The Greater Southwest Historical Museum continued its summer focus on Route 66 by welcoming Pat Smith, director of the Route 66 Museum in Clinton, for a presentation Thursday night.
The Route 66 Museum spans the history of Route 66 with different displays, and greets more than 700,000 guests each year from throughout the world. Smith said traveling Route 66 from Chicago to California is en vogue, particularly for Europeans wanting to experience Americana.
"Groups rent Harley-Davidson motorcycles in Chicago and travel Route 66 to Santa Monica, California," Smith said.
Route 66 spans 2,448 miles, with a significant portion in Oklahoma. The road was established in 1926, and was not fully paved until 1938, Smith said. Interstates began to bypass Route 66 with the development of America's roadways, which had an economic impact on once-flourishing businesses and towns. A lawsuit was even filed in Arizona to address the issue.
Now, the road stands as a landmark to some, and a trip into yesteryear for others.
"Route 66 is being revived," Smith said. "People are traveling it to relieve their memories."
Brad Nickson, president of the Oklahoma Route 66 Association, will speak at the museum Aug. 8.
"It seems to be working out pretty well," said Michael Anderson, director for the Greater Southwest Historical Museum. "We have had a lot of folks coming to hear the speakers. They remember the road, and it has a nice nostalgic factor. People seem to be responding to it."