U.S. Route 66 in Oklahoma

Last updated

US 66.svg

U.S. Route 66
Will Rogers Highway
Route information
Maintained by ODOT
Length374.6 mi [1] (602.9 km)
(as close as possible to the latest surface alignments, except at Tulsa and Oklahoma City)
The length of SH-66 is 192.8 mi (310.3 km)
ExistedDecember 7, 1926 [2] –April 1, 1985 [2]
Major junctions
West endUS 66.svg US 66 at Texas state line
East endUS 66.svg US-66 at Kansas state line
Highway system
Oklahoma State Highway System
Oklahoma State Highway 65.svg SH-65 SH-66 Oklahoma State Highway 66.svg

The historic U.S. Route 66 (US-66, Route 66), also known as the Will Rogers Highway after Oklahoma native Will Rogers, ran from west to northeast across the state of Oklahoma, along the path now taken by Interstate 40 (I-40) and State Highway 66 (SH-66). It passed through Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and many smaller communities. West of the Oklahoma City area, it has been largely replaced by I-40; the few independent portions that are still state-maintained are now I-40 Business. However, from Oklahoma City northeast to Kansas, the bypassing I-44 is mostly a toll road, and SH-66 remains as a free alternate.

Will Rogers American humorist and entertainer

William Penn Adair Rogers was an American stage and motion picture actor, vaudeville performer, American cowboy, humorist, newspaper columnist, and social commentator from Oklahoma. He was a Cherokee citizen born in the Cherokee Nation, Indian Territory.

Oklahoma State of the United States of America

Oklahoma is a state in the South Central region of the United States, bordered by Kansas on the north, Missouri on the northeast, Arkansas on the east, Texas on the south, New Mexico on the west, and Colorado on the northwest. It is the 20th-most extensive and the 28th-most populous of the fifty United States. The state's name is derived from the Choctaw words okla and humma, meaning "red people". It is also known informally by its nickname, "The Sooner State", in reference to the non-Native settlers who staked their claims on land before the official opening date of lands in the western Oklahoma Territory or before the Indian Appropriations Act of 1889, which dramatically increased European-American settlement in the eastern Indian Territory. Oklahoma Territory and Indian Territory were merged into the State of Oklahoma when it became the 46th state to enter the union on November 16, 1907. Its residents are known as Oklahomans, and its capital and largest city is Oklahoma City.

Oklahoma City State capital city in Oklahoma, United States

Oklahoma City, often shortened to OKC, is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 27th among United States cities in population. The population grew following the 2010 Census, with the population estimated to have increased to 643,648 as of July 2017. As of 2018, the Oklahoma City metropolitan area had a population of 1,396,445, and the Oklahoma City-Shawnee Combined Statistical Area had a population of 1,469,124 residents, making it Oklahoma's largest metropolitan area.



Pavement markings indicating the historic alignment of Route 66 Historic Route 66 (234526475).jpg
Pavement markings indicating the historic alignment of Route 66

The history of Route 66 in Oklahoma can be traced back to two auto trails—the St. Louis, MissouriLas Vegas, New Mexico, main route of the Ozark Trails network, and the Fort Smith, ArkansasAmarillo, Texas, Postal Highway. [3] In the state highway system, approved in mid-1924, the portions of these in Oklahoma, which crossed at Oklahoma City, became SH-7 and SH-3 respectively. [4] [5] US 66 was designated in late 1926, and followed these state highways with one exception: a new SH-39 was created to carry Route 66, leaving SH-7 at Commerce and heading east and north to the state line in the direction of Baxter Springs, Kansas. [6] (The short stub of SH-7 north of Commerce remained until it became part of US-69 in the mid-1930s. [7] )

The system of auto trails was an informal network of marked routes that existed in the United States and Canada in the early part of the 20th century. Marked with colored bands on telephone poles, the trails were intended to help travellers in the early days of the automobile.

Las Vegas, New Mexico City in New Mexico, United States

Las Vegas is a city in and the county seat of San Miguel County, New Mexico, United States. Once two separate municipalities, both were named Las Vegas—West Las Vegas and East Las Vegas —are separated by the Gallinas River and retain distinct characters and separate, rival school districts.

Fort Smith, Arkansas City in Arkansas, United States

Fort Smith is the second-largest city in Arkansas and one of the two county seats of Sebastian County. As of the 2010 Census, the population was 86,209. With an estimated population of 88,037 in 2017, it is the principal city of the Fort Smith, Arkansas-Oklahoma Metropolitan Statistical Area, a region of 298,592 residents that encompasses the Arkansas counties of Crawford, Franklin, and Sebastian, and the Oklahoma counties of Le Flore and Sequoyah.

Over the years, many portions of Route 66 west of Oklahoma City were replaced with I-40. On the other hand, the Turner Turnpike and Will Rogers Turnpike were built parallel to Route 66 east of Oklahoma City, and Route 66 remained on the old road as a free alternate to the turnpikes. Route 66 was entirely eliminated by the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials on April 1, 1985. In Oklahoma, the portions west of Oklahoma City that had not been rerouted onto I-40 became business loops of I-40 through Sayre, Elk City, Clinton, and El Reno. The still-independent route, starting at US-81 in southeastern El Reno, became SH-66, using surface streets except through Oklahoma City and Tulsa, where Route 66 had been rerouted onto the freeways. SH-66 ends at US-60 west of Vinita, where Route 66 overlapped US-60 and US-69 to east of Commerce. The remaining independent portion to the Kansas state line became part of a new US-69 Alternate. [2] [8]

Turner Turnpike highway in Oklahoma

The Turner Turnpike is a toll road in central Oklahoma, connecting its two largest cities, Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Authorized by the Oklahoma Legislature in 1947 and opened in May 1953, it is the oldest of the state's ten turnpikes. The route is signed as Interstate 44 for its entire length, but was constructed prior to its designation as such. The Turner Turnpike was named after Governor Roy J. Turner, who pushed for efforts to build this toll road to connect the state's two largest cities.

