KINGMAN – Shortly after naming Route 66 among America’s 11 “Most Endangered Historic Places,” the National Trust for Historic Preservation is sending a team of photographers and writers on a month-long road trip this summer to chronicle the famous highway.
It’s the centerpiece of the trust’s campaign to help preserve the “Main Street of America.”
During the road trip, the organization will share stories of historic sites along Route 66 and build support for the National Historic Trail designation. It’s scheduled to come through Kingman July 29-31.
“Driving Route 66 is the quintessential American road trip,” Amy Webb, senior field director of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said in a prepared statement.
“It is the most iconic, culturally-celebrated, and internationally-recognized stretch of highway in America. By promoting this authentic experience, we can help preserve a beloved icon and at the same time, revive local economies in rural communities.”
The team of five “roadies” will take to the road to raise awareness of America’s most enduring highway and find out how much the historic route means to travelers and people who’ve lived along it for decades.
The trust is advocating for Route 66 to become a National Historic Trail, which will bring greater public interest and investment to communities along the highway and encourage economic revitalization.
The current initiative to keep the route in safe hands – the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program – will sunset in 2019.
The roadies will be experiencing Route 66 in real time from July 2 to Aug. 3, traveling from Chicago to Los Angeles and posting stories about the highway’s layered history through weekly emails.
Through interactive storytelling and a full slate of engagements along the way, supported by Airstream, Polaroid and Two Lanes by Mike Wolfe, the trip will build support for historic trail designation and give a passenger-side view of people and places make Route 66 an icon of American landscape.
The National Trust will work with the Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership to reach out to organizations, businesses, city officials and people across Route 66 to provide information about what the National Historic Trails designation could offer.
There are currently 19 historic trails including the Santa Fe and Lewis and Clark Trails. The designation provides opportunity for federal assistance.
There’s been a resurgence of interest in Route 66 over the past two decades, making it one of the most popular heritage tourism attractions in the country and the world, said Bill Thomas, chairman of Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership.
“This renewed interest has resulted in significant progress in many places where important Route 66 assets have been preserved,” Thomas said in an email to the Daily Miner. “Many other historically important properties and alignments of the Mother Road, however, remain in danger of being lost.”
To learn more about the National Trust for Historic Preservation campaign, go to www.preserveroute66.org.