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Almanac: Route 66

Almanac: Historic Route 66
Almanac: Historic Route 66 01:15

November 11, 1926, 92 years ago today, was the day highway officials green-lighted plans for the future Route 66. Completed in 1928, U.S. Route 66 started in Chicago, and stretched west more than 2,400 miles across the great southwest to Los Angeles.

Route 66 connected eight Midwest and Western states as its stretched 2,400 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. CBS News

In the 1930s, refugees from the Oklahoma "Dust Bowl" followed it to begin new lives in California, prompting John Steinbeck to christen it "The Mother Road" in "The Grapes of Wrath."

Over the years, the Mother Road gave birth to distinctive restaurants and motels, and roadside attractions of every sort – all to the accompaniment of that classic song, best sung perhaps by Nat King Cole:

Nat King Cole - Route 66 by Incontroll1 on YouTube

In the 1960s, "Route 66" became a popular CBS TV-series featuring a pair of rootless young men (played by Martin Milner and George Maharis) roaming America in their flashy Corvette.

Route 66 TV S1 E28 "The Opponent" [opening scene] by Alberto de Barros on YouTube

But over time, the growing Interstate Highway System bypassed and replaced more and more stretches of the old Mother Road, which was finally decommissioned in 1985.

Fortunately, sections of the old road – mostly empty and in some places overgrown – remain, the Mother Road turned Memory Lane.

From 1991: Bill Geist travels Route 66, the "Main Street of America" 09:24

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Story produced by Justin Hayter.

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