Will Rogers Turnpike highway in Oklahoma

The Will Rogers Turnpike is a freeway-standard toll road in the northeast portion of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The highway begins as a continuation of the Creek Turnpike in Tulsa, continuing northward from the I-44/US-412 interchange there to the Missouri state line west of Joplin, Missouri. The turnpike carries the I-44 designation for its entire length. The turnpike is 88.5 miles (142.4 km) long and costs $4.75 to drive one way. The Will Rogers Turnpike opened to traffic on June 28, 1957. It was designated as I-44 in 1958. It is named for Will Rogers, "Oklahoma's Favorite Son".

The American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) is a standards setting body which publishes specifications, test protocols and guidelines which are used in highway design and construction throughout the United States. Despite its name, the association represents not only highways but air, rail, water, and public transportation as well.

Route description

Texas border to Elk City

New-style SH-66 shield west of Arcadia Ok66.jpg
New-style SH-66 shield west of Arcadia

By 1916, a series of unpaved state roads was laid out from Texola, just east of the Texas state line, east via Erick to Delhi, north to Sayre, and east and north via Doxey to Elk City. [9] It became part of Route 66 in 1926; this initial alignment ran along the state line from a bit south of the old railroad grade south to E1240 Road, and then ran east through Texola on Fifth Street. After a mile south on N1680 Road, it turned east on E1250 Road to Erick, then south again on N1750 Road, east on E1260 Road, south on N1810 Road, and east on E1270 Road to Delhi. Traffic turned north at N1870 Road (now US-283), jogging west on E1250 Road at the mismatch in the section lines, and entered Sayre on N1870 Road. The bridge over the North Fork of the Red River in Sayre was built of timber in 1924 and upgraded and widened with steel in 1933. It was bypassed in 1958, and has been demolished; its remains are on private property. The original Route 66 passed through Sayre on Main Street (now SH-152) and Fourth Street, leaving to the east on Benton Boulevard (E1180 Road). It then turned north on N1900 Road, east on E1170 Road (there was a cutoff on the southeast side of the railroad at this turn), north on N1960 Road, east on E1160 Road, and north on N2000 Road into Elk City on Randall Avenue. Short sections of this — a bridge on E1170 Road east on N1950 Road (SH-34) and the crossing of Elk City Lake on N2000 Road — no longer exist. [2]

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, and has a coastline with the Gulf of Mexico to the southeast.

Delhi, Oklahoma Unincorporated community in Oklahoma, United States

Delhi is an unincorporated community in Beckham County, Oklahoma, United States. Delhi is located west of U.S. Route 283 and 8.3 miles (13.4 km) south-southwest of Sayre. The community is named for the city in India and first had a post office in 1893.

Section lines in the United States are one mile (1.6 km) apart. When surveyors originally mapped an area, for instance a township, it was their custom to divide the new township into 36 1-square-mile sections (2.6 km2). Property ownership often followed this layout. A section is a 1-by-1-mile (1.6 km) area. A half section is a 1/2-mile by 1-mile area. It is proper to continue this division down to a 1/4-by-1/4 section which is 1/16 of a section, or 40 acres (16 ha). The next smaller division is 10 acres (4.0 ha), and then 2.5 acres (10,000 m2). Besides property ownership, roads called section line roads often followed the section lines, and one can often still see them in modern maps, even in urban areas. In rural areas, these roads are called section roads, and often exist primarily so that farmers can access their land.

A new alignment from the state line to Elk City was built in the late 1920s. It only coincided with the earlier route through Texola and through Sayre; the rest was entirely separate. Except in Sayre, where the city had paved the road with Portland cement (PC) in 1926, the state began paving the road in 1928 and 1929 with asphalt over a concrete base from Elk City to several miles east of Hext. It switched to PC in 1929, paving the remainder from east of Hext to the state line from 1929 to 1931. This alignment followed E1240 Road from the state line to Texola, and then the present main road through Erick and Hext to south of Sayre. The old cement lies in the center of the four-lane road through Texola, and then mainly follows the westbound lanes to Erick, through which it again lies in the center. A short abandoned piece of PC, including ruins from a former bridge over a creek, is located to the south of the road, between N1700 and N1710 Roads. Beyond Erick, the PC was again built in the present location of the westbound lanes, but has since been paved over until the I-40 interchange (exit 11). Just past exit 11, the road becomes two lanes, and the original road — mostly built as PC, but later resurfaced in asphalt, and once the westbound lanes of a divided highway - is now abandoned to the north of the open roadway; a 1928 concrete federal aid primary marker lies 0.8 miles (1.3 km) west of Hext. Beyond Hext, where I-40 comes in from the south, the two-lane road crosses to the original roadway; the later eastbound lanes are now the westbound lanes of I-40. The 1929 alignment curved to the north into N1870 Road west of exit 20, following Main Street and Fourth Street as the original route did. However, it continued beyond Benton Boulevard to Sayre Avenue, turning off onto the present four-lane I-40 Bus. towards I-40 exit 25. Just prior to the exit, Route 66 curved northeast along the northside frontage road. It crossed to the south side after exit 26, crossing Timber Creek on a 1928 through truss bridge, and crossed again just east of the N1910 Road overpass. This part of the north frontage road, from east of N1910 Road to exit 32, retains the original 1928-1929 paving, as well as a 1926 box drain. Between exit 32 and Elk City, the original road (resurfaced) is now the westbound lanes of I-40 Bus., where another 1926 box drain still stands. [2]

