The Nostalgic Romance of U.S. Route 66

In an arterial episode of Vox Almanac, correspondent Phil Edwards explains the history of the infamous U.S. highway Route 66 (previously), how it was funded, its association with the Great Depression and how it reflected societal shortcomings of the time.

While traveling along the route, Edwards visited people who live along the route, as well as restaurants and roadside attractions that popped up along the way. He also incorporated into his report, viewer-submitted videos of their trips along the iconic route, all of whom find a nostalgic romance in that “Mother Road” from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California.

The road quickly became a key route for migrants escaping the dust bowl and depression, forming its early reputation as “the Mother Road.” That’s because it’s a road that’s more than a strip of concrete (or gravel, or dirt). It’s a historical document of everyone who’s traveled on it — as the many contributions from Vox’s YouTube subscribers show, that keeps it going even as the interstates run alongside it.

Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.