The Autry Museum in Los Angeles recently uploaded a few more videos of interviews with longtime residents of Route 66. The museum is preparing for its “Route 66: The Road and the Romance” exhibit that starts June 8.
But there’s nothing particularly romantic about these clips. As a good museum should, these delve into the darker aspects of the Mother Road.
First, Angel Delgadillo, known as the Guardian Angel of 66, explains why Route 66 also was known as “Bloody 66.”
Then Dennis Casebier, former director of the Mojave Desert Heritage and Cultural Association, talks about those — especially unethical mechanics — who took advantage of vulnerable travelers.
Finally, Delbert Trew, founder of the Old Route 66 Association of Texas, said a study revealed travelers on Route 66 were notably poorer than the ones who traveled Route 83 in the Texas Panhandle.
A few may grouse at these videos that place Route 66 in a less-than-ideal light. However, these interview subjects were longtime eyewitnesses to the good and bad of Route 66. It’s commendable and proper the Autry Museum is examining the less-savory aspects of the Mother Road, in addition to its rosy nostalgia and recent renaissance.