Route 66 – it was called “The Mother Road” – stretching from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. The 2448-mile road opened in 1926 and wasn’t completely paved until 1937, crossing eight states and three time zones. The Dust Bowl refugees of John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath traveled Route 66, songs were written about it (“Get Your Kicks on Route 66″), and a 1960’s television series was inspired by this iconic road.
Towns that had sprung up (or revived when Route 66 opened) were deserted when Route 66 began to gradually be replaced by more modern four-plus-lane highways, which became increasingly necessary as America became more prosperous and mobile. In some towns there might be a building or gas station two and maybe a handful of residents, but in many cases little else remains except perhaps shells of long abandoned buildings.
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