The Edmond Sun

Features

April 29, 2006

Mother Road still sends its siren call

Edmond Centennial Commission looks to highlight Route 66

EDMOND — A long winding thread of Americana crosses half the nation as State Highway 66. Historic Route 66 Highway represents the history of once bustling or still flourishing communities. It is an avenue for which stories are told from Chicago to California.

Many people may not realize that many improvements to the linking series of roads were made as the paving process progressed. Sharp curves were removed as the highway sometimes took a different route around a hill.

“It relates very directly to Arcadia,” said Jim Ross. “The road right in front of my house was the initial pathway.

The road, Old Highway 66, is about 1 mile east of town and curves south for a mile around a hill before reconnecting to Route 66. It has been in Oklahoma County’s jurisdiction since 1952.

“It’s a lot of fun for me,” Ross said. “Being an advocate and an enthusiast and a promoter of the highway and the tourism on the highway, I know people all over the United States,” Ross said.

A granite marker on the east entrance of Old Highway 66 is part of the Edmond Centennial Commision’s plans, said Pete Pettry, U.S. Route 66 project chairman. The commision wants Edmond businesses to invest in the markers. Other projects across the city are planned to help celebrate the state’s centennial on Nov. 16, 2007.

“If we increase tourism through Arcadia and other areas leading to Edmond, that will increase tourism for Edmond because people will stop and shop,” Pettry said.

Ross works out of his home as a writer having published a map series on Route 66 and a guide book about the highway in Oklahoma. He writes book reviews for American Road Magazine, and is on the design committee for the new Route 66 Interpretive Center restoration project that is planned for Chandler.

In 1997, Ross purchased property on Old Route 66 and built a home with a front exterior design resembling an old filling station on the highway. Several new houses have been built on the mile stretch of road during the last two years, he said.

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