May 8th, noted Route 66 expert and author Dave Clark gave a talk before an overflow crowd of almost 100 people at the Fremont Library in Mundelein, Illinois. It is one of many presentations he has and will be making in the Chicagoland area to introduce the road and his new book "Route 66 in Chicago."
This guy has to know more about the old road in Chicago than anyone.
He started with a power point presentation slide show to Bobby Troup's "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" and then went into a brief history of highways starting with the word coming from the olde English word "helweg" which is the main road taken from one town to another. A "low road", as in the song, is a shortcut across someone's land.
The US highways were never federal ones, each owned by individual states and connected together to enable a trip a distance away to be made on the same road number.
Route 66 used the High Plains Trail from Chicago to Plainfield. This trail connected Chicago with Ottawa, Illinois, the closest navigable town on the Illinois River. The route became important because of the number of transcontinental highways it crossed, plus connecting the railroad capital of the country, Chicago, with the oil production capital of Los Angeles.
Plus, it was an important route from the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath", a Defense Highway in WW II, and route of migration and vacationing in the 40s and 50s.
Dave ended with a mini tour across all 8 states where he spotlighted some of 66's little treasures.
I am sure we got some Route 66 converts from this presentation. Nice job, Dave. I found out later that Route 66 has become his full-time occupation.
I Tried to Warn Folks of the Addictive Powers of 66, But Doubt Anyone Listened. Well, There are WORSE Things to Get Addicted To. --RoadDog