Route 66 is more than just a road—it’s a representation of Arizona’s history and its future. The Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona is committed to the preservation of the mother road and all the memories that come along with it. In keeping with its mission, the association made a gift of $50,000 to the Northern Arizona University Foundation to establish an endowment that will help to preserve, protect and promote Arizona’s Route 66 history.
“This gift affords us the opportunity to more robustly support access and long-term preservation to the history of Route 66 in Arizona,” said Peter Runge, head of NAU’s Special Collections and Archives.
Cline Library’s Special Collections and Archives (SCA) staff will catalog the Historic Route 66 Association of Arizona collection as well as the Angel Delgadillo collection, among the 10 other donated collections. The endowment also will support Cline Library’s activities related to the acquisition, access and programming of Route 66 history in the state.
“NAU is excited to partner with the Historic Route 66 Association to advance our shared goals of preserving and promoting the history of the longest remaining uninterrupted stretch of Route 66 in the country,” President Rita Cheng said.
The materials from several collections have now been digitized and made available in the SCA digital archives website, including the Sean Evans Collection, Fronske Collection, the Charlie Hoffman Collection and the Route 66 Car Club Collections—sparking attention far and wide.
“We have experienced significant global interest in these Route 66 collections and regularly receive visitors from around the world, including members of the Canadian Route 66 Association and the Route 66 Arizona France,” Runge said.
Route 66’s impression has established connections between the past and present. It will be remembered and admired for years to come through the access of its historical records.
“The historic highway’s impact to NAU is significant and its preservation by Cline Library furthers NAU’s commitment to connecting to the world to our vibrant community,” Runge said.
“The Historic Route 66 Association’s investment contributes to the collective strength of the NAU Foundation,” said Rickey N. McCurry, CEO of the NAU Foundation. “I look forward to seeing the impact of this endowment grow on April 23—NAU Giving Day. The organization has committed to sponsor a match.”
Those who are interested in learning more about the history of Route 66 can view the materials available in Cline Library including photographs, oral histories, letters, correspondence, business records and ephemera.