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Tulsa, Oklahoma is named official capital of Route 66: ‘Exciting day’

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America’s heartland is special — and now there’s a new reason to celebrate.

Tulsa, Oklahoma just secured the U.S. copyright as the official capital of the legendary Route 66, long-regarded as a central piece of the history of America’s Main Street. 

Tulsa can now officially lay claim to the title of Capital of Route 66. 

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The Tulsa Route 66 Commission, an official entity through the City of Tulsa, secured a copyright on the term “Capital of Route 66” — solidifying Tulsa’s significance in the history of the famous route, a media statement noted. 

This process spanned over two years and was fueled by extensive research and surveys.

Tulsa, Oklahoma route 66

The Tulsa Route 66 Commission, an official entity of the City of Tulsa, secured a copyright on the term “Capital of Route 66” — solidifying Tulsa’s significance in the history of the famous route.  (iStock)

The acclaimed final approval from the federal government happened in April. 

In 1926, the highway received its official designation as Route 66.  

“The Mother Road,” as it was referred to by John Steinbeck in his 1939 saga “The Grapes of Wrath,” was commissioned on Nov. 11, 1926. 

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It stretched 2,448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles, according to Route66roadtrip.com. 

“In our region, Tulsa has long been known as the Capital of Route 66,” said Josh Stout, chair of the Tulsa Route 66 commission. 

Tulsa, Oklahoma route 66

A black-and-white road sign for historic Route 66. Tulsa has been a positive incubator for Route 66 during its birth, the last century and now leading into the future.” (iStock)

“Now officially recognized, this will give our businesses and residents along Tulsa’s stretch of the most famous road in the world the proper recognition on a more national and even international scale,” said Stout to Fox News Digital. 

“As we build toward the 2026 centennial celebrations, our continued development of the authentic 66 tourism experience is in … overdrive,” he said.

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“Tulsa has been a positive incubator for Route 66 during its birth, the last century and now leading into the future.”

Tulsa boasts 28 miles of Route 66 within the city limits, bookended by Gateway Arches on the east and west. 

Other local dignitaries are just as proud. 

Tulsa, Oklahoma

The Tulsa skyline with a park, pond, and fountains in the foreground. (iStock)

“Tulsa and Route 66 are deeply connected with the Mother Road running through the heart of our city,” Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum said in a press statement. 

“Route 66 is an integral part of Tulsa’s identity, and we’ve long been known as the Capital of Route 66,” said Bynum. 

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“To have this official designation is an exciting day for Tulsa, our region and the state of Oklahoma.” 

Tulsa boasts 28 miles of Route 66 within the city limits, bookended by Gateway Arches on the east and west, the commission reported.  

Tulsa, Oklahoma

The downtown skyline of Tulsa, Oklahoma, at twilight. (iStock)

This official copyright will further highlight Tulsa’s prominence in the Route 66 story, solidifying its place as a city that shaped the road in a profound way, the group also noted.

On June 27, 1985, Route 66 came to an end after 59 years after the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials decertified the road, and voted to remove its highway signs, according to History.com.

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The history of Route 66 intersects Tulsa in many regards. 

Of note, the first U.S. 66 Highway Association, the original association that promoted Route 66, was founded in Tulsa. 

Route 66 brings in visitors to experience Americana on the Mother Road, as well as Mother Road Market, an expansive food hall. 

Tulsa’s stretch of Route 66 welcomes visitors to experience the history, charm and attractions of the city. 

Highway sign for route 66

A highway sign for Route 66 on the asphalt of the country road is shown.  (iStock)

“Tulsa is a vibrant, welcoming city connected to its history while looking toward the future,” Renee McKenney, senior vice president of tourism for the Tulsa Regional Chamber and president of Tulsa Regional Tourism, told Fox News Digital. 

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She noted that Route 66 brings in visitors to experience Americana on the Mother Road, as well as Mother Road Market, an expansive food hall

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“Other must-see spots include Black Wall Street in the Historic Greenwood District and T-Town’s notable music and entertainment icons, like the 100-year-old Cain’s Ballroom, The Church Studio, the Bob Dylan Center and Woody Guthrie Center archives, or the Outsiders House Museum,” McKenney said. 

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“No matter where visitors come from or what they’re seeking, they can find it in Tulsa.” 

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