JIM'S BIO: The first speaker for the 9th annual Miles of Possibility Route 66 Conference at the historic Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville, Illinois, scheduled for October 31 to November 3, 2024, has been confirmed. Author, humorist, and historian Jim Hinckley of Jim Hinckley’s America will make a presentation about the marketing and promotion that transformed Route 66 from a highway into an American icon.
In this program Hinckley will trace the evolution of the highways marketing from establishment of the U.S. Highway 66 Association in 1927 to the recent European Route 66 festivals. It is a story of innovative marketing strategies, cultural shifts, and visionaries that made the Main Street of America into the most famous highway in the world.
Hinckley is the author of 22 books including The Route 66 Encyclopedia, Murder and Mayhem on The Main Street of America: Tales From Bloody 66, and Ghost Towns of Route 66. He has shared the Route 66 story at conferences and festivals in the United States and in Europe.
JOE'S BIO: Joe Sonderman is a St. Louis area radio personality and traffic reporter who has been writing books on Route 66 for 15 years. Since that first work, he has been collecting Route 66 postcards and photographs, some never published before, along with new research on the paths Route 66 took through the area to come up with an entirely new look at Route 66 St. Louis Style .
JOE'S PRESENTATION: Joe's presentation will be based on his new book for Arcadia Publishing, Route 66 St. Louis Style, including discussing St. Louis' multiple alignments. For Route 66 to become the most famous highway in history, it had to pass through the "Gateway to the West." St. Louis is the largest city between Chicago and Los Angeles, and "St. Louee" comes first on the list of those that Nat King Cole and many other artists sang out on "(Get Your Kicks) on Route 66." The highway took a maze of different routes, including crossing the greatest of rivers on a bridge with a bend right in the middle. The roadside was lined with flashing neon, classic diners and gas stations where attendants provided speedy service. Also, there were classic amusement parks, drive-in theaters, a man selling frozen custard from a building adorned with wooden icicles, and a motel with a racy but beloved reputation.