Portland cement binder used as basic ingredient of concrete

Portland cement is the most common type of cement in general use around the world as a basic ingredient of concrete, mortar, stucco, and non-specialty grout. It was developed from other types of hydraulic lime in England in the mid 19th century, and usually originates from limestone. It is a fine powder, produced by heating limestone and clay minerals in a kiln to form clinker, grinding the clinker, and adding 2 to 3 percent of gypsum. Several types of Portland cement are available. The most common, called ordinary Portland cement (OPC), is grey, but white Portland cement is also available. Its name is derived from its similarity to Portland stone which was quarried on the Isle of Portland in Dorset, England. It was named by Joseph Aspdin who obtained a patent for it in 1824. However, his son William Aspdin is regarded as the inventor of "modern" Portland cement due to his developments in the 1840s.

Hext, Oklahoma Unincorporated community in Oklahoma, United States

Hext is a small unincorporated rural community on old U.S. Highway 66 in Beckham County, Oklahoma, United States. The town was named after a local resident, William Hext.

Frontage road Type of road

A frontage road is a local road running parallel to a higher-speed, limited-access road. A frontage road is often used to provide access to private driveways, shops, houses, industries or farms. Where parallel high-speed roads are provided as part of a major highway, these are also known as local-express lanes.

A second set of lanes was added, mostly on the south side of the two-lane road, from 1955 to 1961, except through Texola, Erick, and Sayre, where the existing road was widened to four lanes. The old road was bypassed in several places: west of Texola, where the new road went diagonally northwest to the state line;[ citation needed ] between N1700 and N1710 Roads, where a straighter alignment was built to the north; entering Sayre from the south, where it continued on what is now the northside frontage road to Fourth Street (effective July 14, 1958); and at Timber Creek, where the two-lane road used the southside frontage road, and both directions of the four-lane road used the present I-40. Between the Sayre and Elk City business loops, except over Timber Creek, the new eastbound lanes are now the eastbound lanes of I-40; further west, between Sayre and Hext, they are the present westbound lanes. [2]

I-40 was completed in its present state in 1966 between Sayre and Elk City; the bypasses of both cities opened in October 1970, with the Sayre bypass project extending west to the point east of Hext where I-40 curves away from the old road. (The relocation here was made on June 1, 1970.) The rest of I-40 west to Texas opened on September 2, 1975. Except for the bypasses around Sayre and Elk City, Route 66 was moved to the new I-40; most of it was given to Beckham County, but the old route through Erick, which had overlapped SH-30, became SH-30 Business. When Route 66 was decommissioned on April 1, 1985, the Sayre and Elk City business loops were created. I-40 Business through Erick, between exits 5 and 11, replaced SH-30 Bus. in 1987, based on traffic data. [2]

Through Oklahoma City

Route 66 was signed in Oklahoma City by 1929. Its initial routing entered from the west on 39th Street and turned south on Classen Boulevard and east on 23rd Street. SH-7 entered from the south on Robinson Avenue, which also carried SH-4, SH-9, and US 77. At the intersection of 23rd Street and Lincoln Boulevard, just north of the State Capitol, SH-3 and SH-9 continued east, along with US 266, while the other routes, including Route 66, turned north. After leaving the city limits, continuing on Lincoln Boulevard (including the present Beverly Drive), it jogged east on Grand Boulevard (now I-44) to reach Kelley Avenue. [10] By 1931, traffic was routed via Western Avenue rather than Classen Boulevard, and a new US 66 Alternate bypassed downtown, turning north rather than south on Western Avenue to Britton and east on Britton Road to Kelley Avenue. [11] By 1935 Route 66 used May Avenue rather than Western Avenue; the alternate route continued to use Western Avenue, [12] moving to Classen Boulevard south of 53rd Street on March 18, 1936. The alternate route was eventually moved to May Avenue on May 6, 1947. [2]

On March 2, 1953, about the time the Northwest Expressway, Northeast Expressway, and Turner Turnpike were completed, US 66 was realigned to make use of this bypass. It turned north from 39th Street at May Avenue to reach the expressways, and followed them to Kelley, where it continued to turn north towards Edmond. The continuation of the Northeast Expressway to the Oklahoma City Terminus of the turnpike was labeled SH-66A; this route had extended west to May Avenue before March 2. [13] (SH-3 used the Northwest Expressway west of May Avenue.) The old Route 66 through downtown, via May Avenue, 23rd Street, and Lincoln Boulevard, became US 66 Business, and the alternate route was eliminated. A short realignment was made on August 2, 1954, using the new West Expressway from 39th Street and May Avenue to the Northwest Expressway west of Classen Boulevard. [2]

SH-66A became part of Route 66 by 1956, when the new road (now I-35) was built from the Turner Turnpike north to Route 66 east of Edmond. The old route via Edmond became SH-66 (and SH-77, since it had replaced US 77). [14] The business route was deleted on March 5, 1979, and at about the same time the new route of the West Expressway, bypassing Classen Circle, was completed. [2] [15]

Through Tulsa

The Round Barn in Arcadia Arcadia Round Barn (NRHP).jpg
The Round Barn in Arcadia

