Route 66 Crossroads, a new nonprofit organization based in Kingman, Arizona, will focus on the highway’s 2026 centennial among its goals to boost tourism and economic opportunities for communities along the Mother Road.
Route 66 Crossroads, a federally recognized nonprofit that formed March 1, stated in a news release last week:
The organization will be using the highways centennial in 2026 as a focal point but the emphasis will be placed on long term goals; educate and empower all Route 66 communities through opportunities for preservation, promotional, interpretation and cultural history that result in economic development as well as community revitalization.
It stated the organization wishes to “(foster) awareness of these opportunities through the creation of community educational initiatives.”
The officers of the group are:
- Diana Caldon, president, owner of Diana’s Cellar Door in Kingman
- Diana Ambrosie, vice president, general manager of Hualapai Lodge and Grand Canyon West call center in Peach Springs
- Bilel Kaabeche, secretary/treasurer, accountant for Discount Signs in Kingman
- Jim Hinckley, CEO, author and creator of Jim Hinckley’s America
Route 66 Crossroads can be contacted through Caldon at (928) 753-3885 or [email protected]
I asked Hinckley in an email whether Route 66 Crossroads essentially operated as a consulting firm. He replied:
In part. However, the goals are broader in scope. There is a need to foster greater awareness about the popularity of Route 66 and how taping into that interest, and harnessing tourism in general, can contribute to economic development and historic district revitalization. Assistance with the building of partnerships withing the community, cataloging assets, and the development of community educational programs that foster greater awareness are also goals. As an example, Mohave Community College in Kingman will be providing two new community education classes this year. One is on the history of the railroad, National Old Trails Road, and Route 66 in the area. The second is on hospitality and tourism. What are the differences between the domestic and international Route 66 market? How can Eco tourism be linked to Route 66?
I asked whether the group would charge fees:
Yes, there will be fees for services but as envisioned grants, endowments, and sponsors would subsidize programs. There is full awareness that many small communities, and a few large ones, are in need of programs such as these but they have very limited budgets.
I asked for examples of what Route 66 Crossroads might do for a community:
First, develop a network to coordinate community projects, event organization, etc. As an example, Diana Caldon, president of this new nonprofit hosts the Kingman Promotional Initiative once a month. In a recent meeting the chamber of commerce director provided updates including announcement that the chamber was relocating to downtown Kingman. The organization working to restore the historic State Theater provided updates on renovations and fundraising. Representatives from Kingman Main Street and other organizations were also in attendance. Invitations are sent to city representatives as well as organizations.
The classes at the college were born of these meetings. An informational kiosk at the corner of Third Street and Andy Devine Avenue that has been abandoned for at least a year is now being renovated by Kingman Main Street with assistance from Diana Caldon and the Soroptimist. The weekly Facebook live programs that I host was given a sharper focus resultant of guests met at these meetings. Cooperative partnerships were created to work with the Kingman Route 66 Association in the hosting of receptions for groups.
Efforts to take advantage of the Route 66 centennial have increased markedly in recent weeks. The city of Lincoln, Illinois, last month considered a resolution to create a Lincoln Route 66 Centennial Commission. The Wayside Liquor and Service Station in Villa Ridge, Missouri, recently added a full deli in anticipation of more tourism as the centennial approaches. The Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona stated it was planning a centennial celebration in 2026.
The U.S. House of Representatives a few weeks ago advanced the Route 66 Centennial Commission Act, which awaits action by the Senate. The measure requires the the Secretary of Transportation to “prepare a plan on the preservation needs of Route 66.”
(Image of Route 66 in California by Meins Photography via Flickr)