From its opening in 1928 – an assembly of existing roads and trails – through its decertification as a highway in 1985, Route 66 represented American travel like no other road. From the Windy City to the City of Angeles, it was the freedom of the open road. But after it was replaced by the new interstate and left to history, citizen groups formed to protect the still passable portions of the highway and preserve that history for future generations. This is a look at what is along the Mother Road.

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The nothing to boom to bust cycle that mining towns in the western United States went through in the late 19th and early 20th century is nothing unique. Some went through the cycle faster than others but few can match the speed and spectacular cycle that was Rhyolite, NV. The community went from nothing to the third largest community in Nevada and back to nothing in under 20 years and the ruins left behind are spectacular both for the area and for the time.

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It was where the copper ore was but it really was in the middle of nowhere. When they first found it, there was no railroad in the area, no town, nothing. But in just a dozen years there was a town big enough for a car dealer and a thriving lumber yard. Then there was a train that connected it to the outside world. But just over 20 years later- after a war and the Great Depression- there were few people left and then even they left…

 

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Pearce, Courtland and Gleeson, all towns in southeast Arizona, came into being after the discovery of gold, silver or copper. All three went through the nothing to boom then bust cycle. Courtland and Gleeson ceased to exist after the bust while Pearce managed to survive to the present day. This book tells their collective story and what was left behind after the mining played out. Each community had it’s unique character and each contributes to the history of the region.

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It was years after the ‘coming soon’ sign went up that the construction actually started. But once it started, it seemed to take on a life of its own. Steel frames and block walls filled the area. The desert landscape was forever changed by the construction- open desert, home to all manner of critters, was replaced with a man-made home to retail. What was really important was not the change but the changing.

 

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