Today we celebrate the creation of an American icon. Route 66, the famous road connecting Chicago to Los Angeles, received its official highway designation 92 years ago today.
Spanning more than 2400 miles, the highway is a meaningful memory to the millions who have travelled the stretch. The early plan was to name it Route 60, but Kentucky lawmakers successfully petitioned for that designation to be attached to a highway connecting Virginia Beach and Los Angeles, leaving us with the iconic 66 name that’s survived to this day. Pop culture since embraced the number and the nearly-endless road trip possibilities the route came to embody.
It was Jack Kerouac’s novel “On the Road,” that provided Route 66 its nickname—“the mother road.” It wasn’t just popular for print though, with radio and television writers also embracing the larger-than-life narrative of adventure. Hundreds of motels and shops popped up along the route as the demand for the great American road trip began to take off.
In modern times, the route of Route 66 has evolved, navigating travelers around much of the original path. One would need to go pretty far out of their way to traverse some of the original stretches of road. Don’t let that deter you, however, as the best way to celebrate its splendor is by filling the tank and steering your car through its curves and straights, enjoying the sights of the American countryside along the way.
Tell us your Route 66 stories and favorite destinations in the Hagerty Forums.