Amarillo Route66

In 1926, the construction of the highway Route 66 was commissioned. A man named Cyrus Avery is responsible for this great feat as he is the one that proposed a system of roads that would run through Texas, Oklahoma, and Missouri called the Ozark Trail highway. Avery was dubbed the “Father of Route 66” and has a book written about him and his involvement in the development of the famous highway. Ten years after he proposed the Ozark Trail highway, U.S. Route 66 was commissioned and would become the first paved highway in America. This highway became so popular that the first McDonald’s was constructed in San Bernardino, CA along Route 66 in 1945. It was also given the name Will Rogers Highway as a memorial to the famous, late cowboy Will Rogers.

There have been various sectors of an organization called the Route 66 Association that have formed along the old highway. They are dedicated to preserving, maintaining, and reviving the old paths that Route 66 crossed. Amarillo has one of these branches of the association that is located at 3511 6th Ave, Amarillo, TX 79106. This association is a 501 C 6 nonprofit organization that works to bring tourism back to the parts of Route 66 that are no longer part of the highway system. Route 66 is not the oldest or longest highway in the nation, but it did provide the shortest route of passage from the east to west coasts and served as a major highway for people traveling west to California looking for new opportunities and American’s excited to begin traveling across the country.

The Amarillo Route 66 Historic Association is made up of business owners located on 6th Ave and anyone else who is a fan of the history behind Route 66. The very first route Route 66 took through the city of Amarillo was down 6th Ave where tons of people rushed to open up businesses to take advantage of this new road. In 1956, the path was changed so that travelers no longer had to go through downtown Amarillo. This new route was located on what is today known as Amarillo Blvd. Many businesses on 6th Ave suffered greatly from the loss of traffic in the area which killed their customer bases.

Interstate 40 was built in Amarillo in the year of 1959, almost completely killing the historic route. Route 66 wasn’t fully decommissioned until 1985 when the last piece of the original road was replaced in Williams, AZ. It is easy to imagine how the businesses along Route 66 were affected by this change. A lot had to shut down or relocate. The Amarillo Route 66 Historic Association works to keep the old highway “alive and kicking.” They work mainly with the Amarillo section of the road, but also collaborate with other associations to help out all along the route. The group has three goals listed on their website. They include driving traffic to Historic Route 66, pool efforts and gather resources, and learn about their neighbors and the concerns they have.

Anyone can become a member of the group and those who do can expect to take on some responsibilities. The group provides signs and information about Route 66, advertises their presence and events to the community, improves the visitor experience, helps run and host events, and works to “preserve, promote and protect the infrastructure” of Historic Route 66.

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Map from Amarillo Route66 to Panhandle Blasting & Restoration:

Map from Amarillo Route66 to Texas Air & Space Museum: