Route 66 – the US road trip favourite – is under threat
There are few journeys as quintessentially American as a road trip along Route 66, but the “main street of America” may be under threat.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a non-profit that seeks to protect historic places, has released its 2018 list of America’s 11 Most Endangered Historic Places, and Route 66 is on it. The list highlights examples of architectural and cultural heritage that the non-profit says are at risk of destruction or irreparable damage.
Known as the “Mother Road”, Route 66 has its roots as one of the major paths followed by people who migrated west during the Great Depression. It became one of the country’s original highways and saw post-war travellers take to the route, but it was later decommissioned. It would start to become the road trip classic it is today after efforts to revive the route began in the 1980s.
The full road travels from Chicago to Santa Monica, crossing Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California. All along the way, travellers will can embrace the retro vibes of neon signs, old motels and diners that will take you back in time.
Congress has taken steps to designate Route 66 as a National Historic Trail, which the trust says would bring “national recognition and economic development to the route's historic sites”, but more legislation has to be passed by the end of the year to help preserve the road.
The list is designed to call attention to the country’s treasure that could be under threat and to encourage communities to come together to help save them. There are a number of other sites that make the list, including the historic resources in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, which were severely damaged by last year’s hurricanes. There are also spots like Mount Vernon and Piscataway National Park and the Walkout School of Los Angeles.