By 1929, Route 66 had been marked through Tulsa, entering from the southwest on Southwest Boulevard (then Quanah Avenue) to the old 11th Street Bridge over the Arkansas River, a concrete arch bridge from 1916 that is now on the National Register of Historic Places. It left the bridge on Maybelle Avenue, and turned east on 11th Street, north on Cheyenne Avenue, east on 7th Street, north on Detroit Avenue, east on 2nd Street, north on Lewis Avenue, and east on Admiral Place to the city limits. Outside the city, the original route turned south on Mingo Road and east on 11th Street, turning north on 193rd Avenue to reach Catoosa. [10] A relocation, approved on July 7, 1932, simplified the routing through Tulsa, taking it east on 11th Street all the way from the bridge to 193rd Avenue. (US 75 and SH-11 remained on Admiral Place, the former using the old Route 66 alignment through downtown.) [2] [16]

US 66 Bypass was established on June 4, 1951, along the proposed Skelly Drive, which was not finished until the late 1950s, when it became part of I-44.[ citation needed ] Route 66 itself was moved to Skelly Drive on November 3, 1959, and the old route on Southwest Boulevard and 11th Street, west of the Skelly Drive interchange east of downtown, became US 66 Business. (The only change in this route was made in the early 1970s, [17] during construction of I-444, when it was moved to 12th Street west of Denver Avenue.) The business route was eliminated on January 15, 1973, removing all state highways from surface streets in downtown Tulsa, except for a temporary routing of US 64 and SH-51 on 15th Street until the Broken Arrow Expressway was completed. [2] [18]

Tulsa to Kansas border

Blue Whale of Catoosa water park. Catoosa Blue Whale 2008 No. 1.jpg
Blue Whale of Catoosa water park.

As with the rest of Route 66 in Oklahoma, the majority of this segment follows SH-66, with a number of older alignments that take Route 66 through many of the communities along the way. From the northeast side of Tulsa, at the intersection of 193rd Ave and I-44/SH-66, two routes are available, depending on which sources one considers to be official:

Route 66 then follows SH-66 northeast through Verdigris and into Claremore. One may either continue on SH-66 all the way through town, or divert one block west and take the older alignment down J.M Davis Blvd. The route re-joins SH-66 via Stuart Roosa Dr., at the north end of town.

The Coleman Theatre in Miami OK Coleman Theater in Miami, OK.jpg
The Coleman Theatre in Miami OK

Route 66 then proceeds north and east via SH-66. Other communities along this stretch of road include Sequoyah, Foyil, and Busyhead. In Chelsea, SH-28 briefly merges with SH-66, then diverges north after about 5 blocks, while SH-66 continues toward White Oak. After White Oak, US 60/US 69 join the route. Just beyond this intersection, SH-2 joins the route as the road continues to Vinita. In the downtown area of Vinita, SH-2 diverges to the north while US 60/US 69/Route 66 turn to the right. The highway crosses I-44 just east of the city and intersects with SH-82 and SH-85. At the latter junction, the highway takes a turn to the north and continues through Afton.

Just east of Afton, there are two possible alignments:

"Sidewalk highway" section of Route 66 near Miami, Oklahoma. Sidewalk Highway.jpg
"Sidewalk highway" section of Route 66 near Miami, Oklahoma.

Shortly after Narcissa, another section of the old Route 66 alignment is available, again as a stretch of sidewalk highway:

Route 66/US 69 continues north through Miami. As the highway exits to the north, an alternate alignment becomes available:

US 69/Route 66 bends to the east as it exits the north side of Commerce. About 1.8 miles (2.9 km) after this bend, US 69 diverts to the north. Alternate US 69 begins at this point, and Alternate 69/Route 66 continues east, bending north as the highway enters the south end of Quapaw, Oklahoma. The route continues through Quapaw and proceeds northeast beyond the Oklahoma/Kansas state line to Riverton, Kansas, where US 66 splits from alternate 69 and heads eastward as Kansas state highway 66 (K-66).

Major intersections

This list follows the final non-freeway alignment.

