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Road Trippin' - Springfield

Route 66 runs through historic Downtown Springfield.

On April 30, 1926 in Springfield, Missouri, officials proposed the name of a new highway from Chicago to Los Angeles.

It would be called Route 66.

â??During the depression, a lot of people were trying to move to other places and find fame and fortune,â?? said John Sellars, Executive Director of the History Museum on the Square. â??So they took Route 66 as a good, southern, all-weather route to get to the west coast.â??

Even today, the city of Springfield is still known as the birthplace of Route 66. People from all over the world travel to Springfield to catch a glimpse of American history.

â??Theyâ??re looking for the real America,â?? said Steve Ross of the Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau. â??They donâ??t feel like they see that in the big cities. They feel that on Route 66 theyâ??re really experiencing what America really is â?? the America they see in old movies and the kind of people they expect to meetâ?| or maybe donâ??t expect to meet.â??

One of the most historic events that took place on Route 66 in Springfield was the nationâ??s first recorded shootout. In July 1865, Wild Bill Hickok and Davis Tutt duked it out in Park Central Square.

â??Tutt took Hickokâ??s watch,â?? said Sellars. â??Tutt sent word back that he was going to wear it on the squareâ?| one thing led to another, bang bang.â??

Route 66 was the â??Main Street of Americaâ?? for almost 60 years. President Dwight D. Eisenhower brought the idea of interstate highways to the United States from his time in Germany.

â??They bypassed all the towns,â?? said Sellars. â??It was big, four-lane super speed highways. So Route 66 finally closed up in 1985.â??

Although itâ??s not used in the same way, every mile of Route 66 is full of American history.

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