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Route 66 Is Revitalizing More Than Kicks

"Siren call of the Mother Road and its special sense of place, personality, and time continues to lure legions of United States and international tourists."  
~Route 66 Economic Impact Study 6, 2011

 During the Great Depression, many people made their way along route 66 to assert their upward mobility by leaving the industry of the East, headed to new jobs in the West. The noun became a verb, and route 66 became the embodiment of an era and a demographic swing from smog to sun. Well before it was paved, in 1926, Route 66, was coined the Mainstreet of America, and the Mother Road. Who knew that the almost 2500 miles of road, neon marvel and Hollywood memories connecting Chicago to Los Angeles, would still captivate America today?

Related: Chicago's 1000 Unused Acres

The Beginning of the Road

The American archetype roadside scene was actually the country’s first transcontinental highway. When the efficiency of freeways bypassed the need for the once romantic route, the 66 was decommissioned and re-termed the Historic Route 66. I can only imagine how my father, his school mate, George Lucas, and the rest of route 66 generational friends, must have felt when a regular path of life was filed “historic.” What interests me even more, is the recent pull of the millennials to reach back to this 1930's & 1950's archetype. Back beyond what is familiar, to what they’ve only heard of. The millennials are a generation revered for their innovation of progress, and are now reaching into the memories of relatives, toward a historical frame of roller skating waitresses and parking lot weenie roasts. What is the pull of these two vastly different generations? There must be a symbiotic cause.

 

The Common Ground of Community Revitalization

The great depression created a darkness that also pushed communities to come out on the other side of desperation. Disposable income became known to a
smaller crowd, and revitalization was illuminated in the simple pleasures of working hard and playing harder. Those fleeing the Dust Bowl er of the 1930's, and making their way toward CA carved a pathway to a brighter future. As jobs were sought and found in California, merchants along Mother of Roads prospered as well. All in the wake of a depression. Similar to what millennials are fighting their way through now. community revitalizationLeave it to neon signs and bit of rock & roll, blaring through bad speakers, to remind us that success is not just based on your destination, but the joy among dusty detours that make up the collective ride.

The state of irrelevance once befallen the Main Street of America, in the wake of new freeways and air travel, is now a byway for revival. Its own revival. There is a debt of thanks to bestow a certain crowdfunding platform (Patch of Land), local & federal funding for improved roadways, historical landmark designations, and an influx of tourists seeking the wonders or yesteryear's American experience. They are fueling the revitalization of The Mother Road. There will be more than mystique revitalized on Route 66. The Flanking towns from Chicago to Arizona are recognizing the value of revitalizing communities along the way.

 

New Mexico's Stretch

Albuquerque has a long term plan for revitalizing the 15 mile portion this famous
pathway. From revitalizing flanking businesses and modernizing the romantic road's infrastructure, the local government is encouraging the private sector to take a vested interest. Hmmm...I hear an environment ripe for crowdffunded inspiration. They predict will result in a diversion from the freeway, and back onto the Mother Road that will re-energize neighboring businesses. Fiber optics, new public transport and other revitalizing efforts are planned, and geared toward encouraging travel through town, with a continued taste of nostalgia.

Oklahoma's Stretch

Route 66 Museum of Clinton, OK drew 35,000 visitors in 2009, four times the local populations. Even still, Route 66's mystique seems destined to survive more than just its most popular era. It could also very well become Tulsa's new development and cultural hot-spot. From Peoria to Utica, the benefits of one Tulsa visionary has taken the revitalization of Oklahoma's Route 66 to great lengths. Amy Addington Smith owns a re-purposed gas station, now "Soul City", a design studio, restaurant and music venue. Not only has Soul City created a draw of inspiration to the community as a whole, but it has provided a venue for individual artists and musicians to debut and gain regular exposure. 1621 East 11th Street has certainly kept the romance of Route 66 alive, and if visiting their website is any indication, it has even added a depth of life that may not have been there before. Watch the video for yet more inspirational changes that may occur, if 19.5 Million dollars is found.  Sounds like another project screaming out to be developed and crowdfunded.

Arizona's Route 66

From bustling junctions to ghost towns, The Mother Road has seen it all in Arizona too. While revitalization has lit a fire under the hot desert floor too, some charms will never die. In fact, if your road trip becomes long, pull off where the burros run free in Oatman, Arizona. Then, continue onto to some of the revitalized businesses, from:

  • microbreweries
  • gorge cruises and
  • old mining camp-tours to
  • white-water rafting in the Grand Canyon,

These hotspots lend more than nostalgia to those who happen by. community revitalizationRoute 66 is steeped in history. Arizona communities are benefiiting from the increased tourism, and local hope while revitalizing the Route 66. The most interesting view can be caught not just buy those motivated by nostalgia, but also by those on America's Main Street, looking ahead.  Offerings unfold at each corner, as old spaces are repurposed by new faces. It is inevitable that real estate crowdfunding firms will soon inject the power of a crowd into the funding efforts needed the draw collective investment rewards.

 

The End of One Road Is No Longer In Sight

Whether traveling by electric car, or old classic take your pick from the back of memories: From John Steinbeck's book "Grapes of Wrath" to Bobby Troup's song "Get Your Kicks on Route 66," this mother-road is steeped in a combination of romance and reality that is inspiring more than make-believe. There is no telling just how great of a revival will this become. I suppose that factor, too, depends on the size and character of the crowd it draws. Each State seems to have developed a vested and active interest in their stretch of route 66. I am anxious to see what role real estate crowdfunding plays in this nearly 2400+ miles expanse of community revitalization. Survival is beautiful, but surviving can be a long haul, and one that risks being underestimated when the process can feel like a road of potholes and lost direction. Yet, with a team, assuming ownership of each part, there is no limit to what could become of America's Main Street, and the community revitalization occurring in the wake of its revival. Whether through large group collaboration, or one visionary's dream, each project adds to the larger community revitalization. And each project could be efficiently brought to fruition through crowdfunding. Another example of the potential for the preservation of yesterday, being fueled by the methodical modernization of finance.

Extra Info: Route 66 Economic Impact Study, Synthesis of Findings

 

Want to help revitalize the Mainstreet of America? Take a look at one of Patch of Land's latest investment opportunities located on the historic Route 66.
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