My Town: Route 66

Our “My Town” feature usually includes just one alum discussing their favorite parts of their hometown. But in the midst of this pandemic that has kept so many of us at home, we thought it would be fun to take a digital road trip along an American icon: Route 66.  

By Megan Bradshaw

Spanning 2,448 miles, eight states and three time zones, Route 66 originated in 1926. Its original purpose was to connect rural and urban communities and help farmers distribute grain and produce. During the Great Depression, an estimated 210,000 people migrated to California along the highway, and during World War II, Route 66 enabled the U.S. military to quickly and easily transport service personnel between military bases all over the West. “America’s Main Street” hit its peak in the postwar years, as Americans had more free time to vacation and the automobile industry boomed.

Travel John Steinbeck’s “Mother Road” from the comfort of your home using the itinerary below.