|Photo credit: Larry D. Fenwick|
We met Brent Glass at the recent Cather Conference in Red Cloud, Nebraska, where he was one of the speakers. Naturally, I was eager to read his book!
First, I was pleased by how many of the sites he recommends are places we have visited. Perhaps that should not have been a surprise, since we both enjoy learning about history and plan many of our trips for that purpose.
Second, I was tempted to add more of his recommendations to our bucket list of future trips, as well as being affirmed in my hopes to visit places already on our list.
While considering the similarities of the economic issues of those two historic periods, reflect on some of the things we are hearing in the news of today. The ability of Will Rogers to use humor to address serious social issues remains as relevant today as it was during his lifetime, and the state of Oklahoma has recognized his ongoing contribution to the nation's dialogue by naming Route 66 "Will Rogers Highway."
Route 66 opened as a federal road in 1927, and Glass points out the significance of multistate roads in giving Americans greater independence and mobility. However, Route 66 also became the pathway to California taken by the Dust Bowl farmers migrating west. During the Steinbeck Retreat about which I have written in recent blogs, we spent a great deal of time discussing The Grapes of Wrath, from which Glass quotes: "...the people are in flight, and they come into 66 from the tributary side roads, from the wagon tracks and the rutted country roads."
At the end of the chapter, Glass suggests the following places to include in your visit in addition to The Will Rogers Birthplace Ranch, and the Museum in Claremore (www.willrogers.com): Trail of Tears National Historic Trail (www.nps.gov/trte), Gilcrease Museum (www.gilcrease.utulsa.edu), Woody Guthrie Center (www.woodyguthriecenter.org), Rogers County Historical Society (www.rchs1.org), and Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program (www.nps.gov/rt66).
This blog shares only one of Brent Glass's recommendations, but there are 49 more in his book!
(Remember, you can enlarge the images by clicking on them.)