I-40 is to be routed from Kingman to Searchlight in Nevada and join I-15 near Nipton. This will bypass Yucca, Needles, and Fenner.
This is not an Aprils Fools Day joke. In the early 1960s this was the news that fueled land speculation as well as heated debate in Kingman, Needles, and the halls of Congress.
This is just one of the little gems discovered in my on going research for the Route 66 encyclopedia. Here is another.
The National Old Trails Highway was to follow the Trail to Sunset from Santa Fe in New Mexico to Yuma in Arizona. This would bypass everything from Grants and Gallup to Hesperia.
It was the efforts of civic leaders in Needles and Kingman, with assistance from the railroad that carried the day. The selling points were the increased potential for tourism awarded by having a highway that provided access to wonders such as the Grand Canyon, and the available services of the Harvey House restaurants and hotels as well as the railroad that could provide shipping for disable vehicles.
Emily Post utilized that service in 1916. Her battered vehicle gave up the ghost near Winslow necessitating the shipping of the car to Los Angeles by rail.
Another interesting twist pertains to the National Old Trails Highway, and as a result the possible future of Route 66 in New Mexico. Initially that highway crossed the river at Soccoro and then followed, roughly, what is today US 60 to Springerville in Arizona before turning north to St. Johns and then into Holbrook.
There was tremendous opposition to realignment that took the road through Grants and Gallup. But it was that brief association with the National Old Trails Highway that resulted in Springerville getting a Madonna of the Trail statue, a monument that was almost placed in Kingman.
For those who follow the blog of Laurel Kane, owner of Afton Station, I would like to remind you that it is April 1. I would also like to strongly suggest that if your motoring on Route 66 this year to the Hudson meet in Oklahoma City or the big festival in Amarillo, you make this a must see attraction.
Don’t forget, this weekend we have part two of the Kingman Army Airfield story as well as the travel tips and book reviews.