When the U.S. Highway system was created on November 11, 1926, over 96,000 miles of roads under the jurisdiction of the 48 states were given uniform numbers to assist the motoring public. Route 66 was unique on the map, tracing a crescent-shaped path 2448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles through 8 states. Within Illinois, 66 would connect Chicago to East St. Louis by way of Bloomington and Springfield. This diagonal path was one of the oldest travel corridors in the state. Before recorded history, Native Americans followed herds of bison along this route, and early settlers used it to make their way from the great rivers along the Illinois border to and through the vast tall-grass prairie. Then came the railroads and farm-to-market paths along section lines. This program covers this early history and the changes of the 20th century that tamed the path for motor vehicles and led the way to the Mother Road, the Main Street of America.
Instructor: David Clark