CountyLocationmi [19] kmDestinationsNotes
Beckham 00.0US 66.svg US 66 west Amarillo Texas state line
Circle sign 30.svg SH-30 south Hollis west end of SH-30 overlap
Erick Circle sign 30.svg SH-30 north (Sheb Wooley Street) Sweetwater east end of SH-30 overlap
US 283.svg US-283 south Mangum west end of US-283 overlap
Sayre Elongated circle 152.svg SH-152 (Main Street) Cordell
US 283.svg US-283 north Cheyenne east end of US-283 overlap
Circle sign 34.svg SH-34 south Carter, Mangum west end of SH-34 overlap
Circle sign 6.svg SH-6 north Sweetwater west end of SH-6 overlap
Elk City Circle sign 6.svg SH-6 south (North Main Street) Granite, Altus east end of SH-6 overlap
Circle sign 34.svg SH-34 north Hammon, Woodward east end of SH-34 overlap
Washita Circle sign 44.svg SH-44 south Foss, Burns Flat, Altus
Custer Clinton US 183.svg US-183 south (6th Street) Cordell, Hobart west end of US-183 overlap
US 183.svg US-183 north (4th Street)east end of US-183 overlap
Circle sign 54.svg SH-54 south Corn, Colony, Mountain View west end of SH-54 overlap
Weatherford Circle sign 54.svg SH-54 north (West Main Street) Thomas east end of SH-54 overlap
Caddo Circle sign 58.svg SH-58 north Hydro west end of SH-58 overlap
Circle sign 58.svg SH-58 south Carnegie east end of SH-58 overlap
Hinton Junction US 281.svgCircle sign 8.svg US-281 south / SH-8 south Hinton, Anadarko west end of US-281 / SH-8 overlap
Canadian US 281.svgCircle sign 8.svg US-281 north / SH-8 north Geary, Watonga east end of US-281 / SH-8 overlap
US 270.svg US-270 west Calumet west end of US-270 overlap
El Reno US 81.svg US-81 north (Choctaw Avenue) Kingfisher west end of US-81 overlap
US 81.svg US-81 south Chickasha east end of US-81 overlap
Yukon Circle sign 92.svg SH-92 south (Garth Brooks Boulevard) Mustang
Circle sign 4.svg SH-4 north (Cornwell Drive) Piedmont west end of SH-4 overlap
Circle sign 4.svg SH-4 south (Ranchwood Boulevard)east end of SH-4 overlap
Oklahoma Warr Acres Circle sign 3.svg SH-3 (North MacArthur Boulevard)
Oklahoma City Grand Boulevard interchange; now I-44 west / Lake Hefner Parkway
No image wide.svgBusiness plate.svgNo image wide.svgNo image wide.svg
US 270.svgUS 66.svgCircle sign 3.svgCircle sign 74.svg US-270 / US-66 Bus. / SH-3 / SH-74 (May Avenue)
interchange; east end of US-270 overlap
Pennsylvania Avenueinterchange
Elongated circle 66A.svg SH-66A west (Northwest Expressway)at-grade intersection
Classen Boulevard Classen Circle (traffic circle)
Western Avenueinterchange
Grand Boulevard westat-grade intersection
US 77.svg US-77 north (Broadway Extension) Edmond interchange; west end of US-77 overlap; now I-235 south
No image wide.svgBusiness plate.svg
US 77.svgUS 66.svg US-77 south / US-66 Bus. west (Lincoln Boulevard) Downtown Oklahoma City
interchange; east end of US-77 overlap
Grand Boulevard eastat-grade intersection
Britton Roadinterchange
Turner Turnpike.svg Turner Turnpike / Sooner Road Tulsa interchange
Memorial Roadinterchange
Edmond US 77.svg US-77 (2nd Street) Wichita, Edmond interchange
see SH-66
Creek Turner Turnpike.svg Turner Turnpike  Oklahoma City
Tulsa Tulsa US 169.svg US-169 south Glenpool west end of US-169 overlap
US 169.svg US-169 north (West 23rd Street)east end of US-169 overlap
US 75.svgCircle sign 33.svg US-75 north / SH-33 east (Heavy Traffic Way)east end of US-75 / SH-33 overlap
US 64.svgCircle sign 51.svg US-64 / SH-51 (South Denver Avenue)
US 169.svg US-169 (South Peoria Avenue)
Circle sign 11.svg SH-11 (South Memorial Drive)
county line
Circle sign 33.svg SH-33 west (East Admiral Place)west end of SH-33 overlap
Rogers Circle sign 33.svg SH-33 east Chouteau, Siloam Springs interchange; east end of SH-33 overlap; now US-412
Will Rogers Turnpike.svg Will Rogers Turnpike  Joplin interchange
see SH-66
Craig US 60.svg US-60 west Nowata, Bartlesville west end of US-60 overlap
US 69.svg US-69 south Pryor west end of US-69 overlap
Vinita Circle sign 2.svg SH-2 north (Wilson Street)
Will Rogers Turnpike.svg Will Rogers Turnpike
Circle sign 82.svg SH-82 south Langley
Delaware Circle sign 85.svg SH-85 south Bernice
Ottawa US 59.svg US-59 south Grove west end of US-59 overlap
Will Rogers Turnpike.svgUS 60.svg Will Rogers Turnpike / US-60 east Fairland interchange; east end of US-60 overlap
US 59.svgCircle sign 10.svg US-59 north / SH-10 west Welch, Lenapah east end of US-59 overlap; west end of SH-10 overlap
Miami Circle sign 10.svgElongated circle 125.svg SH-10 east (Steve Owens Boulevard) / SH-125 south (Main Street) Seneca, MO, Fairland, Grove east end of SH-10 overlap
US 69.svg US-69 north Picher east end of US-69 overlap
Elongated circle 137.svg SH-137 south
373600US 66.svg US-66 east St. Louis Kansas state line
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


Fort Reno in El Reno, Oklahoma, built 1874. Fort reno oklahoma 1891.jpg
Fort Reno in El Reno, Oklahoma, built 1874.

US 66 in Oklahoma is home to many National Register of Historic Places sites connected in some way with the historic highway.

Fort Reno served as a US military post from 1874 (long before Oklahoma attained statehood) through World War II. [20] The Chandler Armory, built under the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression, served as home of the 45th Infantry Division of the Oklahoma National Guard during World War II and continued in service until replaced by a modern building in 1971. It was restored in 2007 as Chandler's Route 66 information site and convention hall. [21]

Miami's Coleman Theatre, established 1929. [22] has long entertained visitors with everything from live music to cinema. The restored native folk art collection of Ed Galloway's Totem Pole Park in Foyil dates from 1937. [23]

Arcadia's Round Barn has served as a de facto community hall since 1898. [24] The distinctive large dome of the Beckham County Courthouse has stood over downtown Sayre since 1911. [25] McLain Rogers Park, constructed as a Clinton city park as part of a Great Depression Federal Emergency Relief Administration, the Civil Works Administration, and the Works Progress Administration joint project, includes playgrounds, tennis and volleyball courts, miniature golf, picnic areas, a baseball field and a bandstand. [26]

Various Oklahoma road segments [27] are of historical importance, including the 11th Street Arkansas River Bridge in Tulsa, [28] the Lake Overholser Bridge in Oklahoma City [29] and the Bridge #18 at Rock Creek (which has been restored and is open) in Sapulpa. [30]

Restaurants, stores and motels

Rock Cafe in Stroud, Oklahoma. Rock Cafe Oklahoma.jpg
Rock Café in Stroud, Oklahoma.

