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Why Route 66 became America’s most famous road

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Route 66 is iconic. Why? Help us make more ambitious videos by joining the Vox Video Lab. It brings you closer to our work and gets you exclusive perks, like livestream Q&As with all the Vox creators, a badge that levels up over time, and video extras bringing you closer to our work! Learn more at http://bit.ly/video-lab Route 66 has gained a reputation as the United States of America’s most famous road. How did that happen, and why does it still matter? In this episode of Vox Almanac, Vox’s Phil Edwards explores the history of the road and the textures of its present, from the road itself to the roadside attractions along the way, to the people who enjoy its diversions and those who help maintain them. It reveals a road that’s changed a lot over the decades but remains vital in unexpected ways. When Cyrus Avery helped found Route 66 in the 1920s, he strived to create a road that would connect the Midwest to the West, and he resorted to promotional tricks and wheeling and dealing to get it done. The road quickly became a key route for migrants escaping the dust bowl and depression, forming its early reputation as “the Mother Road.” That’s because it’s a road that’s more than a strip of concrete (or gravel, or dirt). It’s a historical document of everyone who’s traveled on it — as the many contributions from Vox’s YouTube subscribers show, that keeps it going even as the interstates run alongside it. The number of Route 66 resources out there is huge, but we found these particularly helpful. Check out Ron's site! https://www.route66news.com/ The Curt Teich Archives https://www.newberry.org/curt-teich-p... You won't find essays here, but you will find a treasure trove of postcards that we used in this piece, including tons of Route 66 arcana. Route 66: The Highway and Its People https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/080... I got to speak with Quinta Scott about her gorgeous photographs of Route 66, as well as the interviews she recorded with coauthor Susan Kelly. This book is a pleasure to look at and is packed full of information and interviews that you just can’t get any more. The Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership http://route66roadahead.com/ If you’re curious about Route 66 preservation and revitalization, this group is one of the strongest interstate partnerships searching for new ways to promote and improve the road. Our video about the Green Book, a critical resource for black Americans wanting to travel across the country on Route 66 and beyond in the mid-1900s. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b33PN2NB2Do Subscribe to our channel! http://goo.gl/0bsAjO Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out http://www.vox.com. Watch our full video catalog: http://goo.gl/IZONyE Follow Vox on Facebook: http://goo.gl/U2g06o Or Twitter: http://goo.gl/XFrZ5H
Category: News & Politics
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Text Comments (1300)
Amelie Xoxo (2 days ago)
If you ever.. plant to mayor west... Travel my way take the highway that’s the best. Get your kicks On Route 66!
Amelie Xoxo (2 days ago)
If you ever.. plant to mayor west... Travel my way take the highway that’s the best. Get your kicks On Route 66!
Cory R (2 days ago)
a long forgotton section of the road lies outside of my town, it sees very little travel due to how roads went around it and still have a few miles of original road left falling apart. Sometimes travelers show up in town looking for how to get to it.
John Smith (3 days ago)
"On the Road" by Jack Kerouac
Elmo Missing!!! (3 days ago)
Rte 66: I am the mother road Rte I-80: *“Am I a joke to you?”*
Quix (5 days ago)
11:27 This stands in Japan wich I believe is NOT suoth east asia.
Holiday Bread (5 days ago)
As someone who has lived like than 500FT from the mother road in a small town just located west of OKC, ive never really thought about the sentimental value the road has to The world. My town even has a little roadside attraction, two flour mills one on each side with a large glowing sign reading "Yukons Best Flour" and it litterally is a state landmark. Ive been as far west on 66 as new Mexico visting The Cadillac Ranch, Big Texan Steak House. And as Far east as Uranus to visit the fudge packing plant. There are so many more hidden jems that I havent been to, when I get done with my contract and head home I'll probably drive the Mother Road.
Samy (6 days ago)
Whats the name of the song at 5:16 ?
Allicia C (7 days ago)
"very very close apart" 17:04
Michael Inglis (7 days ago)
Unfortunate name...
SuicideBunny6 (8 days ago)
I didn't even know Route 66 wasn't a thing anymore
aarblg (8 days ago)
As someone from a city being forgotten this brings me hope, that one day they will see it how I do.
Kanoshe (9 days ago)
oh god a vox video? i left the room i didn't mean it go away vox you wil NOT have ad revenue
Niks Eris (11 days ago)
Because of the pixar movie Cars (duh) but yeah _childhood days_
Bora Gul (11 days ago)
I crossed it in Arizona just two weeks ago. I was in Seligman. It’s awesome
Adonis Top of Men (11 days ago)
good documentation …….
