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Contact: Lyn Carranza, 928-524-6228 x245
New Route 66 Exhibit and Pull-Out Along Petrified Forest National Park Road
Petrified Forest, AZ – "A new paved pull-out has been developed along the park road within Petrified Forest National Park,” stated Superintendent Lee Baiza. This new pull-out showcases a section of the old Route 66 trace that passes through the park. From the vantage point that the pull-out offers, visitors can view the roadbed and a line of historic telephone poles. The roadbed and telephone poles mark the path of the famous “Main Street of America” as it passed through Petrified Forest National Park. From Chicago to Los Angeles, this heavily traveled highway was not only a road. It stood as a symbol of opportunity, adventure, and discovery. Petrified Forest National Park is the only National Park that contains a section of the old highway.
In addition to the new pull-out, a 1932 Studebaker exhibit has been installed adjacent to the newly developed area. The car was donated to the National Park Service by Frank and Rhonda Dobell, owners of Arizona Automotive Service in Holbrook, Arizona.
Considered by many as the Mother of Transcontinental Highways, Route 66 is the quintessential representative of 20th century American history and culture. Commissioned in 1926, the road was unique among other highways with a catchy tune that was ideal for promotion efforts, and with an arcing path across the country. Renowned as the shortest all-weather route connecting the industrial Midwest to the rural Southwest, it helped facilitate the unprecedented transfer of ideas, goods, and people across the country. Traveling through Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, it also served as a major corridor for Dust Bowl migrants in the '30s; for important WWII military functions in the '40s; and for thousands of families in the '50s during the emergence of the "vacation culture." Roadside architecture and businesses flourished, changing forever the history and character, and lives of the towns through which the route passed. The arts played a critical role in immortalizing the road through literature, song, and film, which served to elevate the road to a phenomenal, pop-culture status which persists to this day.
Ironically, it was the popularity of automobile travel that ultimately led to the highway’s demise through the construction of limited-access interstates in the 1970s. With the slow, incremental opening of the interstates, travel gradually shifted away from the towns and main streets of Route 66, until the highway was officially decommissioned in 1985. Beloved by many, however, public demanded that the road and its history be kept alive and preservation and tourism movements have since flourished. Almost 80 years since its birth, and nearly 20 years since its decommissioning, Route 66 remains one of the most revered, beloved, and sought out historic roads in the world.
For more information call (928) 524-6228 weekdays, 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time; or write to the Superintendent, Petrified Forest National Park, P.O. Box 2217, Petrified Forest, AZ 86028; or e-mail the park Superintendent at e-mail us.