Preserving a piece of Americana

Published Aug 2, 2018 at 4:00pm

“If you ever plan to motor west, travel my way, that’s the highway that’s the best ... It winds from Chicago to L.A., more than 2,000 miles all the way ... Now you go through St. Looey, Joplin, Missouri, and Oklahoma City is mighty pretty. You’ll see Amarillo, Gallup, New Mexico, Flagstaff, Arizona, don’t forget Winona, Kingman, Barstow, San Bernardino ... Won’t you get hip to this timely tip: When you make that California trip, get your kicks on Route 66.”

— (Get Your Kicks on) Route 66, (Nat) King Cole Trio, 1946.

The above tune is a classic — and has been covered from everyone to Chuck Berry to the Rolling Stones to Asleep At The Wheel.

There was even a television show about “Route 66” in the early 1960s.

And references in popular culture to this legendary stretch of road, are endless.

There is no debate about it — Route 66 is a piece of Americana.

That’s why we were glad to read a small piece in the Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News about efforts in that community to preserve part of our motoring heritage.

With the preservation of Route 66 in mind, the Amarillo Convention and Visitor Council recently made it known to the U.S. Senate that it supports a National Historic Trail designation for Route 66.

In terms of American history, there are few historic trails in this country that could rival the influence of Route 66 - so we hope senators (including Texas’ U.S. senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn) are listening to Amarillo.

While it is true that Route 66 has been replaced by more modern thoroughfares (primarily Interstate 40, at least in Texas), this does not diminish what Route 66 still means. This roadway from Chicago to California is American history — and it should be preserved.

It sounds like a good idea: A National Historic Trail Designation. It would be a shame to let America lose a piece of itself.