Route 66 in the News

Missouri Maps Misrepresent Route 66

2012-03-25 10:32:04

After going through Afton in northeast Oklahoma, Route 66 heads straight across the state line to Neosho, Mo., where it turns north toward Joplin without going through Kansas at all.

At least, that's the path the Mother Road apparently takes in some recently published maps, according to some interpretations.

Route 66 enthusiasts insist that the historic highway doesn't go that direction, and it never has.

"The error stretches across 60 miles of Oklahoma and Missouri," said Frank Gifford, a Route 66 photographer. "And the divergence is up to 25 miles."

The apparent mistake appears on Missouri maps in several versions of the Rand McNally 2012 Road Atlas, according to Gifford's blog at

The maps have a Route 66 shield in the wrong place, leaving the actual route unmarked.

Oklahoma and Kansas maps don't repeat the error. But Route 66 still goes unmarked for long stretches.

Travelers could easily become confused and take the wrong turn, Gifford said.

"The unmarked section in northeast Oklahoma is a separate but related problem," he said. "Together, they add to the already-strong case for National Historic Trail status for Route 66."

A loose coalition of preservationists and traveling enthusiasts are lobbying federal officials and Congress to approve the designation in time for the highway's 100th anniversary in 2026.

The designation would put Route 66 under the care of the National Park Service.

Advocates say it would improve road maintenance and ensure that the entire route is clearly marked, which in turn would boost tourism.

Route 66 travelers already spend more than $38 million a year, according to estimates from researchers at Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Other facts documented by the "Route 66 Economic Impact Study" include:

~Michael Overall,


See also:


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