The automobile had so dramatically changed the American way of life that the country’s first paved highway became synonymous with opportunity, adventure and exploration. More than just a road, Route 66 became a part of American culture, spawning hit songs and even a television series.
Connecting Chicago with Los Angeles, the “Main Street of America,” as 66 was once known, served as a major artery for westward migration. Later, its path through Arizona’s Painted Desert and near Grand Canyon established it as a thoroughfare for vacationers. Without the benefit of today’s highway speeds a trip along its 2,448 miles, from the Heartland to the Coast, might have taken a week or more.
Route 66 has since been replaced with a more efficient interstate highway system. But many communities preserved portions of the route as scenic byways or to serve local traffic. In other places, the road is gone but tributes remain – like this 1931 Studebaker that pays homage to the section of road that traversed an area we know today as Petrified Forest National Park.