The Famous Route 66?? by M’Liss A Hinshaw

Route 6 and Letterman Rt. 6, you mean the famous Route 66? No, Rt 6! I had never heard of it until visiting Provincetown, Massachusetts, and came to the end of the road in Cape Cod overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The posted sign read Rt 6, 3,652 miles to the end of the route in Long Beach, California. Weeks later while standing in front of the Long Beach Performing Arts Center, I spotted the commerative plaque for Rt.6 and also learned David Letterman is woven into this route.
I started wondering why Rt 6 is not as well-known as Rt 66 and decided to do some research about this forgotten historical motorway. The official name for Rt. 6 is Grand Army of Republic Highway to honor the union soldiers from the civil war and years later it grew into a transcontinental route all the way to California. In the early 1920’s, the route was a two lane road connecting Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New York, which created transportation progress in New England. The Roosevelt Highway extension project extended the roadway through 14 northern states and ended in Long Beach, California. But, wait, why does other literature suggest it ends or depending how you look at it, begins in Bishop, California. In 1953 Rt. 6 was dedicated in Long Beach, California, as the ending of the highway.
Over the years, roads and bi-ways changed names and directions with expansions and developments. A new road came into Long Beach making the new official end of Rt 6 in Bishop. My curiosity about Rt. 6 revealed that in Pennsylvania the road follows farm lands, the Allegheny forest and the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania. Continuing on leads to the tip of Lake Erie along the shoreline and dropping down south for more roadside sightseeing. Auburn, Indiana, has the world famous Auburn, Cord and Duisenberg Automotive Museum with a national truck museum nearby and Amish Acres has old fashioned harvest day festivals. Rt 6 then parallels Interstate 80 and around Davenport, Iowa, joins I-80 and then branches off into small towns once again. Trainland USA in Colfax, Iowa, has Lionel 0 gauge trains representing the railroad expanding the USA. And the Nine Mile Prairie near Lincoln, Nebraska, is full of the largest tall grass and never mowed prairie. And here’s as bit of trivia, Wahoo, Nebraska, is famous for being the home office to David Letterman’s Top Ten list. Each day the previous Top Ten list can be read in the Wahoo Gazette, and that makes for a great read in this small town.
Meandering west through Evanston, Wyoming, is mostly a ghost town with three remaining coal producing limestone kilns sitting in a desolate field. Topping off the drive is Mule Days in Bishop, California, and home to my favorite Danish butter cookies at Schatt’s Bakery on highway 395. I may just grab a container of cookies and head east exploring these “hot spots” on America’s forgotten bi-way.