Route 66 in Wheeler County, Texas, added to National Register of Historic Places

About 30 miles of Route 66 in Wheeler County, Texas, from the Oklahoma border to the Gray County line has been designated to the National Register of Historic Places.

The listing was effective Sept. 22, according to an email from the National Park Service.

The email states the historic designation covers the south outer road of Interstate 40 from the border of Beckham County, Oklahoma, to the Gray County line in Texas east of McLean.

The south outer road was an original alignment of Route 66 from 1926 to the 1970s. It became the eastbound section of four-lane Route 66 when the highway was expanded in the 1940s, according to Route 66 Atlas.

“The Illustrated Guidebook to the Mother Road” states:

Just west of Texola you cross into Texas from Oklahoma. The road along this stretch is old four lane, divided concrete Mother Nature is trying desperately to reclaim. A stop along here in the Summer can bring back memories when this road was a steady stream of cars, trucks and buses. In the huge trees alongside the road can be heard the sound of cicadas sending their dry, rasping message to the world. Toss a rock into a tree and they stop, but only briefly, then the serenade begins again. […]
The road rolls across the terrain offering vistas of fields, trees and cattle.

The book, long out of print, also noted the road has been repaired over the years as the surface changes between asphalt and concrete — the former when the concrete deteriorated to the point where it no longer could be patched.

West of Shamrock are trees in the median that are reminders of the staggered windbreaks described in Jack Rittenhouse’s “A Guide Book to Highway 66,” published in 1946.

(Image of Route 66 at the Oklahoma-Texas line by Jimmy Emerson, DVM, via Flickr)

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