National project seeks Route 66 story submissions ahead of 100th birthday

National project seeks Route 66 story submissions ahead of 100th birthday

As Route 66 nears 100 years old, a national project wants you to submit your story to tell the complete story of the world-renowned route.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — “The Grapes of Wrath,” “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” and the song telling you where exactly to “Get Your Kicks.”

They’re among the famous pieces of media with Route 66 at the center of their stories. They echo its significance as one of the first cross-country highways in the U.S. It opened in 1926, making its way from Chicago to L.A., by way of New Mexico.

“During the wars, Route 66 was a critical transportation route for the military as well,” Amy Webb said.

Webb is with the National Trust for Historic Preservation. She is overseeing a project that is looking for your stories about Route 66.

“We wanted to do this initiative to get people to tell us their stories about why places on Route 66 are personally meaningful to them,” Webb said. “The response so far has been wonderful.”

Places like the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, as well as the El Morro Theatre in Gallup and the Casa de Sueños in Old Town Albuquerque.

All postcards from towns known along the route.

“But also, we’re hoping that this initiative can help us better understand the full spectrum of sites that make up Route 66,” Webb said.

Sites like the Sacred Heart Church, along a stretch of the original route up to Santa Fe.

Built in 1900, it sits on land that Coronado visited in 1540. The land also encompassed the harrowing Long Walk to Bosque Redondo in 1864.

To Webb, then, these sites highlight how important New Mexico is to this national project.

“In particular Native American sites and sites associated with Hispanic populations are such a big part of New Mexico’s population. I think that’s an area that has been really underrepresented, as the 66 stories has been told,” she said.

Efforts are already underway to preserve classic signs along Route 66 to also celebrate the 100th birthday. With this project, organizers plan to release a map with the submitted stories and additional information you can access online.

Click here to submit your stories and learn more.