Missouri Route 66 Maps
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|Miles of US 66:||300|
Route 66 entered Missouri at St Louis and followed the path roughly described by today's Interstate 44, and passed out of the state in the southwest corner.
The crossing of the Mississippi River from Illinois into St Louis occurred at different points over the years, with the Chain-of-Rocks Bridge being probably the best-known. Closed to traffic for many years, the CoR is now a pedestrian leisure area.
Parts of U.S. 66 in Missouri utilized portions of the old Ozark Trail system of roadways and the infamous Cherokee Trail of Tears. A major tourist attraction, Meramec Caverns, is a short distance off Route 66 south of Stanton. There are still a few barns on old 66 which are painted with advertising copy for the caverns.
Below is a map with the path of U.S. 66 in Missouri highlighted. The map can also be viewed as a large (305K) PDF file for greater detail.
Below are some inset maps of Missouri cities from the Route 66 era.
St Louis & Vicinity
The map at right is dated 1957, and shows the greater St Louis area, including part of eastern Illinois. The map can be viewed in a detailed PDF format as well.
At that time, the primary route of 66 crossed into the central business district of St Louis from East St Louis, Illinois. It then, along with U.S 50, followed Gravois, Chippewa, and New Watson Road on its way toward Pacific. Meanwhile, there was a "bypass" 66 that skirted the city well to the north after crossing the river at the Chain of Rock Bridge. This bypass route then turned southward and passed through the community of Kirkwood before rejoining the city route for the westward push toward Pacific.
The map at right shows Springfield in 1957. At the time, Springfield also boasted two separate 66 alignments: primary and "city." This map can also be viewed in a detailed PDF format.
After entering the eastern city limits, primary 66 coninued westward on Kearney all the way through town, turning south outside the western city limit. Meanwhile, city 66 turned south on Glenstone immediately after entering the city limits, and later turned west on St Louis St/College St, where it was rejoined by the primary route west of town.
The map at right is from 1957, and shows the path of Route 66 through Joplin. U.S. 66 entered the city limits at the northeast corner heading due south on Range Line Road. It then turned west on Seventh and passed through the central business district.
The Route in Transition (1969)
The next few maps are taken from a Gulf Oil Company / Rand McNally publication dated 1969.
St Louis and Vicinity
The map at right clearly shows that by this time the interstate system was in an advanced state of development in the area.
Route 66, however, was still very much alive. Approaching St Louis from the east, U.S. 66 runs concurrently with Interstate 55/70 through southwestern Illinois. Shortly after crossing the Mississippi River, however, Route 66 leaves the interstate and continues its own way along its old Watson Rd corridor until rejoining interstate upon crossing the I-244 junction.
This map can be viewed in greater detail in the PDF version.
Although no inset is available, the map at right illustrates further the transition going on at this time in the U.S. highway system.
The interstate and pre-interstate systems are co-existing, with the same upgraded highway now bearing both the I-44 and the U.S. 66 designations.
At right is an inset map of Springfield as things stood in 1969. (This map, too, can be viewed in the PDF version for greater detail.)
This map shows that both I-44 and primary 66 bypassed the town of Springfield, skirting it to the north. Both the interstate and Route 66, however, had separate “business” routes which took them into the town itself—B.R. 44 and B.R. 66, respectively.
In the example below, one can see that Route 66 leaves Interstate 44 just east of Spencer, and continues through the towns of Albatross, Phelps, Plew, and Avilla en route to Carthage, just as it had been doing for decades. I-44, meanwhile, veers southwestward and avoids these towns by keeping several miles to the south, approaching Joplin more directly from the east (which, however, it also bypasses).