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2:34 PM Tue, Nov. 20th

Route 66 Festival kicks off; road will honor its saviors

Dora Manley stands at center and cuts the ribbon Thursday, surrounded by officials and several people heavily involved with Route 66. (JC AMBERLYN/Miner)

Dora Manley stands at center and cuts the ribbon Thursday, surrounded by officials and several people heavily involved with Route 66. (JC AMBERLYN/Miner)

KINGMAN - The International Route 66 Festival officially kicked off late Thursday afternoon at Mr. D'z Diner.

More than 100 people - mostly locals but more than a few visitors - attended the event, which included Festival Director Dora Manley announcing the names of those who will be immortalized on bricks that will be laid along the Route 66 easement downtown.

"This long-tem project has a goal to transform the Route 66 corridor in the Kingman historic district into an honorarium for the men and women who laid the cornerstone, set the foundation and transformed Route 66 from a highway into an icon," said Manley.

Not all of the honorees are from Kingman, or even Arizona, but they have all been credited with bringing renewed interest in the iconic highway, known far and wide as The Mother Road.

They are:

• Jim Hinckley is a tireless promoter of Route 66 who has penned several books about the highway. It was largely through his efforts that Kingman was chosen to host this year's festival.

• Lewis Kingman and Lt. Edward F. Beale: Kingman, the civil engineer and surveyor who charted the course the railroad would take across Arizona, provided Beale with the general trail that would become Route 66.

• Andy Devine, the raspy-voiced Hollywood character actor who grew up in Kingman and spent his days at the Beale Hotel. The section of Route 66 that goes through Kingman's city limits is named for him.

• Michael Wallis, the best-selling author and award-winning reporter who authored "Route 66: The Mother Road," and many other books about the American West.

• Angel Delgadillo, a Seligman barber by trade and a legend among Route 66 fans for helping to found the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona. He is credited with convincing the Legislature to name Route 66 "historic," a move that pushed other states the road runs through to organize similar associations.

• David and Mary Lou Knudson, founders of the National Route 66 Federation, a misnomer if ever there was one. The federation is global. The Knudsons also produced the festival, which occurs in a different Route 66 community each August.

• John and Lenore Weiss founded the Route 66 Preservation Committee of Illinois. John and his late wife worked for 15 years to bring attention to the highway, and he continues to do preservation work.

• Bob Waldmire, an artist who devoted much of his life to preserving Route 66 and won the John Steinbeck Award for his efforts. Waldmire so loved Route 66 that his ashes were scattered at various locations along the highway.

• Bob Boze Bell, Kingman native, humorist, author and illustrator who will sign copies of his new book, "The 66 Kid, Raised on the Mother Road," this weekend.

• Dr. John Lingenfelter, one of Kingman's great benefactors who gave equal parts time and money to the city for a variety of causes and a man who took giving back to an entirely new level.

• Hualapai Charlie, Sherum and Leve Leve: These three Hualapai clan chiefs had incredible diplomatic skills that helped transform the nomadic Hualapai people into a captive tribe, but not a defeated tribe.

There was not a bricklaying ceremony due to traffic concerns, said Manley. City workers will install the bricks during nighttime hours.