Route 66 remains today a part of the popular conception of America, even decades after it ceased to be a relevant east-to-west route following the advent of the Interstate system of highways. Next year the historic highway, immortalized in song, on screen and on the written page, turns 90 years old, and a new organization has formed to attempt to preserve as much of what’s left of its trademark features as possible.
The Mother Road, as it was often called, first opened in November 1926, running from Chicago in a western direction until its endpoint in Santa Monica, California. Construction of the American interstate highway system in the 1950s gradually made it irrelevant, however, and it was officially decertified in 1985.
Now, the National Park Service has helped form a national movement called Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative, the aim of which is to educate Americans and visitors on its history, promote tourism and economic development along the route, and preserve as many of its distinctive monuments, buildings and other objects as possible.