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Lynn Sheffield Simmons: Route 66 filled with things to see in 90th year

Route 66 will be celebrating its 90th anniversary this year. Historically, Route 66 was part of the National Old Trails Road that stretches 3,096 miles across the United States from Baltimore to California.

The Ocean-to-Ocean Highway travels across 12 states. The origin of the highway described in the internet encyclopedia Wikipedia is that a National Old Trails Road association was created in 1912 to sponsor a transcontinental highway from the East Coast to the West Coast.

Judge J.M. Lowe of Jackson County, Missouri, was the association’s president and worked hard to get good roads in America until he died in 1926. An interesting note the encyclopedia gives about Lowe was that he did not drive an automobile and was quoted as saying, “I do not even own an automobile, and would not know what the dickens to do with it if I had one.”

Harry S. Truman, who later became president of the United States, was the association’s next president, and according to the encyclopedia, he worked as tirelessly as Lowe. Truman sometimes drove the National Old Trails Road from coast to coast and met with members of the association to discuss the improvements that needed to be made on their part of the highway.

One of Truman’s endeavors was working with the Daughters of the American Revolution to put “Madonna of the Trail” statues along the National Old Trails Road in 12 states that include Springfield, Ohio; Wheeling, West Virginia; Council Grove, Kansas; Lexington, Missouri; Lamar, Colorado; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Springerville, Arizona; Vandalia, Illinois; Richmond, Indiana; Beallsville, Pennsylvania; Upland, California; and Bethesda, Maryland.

Wikipedia gives the DAR description of the 10-foot-high statue as: “The ‘Madonna of the Trail’ is a pioneer clad in homespun, clasping her babe to her breast, with her young son clinging to her skirts. The face of the mother, strong in character, beauty and gentleness, is the face of a mother who realizes her responsibilities and trusts in God.”

Route 66 travel maps tracing the entire route from Illinois to California, along with describing the points of interest lining the highway with old restaurants, motels, trading posts, museums, and other unique attractions can be obtained from a number of websites on the internet.

Organizations

The Argyle Lions Club meets at noon on the first Tuesday of every month and at 6:30 p.m. on the third Tuesday of the month following a board meeting at 5:30 p.m. All three meetings are in the Community Room at Argyle Town Hall, 308 Denton St. For more information, contact Deborah Cottle via email at dcottle@temporah.com.

The Argyle Chamber of Commerce meets the third Tuesday of every month for breakfast from 7:30 to 9 a.m. at Lantana Golf Club, 800 Golf Club Drive. The chamber office is in Point Bank, 302 U.S. Highway 377. For more information, visit www.argylechamber.org or call 940-464-9990.

The Argyle Senior Center meets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday in the Community Room at Argyle Town Hall, 308 Denton St. with exercise beginning at 10 a.m. followed by card games at 11 a.m. The ASC has a monthly luncheon on the third Friday of every month at noon. Those attending are asked to bring a side dish. Anyone age 55 and older is welcome to attend. For more information, call Stella at 940-464-7438 or Karen at 940-464-0506.

Keep Argyle Beautiful meets the second Tuesday of every month at 5:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the Argyle Town Hall. Keep Argyle Beautiful preserves and enhances the town’s natural environment through educational and motivational programs, and special events. For more information, visit www.keepargylebeautiful.com or email Deborah Cottle at dcottle@temporah.com.

 

LYNN SHEFFIELD SIMMONS is the founder and past president of the North Texas Book Festival Inc. She is the author of 10 children’s books and two history books on Argyle. Her website is www.argylebooks.com. She can be reached at lynn@argylebooks.com.