The most recent Google Doodle commemorates the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Route 66, the iconic roadway that extended from Chicago to Los Angeles and is considered a historical landmark in American automobile culture.
Automobiles were on the increase in the United States by the 1920s. In comparison, Ford had only recently begun manufacture of their cheap Model T in 1908, allowing the middle class to acquire a car.
During the first two decades of the twenty-first century, many organisations and businesses designated “auto trails” across the country, indicating ideal cross-state and cross-country routes. During the 1920s, the US began to formally recognise some of these trails as official routes of the US Numbered Highway System.
The Lone Star Route, Ozark Trails, and National Old Trails Road were grafted together on April 30, 1926, to become US Route 66, which runs 2,448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. Before arriving in California, Route 66 passed through Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before being entirely paved in 1938.
Route 66 brought tremendous traffic (if you’ll pardon the pun) to the communities and businesses that steadily grew up along it, with significant opportunities for service stations, restaurants, and attractions of all kinds, thanks to a heavy advertising campaign and the fact that it was a relatively easily travelled path through a significant portion of the US.
Matthew Cruickshank, the Googler behind today’s Doodle, drove the full 2,448-mile stretch of Route 66 to commemorate its heritage. He sketched and painted over 100 different pieces along the road, all of which have been brought to life in today’s Google Doodle, which is set to the popular song “(Get Your Kicks On) Route 66.”
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