Last updated: April 10, 2015
Route 66 St. Louis: From Bridges to the Diamonds. Bolin, Norma Maret. St. Louis: St. Louis Transitions, 2010.
Author Norma Bolin covers a lot of ground in her lengthy book about Route 66 and its culture. Route 66: From Bridges to the Diamonds tells many stories about St. Louis and its cultural past, many through interviews with longtime residents and their offspring. The author covers all parts of the St. Louis metro area, including some areas not particularly identified with Route 66.
Bolin essentially presents a series of informative entries on each topic. In many cases she went straight to an authority on the subject. Looking through the book is like paging through an old family scrapbook or photo album. Almost everyone will find a restaurant or retail store or locale they use to frequent in days gone by. There is probably some family (and business) folklore interweaved in between some of the facts, but overall, that seems to be kept to a minimum. And if she isn’t certain about something she will often say so.
Local readers especially will enjoy sitting back and reading the text and enjoying the images of old restaurants and ads and looking for that little bit of information that is hard to find on a long-forgotten place or building. Along the way, Bolin covers a lot of ground. Among the many entries are: the Chase Park Plaza, Ted Drewe’s Frozen Custard, Hodak’s, Hi-Pointe Amoco Sign, Crown Candy Kitchen, The Donut Drive-In and many, many more. The author provides as many dates and names as she can with each entry.
Younger readers may not be too interested, but anyone over the age of fifty will be mesmerized by the nostalgia provided by this entertaining and light-hearted look down memory lane in the St. Louis area.