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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
10: The People's Highway: Route 66, 1930s–1940s

Bobby and Cynthia Troup: “Get your kicks on Route 66”

In 1946 Bobby Troup, an aspiring songwriter and music arranger, drove from Pennsylvania to Los Angeles to advance his career. During the long trip, his wife, Cynthia, suggested that he write a song about highways, and she thought of the rhyme “Get your kicks on Route 66.” Bobby wrote the rest of the words and music as they traveled the famous highway. In Los Angeles he performed the song for Nat King Cole, who made it a hit. The Troups’ song became a monument to long-distance car travel.

Sheetmusic for “Route 66,” 1946
Sheetmusic for “Route 66,” 1946
Route 66 map collage by Cynthia Troup, 1946
Route 66 map collage by Cynthia Troup, 1946

The King Cole Trio, who first recorded Bobby and Cynthia Troup’s musical tribute to the highway, is pictured in the center.

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