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Is Seligman the birthplace of Route 66?

Last Update on February 16, 2024
by Marko Milin
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Nestled in the heart of Arizona, the quaint town of Seligman holds a special place in the history of the United States' most famous highway, Route 66. Often referred to as "The Main Street of America," Route 66 has captured the imagination of travelers and adventurers for decades. But is Seligman the birthplace of Route 66? While not the birthplace in the literal sense of where the route was first established, Seligman is widely recognized for its pivotal role in the revival and preservation of Route 66, earning it a reputation as the birthplace of the historic route's renaissance.

Seligman's Historic Connection to Route 66

Route 66 was established in 1926, running from Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California. It became a vital corridor for westward migration, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. However, with the advent of the Interstate Highway System in the 1950s and 1960s, Route 66 began to lose its relevance, and many of its sections were bypassed by newer, faster routes. By the time it was officially decommissioned in 1985, much of Route 66 had fallen into obscurity.

Seligman, like many towns along the original route, felt the impact of this change deeply. The town's economy, which had thrived on the business of travelers and road trippers, began to decline. However, the people of Seligman, led by local barber and businessman Angel Delgadillo, were not ready to let the spirit of Route 66 fade away. In the late 1980s, Delgadillo and other local business owners formed the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona, spearheading a movement to recognize and preserve the historic and cultural significance of Route 66.

The Revival of Route 66

Thanks to the efforts of Delgadillo and the association, Arizona became the first state to officially designate Route 66 as a historic highway. This movement sparked a resurgence of interest in Route 66, not only in Arizona but across the entire length of the historic route. Today, Seligman is celebrated as the birthplace of this revival, attracting visitors from around the world who come to experience a slice of authentic Americana. The town is filled with vintage diners, quirky shops, and classic motels that hark back to the golden age of road travel, offering a nostalgic journey back in time for Route 66 enthusiasts.

Exploring Seligman and Route 66 Today

For those looking to explore the rich history and iconic landscapes of Route 66, Seligman offers an ideal starting point. The town's charm and its dedication to preserving the legacy of "The Mother Road" make it a must-visit for anyone interested in American history and culture. Visitors can stroll down Historic Route 66, take in the vintage neon signs, and enjoy classic American diner fare, all while soaking in the atmosphere of a bygone era.

Discovering Route 66 with MaxTour

For travelers eager to delve deeper into the history of Route 66 and explore the stunning natural beauty of the American Southwest, MaxTour offers a 2-Day Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon Tour. This tour not only takes visitors through the heart of Route 66 country, including a stop in Seligman, but also includes visits to some of the most breathtaking natural wonders in the region. It's an opportunity to experience the best of both worlds: the cultural heritage of America's most famous highway and the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Grand Canyon and Antelope Canyon.

Conclusion

While Seligman may not be the birthplace of Route 66 in the literal sense, its significance in the highway's revival and enduring legacy cannot be overstated. The town's efforts to preserve and celebrate Route 66 have ensured that the spirit of this historic route continues to thrive, offering a window into America's past for future generations to explore and enjoy. Whether you're a history buff, a road trip enthusiast, or simply in search of adventure, Seligman and Route 66 promise an unforgettable journey through the heart of the American Southwest.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Marko Milin

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