|Historic Route 66 - Starting point in Chicago.|
U.S. Highway 66 or Route 66 was a highway in the U.S. Highway system. One of the original federal routes, US 66 was established on November 11, 1926, though signs did not go up until the following year. It originally ran from Chicago, Illinois through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California before ending at the beach at Santa Monica for a total distance of 2,448 miles (3,940 km).
Route 66 was a major migratory path west and supported the economies of the communities on which the road passed. People became prosperous due to the growing popularity of the highway, and those same people later fought to keep the highway alive even with the growing threat of the new Interstate Highway System.
US 66 was officially decommissioned (that is, officially removed from the US Highway System) in 1985 after it was decided the route was no longer relevant and had been replaced by the Interstate Highway System. The road currently exists as a "historic route" in the states it once crossed on its journey from Chicago to Santa Monica. It has begun to return to maps in this form.