One For The Oklahoma History Books

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By Max Nichols

From 1892 to 1895, a young man named Will Rogers traveled a 40-mile cattle trail from his family ranch near Oologah to Willie Halsell College, a Methodist boarding school near Vinita. That trail became part of U.S. Highway 66 in 1926.

Rogers played a major role in publicizing the “Mother Road” with his syndicated newspaper columns on the 1928 Bunion Derby and on Model-T Ford drivers racing from Claremore to Beverly Hills, California, wrote Joseph H. Carter in Route 66 Magazine.

A congressional resolution to name Route 66 in honor of Will Rogers was considered in 1935, but was not finalized. The highway was unofficially dubbed the Will Rogers Highway by the U.S. Highway 66 Association in 1952.


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