Updated: Dec 10, 2020
One of the most notorious road trips in the United States is Route 66. It's been the inspiration behind more than you might realize. There's a clothing brand named after it, you can find it mentioned in songs, and even featured in numerous films and TV shows. It truly is an honored tribute to all things Americana, ...but how much do you actually know about the all-time favorite?
When Route 66 was first established back in 1926, the original length totaled 2,400 miles. However, that distance was expanded in later years to include an additional 48 miles, making the total 2,448. The first designated route stretched from Chicago to Santa Monica. It was established by the U.S. Federal Highway System to provide the most direct path for transportation across that part of the country during the 1920's.
In 1933, the official starting point was set at the corner of Jackson Boulevard and Lake Shore Drive in Chicago, Illinois. This starting point was relocated in 1957 to it's current spot at the intersection of E. Adams Street and Michigan Avenue. There is a "Begin" Route 66 sign marking it's new location. Just as the need for this relocating occurred, so would another in due time.
During the 1930's, this road became an escape route. It was referred to as "the mother road, the road of flight" by John Steinbeck. He was referencing to the Bunion Derby. Due to the hardships of the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, many used this escape route in hopes of a better tomorrow and relief from the ravages they were currently facing.