The 1939 sandstone Rock Café [31] contains a large collection of both local memorabilia and souvenirs from Pixar's research of US 66 in the area for the animated film Cars. Proprietor Dawn Welch is the model on which Sally Carrera, the Radiator Springs hotelier who fights to rebuild and restore the town, is based.

A Milk Bottle Grocery occupies a tiny corner of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma near the Gold Dome, its small building overshadowed by a huge milk bottle constructed as an advertisement on the store's roof. [32]

A 66-foot-tall neon roadside sign in the shape of a soda pop bottle marks Pops restaurant in Arcadia. Pops is a modern attraction situated near the Arcadia round barn. [33]

The Chelsea Motel in Chelsea [34] and West Winds Motel in Erick, [35] once lured many weary travellers from US 66 but lost their clientele when the road was bypassed. Both are still extant but have been converted to other uses; they are no longer open to the public.

Filling stations

Lucille Hamons operated the Provine Service Station near Hydro, Oklahoma from 1941 until her death in 2000, earning the title "Mother of the Mother Road" for her widely reputed generosity to travellers during hard economic times. [36] After the freeway bypassed the site, the Interstate highway passed directly in front of old Route 66 and the Hamons' Court but was separated by a fence and provided no easy access to the site as the only off-ramps were in Hydro and Weatherford.

Other historic stations which remain on US 66 in Oklahoma include Avant's Cities Service Station and Jackson Conoco Service Station in El Reno, Oklahoma, [37] a Marathon Station in Miami, [38] the Seaba Station in Warwick, [39] the Threatt Filling Station in Luther, [40] the Vickery Phillips 66 Station in Tulsa [41] and the Y Service Station and Café in Clinton. [42]

Museums and Monuments

The National Route 66 Museum in Elk City, Oklahoma is operated by the Elk City Chamber of Commerce. It includes history and displays about all eight states through which Route 66 runs, from Illinois to California [43] . The Route 66 museum is part of the larger Old Town Museum Complex which showcases pioneer life in western Oklahoma.

The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton was built on land donated by the late Walter S. Mason Jr., a retired country veterinarian who once served as president of the Best Western hotel chain. It is designed to display the iconic ideas, images, and myths of the Mother Road. [44]

Tulsa, Oklahoma has The Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza, located next to the east entrance of the historic 11th Street Bridge. The bridge was one of the large motivating factors in building the Route through Tulsa, rather than having to build another bridge over the Arkansas. [45] The Plaza contains a giant sculpture weighing 20,000 pounds (9,100 kg) and costing $1.178 million [46] called "East Meets West" of the Avery family riding west in a Model T Ford meeting an eastbound horse-drawn carriage. [47] In 2020, Avery Plaza Southwest is scheduled to open, at the west end of the bridge, and should include replicas of three neon signs from Tulsa-area Route 66 motels from the era, being the Will Rogers Motor Court. Tulsa Auto Court, and the Oil Capital Motel. [48] Other future plans for that site include a Route 66 Interpretive Center. [49] Tulsa has also installed "Route 66 Rising," a 70' by 30' sculpture on the road's eastern approach to town at East Admiral Place and Mingo Road. [50] A granite marker on Southwest Boulevard between W. 23rd and W. 24th Streets dedicated to Route 66 as the Will Rogers Highway features an image of namesake Will Rogers, and information on the route from Michael Wallis, author of Route 66: The Mother Road. [51]

Just west of Tulsa in Sapulpa is the Heart of Route 66 Auto Museum which opened in August 2016 in an Armory built in 1948. It features the world's tallest replica of an antique visible gas pump, being 66 feet in height. [52] The globe was placed on top and lights turned on July 20, 2017.

The Afton Station Packard Museum is a former filling station restored as a privately owned museum, offering souvenirs and Route 66 information.

A Memorial Museum to Will Rogers, the highway’s namesake, is located in Claremore, Oklahoma, while his Birthplace Ranch is maintained in Oologah, Oklahoma. [53]

Related Research Articles

U.S. Route 66 Former US Highway between Chicago and Los Angeles

U.S. Route 66, also known as the Will Rogers Highway, the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, was one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System. US 66 was established on November 11, 1926, with road signs erected the following year. The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in the United States, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending in Santa Monica in Los Angeles County, California, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km). It was recognized in popular culture by both the hit song "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" and the Route 66 television show in the 1960s. In John Steinbeck's classic American novel, The Grapes of Wrath (1939), the road, "Highway 66", was turned into a powerful symbol of escape and loss.

Interstate 44 Interstate mostly in Oklahoma and Missouri

Interstate 44 (I-44) is a major Interstate Highway in the central United States. Although it is nominally an east-west road as it is even-numbered, it follows a more southwest-northeast alignment. Its western terminus is in Wichita Falls, Texas at a concurrency with U.S. Route 277 (US 277), US 281, and U.S. Route 287 in Texas; its eastern terminus is at I-70 in St. Louis, Missouri. I-44 is one of five interstates built to bypass U.S. Route 66; this highway covers the section between Oklahoma City and St. Louis.

U.S. Route 75 highway in the United States

U.S. Route 75 is a major north–south U.S. Highway that extends 1,239 miles (1,994 km) in the central United States. The highway's northern terminus is in Noyes, Minnesota, at the Canada–US border, where it once continued as Manitoba Highway 75 on the other side of the now-closed border crossing. Its southern terminus is at Interstate 30 and Interstate 45 in Dallas, where it is known as North Central Expressway.

