Route 66 in the News

Book Review: Norma M. Bolin Satisfies Even the Most Curious

2011-07-16 14:13:05

Norma Maret Bolin has created a monument. Her book, Route 66 St. Louis: From the Bridges to the Diamonds, could only be the result of a labor of love.

What was the character and importance of Route 66 in the St. Louis area? It’s all here in this book.

Casting a wide net, Ms. Bolin has painstakingly collected the oral histories of scores of individuals so that you and I don’t have to. This alone makes the book invaluable to the historian and the layperson alike. But there’s much, much more.

This massively comprehensive 470-page tome is chock-full of old and new black-&-white photos, vintage postcards and memorabilia, and—perhaps best of all—countless reproductions of period business and tourism advertisements.

The book’s title hints at its scope: U.S. 66’s entry into St. Louis from the east via the bridges that led into the city from the Mississippi River, all the way west to the old Diamonds Restaurant in its various forms. In between, Ms. Bolin takes care to point out that there was a series of official routes through the metro area, and each one is covered in turn—the “original” alignment, the “historic” alignment, and the “Chain of Rocks bypass” alignment.

For the 66 aficionado who esteems detail and completeness, Route 66 St. Louis: From the Bridges to the Diamonds emphatically answers the call. Ms. Bolin is to be congratulated.

Published by St. Louis Transitions,


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