ROUTE 66 IN THE BEGINNING

After discussions with Jerry McClanahan, as well as the creator of the stunning Route 66 Atlas website, and Roy Dunton, nephew to N.R. Dunton, and the museum historian, the mystery of the old road near Goldroad, below Route 66, is one step closer to being solved.
The road was built in 1905 or 1906, about three years after the initial discoveries of profitable ore bodies that spawned the establishment of Oatman and Goldroad. There were improvements made on the road about 1912, the time the National Old Trails Highway was established.
This would mean that the old road is the one used by Louis Chevrolet, Barney Oldfield, and the other drivers in the 1914 Desert Classic “Cactus Derby” race. The course for this race followed the National Old Trails Highway from Los Angles to Ashfork, and then turn south towards the finish line in Phoenix via Prescott and the Yarnell Hill.

The present alignment of Route 66 was cut into the mountain about 1917. It appears the old road was again used as a temporary bypass when Route 66 was paved in this area around 1930.

Oddly enough, numerous maps from around 1915 for the National Old Trails Highway suggest utilization of the alternate route through Yucca to avoid the sharp grades, steep curves, and ironically, the traffic congestion in Oatman and Goldroad. In large part this would become Route 66 after the bypass of Oatman and the Black Mountains portion of the highway in 1952. This is currently the path for I-40.
It should also be noted the primary road to Phoenix from Kingman during the pre war period was Route 66, the National Old Trails Highway before that, west to Yucca, south to Alamo Crossing, a small mill town on the Bill Williams River that is now under the waters of Alamo Lake, and then south to a point near Wenden.
As a final note I have a bit of shameless self promotion to share. My latest book, Ghost Towns of the Southwest, hits stores this weekend. If you would like a signed, first edition copy please drop me a note and I will supply ordering detials.

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jimhinckleysamerica

Jim Hinckley's America is a grand adventure on the back roads and two lane highways. It is an odyssey seasoned with fascinating people, and memory making discoveries. As made evident by the publication of fourteen books on subjects as diverse as diverse as Ghost Towns of the Southwest, The Illustrated History of the Checker Cab Manufacturing Company, Travel Route 66, Backroads of Arizona, and The Route 66 Encyclopedia, I enjoy sharing adventures and helping people plan for their own memory making journeys.

Thank you, shared adventures are the best adventures.

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