Route 66 was begun in the 1920s, but it would not reach its peak until the 1940s. In the early 1940s, Route 66 was one of the few U.S. highways paved across its entire length, and it served as one of the main routes for people traveling from east to west. Route 66 redefined the built environment of every town it passed through: businesses offering food, lodging, and gas gravitated from the center of town to the place where the highway entered the town in the east. After the passage of the National Highway Act in 1944, other, newer highways began to replace Route 66, and in 1984 the road was decommissioned (National Register of Historic Places, 1989).
Read About It
Use the document analysis sheet and the photograph analysis sheet to uncover clues about the people that created the documents.
- When was Route 66 built? Where did it run through in Arizona?
- Who created the documents linked above? What role did they play in the building of Route 66? Whose perspective is not shown?
- What impact did the decommissioning of Route 66 have on the built environment of the Arizona towns it previously passed through? Would you have decommissioned the road? Why or why not?
Visit the websites below to learn more. Based on this new information, have your answers to the questions above changed?