Noey Tindol (14 days ago)
I couldn't understand the lady in Magnolia. What did she say was in the gas station?
Jonathan Madi (16 days ago)
someone flip that 6 making it route 69
GershwinDecoBeck (16 days ago)
My city o' Tulsa!
مولانا أكبري (16 days ago)
The Rolling Stones.
Pedro Provan (16 days ago)
May the road rise up to meet your wheels
Elias Chen (16 days ago)
Amazing video! You guys should over America’s loneliest road in Route 50 in Nevada!
Edo Ragadna P Saragih (17 days ago)
What a great video
IEJ7to1 *IEJ7654321* (17 days ago)
But taking route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica is slower than what Google maps recommends.
aman deep (17 days ago)
I am going there one day.
Marshall Cohen Carter (18 days ago)
*Cars enters chat*
jesust_is _bigmac (18 days ago)
*causally drives near a cow* *_“hey”_*
Terry Himes (18 days ago)
explain why route 66 is almost the number 666 the devil created that road!?!?!?!?!?
lyle recollet (18 days ago)
Wouldn't it nice if they recommissioned Route 66 and out some money into refurbishing the highway
ACDC Fan (19 days ago)
What about Route *666* ?
Lucas Reid (20 days ago)
Pantura roads in indonesia almost has the same story.
Chiara Maria Inocencio (20 days ago)
Yup, gonna watch Cars now
Lorinda Strouse (20 days ago)
This is such an amazing documentary! Thank you, I truly appreciate this video. Please do more. I will be your biggest fan! Since my road trip to California in 2014 I have been so amazed by Route 66. I love it’s history, It reminds me of the true American Dream. I love Route 66, because it allows me to step back in time, dream, and wonder what it would’ve been like. Next to Heaven it gives me hope and excitement. I pray that before I leave this earth I will be able to travel the whole thing and explore the old American Dream. Thanks again. I look forward to more Route 66 videos by you.
Wally & Tony !!! (20 days ago)
I remember Oklahoma Joe's. It was so racist in there it was hilarious.
joseph Rapoza (20 days ago)
Thank GOD for the new Highways.
joseph Rapoza (20 days ago)
It was the only road. That is the only reason it mattered. No different than Route 6 in Massachusetts to Cape Cod, it was the only tourist trap road. Thank you GOD for the new highways.
XxXedy Roblox! (20 days ago)
Roblox :Road 66 Middle in story a wolf that looks like an human End train. Sign up or login and go to road 66 to find part 2
Solomon Ayalew (20 days ago)
Route 66 It's not about the destination, it's about the journey.
Sam Stephens (21 days ago)
take a shot everytime he says "66"
BulletproofMerc (21 days ago)
I wish we could petition to make route 66 an interstate highway
Nathan Johnson (21 days ago)
This made me surprisingly emotional.
Caliado (21 days ago)
those dogs werent angry - look at their tails :) Also a sweet doggo at 12:17 !
Diego Moreno (22 days ago)
Every time he says "Amarilo" instead of "Amarillo" I get ear cancer
bastet469 (22 days ago)
Who's gonna clean up after that site with the hunk of metal stuck in it?😆😆😆
imnotgay_butineedthemoney (22 days ago)
Wait did that guy compare his trip to Oregon trail.
Phil Edwards (21 days ago)
Yes! He had a lot of crazy stuff happen on the way that I didn't include for time (got stranded due to weather for a couple days, etc). It sounded pretty epic.
Duncan Pohl (22 days ago)
While I have had the opportunity to only travel a limited part of Route 66, my wife's family has had a long history of traveling on it. Starting with her parents moving from Missouri to California back during the WWII period and traveling on a regular basis back and forth on 66 to visit family in Missouri. In fact, her Mom died at the age of 73 after she and my wife's Dad drove back to Missouri to visit family. When her father died, one of his requests was to have some of his ashes scattered along Rt 66. [Dare I say] one of his sons carried out his wishes. So now if traveling Route 66 I can think about how he is with us along the way.
ChannelX24 (22 days ago)
Because CARS
roger hazeldon (23 days ago)
Can any one please id the music @ 6:50 ?
Kobe Lebron (24 days ago)
where are my overwatch route 66 players
Jaydon Faal (24 days ago)
0:37 Pasadena babyyyyyyyy
Twice Trash (24 days ago)
*I aM sPeEd*
Simply Katherine (24 days ago)
Such a boring drive for me.
finn bell (24 days ago)
this is me next road trip!
Bhavya Prakash Gupta (24 days ago)
Bruhh I did my Corsun Killer on Route 66!
