What do you think about the Mother Road?
In my spare time (or when I should be doing laundry or selling ads), I’ve been looking up Route 66 groups on the internet – the travel groups, the history groups and the associations. My interest is to see whether Luther is represented. I also want to see if we can wave our hands to let these sites know that Luther is on the Mother Road, and we have things to do and see for travelers needing a stop between that blue whale in Catoosa and the Round Barn in Arcadia.
Guess what I’ve found? Not a lot of love for Luther. It was encouraging to see the Boundary at 66 and Indian Meridian linked here and there, but nothing else so far. The Boundary has great barbecue! But the RVS, motorcycles, bicyclists, hitchhikers, corvettes, muscle cars and even the family of four in the minivan is missing out on Luther.
Remember this little video from a few weeks ago? It was one of the Luther Register’s most liked and viewed videos ever.
Within the last year, we’ve had a half-dozen new businesses join existing Luther storefronts like Rock-n-Vapes to offer a chance to get out of the vehicle (or off the bike) and experience what our town has to offer.
In my research, I got excited because I saw a reference to Congress considering a bill to celebrate Route 66’s centennial birthday. Some more digging led to the text of the bill introduced last January by an Illinois Congressman (and signed by OK Rep. Frank Lucas). Guess when the centennial celebration will be? 2026!
Congress plans ahead? Who knew? Here are highlights of the bill, aptly named HR 66.
Congress makes the following findings:
(1) Route 66 was the Nation’s first all-paved highway under the U.S. Highway System connecting the Midwest to California and has played a major role in the history of the United States.
(2) Route 66 was the symbol of opportunity to hundreds of thousands of people seeking escape from the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, serving as a “road to opportunity” in the West and providing employment during the Great Depression, as thousands were put to work on road crews to pave the road.
(3) Route 66 was invaluable in transporting troops, equipment, and supplies across the country to the West, where the government established multiple industries and armed force bases during World War II. Upon the conclusion of the war in 1945, Route 66 was a key route taken by thousands of troops as they returned home.
(4) Route 66 symbolized the Nation’s positive outlook during the postwar economic recovery in the 1950s and 1960s, serving as an icon of free-spirited independence and linking people across the United States. During this period, the tourist industry along Route 66 grew tremendously, giving rise to countless tourist courts, motels, service stations, garages, and diners.
(5) Since June 27, 1985, when Route 66 was decommissioned as a Federal highway, the popularity and mythical stature of Route 66 has grown domestically and internationally, as the road has experienced a rebirth of interest and support.
(6) The year 2026 will be the centennial anniversary of Route 66, and a commission should be established to study and recommend to Congress activities that are fitting and proper to celebrate that anniversary in a manner that appropriately honors America’s Mother Road.
The text goes on to say there should be some shindigs and commemoration and the like nine years down the road. A bunch of governors will get to appoint persons to the 66 Centennial Commission. Oklahoma gets to appoint one person to this commission. Watch for that!
But until then, we’ve got to let the Mother Road travelers know about #lutherlocal, and that we are not just a drive-by or drive-thru town. From The Boundary, Chicken Shack, DJ’s, Josephines and 116, we have unique independent restaurants, plus some fun shopping. We have Sonic too!
Why is this a deal? Because Luther needs it – increased traffic means our businesses do better, and they pay more sales taxes, and more sales taxes means the Town improves its services to you, its residents. #winwin