U.S. Highway 175 (US 175) is an east-west United States highway completely within the state of Texas. It comes very close to meeting its "parent" route, US 75, but decommissioning and rerouting in downtown Dallas, Texas brings it a couple of miles short. Before the decommissioning of US 75 south of downtown Dallas in favor of Interstate 45, US 175 met its "parent" US 75. US 175's western terminus is in Dallas, Texas at Interstate 45. The highway's eastern terminus is in Jacksonville, Texas at an intersection with US 69.

U.S. Highway 266 (US-266) is an east–west United States highway. It is only 43 miles (69 km) long, and lies entirely within the state of Oklahoma. The highway does not meet the former route of its parent, U.S. Highway 66, and is closely paralleled by Interstate 40, which replaced US-266 as the major east–west highway east of Oklahoma City during the 1960s.

U.S. Route 169 highway in the United States

U.S. Route 169 currently runs for 966 miles (1,555 km) from the city of Virginia, Minnesota to Tulsa, Oklahoma at Memorial Drive.

Oklahoma State Highway 97 highway in Oklahoma

State Highway 97 is a 19.86-mile (31.96 km) state highway, maintained by the U.S. state of Oklahoma. It connects two towns in the northeast part of the state: Sapulpa and Sand Springs. Several communities of West Tulsa are along the road between these two towns, including Pretty Water, Allen, and Prattville.

Oklahoma State Highway 66 highway in Oklahoma

State Highway 66 is a 192.7-mile (310.1 km) state highway in the U.S. state of Oklahoma, beginning at U.S. Highway 81 in El Reno and ending at U.S. Highway 60 near White Oak. The highway was designated in 1985 as a replacement for the decommissioned US-66. Although most of the highway follows Historic Route 66, the highway follows US-66's final alignment, joining Interstate 44 through Tulsa and Oklahoma City, while older versions of the route follow various city streets through both cities.

Oklahoma State Highway 137 highway in Oklahoma

State Highway 137 (SH-137) is a 6.31-mile (10.15 km) highway in Ottawa County, Oklahoma. It is a two-lane highway beginning at State Highway 10 east of Miami and ends at U.S. Highway 60 in Twin Bridges State Park on the north side of the Grand Lake o' the Cherokees. It has no lettered spur routes.

U.S. Route 66, the historic east–west US highway between Chicago, Illinois and Santa Monica, California, passed through one brief segment in the southeastern corner of Kansas. It entered the state south of Baxter Springs and continued north until it crossed the Brush Creek, from where it turned east and left the state in Galena. After the decertification of the highway in 1985, this road segment was numbered as US-69 (alternate) from Quapaw, Oklahoma north to Riverton, Kansas and as K-66 from Riverton east to Route 66 in Missouri.

Oklahoma State Highway 33 highway in Oklahoma

Oklahoma's State Highway 33 is a major highway that traverses most of the state, and at one time traversed the entire state. Its general orientation is west to east. All mileages listed herein are from the western terminus of the highway at the Texas state line.

U.S. Route 77 in Oklahoma highway in Oklahoma

In Oklahoma, U.S. Highway 77 runs north–south, paralleling Interstate 35, connecting Texas to Kansas and running for 267.21 miles (430.03 km) through the central part of the state. It passes through many major cities, including Ardmore, Oklahoma City and its suburbs, Guthrie, and Ponca City. It has four lettered spur routes.

U.S. Route 13 in Pennsylvania highway in Pennsylvania

U.S. Route 13 is a U.S. highway running from Fayetteville, North Carolina north to Morrisville, Pennsylvania. The route runs for 49.33 mi (79.39 km) through the Philadelphia metropolitan area in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The route enters the state from Delaware in Marcus Hook, Delaware County. It continues in a northeasterly direction through Delaware County, passing through the city of Chester before heading through suburban areas along Chester Pike to Darby. US 13 enters Philadelphia on Baltimore Avenue and runs through West Philadelphia to University City, where it turns north along several city streets before heading east across the Schuylkill River along Girard Avenue. The route turns north and heads to North Philadelphia, where it runs northeast along Hunting Park Avenue. US 13 becomes concurrent with US 1 on Roosevelt Boulevard, continuing into Northeast Philadelphia. US 13 splits southeast on one-way streets before heading northeast out of the city on Frankford Avenue. The route continues into Bucks County as Bristol Pike, heading northeast to Bristol, where it turns into a divided highway. US 13 becomes a freeway in Tullytown and continues north to its terminus at US 1 near Morrisville. US 13 roughly parallels Interstate 95 (I-95) through its course in Pennsylvania.

Interstate 40 (I-40) is an Interstate Highway in Oklahoma that runs 331 miles (533 km) across the state from Texas to Arkansas. West of Oklahoma City, it parallels and replaces the old Route 66, and east of Oklahoma City, it parallels US-62, 266, and 64.

There have been 22 special routes of U.S. Route 66.

U.S. Route 59 in Oklahoma highway in Oklahoma

U.S. Highway 59 (US-59) heads along the eastern portion of the state of Oklahoma. US-59's 216.47-mile (348.37 km) route through Oklahoma takes it through the mountainous terrain of the eastern Oklahoma Ouachitas and Ozarks. US-59 serves several lakes and towns through Oklahoma's Green Country, including Grand Lake, a major recreation center. The route enters the state from Arkansas near Fogel, Arkansas, and ends at the Kansas state line south of Chetopa, Kansas.

U.S. Route 36 in Colorado highway in Colorado

U.S. Highway 36 is a major east–west route in the U.S. state of Colorado, extending from Rocky Mountain National Park to the Kansas state line.

