What is: Original Route 66, ghostly and abandoned Route 66 near Hext, OK.
What Was: Route 66 has been the path of migrants, dreamers, desperados, and an entire generation of vacationers discovering the way west. America’s Mother Road originally meandered more than 2,400 miles between Chicago and Los Angeles, including nearly 400 miles across Oklahoma. Route 66 through Oklahoma was also known as the Will Rodgers Highway, a tribute to stage, film and vaudeville actor, cowboy, humorist and social commentator of Cherokee descent.
Originally Hext grew as the railroad passed through on the way to Texas. A ranch and farm community, it only had a post office for a year in the early 1900s. As Route 66 came through it had a smattering of buildings and a gas station. Hext also featured a fairly large brick school that was built by the Work Progress Administration in the 1930’s.
Route 66 was never just one road. It was continually realigned through communities and upgraded from 2 to 4 lanes and from cement to asphalt. Route 66 came through Hext in 1929 after being upgraded in a realignment. This section of Route 66 was paved with asphalt over the original 1929 concrete base. In 1973, Route 66 through Hext became the last section of Route 66 to lose its designation to I-40.