The stock market crash of 1929 plunged the country into the Great Depression. The collapse of the national economy closed down mines, factories and industrial plants. Millions of workers became part of the ranks of the unemployed. In desperation, workers migrated West on Route 66 in search of new jobs. The destitute farmers loaded their families and belongings into their jalopies in search of opportunity. Often referred to as the “Mother Road,” Route 66 began in 1926. The road started in Chicago and ended in Santa Monica, California.
New Mexico’s Highway of Prosperity
For all of the human suffering found along the Historic Route 66 it was a silver lining for the state of New Mexico. The historic route actually passed right through the Santa Fe plaza. On the Mother Road people experienced the food, language, music, art, and architecture of Santa Fe as they traveled west. There’s a historic marker indicating the route’s location at the corner Water Street, one block off the Santa Fe plaza. By 1937 Santa Fe was bypassed for the city of Santa Rosa. The new route provided a more direct link through Albuquerque. Some of the New Mexico cities along Route 66 included: Santa Fe, Tucumcari, Santa Rosa, Clines Corners, Albuquerque and Gallup.