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Route 66 News

Author begins work on Route 66 encyclopedia

Jim Hinckley, a Kingman, Ariz.-based author of several automotive and Route 66-related books, announced this week he is beginning work on a Route 66 encyclopedia and atlas. And he is soliciting help from the Route 66 community to help make the volume more complete.

In a news release, Hinckley said:

To ensure this work is historically correct, provides a comprehensive overview of Route 66, and is as current as possible, I am petitioning historic societies, museums, businesses, and Route 66 organizations for assistance in the form of suggestions for material to be included, contact information, historic information, and information pertaining to the acquisition of material to be used as illustrations.

General topics for inclusion:

1.) Community profile – a profile of each community on all alignments of Route 66.

2.) Biographies – concise biographical sketches of individuals that have played key roles in the roads history. Examples; Bob Waldmire, Cyrus Avery, Micahel Wallis, etc.

3.) Notable events that are directly associated with Route 66 or its predecessor auto trails such as the National Old Trails Highway or Ozark Trail. Examples; the Desert Classic automobile races 1908 – 1914, the Bunion Derby, etc.

4.) Predecessor highway history – the National Old Trails Highway, Ozark Trail, etc.

5.) Current businesses and their history – this category would be historic or new businesses such as Pops in Arcadia and Afton Station in Afton.

6.) Historic businesses now closed – examples for this category would include the Painted Desert Trading Post and Coral Court Motel.

7.) Route 66 entertainment – television shows and movies filmed on Route 66 or locations that were used in these films.

8.) Personal stories – short stories of personal experiences on Route 66 that will serve to illustrate its evolution.

My goal with this project is to chronicle the first 85 years of Route 66 history, to preserve it for future generations, and to further fuel the resurgent interest in the highway.

Those who wish to give information or offer to help Hinckley should e-mail jimhinckley(at)yahoo(dot)com.

Hinckley has written “Ghost Towns of the Southwest,” “Backroads of Arizona,” “Route 66 Backroads” and “The Big Book of Car Culture.” In the pipeline for this fall is “Ghost Towns of Route 66,” and he’s a contributor to the upcoming “Greetings from Route 66.”

The encyclopedia and atlas will be published by Voyageur Press. In a follow-up e-mail, Hinckley said the book is limited to 150,000 words and 2,000 illustrations, making it a sizable volume indeed. He has 18 months to turn in a manuscript, and the clock began ticking on June 1. So it won’t be in stores until 2012 at the earliest.

As for the atlas portion of the book, Hinckley wants it to be similar to the look of Stefan Joppich’s online Route 66 Atlas, and has enlisted his help.

Hinckley said he knows the book will be a huge undertaking, hence his plea to the Route 66 community for assistance.

I accepted the project for a number of reasons but topping the list would be an opportunity to provide a promotional resource for businesses along the highway as well as encourage others to create an Afton Station or Goffs museum. […]

I fully understand it will be impossible to document every aspect as a result of time constraints, size restrictions, and the changing face of the road as evidenced with the fire at the Riviera and the resurrection of the Wagon Wheel Motel. I am also aware of my limitations and that is one of the reasons for seeking assistance in regards to the acquisition of material. […]

For illustrations Joe Sonderman has graciously offered access to his post card collection. Likewise with Laurel Kane and Mike Ward. I will photograph the California section in October and if all goes as planned we will combine a photographic safari of the eastern section with a visit to Amarillo in June.

If Hinckley pulls this off (and there’s no reason to think he won’t), this exciting project may become a one-stop place for people wanting to know more about Route 66.

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