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California: Victorville (Route 66 Museum)

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Established in 1926, U.S. Route 66 (Will Rogers Highway) was one of the original highways within the U.S Highway System.   It began in Chicago, Illinois and passed through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before finally ending at Santa Monica, California. Stretching 2,448 miles, it was one of the most famous roads in the U.S. It was the road utilized by many who migrated west back in the day and it supported the economies of communities which lined its path.

Unfortunately, it was outdated by the time the Interstate Highway System came into being and was officially removed from the U.S. Highway System in 1985.

The historic highway did inspire countless movies, songs and even had a television series which ran from 1960-1964.

Who can forget the song “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66“, often rendered simply as “Route 66“, by Bobby Troup? It was recorded in 1946 by Nat King Cole and subsequently covered by other artists including Chuck Berry, The Rolling Stones and even Depeche Mode.

Today, there are several museums devoted to the representation of U.S. Highway 66 in both historic and contemporary exhibition. These museums aim to continually promote, preserve, and educate the public bringing relative weight to the cultural influences and impacting effects Route 66 had on architecture, the arts, community development, and commerce.

Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum

110 W. Howard Street

Pontiac, IL 61764

National Route 66 Museum

1016 E. Airport Road

Elk City, OK 73648

Oklahoma Route 66 Museum

2229 W. Gary Blvd.

Clinton, OK 73601

Route 66 Auto Museum

2866 Historic Route 66

Santa Rosa, NM 88435

Powerhouse Route 66 Museum

120 W. Beale Street

Kingman, AZ 86401

California Route 66 Museum

D Street

Victorville, CA 92393

760-951-0436

Route 66 Mother Road

681 N. First Avenue

Barstow, CA 92311

Route 66 Territory Museum

7965 Vineyard Avenue Ste. F-5

Rancho Cucamonga, CA

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I want to introduce you to the California Route 66 Museum located in Victorville, approximately 85 miles northeast of Los Angeles. The museum was established in 1995 in the old First National Bank building located on the corner of 6th and D Street, where Route 66 once ran through Old Town Victorville. Since its opening the museum has grown from 1000 sq. ft. to over 4500 sq. ft., hosting visitors from 75 foreign countries, writers, film crews and Route 66 Roadies who love to travel this historic road.

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The museum is divided into three sections and includes a gift shop. The Route 66 Room is dedicated to the California landmark along Route 66 known as Hulaville and features the Green Spot Motel neon sign, the Seeburg Select-O-Matic 100 and a 1948 Mustang Model 2. The second room, The Transportation Room, features a Ford Model T, a 1956 Murray bike and a 1940’s switchboard. All relics from the heyday of Route 66. Lastly, The Victorville Room displays items which pertain to the Victor Valley.

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Hulaville cropped up in the 1950’s, when retired carnival worker Miles Mahan purchased 2 acres of desert alongside route 66 in Hesperia, CA. Here he created a “Cactus Garden” with the empty wine bottles he noticed cast aside along the road. He put the empty bottles on nails that were driven into fence post. The name is actually derived from the 9 foot metal hula girl sign that Miles found in the rubble of a demolished restaurant. Hulaville became a California land mark in 1981.

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The Green Spot Motel was built in 1937 and became a popular stop for recreational travelers on Route 66 during the 1930s and 1940s. Unfortunately, it too suffered like many businesses on Route 66 when the highway was taken out of commission. It’s neon sign is now displayed in the Route 66 Room.

Museum web page: http://califrt66museum.org/

Museum hours:

Monday:     10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Thursday: 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Friday:       10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Saturday:   10:00 AM to 4:00 PM

Sunday:     11:00 AM to 3:00 PM

Tuesday and Wednesday by appointment only (a deposit may be required)

Admission is free for adults and children and donations are gratefully accepted.

 

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