You can no longer get you kicks on Route 66, but Victorville remembers its colorful
past as part of the highway that for a half-century carried motorists from California to
While overlooked in Bobby Troup's song - which bounces from Barstow to San Bernardino
in its list of landmark cities along the way - Victorville has marked its place on the
A brown historic sign along the freeway directs history-minded motorists to take the
Palmdale Road exit to find old Route 66, known to local traffic as Seventh Street before
angling up D Street. Further signs on Seventh offer a reminder that this is the fabled
"Most of (Route 66), it's gone, paved over, whatever. Ours, it continues to be two
heavily traveled streets," said Old Town property owner Mark Ward.
For what it's worth, Ward said Victorville has the distinction of being one of only two
places where the route took a right-angle turn.
Local historian John Swisher said the highway's importance can't be overstated for its
role of bringing people - including Hollywood visitors - through Victorville. Likewise,
its demise in 1972, when it was replaced by Interstate 15, was "devastating" for
downtown gas stations and restaurants by removing thousands of potential customers, he
When Route 66 lovers celebrated the roadway's 66th birthday in 1992, driving what's
left of its Chicago-to-Santa Monica length, Victorville was a particularly welcoming stop,
recalled JoAnne Willis, vice president of the California Historic Route 66 Association.
"I was just really amazed," said Willis, who lives in Orange.
"City Hall of Victorville did a wonderful job of greeting the caravaners who had
come all the way from Chicago. Victorville had their own car show to meet the caravan,
they had ladies singing in red, white and blue dresses, we had cake and punch."
Willis said Victorville put up the historic signs without prompting, even before the
1990 legislation permitting them.
She's pleased that Old Town merchants hope to emphasize the 66 connection in their
"Victorville is obviously one of the towns that is proud of its position on Route
66," she said.
13891 Park Avenue
P.O. Box 1389
Victorville, CA 92393