Firm selected for study of Route 66 in California
A much-anticipated study of Route 66 in California is nearer to getting underway now that a firm has been selected to oversee the effort.
The California Preservation Foundation said Thursday that it has selected Mead & Hunt, an engineering and architecture consulting firm with offices in Sacramento and elsewhere, to assemble existing studies and do new research to produce the first definitive document on the storied highway's history from its early days until it was decertified in the 1980s.
"We are eager to begin this exciting project and look forward to working with all the communities the route passes through," said Jennifer Gates, the foundation's field services director.
The National Park Service's Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program is partnering on the project. The resulting document, expected to be finished early next year, will be used to support nominations of Route 66 properties in California to the National Register, the nation's official list of historic places worthy of preservation.
Route 66 -- which John Steinbeck famously dubbed "The Mother Road" in "The Grapes of Wrath" -- ran from Chicago to Los Angeles (and later Santa Monica), passing through eight states on a diagonal course and connecting hundreds of rural communities.
To thousands of migrants escaping the Dust Bowl, Route 66 represented a road to opportunity in the Golden State. California is the last of the eight states to prepare a history for the National Register, the foundation said.
Meetings will begin in mid-June along Route 66 to kick off the project and enlist individuals and city, state and federal organizations to help, the foundation said.
For more information, visit the foundation's website at www.californiapreservation.org.
-- Martha Groves