Route 66, arguably the most famous highway in American history, was formally designated today in 1926. Despite being officially decommissioned in 1985, the highway is a significant part of American history and remains a tourist attraction today. To celebrate the anniversary, Google created a Google Doodle for its homepage. The iconic white 66 shield is featured in the unique logo along with a video.
The supplementary video set to Bobby Troup’s “(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" retraces a journey along Route 66 from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California that isn’t set at a particular point in time but is primarily meant to convey the spirit of Route 66. Illustrations, animations, and paintings portray many landmarks along the highway’s length in each state.
The art is honestly impressive and creatively portrays various places and imagery associated with Route 66 across time succinctly within a 150-second video. The Chain of Rocks Bridge over the Mississippi into St. Louis, the Devil’s Elbow Bridge in Missouri, the Golden Driller in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Cadillac Range in Amarillo, Texas were all featured in the video. There are plenty of other places referenced that I didn’t mention.
In an in-house interview with Google, artist Matthew Cruiskshank “developed more than 100 paintings and sketches to create today’s animated video Doodle” over the course of a road trip along Route 66. When asked about what he wanted people to take away from his Doodle, Cruiskshank replied, “That life in the slow lane can be incredibly worthwhile from time to time!”
Admittedly, Route 66 is a bit overrated. It’s not that the iconic highway is unimportant. It’s just Route 66’s collective image as a 1950s vacation route has an outsized presence in America’s cultural history compared the Route 66’s role as a thoroughfare for migrants fleeing the Dust Bowl westward during the 1930s. Though, that’s a story for another day.