Route 66: National

Two white shield emblems painted on a paved road read "Route 66".
Route 66 road emblems in Amboy, CA


It spans the heart of America, symbolizing mobility, freedom, and pursuit of the American Dream. Highly celebrated through literature, film, and song, Route 66 is of national significance as a symbol of our transportation history and the impact of the automobile.

Created in 1926 to meet the increasing demand for automobile transportation, it enabled the movement of emigrants out of the Dust Bowl, the mobilization of military convoys during World War II, and fed the boom of post-war automobile tourism.

The 2,400-mile ribbon of pavement from Chicago to Santa Monica linked the main streets of rural towns to urban centers, permitting the flow of ideas and industry across the country. The highway facilitated one of the most comprehensive movements of people in the history of the United States, resulting in a dramatic transformation of the American West from a rural frontier to a pace-setting metropolitan region.

Perhaps more than any other highway, Route 66 has come to symbolize hope, progress, and the spirit of adventure. In 1985, US Highway 66 was decommissioned as a federal highway, but continues to live on in the American consciousness as “Route 66.”

Last updated: December 3, 2021