Will Rogers Highway Dedication
Posted by: TravisGood
N 34° 00.850 W 118° 29.884
11S E 361674 N 3764738
Quick Description: The Will Rogers Highway dedication plaque is one of several western end-points to Route 66.
Location: California, United States
Date Posted: 3/10/2007 10:41:40 AM
Waymark Code: WM19YH
Over the years from 1926 to 1984, Route 66 had various termination points but for most of its existence it ended in Santa Monica. I've concluded that in Santa Monica there are three different end points: technical (where the road physically ended), ceremonial (where the Will Rogers Hwy dedication took place), and popular (where people talk about it ending).
The Will Rogers Highway dedication plaque is what I call the ceremonial terminus. In 1952 the Highway 66 Associations, Warner Brothers Studios, and the Ford Motor Company organized a marketing effort to draw attention to Route 66 and to the release of the movie "The Will Rogers Story". A caravan of celebrities drove from St. Louis to Santa Monica making stops along the way at each state line to perform dedication ceremonies. Each ceremony was commemorated with a plaque, the last of which was at the terminus of Route 66 which they chose to be where Santa Monica Boulevard comes to an end at Palisades Park, just above Santa Monica State Beach and the Pacific Ocean.
Sadly, as you can see in the picture above, the plaque currently isn't there to be seen. When I was looking for it recently, a police officer explained that a drunk college football player had crashed in to it killing himself and destroying the plaque. All that remains is the cement block on which it was mounted. Hopefully Santa Monica will restore it.
Though I didn't see it, I'm told that it read: "Will Rogers Highway, dedicated 1952 to Will Rogers, Humorist, World Traveler, Good Neighbor. This Main Street of America, Highway 66 was the first road he traveled in a career that led him straight to the hearts of his countrymen."