U.S. Route 60 in Oklahoma highway in Oklahoma

U.S. Route 60 (US-60) is a transcontinental U.S. highway extending from near Brenda, Arizona to Virginia Beach, Virginia on the Atlantic Ocean. Along the way, 352.39 miles (567.12 km) of the route lies within the state of Oklahoma. The highway crosses into the state from Texas west of Arnett and serves many towns and cities in the northern part of the state, including Arnett, Seiling, Fairview, Enid, Ponca City, Pawhuska, Bartlesville, and Vinita. US-60 exits Oklahoma near Seneca, Missouri. In Oklahoma, US-60 has three business routes, serving Tonkawa, Ponca City, and Seneca. The first 60.2 miles (96.9 km) of the route, from the Texas line to Seiling, is also designated as State Highway 51 (SH-51).

U.S. 75 Alternate is a 30.15-mile (48.52 km) highway near Tulsa. The southern terminus is at U.S. Highway 75 and SH-16 east of Beggs. The northern terminus is signed at State Highway 66 and State Highway 97 in Sapulpa. However, the highway continues unsigned along SH-66, ending at the north terminus of the Turner Turnpike, where SH-66 merges onto the free portion of I-44. It runs parallel to US-75 for its entire length.

Interstate business routes are roads connecting a central or commercial district of a city or town with an Interstate bypass. These roads typically follow along local streets often along a former U.S. route or state highway that had been replaced by an Interstate. Interstate business route reassurance markers are signed as either loops or spurs using a green shield shaped and numbered like the shield of the parent Interstate highway.


  1. Google Maps driving directions:
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Oklahoma's Memorial Highways & Bridges: Historic Route 66, including maps from Jim Ross, Oklahoma Route 66, 2001
  3. Staff. "Map of the Ozark Trails". Drive the Old Spanish Trail. Retrieved October 9, 2014.
  4. State of Oklahoma, Preliminary Designation of the State Highway System, approved August 28, 1924
  5. Rand McNally Auto Road Atlas, 1926, accessed via the Broer Map Library
  6. Oklahoma State Highway System 1927, Progress Map as of November 1, 1927
  7. Oklahoma State Highway Commission, Official State Highway Map of Oklahoma, February 1934
  8. Oklahoma Department of Transportation, Chronological History of US Highway 69 Alternate
  9. Oklahoma Department of Highways, The State of Oklahoma, 1916: this map shows the original main road, mostly along section lines, though it is occasionally off by a mile from what other sources indicate.
  10. 1 2 Oklahoma State Highway Commission, Official Map of the State Highways of Oklahoma (back side), January 1, 1929
  11. Oklahoma State Highway Commission, Official Highway Map (back side), July 1, 1931
  12. Oklahoma State Highway Commission, Official State Highway Map of Oklahoma (back side), 1935
  13. Oklahoma State Highway Commission, Oklahoma (back side), 1953
  14. Oklahoma State Highway Commission, Oklahoma (front side), 1956
  15. Oklahoma State Highway Commission, Oklahoma 1979 Map (front side)
  16. Oklahoma State Highway Commission, Official State Highway Map (back side), August 1933
  17. Federal Highway Administration, National Bridge Inventory database, 2006
  18. Oklahoma State Highway Commission, Oklahoma 1974 Map (back side)
  19. "US 66 in Oklahoma". Google Maps.
  20. "Fort Reno". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  21. "Chandler Armory". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  22. "Coleman Theatre-Route 66: A Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary". Nps.gov. April 18, 1929. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  23. "Ed Galloway's Totem Pole Park". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  24. "Arcadia Round Barn". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  25. "Beckham County Courthouse". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  26. "McLain Rogers Park". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  27. "Oklahoma Road Segments". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  28. "11th Street Arkansas River Bridge". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  29. "Lake Overholser Bridge". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  30. "Bridge #18 at Rock Creek". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  31. "Rock Cafe". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  32. "Milk Bottle Grocery". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  33. "Pops landmark" . Retrieved June 6, 2012.
  34. "Chelsea Motel". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  35. "West Winds Motel". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  36. "Provine Service Station-Route 66: A Discover Our Shared Heritage Travel Itinerary". National Park Service. August 18, 2000. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  37. "Avant's and Jackson Service Stations". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  38. "Miami Marathon Oil Company Service Station". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  39. "Seaba Station". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  40. "Threatt Filling Station". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  41. "Vickery Phillips 66 Station". National Park Service. Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  42. "Y Service Station and Café". National Park Service . Retrieved May 10, 2012.
  43. "National Route 66 & Transportation Museum". TravelOK.com. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  44. "Route 66 Museum". Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  45. ""It's a big part of our history: City should resurrect 11th Street bridge over Arkansas River, preservationists say". Kevin Canfield, Tulsa World, January 30, 2019. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  46. "Sculpture dedicated to Cyrus Avery, the 'Father of Route 66'" Archived 2015-07-14 at the Wayback Machine , KJRH. November 9, 2012. Accessed July 6, 2015.
  47. Barber, Brian (May 18, 2008), "Cyrus Avery plaza's construction nearly finished", Tulsa World. Accessed July 6, 2015.
  48. ""It's a big part of our history: City should resurrect 11th Street bridge over Arkansas River, preservationists say". Kevin Canfield, Tulsa World, January 30, 2019. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  49. "Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza, Tulsa, Oklahoma". DrivingRoute66.com. Retrieved August 2, 2018.
  50. John Klein, “Landmark Rises on Route 66,” Tulsa World, November 27, 2018.
  51. Per the granite marker at the site.
  52. John Klein, “Site Worth Seeing,” Tulsa World, August 21, 2018.
  53. "Will Rogers Memorial Museums" . Retrieved January 10, 2019.

Further reading

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