The Route 66 Chamber of Commerce is presently working on presentations and materials for Media (TV-Movie-Print & Internet) use, including Press Releases, Project Reports, PSA's, B-Roll Video, Location assistance,Logos and much more.
If your media organization is interested in publishing or broadcasting any details about Route 66 (or about the new Route 66 Chamber of Commerce), please contact us at: 417-385-6966 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will be happy to assist you.
Additional special postings will be placed on this page soon. Thanks.
Back in 2006, Route 66 enthusiast Ron Hart began to observe that there were a lot of Route 66-Specific organizations, associations, clubs, groups etc. that also promoted the Mother Road and have websites with many interesting articles and photographs. These have become great places to research the Route and plan trips by those who are already somewhat familiar with Route 66, and perhaps have already driven on all, or part of it. But something was missing.
Ron first formed his own site, Visit 66.com, to promote the local region of southwest Missouri and all of Kansas. He also opened a Route 66 Visitors Center in Carterville, MO. which was operated for a year until gas prises went up and the economy went down, causing him and his wife to reluctantly close the business. They did, however, learn a lot from the many folks who had stopped-in for a visit, and realized that there are still millions of Americans who have little (or no) knowledge of Route 66, and have never considered the Route as a “vacation destination” (aka Heritage Tourism). Why,...because no one was actually “marketing” this concept to them. Without any idea of what Route 66 is all about, many told Ron that no one had suggested that they go online and learn more about it.
Considering the current state of the economy, and diminished interest in traveling to expensive vacation destinations, Ron was convinced that now was the time to begin spreading the word about the excitement and adventure that a family could enjoy if they were to take a trip along Route 66, and he’s sure Route businesses (and their suppliers) would appreciate increased business as well.
To that end, Ron was trying to reach those “potential” visitors by combining his Visit 66 promotional efforts with an organization that is immediately recognized worldwide as an authority on Tourism and a source of related business information. That organization is known as a Chamber of Commerce, and virtually every town and city has one. The challenge is to attempt to unite all of those independent Chambers along the Route with all of the Route 66 organizations to promote their mutual interests.
Having already completed many several years of research, Ron launched the first Chamber of Commerce to represent a “community” of businesses and supporters that are situated in eight states along the 2,448 mile historic highway, and whose success may depend on outside marketing and promotion to attract new travelers.
Going back over eighty-seven years ago, the first big promotional effort began during the early days of Route 66 by a man named Cyrus Avery, who was a member of the federal highway board and whose task was to create the Federal Highway System. Cyrus Avery selected the number "66" for the new interstate road and he also established the “U.S. Highway 66 Association” to ensure financial and promotional support for his favorite creation. These efforts also helped cover the expenses for paving, and in 1938, Route 66 truly was the first fully-paved American highway. In 1970 the Association became the "Main Street of America Association" which lasted until it closed in 1976. In the thirty-four years since, there has been no similar organization promoting Route 66.
Ron’s effort is not intended as a “publicity” stunt, but rather an example of the renewed worldwide interest in protecting and preserving Route 66, the highway that brought this country through the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, WWII, and helped many reach their American Dream during the "great western migration".
Persons interested in receiving more information may visit the Chamber’s website, Visit66.com, to check the current status of this endeavor and provide any comments or suggestions. As you will see, this organization is not intended to be a “one-man” operation. It is owned and operated by its members, has found instant credibility with other Chambers throughout America and hopefully will attract thousands of new travelers to the Mother Road every year.
According to Mr. Hart, "Our goal is to make every City, Chamber of Commerce and CVB on Route 66 a member of the Route 66 Chamber. We will then submit surveys to these organizations that will provide better statistics on Route 66 commerce. We need to know as much information as possible regarding those who are traveling the Route so we can design an effective national marketing plan, and we will share our results with our member organizations and business owners."
Note: The current Press Release below may be copied, and optimized photos on this site may also be used for promotional purposes. High-Res images are also available on request. Please advise Ron Hart of any proposed use by calling 417-385-6966.
The U.S. Highway 66 Association was organized in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1927. Its purpose was to get U.S. Highway 66 paved from end to end and to promote tourism on the highway. John T. Woodruff of Springfield, Missouri was elected the first president.
The organization was among many that existed before the creation of federal highways in 1926, such as those that promoted the Lincoln Highway, the National Old Trails Highway, and others.
The Association began to advertise the highway in magazines, on billboards, and brochures. The continued push to completely pave the highway and complete an unfinished section (Watson Road in St. Louis, Missouri) paid off, the road was fully paved and completed in 1938, including a cut-off across New Mexico, bypassing the original loop through Santa Fe.
In 1955, construction began on the new Interstate Highway System. As these new interstates began to replace longer and longer sections of the old highway, the group in 1970 changed its name to the Main Street of America Association and continued to stand as a voice for the older highway. The Association published its last brochure in 1974; the brochure's cover referenced the new interstate highways that would lead to its demise.
In 1976 the Association disbanded as US Highway 66 was now largely concurrent with I-55, I-44, I-40, I-15, and I-10. In 1984 the last section through Williams, Arizona was bypassed, and on June 27th., 1985, Route 66 was formally decommissioned as a federal highway
The two previous Associations were not (officially) connected with the various Route 66 associations which currently exist to preserve the historic highway.