After World War II, many thousands more expressed their upward mobility by leaving the industrial East, bound for good jobs in the suburban idyll of Southern California—again following Route 66, which came to embody the demographic shift from the Rust Belt to the Sun Belt. Beginning in the late s and continuing gradually over the next 25 years, old Route 66 was bypassed section by section as the high-speed Interstate highways were completed. Finally, after the last stretch of freeway was completed in , Route 66 was officially decommissioned.
Historic Route 66
The old route is now designated Historic Route Though it is no longer a main route across the country, Route 66 has retained its mystique in part due to the very same effective hype, hucksterism, and boosterism that animated it through its half-century heyday. It was a Route 66 sight, the marvelous Meramec Caverns, that gave the world the bumper sticker.
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