Last Friday we left Flagstaff and Northern Arizona University, and were off to Kingman, Arizona to pick up a new Route 66 collection from the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona. The collection was stored in the Powerhouse in Kingman, and reflects the early history of the association (founded in 1987). Included are meeting minutes from the late 1980s and early 1990s; all of the association’s various member newsletters and magazines; and a full run of the association’s annual Fun Run activities as reflected in their participant’s programs, posters, license plates and dash plaques. Also in the collection are years of scrapbooks highlighting the association’s many activities along 66 in Arizona, and photograph albums of events across the years. There is a small collection of correspondence, some of note included letters between the association’s Jerry Richards and performer Bobby Troup of “(Get Your Kicks) on Route 66” fame.
The collection naturally ties in with some of the material in the Angel Delgadillo Collection that Special Collections and Archives began to receive from Angel and his family back in November 2016, specifically the material pertaining to the road and the founding of the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona. The collection also resembles in some ways the structure and content the Route 66 Car Club of Flagstaff Collection in that there are scrapbooks and newsletter material reflecting the interests and activities of the groups- and of course, the allure of Route 66 and the automobile. One of the unique aspects of this collection however, is that it also contains a vertical file of Route 66-related topics and the research files of Dr. Vince Salmon who helped create a scholarly understanding of the importance of Route 66 in the post-decommissioning era, and synthesized the importance of the Kingman-Golden Shores alignments of 66.
Most importantly, the collection reflects the actions and ideas of the very first Route 66-related organization to form after the last bypass occurred Williams, AZ., and Route 66 being decommissioned in 1984-85. In some ways, the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona became the model for the many Route 66 Associations in the U.S. and abroad to follow and emulate. Included in the collection are some publications and correspondence and information from the Canadian Route 66 Association, the Czech Route 66 Association, New Mexico Route 66 Association among others.
Historians of the road; Route 66 enthusiasts; car enthusiasts; preservationists; local historians along with many others will find this collection interesting and important. The material present in this collection really is a critical foundation to understanding the rebirth of interest in Route 66 and to what the road means to the cities the road passes through in northern Arizona, and to all of the travelers from Arizona (and in fact, from all over the world) who seek 66 out today. It also demonstrates the power that a relatively small group of people were able to exert to keep Route 66 both on the maps, but more significantly in the minds and hearts of people world-over. The Association has greatly added to the potential interest in and scholarship of the road by choosing to deposit it’s collection at NAU.
The collection filled 19 boxes at the time of pick-up and is now undergoing a more thorough inventory in preparation for processing and the creation of a finding aid. It may be a little while before the collection is ready for it’s first researcher, but along with Angel’s collection, it won’t be long before they will be available via our reading room, or online.
Below are some links you may wish to visit to sample some of the other material SCA has already ingested and processed regarding Route 66 and made available online through the Cline Library’s Digital Archives:
Special Collections’ “Route 66 in Arizona: Don’t Forget Winona” exhibit