Thursday, May 14, 2009

Inside the National Museum of American History - Part 2

I was more interested in the old car and truck on display until Gregg pointed down at my feet and I realized I was standing on a section of Route 66 which was in the "America on the Move" exhibition. A portion of pavement of the route was taken from Bridgeport, Oklahoma which was next to a restored car and truck of the type that would have been driven on the road in the 1930s.

Route 66 was commissioned in 1926 and fully paved by the 1930's. It ran from Chicago to Los Angeles, creating connections between hundreds of small towns and providing a trucking route through the Southwest. While not the first long-distance highway, or the most traveled, Route 66 gained fame beyond almost any other road. Dubbed the "Mother Road" by John Steinbeck in The Grapes of Wrath, Route 66 carried hundreds of thousands of Depression era migrants from the Midwest who went to California hoping for jobs and a better life.

This following is a great map that goes dark and old vintage post-cards light up along the route.
It is a really nice display.

This is a photo of James and Flossie Haggard taken in 1937.

In the 1930's drought and failing crop prices drove thousands of rural midwestern families to leave their farms and follow Route 66 to California and find work. James F. and Flossie Haggard left Oklahoma in 1935 after a fire destroyed their barn and its contents. The Haggards and their children, Lilian and James Lowell, made their home near Bakersfield, and James found work with the Santa Fe Railroad. Another son, Merle, was born in Bakersfield and began his singing career there. By the 1960s Merle Haggard was a country music legend.

These were amongst their belongings; a kerosine lamp which lit the Haggard's living room and dining room in Oklahoma. They carried it to their new home in California. A bowl which they used in Oklahoma and California, and a camera that belonged to Flossie Haggard who was an amateur photographer and took pictures of the family during the trip to California on Route 66.
The trunk was used to pack their belongings in.

Here's Gregg standing on the pavement lit up from a light shining down from the ceiling showing the Route 66 highway emblem.

Fishing Guy reminded me that there was a TV show about Route 66. You can find out about it here.


  1. That seems to be a museum that I would have loved to visit.

  2. The story of the Haggards fascinated me. These people had a lot of guts. When the going got tough, they found a way.

    Thanks for bringing American History to life with this post.

  3. This has all been very interesting Denise thanks, I have often wondered where Route 66 was.

  4. This is great Denise! I bet Mike was in heaven!!

  5. Denise: That is a road that became famous because of a TV show. Neat photos of the history. Did you get your kicks on route 66?

  6. thank you once visited a village home pages;) good continuation of the week!and beautiful photos!!

  7. Hello Denise!
    Fabulous pictures and this Museum is really wonderful!
    This road is very famous!

  8. The museums are so wonderful - isn't it great to live close enough to enjoy them often?

  9. Very cool post! I love the Route 66 video.

  10. Love it! Route 66 memorabilia is so great! Thanks for sharing the pics.

  11. Another post that I enjoyed completely. Thanks Denise.