Route 66, Lost & Found: Ruins and Relics Revisited

Russell A. Olsen, Author
Russell A. Olsen, Author Motorbooks International $29.95 (160p) ISBN 978-0-7603-1854-6
Reviewed on: 05/01/2004
Release date: 05/01/2004
Paperback - 420 pages - 978-0-7603-3998-5
Open Ebook - 420 pages - 978-1-61059-786-9
Open Ebook - 160 pages - 978-1-61060-499-4
Paperback - 160 pages - 978-0-7603-1778-5
Hardcover - 160 pages - 978-0-7603-2623-7
Open Ebook - 161 pages - 978-1-299-93420-7
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-93124-4
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For half a century, Route 66 was the main thoroughfare from Chicago to Los Angeles. Built largely from portions of old wagon trails, the 2-lane highway zigzagged through eight states: south from Illinois and slicing southwest through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and finally, into California. Going town by town, Olsen revisits the mid-century road side cafes, motels and service stations that thrived along the old route, juxtaposing his own photographs with vintage postcards or archival photos of each building in its heyday. The result is an illustrated catalogue of 75 buildings in various states of renovation, expansion, desolation and decay. For example, the Painted Desert Trading Post in Navajo, Ariz., pictured with busy motorists filling up on gas in 1942, is today windowless and surrounded by sagebrush, its painted stucco exterior scoured by decades of desert sand and wind. Meanwhile, the Riviera tavern in Gardner, Ill., still sits open, its white clapboard exterior and Schlitz beer sign remarkably unchanged. Olsen intertwines the highway's history with the personal stories of the owners and patrons who recall vividly when the new 4-lane interstate system put the old road on the path to obsolescence. But before its decline, it served as""The Mother Road"" for those fleeing the Dust Bowl, a main artery for WWII military transport and arms production and later, a sunny vacation route for hordes of post-war tourists. For those unable to get their kicks in person, this virtual road trip preserves the memory and adventure of Route 66.
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