Route 66: The Road and the Romance

The Autry National Center in Griffith Park explores the history and romance behind Route 66, the famous 2,400-mile stretch of highway from Chicago to Los Angeles, in its latest exhibit.

Whether depicted in pop culture, classic movies, or a Jack Kerouac novel, Route 66 has captivated the attention of dozens of travelers, writers, and history buffs since its founding in 1926.

The exhibit examines the history of the physical highway including artifacts that came out of the era: A 1927 Texaco gas pump, motel signage, and a handwritten page from "The Grapes of Wrath" manuscript.

Host Val Zavala speaks to curators and historians for more information about the historic highway in this episode of "SoCal Connected."

Route 66: The Road and the Romance runs through January 4, 2015 at the Autry in Griffith Park.


"Western Motel" neon sign, circa 1950

Museum of Neon Art

National "66" Convention & Will Rogers Memorial Celebration

Collection of Steve Rider

Road sign, "East 66 / West 66"

Collection of Steve Rider

"Travel Guide of Negro Hotels and Guest Houses"

Collection of Steve Rider

"The Negro Travelers' Green Book"

Photograph: Peter Rugh

Courtesy Schomberg Center for Research in Black Culture

New York Public Library

Astor, Lenox & Tilden Foundations

Jack Kerouac photo: "Kerouac by Palumbo"

Used under Creative Commons License CC By-SA 2.0

Manuscript for "On the Road"

Collection of James S. Irsay

Estate of Anthony G. Sampatacacus

And the estate of Jan Kerouac

"End of the Trail" is a registered trademark of Dan Rice

and 66-to-Cali, Inc.

Route 66

Composer Bobby Troup

Performed by Beegie Adair, Martini Lounge album

Theme from Route 66

Composer Nelson Smock Riddle

Performed by Nelson Riddle and his Orchestra

Featuring Interviews With:

  • Jeffrey Richardson, curator, The Autry




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