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Route 66

Route 66 in Kansas, Cherokee CountyHistorian Richard Davies wrote, "…the automobile constituted a personalized urban mass transit system, allowing the owner to travel whenever or wherever he desired."

The Kansas Route 66, in use starting in 1926 was the first segment to be completely paved with concrete by 1929. The Kansas Route winds through 11 miles of hills in the Ozark Plateau in Southeast Kansas. Among the towns that the highway snakes through is: Galena, Baxter Springs and Riverton.

In 1935, the Kansas stretch of Route 66 was the site of a labor dispute between the United Mine Workers and the Eagle-Pitch Smelter which located northeast of Galena, processed lead, zinc and cadmium ores. Eagle-Pitch operated from 1878-2004 when it filed for bankruptcy.  

The Kansas Route 66 fell out of use when the Interstate Highway system went through Kansas, bypassing the road completely. In 1991 the Kansas House passed a bill that made Kansas Route 66 an historic highway.

Entry: Route 66

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2015

Date Modified: September 2015

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.