Minecraft Boy (24 days ago)
1 Septa bus Route i picked is the 66! It's a trolleybus! And also the Route 59 and 75 are Trolleybuses but both are at previous MFL Station: 66: Frankford Transportation Center 59 & 75: Arrott Transportation Center *3: 33rd & Cecil B Moore* _I think_
Scott Harris (24 days ago)
I think it would be very cool to do a Lincoln Highway / Route 66 round trip
eder jair de jesus hernandez torres (24 days ago)
What is the beginning song?
Conner Broeker (24 days ago)
I think there is something to be said about country that up until the 60s people wanted to travel and explore the country. Now everyone wants to travel to other countries. We have forgotten about the wonder of this great nation
Conner Broeker (24 days ago)
If you wanna drive through Route 66 in Oklahoma check out Red Rock Cafe, the circle barn, and Pops
ShapedSquare (25 days ago)
kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow kachow
Fishie Fish (25 days ago)
I H (25 days ago)
I remember reading all the books at borders in Schaumburg
Joe Dirte (25 days ago)
It pronounced rOUT not rOOT
Jennifer Lyn (23 days ago)
Um, it's either.
Fireblade696 pe (25 days ago)
My grandpas cousin made the original get your kicks on Route 66 song
Nayz (25 days ago)
I basically live next to route 66
Falecia Grande (25 days ago)
I live in chicago and in the suburban area theres always signs about route 66 and i always wondered what it was and this video answered my question
titan81 (26 days ago)
Lightning McQueen was here...
me (26 days ago)
10:40 anyone else check their phone?
Christian Troxel (26 days ago)
Love Route 66
The Prahphet (26 days ago)
Sammy Davis Jr. lost his eye on route 66... oh mamee!
guy segal (26 days ago)
What's the track ID for the roadside attractions ?
Rolando Cueva (26 days ago)
Actually, Amarillo is pronounced as “amariyo”
eschdaddy (26 days ago)
As always... incredible video!
Malinda Senavirathna (26 days ago)
It's famous because the Cars movie
Puckspartan (26 days ago)
Dunno if texans renames amarillo but it’s supposed to be a silent L and i’m bugged.
Sebastien Laurent (26 days ago)
thank you for the mood peolple at Vox, this video was so beautiful.... the mood was there and you're making knowledge and wisdom so fun ! thanks again
first last (26 days ago)
. I got it from the beginning the "why", well before it was said, at the same time I don't see the value. Basically route 66 is a corny tourist trap in the form of a road, an encouragement to be wasteful in a way too car centered culture, and nostalgia.
BoraCM 39 (26 days ago)
I've never even heard of route 66.
Kristian Kolbe (26 days ago)
This is straight up bait for boomers to watch Strikethrough, nice.
Kristian Kolbe (26 days ago)
I am completely certain, without checking, that plenty of people have already said this, but Desmatosuchus isnt a dinosaur, it's a croc line Archosaur. She's interested in Paleontology, or Mesozoic reptiles etc.
Oma Rumunna (26 days ago)
Thank you Vox. This is lovely.
Neil Marc Bayron (26 days ago)
Is there Route 69?
Rick Bhattacharya (26 days ago)
Why it sounds like cars storyline
abdurasak ali (26 days ago)
I am trucker driver is route 66 is one coolest road to driver and seeing history is amazing and driving small show how american was built
Zuliana Herrera (26 days ago)
I just wanna say “life is a high wayyyyyyy” -cars
Anthony Zechello (26 days ago)
Max v B (27 days ago)
14:03 Me at an all-you-can-eat
Jessica Cheng (27 days ago)
Live in Chicago and there is a Route 66 sign right outside my school in downtown. Pretty cool.
Harry Hughes (27 days ago)
Bill Stutsman (27 days ago)
I guess that a hit TV show in the 1960s and two hit songs had nothing to do with it.
Sam Cobden (27 days ago)
Anyone know the music used ?
Vertical Thrust (27 days ago)
Pretty neat editing
Reginaldo Simas (28 days ago)
Parabens, muito bom.
그레이스안제라 (28 days ago)
What I see: the beauty of Route 66 What 2000s kids see: KACHOW!
Eduardo Villicana (28 days ago)
Why does the beginning of the video sound like a horror lore story from 00:00-02:00
Andrew Tyberg (28 days ago)
Wait this isn’t the overrated series.
Manjunath Gopal Rathod (28 days ago)
what device he was using?
Bethany Boerger (28 days ago)
It’s so cool watching this, I grew up around 66 so it’s fun seeing it as a novel to people.
lawtowngirl85 (28 days ago)
ohohohohoh VOLVO!!!!!!
Crebic (28 days ago)
I know it best from Cars and Overwatch