26 May Get Your Kicks on Route 66!
Hello everyone! Logging in here from the Route 66 corridor in sunny Albuquerque, New Mexico. When people think of Route 66, images of classic cars, family trips, roadside motels, and of course, the infamous “Get Your Kicks on Route 66” song come to mind. Often referred to as the Mother Road, Route 66 symbolizes a golden age of the automobile, adventure, and increased mobility and connection across the nation. As this iconic roadway ages and as sections of it continue to meld into ever-changes cityscapes, it is important to preserve the memories and stories associated with the road. (Photo credit: Norah Laurence)
This summer, I have the opportunity to work with the National Trails department of the National Park Service in highlighting often unheard and underrepresented stories of Route 66. Focusing on the corridor in New Mexico, we will be meeting with Latino and Hispanic communities to identify and collect valuable oral histories and experiences of the Mother Road and how it changed the social, economic, and physical landscape of New Mexico. As someone who grew up in Southern California and travelled often to the Southwest driving on I-40, a freeway that now parallels old Route 66 and goes through its historic roadside towns, this project was exciting and dear to me. Of course, living in Albuquerque for 10 years and using Route 66 on a daily basis to get across town only lends further to my enthusiasm.
Just within this first week of meeting my wonderful supervisors along with the passionate and welcoming staff of National Trails, I have already learned so much from the work they’ve shared with me and the discussions we’ve had. I cannot wait to meet with community members and hear their stories of the popular roadway, how it has intwined itself into their family histories, and how they left their own mark on the road. It is incredibly meaningful for me to assist in creating new interpretation and highlighting invaluable narratives for a road that is already so heavily researched and talked about. Working with community members and NPS staff to achieve this is essential in understanding the full history and meaning of the resource that is Route 66!