The Santa Monica Pier was dedicated Tuesday morning as the official western terminus of Route 66 during a ceremony with a replica of an “End of the Trail” sign that once graced the nearby intersection of Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard for years.
A caravan of vintage cars started from the Santa Monica and Lincoln — near the route’s previous official terminus at Lincoln and Olympia — and continued west to the pier before the ceremony started.
From the news release:
The official designation of the Santa Monica Pier as the West Coast’s end to Route 66 during the Pier’s centennial year was developed in partnership with the Santa Monica Convention and Visitors Bureau, Route 66 Alliance, 66 to Cali Inc. and the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation to acknowledge a commonly held public perception that the pier was the end of the historic roadway, although never officially recognized.
“This Veterans Day marks the 83rd anniversary of Route 66, and we are proud to on this day unite the nation once again from Illinois to California by commemorating the national link the ‘Main Street of America’ delivered so many years ago,” said Jim Conkle, chair of the Route 66 Alliance, “We believe that unveiling this sign at the iconic Santa Monica Pier today will resonate deeply with those across the country who are passionate about the roadway’s enduring legacy.”
The sign’s unveiling was a tribute to a historic and famous sign that read “End of the Trail” that once stood overlooking the Santa Monica Pier during the 1930s. Although long ago disappeared, the sign played a role in creating the national public opinion that the end of Route 66 was at the Santa Monica Pier, even though the official terminus was under debate throughout the road’s history.
Dan Rice, owner of the 66 to Cali apparel shack at the pier, deserves a lot of the credit for getting this project rolling. Incredibly enough, the pier had never acknowledged its link to Route 66 before.
More coverage by KABC-TV of Los Angeles, including video, can be seen here.
UPDATE: Here’s another story by NBC Los Angeles.
UPDATE3: Here’s a story by the Contra Costa (Calif.) Times.
Here’s a photo gallery by the Los Angeles Daily News.
Here’s the Santa Monica Pier’s Flickr feed from the ceremony.
UPDATE4: Here’s a New York Times story.
The Argonaut in Marina del Rey, Calif., has a story.
UPDATE5: Here’s a very good analysis and forward-looking piece by The Independent in London.
UPDATE6: Another report from the Belfast Telegraph.
A dissenting view from Bill Bauer, writing an op-ed piece to the Santa Monica Daily Press.
UPDATE7: Joel Martin Levy responds to Bauer’s missive in the Santa Monica Daily Press. In short, he says: “Chill, Bill.”
UPDATE8: Another interesting response to Bauer called “Why So Serious?”