Google Celebrates a Milestone in the History of Route 66 and Springfield, Missouri


SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – You might notice a Route 66 theme if you Google this weekend. The search engine celebrates an important date in the history of Route 66.

On this date, 96 years ago, the name “US 66” was first proposed for the cross-country route. Historians say Springfield, Missouri is recognized as the “birthplace of Route 66” based on the activities and events that took place that day.

Route66News.com cites research by Thomas Peters of Missouri State University that offers some insight into this date. Based on the research, on April 30, 1926, a telegram was sent from the Colonial Hotel in Springfield to federal officials in Washington DC, saying they would accept “66” as the number for a new highway.

Historians say the telegram was the first recorded reference to the number “66” as the highway’s name. Springfield contractor John Woodruff and Tulsa contractor Cyrus Avery are credited for their contributions to sending the telegram to federal officials.

In November 1926, the United States Highway System put Route 66 into service as the first fully paved U.S. highway. The route connected local and state roads from Chicago to Los Angeles and included a path in Springfield. While Route 66 was decommissioned in 1985, some cities retain sections of it for travelers.

The latest Google Doodle released on Friday is a video about Bobby Troup’s classic music track “Route 66.” It celebrates the cultural significance of one of America’s first national highways and how it became a symbol of a changing nation.

A commission is working to recognize the Route 66 Centennial in 2026. Former President Donald Trump signed a bill in December 2020 to create the Route 66 Centennial Commission.

A 15-person commission will plan activities to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Route 66 in 2026. The commission is made up of representatives from each of the eight Route 66 states, including Missouri. Members could recommend the production of various written materials, films and documentaries and educational programs to commemorate the history of Route 66.

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