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America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Transportation in America before 1876 Community Dreams: Santa Cruz, California, 1876 Delivering the Goods: Watsonville, California, 1895 A Streetcar City: Washington, D.C., 1900 People on the Move The Connected City: New York, New York, 1920s Crossing the Country: Somewhere in Wyoming, 1903 Americans Adopt the Auto Lives on the Railroad: Salisbury, North Carolina, 1927 Roadside Communities: Ring's Rest, Muirkirk, Maryland, 1930s Family Camping: York Beach, Maine, 1930s On the School Bus: Martinsburg, Indiana, 1939 Suburban Strip: Sandy Boulevard, Portland, Oregon, 1949 City and Suburb: Chicago and Park Forest, Illinois, 1950s On the Interstate: I-10, 1956-1990 Transforming the Waterfront: San Francisco and Oakland, California, 1960-1970 Going Global: Los Angeles Introduction The People's Highway Cyrus Avery: 'The most direct road to the Pacific coast' Lucille Hamons: 'I was alone here to run this place.' The Haggard family: 'Headed west toward California' Caroline Millbank, Janet McDonnel, Ethel May Krockenberger, and Mary Jane Pecora: 'Our rest stops were lots of fun' Bobby and Cynthia Troup: 'Get your kicks on Route 66' The Delgadillo family: 'Playing with bands up and down Route 66' Pete Koltnow: 'Bumpy seats and the open road' Indian Trading Posts
The People's Highway

Route 66, 1930s–1940s

You can walk along a portion of the pavement of Route 66, past a car and a truck of the type that would have driven the road in the 1930s. This section explores the substance behind the myth of Route 66, telling the stories of real people who made their living on or beside the road and who traveled on the fabled highway.

View from the exhibition
View from the exhibition

Life on the Open Road

In the 1920s and 1930s, new highways began to affect people’s lives. Some Americans used highways to migrate. Others earned a living on the road, or by its side, running businesses. Many Americans began to take to the highways for pleasure. Travelers often saw the highway as a symbol of independence and freedom, even though they depended on government for the roads they drove on, and on businesses such as automobile and tire manufacturers, oil refiners, gas stations, and roadside restaurants for support.

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