Birth of the Mother Road

U.S. 66, also known as Route 66, the Mother Road, the Main Street of America, and the Will Rogers Highway, was officially named “U.S. 66,” via telegram at a meeting of highway officials in Springfield, Missouri on April 30, 1926. Calvin Coolidge was President, Prohibition was still in full swing, motion pictures were a year away from becoming “talkies,” and Henry Ford had just lowered the price of the automobile. The stage was set for what would become not only the country’s first cross-country highway, but an enduring piece of Americana that travelers from around the world still yearn to experience. In 1992, on the Mother Road’s 66th anniversary, the Route 66 Association of Missouri designated Springfield as the official Birthplace of Route 66 with a placard, now located on the east side of Park Central Square.