In our last post I hinted that exciting things were unfolding and that 2015 would mark the dawn of a new era on the historic double six. Well, here we go!
Ron Hart of the Route 66 Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with the studios of Joe Loesch, has completed a short but charming public service announcement that captures the essence of an historic old road that has become America’s longest attraction. Route 66 News posted a story about the development of the video. Grassroots endeavors such as these are the very foundation of the Route 66 renaissance and exemplify the type of people that give this road its unique and colorful vitality.
My hope is that the initiative being facilitated by the World Monuments Fund will harness this grassroots passion and vision, and unify these type of endeavors. I can only imagine what the impact would be if these creative projects were magnified through development of an entity that fosters a unified sense of purpose and direction.
Meanwhile, communities large and small from Chicago to Santa Monica are looking toward Route 66 as a catalyst for development or redevelopment. In the process they are rolling back time and ensuring that this highway becomes a linear version of Colonial Williamsburg or Dearborn’s Greenfield Village, a living breathing time capsule where the entire societal evolution of 20th century America is preserved for future generations.
The City of Albuquerque has released a Route 66 Action Plan that could serve as a template for corridor development in other communities. A story about the action plan, with link to access the entire 122 page report is available on Route 66 News.
The action plan is a logical step for a city that grasped the potential of Route 66 quite some time ago. The cities official tourism website page gives the double six top billing.
The City of Kingman is moving forward on development of a second Route 66 event. With the annual Route 66 Fun Run in the spring, the fall event that would blend the cities western heritage with its Route 66 association would bracket the tourism season.
This morning Richard Moeur, a participant at this year Route 66 Crossroads of the Past and Future and avid proponent for bicycle tourism shared an economic impact study that should provided added incentive for cities to develop their Route 66 corridor in a manner that bridges the past and future. Dare to imagine what we can do if all of these initiatives are tied together as a comprehensive package!
Holbrook is shaking off the dust and reawakening from a very long slumber. David Heward recently announced that the second Route 66 Relics tour has been scheduled for 2015. This is the cornerstone for the development of an annual Route 66 themed event that will showcase the gems and treasures awaiting resurrection in this historic community.
For far to long the contributions of Native Americans and other minorities to Route 66 history was being overlooked. That too is being rectified and I am most excited about these developments as well since they will add color and vibrancy to the Route 66 experience.
In Tucumcari the annual Rockabilly event continues to grow in popularity. This year visitors will have an additional lodging choice in the form of the Roadrunner Lodge, an historic property on the fast track to oblivion until the Brenner’s rolled up their sleeves and gave it a new lease on life.
Dora Meroney, and Croc Lile, are working to draw the world’s attention to the charming and often overlooked 6th Street corridor in Amarillo that once funneled Route 66 traffic through the city. Plans are underway for a huge celebration in the summer of 2015.
All of these developments and more set the stage for what could very well be the largest Route 66 celebration yet in 2016 at the original western terminus of the historic highway. That should ignite some excitement and spark the imagination for communities large and small as they plan for centennial celebrations in 2026.
Route 66 may not be the nations most historic or most scenic highway. However, it is the most famous. It also the Main Street of America, an incredible place where dreams are born, where dreams come true, and where everyone can experience the thrill of discovery.