Why Route 66?
When I was a child my first memory of Route 66 was a show on television in black and white with some cool guy combing his hair with a catchy jingle in the background. Fingers snapping still comes to my head. My next recollection was sometime during elementary school accompanying my father to our favorite fishing spot outside of Lebanon Mo called Bennett Springs. Dad’s calm voice telling me how he had felt sorry for the merchants and gasoline stations that long serviced modern transportations after the invention of the automobile. Dad had attended undergraduate school after spending his late teens and early 20’s in the south pacific during WWII. He pointed out abandoned motels and grocery stores that had once thrived along the famous highway.
The new highway 44 Interstate had simply cut these great businesses off the map making them difficult to access for fuel or food. He would speak about how they slowly went out of business with the invention of the modern interstate where travelers could tool along at 70 MPH without worry. From time to time,we would stop and get off the interstate just to experience the old route 66 and site see on the way to the springs.
Sometime in the early nineteen hundreds a guy from Oklahoma starting his mission of acquiring oil land to make its way from the midwest and expand towards California. The Mother Road would help america connect the dotted towns along the path to assist roadway transportation of persons, merchandise and petroleum products for the trucking industry.
The FOURWAY was one of the first filling stations for gasoline, complete with a 3 bay garage with full-service mechanics. They would come out ( usually after a bell rang) alerting them that a customer had pulled in for directions, restrooms, and gasoline. Small vending machines were popular back then with a penny you could buy brightly colored bubble gum or peanuts.
The uniformed men would come out with a grin and ask, ” filler up”? Gasoline was under 20 cents a gallon back then. They would clean your windows and air up your tires.
Full service was everywhere.