The story of Oklahoma’s Route 66 is the story of American transportation in the 20th Century. The Oklahoma section of the Mother Road includes several miles of the original 9-foot road segment that served travelers in their Model A’s and T’s during the 1920s and '30s. The existing roadbed includes unique trestle bridges and architectural wonders such as Arcadia’s round barn, the elegance of the Oklahoma State Capitol, the grandeur of Miami’s Coleman Theater and the fifth of Buckminster Fuller’s Geodesic dome buildings.
The story of Route 66 is the story of Oklahoma. Tulsa native Cyrus Avery, seeking to develop a major east-west route for the new interstate road system being developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, was determined that the route would pass through Oklahoma. Originally proposed as Route 60, the number was changed when a dispute arose with eastern states over the coveted Route 60. The controversy ended when Oklahoma Department of Highways Chief Engineer John Page proposed substituting 66 in place of 60. In the end, the eastern states received their Route 60, which eventually passed into obscurity. But Oklahoma and the other states along the route received the designation of Route 66, for which immortality awaited.
Driving Oklahoma’s Route 66 allows the traveler to journey through time, offering unique recreational experiences. Only in Oklahoma, can one experience the history of Tulsa’s Black Wall Street, the jazz of Oklahoma City’s Deep Deuce and the state's rich Native American heritage. From prehistory to today, Oklahoma’s Route 66 is a crossroads for transporting cultures and people. The 38 vibrant communities along Oklahoma’s Route 66 offer the traveler the opportunity to touch the past in the modern day.
Traveling Oklahoma’s Route 66 transports the traveler through the distinct cultures that make up the immigrant and indigenous story of America. The journey is also one through time, as travelers experience the current issues of today at locations such as the Oklahoma City Bombing Memorial and the neon world of yesterday through locations such as Pop’s and the Rock Café. The story Oklahoma’s Route 66 tells is one of dreams and opportunity, such as the world’s largest totem pole in Foyil or the Blue Whale of Catoosa. Oklahoma’s Route 66 became the only hope of escape for one third of our state’s population during the Dust Bowl era as chronicled in John Steinbeck’s the Grapes of Wrath. Oklahoma’s Route 66 is a shining testament to the freedom to dream big, to move freely, and to have hope of a better tomorrow. The traveler experiences what we have been as a nation, what we are and what we will be.
When you think of Route 66, images of bright neon lights, motor courts and diners come to mind. The road is much more than concrete and asphalt. Route 66 is a vibrant string of diverse communities offering events for visitors each day. Oklahoma is the heart of Route 66, and offers the traveler the opportunity to create a one-of-a-kind story during their travel. Oklahoma’s Route 66 offers plenty to see and plenty to do. The road is home to three Route 66 museums, and numerous other attractions that educate visitors about the road’s rich history. Additionally, the traveler can enjoy interactions with unique and diverse wildlife and landscapes along the route. The geographical diversity consists of Great Plains to River Valley topography. This diversity offers the traveler an opportunity to experience physical diversity that they can find nowhere else along the Mother Road except in Oklahoma.