For many people, the idea of hopping in the car and hitting the open road sounds better than anything else. Road trips have long been enjoyed by free spirits, dreamers, and adventurers alike. The good ol’ American road trip has been written about in books, such as On the Road by Jack Kerouac, put into songs, like On the Road Again by Willie Nelson, and portrayed in movies, such as Thelma and Louise, for as long as we have had cars and roads to drive them on.
In 1926, Congress contributed to this dream by approving a national highway system and Route 66, the 2,448 mile route from Chicago to Los Angeles linking “Main Streets across America” became a reality. At the same time, Henry Ford lowered the price of some of his models and increased production, which also increased the expectation of the average American family that they could and should own a car. With all the convenience and romanticism surrounding the American road, and Route 66 in particular, more Americans began to hit the open road. Learn more about all of it now by using some of the great resources provided by Upper Arlington Public Library. Check out a few here:
- Romancing the Road, a 1997 National Geographic article along with great photographs
- Bobby Troup, the singer/songwriter behind the popular 1946 song, Route 66
- Cadillac Ranch (shown above), artistic representation of the Golden Age of the American automobile along Route 66 in Texas
- The Okies – Beyond the Dust Bowl, a 1984 article in National Geographic about the displaced families who headed west (often along Route 66) to find new lives during the Great Depression
- Route 66: America’s Main Street, an article about Route 66 from Cobblestone magazine
- Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck's 1939 novel about the Joad family who are forced to leaved their farm in the Depression-era Oklahoma Dust Bowl and set out for California along Route 66
- National Historic Route 66 Federation, an organization you can join that is committed to directing attention to the importance of U.S. Highway Route 66
- The National Highway Act and Automobile Industry, passed in 1958, which saw the development of new freeways across the country and the abandonment of highways, including Route 66
Visit our Reference Department today and learn more about Route 66 or anything else you’d like to learn about!