Oklahoma Route 66 Centennial Commission
Agendas will be posted on this page twenty-four hours before the meeting. Unless otherwise indicated, meetings will be held at the Oklahoma History Center, 800 Nazih Zuhdi Drive, Oklahoma City, 73105.
Tuesday, February 23, 1:30 p.m.–via Zoom teleconference and in-person at the Oklahoma History Center
Tuesday, May 18, 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, August 24, 1:30 p.m.
Tuesday, November 9, 1:30 p.m.
The Oklahoma Route 66 Centennial Commission was created in 2019. The purpose of the Oklahoma Route 66 Centennial Commission Act is described in 69 O.S.§4020.2.
Route 66 is one of the original highways within the US Highway System. Officially, the numerical designation 66 was assigned to the Chicago-to-Los Angeles route on November 11, 1926. From the outset, public road planners intended U.S. 66 to connect the main streets of rural and urban communities along its course for the most practical of reasons; most small towns had no prior access to a major national thoroughfare. This was certainly true in Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s stretch of Route 66 runs from Miami through Tulsa and Oklahoma City to Erick, passing through cities and towns of all sizes and vast expanses of rural landscape, before entering Texas and continuing on its way to Santa Monica, California. The Oklahoma Route 66 Centennial Commission is established to plan, coordinate and implement programs and special events to celebrate the historic highway’s centennial in 2026 with the support of the Oklahoma Historical Society.
The centennial is an opportunity to celebrate the important history of Route 66 in Oklahoma through commemorative, educational and community events, including programs and exhibits about the history of how local communities grew and changed with construction of the highway; the development of a modern transportation system; the cultural impact of Route 66 both within the United States and internationally; the portrayal of Route 66 in music, artwork and folklore; and how we maintain the mystique and appeal of Route 66 for future generations.
The study, preservation and maintenance of Route-66-related resources has been a public/private partnership in Oklahoma for decades. Government agencies, private organizations and individual citizens have played critical roles in these efforts, and the Oklahoma Route 66 Centennial Commission shall seek input from these partners and the general public as it develops plans for the celebration and encourages their participation.
The significance of the Oklahoma stretch of Route 66 is demonstrated through its status as both a state and a National Scenic Byway and as a segment of the Route 66 National Historic Trail (legislation for NHT designation is pending in the US Congress). Dozens of Oklahoma properties are related to Route 66, such as roadbed segments, bridges, commercial buildings, service stations and tourist attractions, and are listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The significance of the highway is further recognized through the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s selection of the entire length of the highway as one of its National Treasures.