Design Drawings For Signs On Route 66 To Be Preserved

May 19, 2017

University of New Mexico associate professor of sculpture Ellen Babcock holds one of the neon design sketches she found among old business files belonging to Zeon Signs in Albuquerque, N.M. The sketches include designs for some of the most memorable neon signs along historic Route 66 in Albuquerque and elsewhere. They are now preserved at the university's Center for Southwest Research.
Credit AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan

Designs for signs that were advertising businesses along historic Route 66 have been found and preserved. Some of the route's history can be seen in a tiny corridor in Kansas.

Route 66 was one of the first highways in the U.S. It ran from east to west – Chicago to Santa Monica.

From 1926 until Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highway Act in 1956, the highway was a migratory path, especially during the Dust Bowl of the 1930s and much later as a touristy road to American sites for vacationers.

Along the road grew gas stations and restaurants and a motel that became popular.

Route 66 only passes through Kansas for 12 miles, but the corridor has Baxter Springs' Phillip 66 gas station – with its cottage style building and steeply sloping red roof -- the Brush Creek Marsh Arch Bridge, William's Store in Riverton and the Galena Viaduct.

Many of the design sketches for the highway's mostly neon signs will be preserved in Albuquerque.

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Aileen LeBlanc is news director at KMUW. Follow her on Twitter @Aileen_LeBlanc.

 

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