Route 66: A ghost road geography
American highway landscape patterns often are reflections of past and present elements in the American cultural experience. Route 66 was representative of an American highway which was historically significant, economically important, and a small but very meaningful part of the evolution of this country's culture.
Most of the pavement of Route 66 is gone today. However, a few portions of the old road remain as valuable links to our past. The longest remaining part of what was once Route 66 is in California's Mojave Desert, between Ludlow and Needles.
The Mojave Desert portion of Route 66 was distinctive because of the desert landscape through which it passed. The relationship which evolved, through time, between the highway, the people who depended on the highway, and the desert within which each was found resulted in a unique highway landscape, that of Route 66. In most places, there are only reminders of the former 66 landscape. But within California's Mojave, it is still possible to visit parts of our past--along what remains of what once was "the" way west.
0323: American studies