन पहले

    take a shot everytime he says "66"

  • BulletproofMerc


    20 दिन पहले

    I wish we could petition to make route 66 an interstate highway

  • Nathan Johnson

    Nathan Johnson

    21 दिन पहले

    This made me surprisingly emotional.

  • Caliado


    21 दिन पहले

    those dogs werent angry - look at their tails :)
    Also a sweet doggo at 12:17 !

  • Diego Moreno

    Diego Moreno

    21 दिन पहले

    Every time he says "Amarilo" instead of "Amarillo" I get ear cancer

  • bastet469


    21 दिन पहले

    Who's gonna clean up after that site with the hunk of metal stuck in it?😆😆😆

  • imnotgay_butineedthemoney


    22 दिन पहले

    Wait did that guy compare his trip to Oregon trail.

    • Phil Edwards

      Phil Edwards

      21 दिन पहले

      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

    22 दिन पहले

    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


    22 दिन पहले

    Because CARS

  • roger hazeldon

    roger hazeldon

    23 दिन पहले

    Can any one please id the music @ 6:50 ?

  • Kobe Lebron

    Kobe Lebron

    23 दिन पहले

    where are my overwatch route 66 players

  • Jaydon Faal

    Jaydon Faal

    23 दिन पहले

    0:37 Pasadena babyyyyyyyy

  • Twice Trash

    Twice Trash

    23 दिन पहले

    *I aM sPeEd*

  • Simply Katherine

    Simply Katherine

    24 दिन पहले

    Such a boring drive for me.

  • finn bell

    finn bell

    24 दिन पहले

    this is me next road trip!

  • Bhavya Prakash Gupta

    Bhavya Prakash Gupta

    24 दिन पहले

    Bruhh I did my Corsun Killer on Route 66!

  • Minecraft Boy

    Minecraft Boy

    24 दिन पहले

    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

    24 दिन पहले

    I think it would be very cool to do a Lincoln Highway / Route 66 round trip

  • eder jair de jesus hernandez torres

    eder jair de jesus hernandez torres

    24 दिन पहले

    What is the beginning song?

  • Conner Broeker

    Conner Broeker

    24 दिन पहले

    I think there is something to be said about country that up until the 60s people wanted to travel and explore the country. Now everyone wants to travel to other countries. We have forgotten about the wonder of this great nation

  • Conner Broeker

    Conner Broeker

    24 दिन पहले

    If you wanna drive through Route 66 in Oklahoma check out Red Rock Cafe, the circle barn, and Pops

  • ShapedSquare


    24 दिन पहले

    kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow

  • Fishie Fish

    Fishie Fish

    24 दिन पहले

    K A C H O W

  • I H

    I H

    24 दिन पहले

    I remember reading all the books at borders in Schaumburg

  • Joe Dirte

    Joe Dirte

    24 दिन पहले

    It pronounced rOUT not rOOT

    • Jennifer Lyn

      Jennifer Lyn

      22 दिन पहले

      Um, it's either.

  • Fireblade696 pe

    Fireblade696 pe

    25 दिन पहले

    My grandpas cousin made the original get your kicks on Route 66 song

  • Nayz


    25 दिन पहले

    I basically live next to route 66

  • Falecia Grande

    Falecia Grande

    25 दिन पहले

    I live in chicago and in the suburban area theres always signs about route 66 and i always wondered what it was and this video answered my question

  • titan81


    25 दिन पहले

    Lightning McQueen was here...

  • me


    25 दिन पहले

    10:40 anyone else check their phone?

  • Christian Troxel

    Christian Troxel

    26 दिन पहले

    Love Route 66

  • The Prahphet

    The Prahphet

    26 दिन पहले

    Sammy Davis Jr. lost his eye on route 66... oh mamee!