Pacific Southwest, Region 9
Serving: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Islands, Tribal Nations
Historic Route 66 Association
Historic Route 66 Association: Locals Take the Lead
By the time the final stretch of Route 66 was bypassed in Williams, Arizona, in 1984, Arizona’s Route 66 main street businesses were struggling without the once steady stream of travelers. In 1987, local individuals formed the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona and began to reclaim Route 66. The association helped Route 66 to earn the designation of an Arizona Historic Road, and then fought to get the brown historic highway signs to mark the entrances to the Route 66 main street businesses. The Bureau of Land Management designated a portion of Route 66 as a Scenic Back Country Byway, and in 2006, Arizona’s stretch of Route 66 was named a National Scenic Byway under the Federal Highway Administration’s America’s Byways Program.
The association then took on the task of establishing a Historic Route 66 Byway Program to continue its mission to preserve, protect and promote Route 66. Under the program, grant awards assisted with establishing the program, developing marketing tools, and funding assessments of historic properties along the Route. The association continues to raise funds for preservation projects along the Route. In continuing its efforts to raise funds for Route 66 projects, in 2009 the association successfully secured an All-American Road designation for Route 66. All-American Road is the most prestigious designation possible under the Federal Highway Administration’s National Scenic Byways Program.