Federal Program That Preserves Route 66 To Sunset

By Laurel Morales
Published: Friday, March 22, 2019 - 3:53pm
Updated: Monday, March 25, 2019 - 10:50am

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Wigwam Motel in Holbrook
Library of Congress
Funds from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program were used to stabilize the wigwams at the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook, Arizona.

Just a few weeks remain of a federal program that's helped restore the historic Route 66 in eight states including Arizona.

Two decades ago, Congress passed legislation to create the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program. Lawmakers renewed the program in 2009. Now it's unclear whether they will continue the project. At stake are millions of dollars in grants aimed at reviving old tourist spots in struggling towns.

"These grant funds have been very important for providing key seed money in these communities to invest in these important historic properties ... and bring them back to life as vital parts of the community memory and community history and contribute to the economy today," said Kaisa Barthuli, who manages the program for the National Park Service.

The cost-share grants helped finance projects like the Rialto Theater in Winslow and the Wigwam Motel in Holbrook.

Built in 1926, the Mother Road stretched from Chicago to Santa Monica and served Dustbowl refugees to families seeking adventure west.

Route 66 was decommissioned in 1985.

The preservation program is accepting last grant applications until April 12.

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