1926 not only saw the birth of Route 66, but of Highway 99 as
well. Although 66 was to become the 'movie star' of the 1926 highway
family, 99 had just as an important role in the growth and development of the
west coast. From the Canadian border to the Mexican, highway 99 became
literally the backbone of north-south travel up and down the western states.
It is ironic then, that the very development that this road helped spur would
eventually lead to the demand for Interstate 5 that would cause its demise.
Like 66, Highway 99 was originally a hodge-podge collection of
existing roads that were
brought together into the new highway network. For
example, in many locales in the Northwest, it is called by the familiar moniker
of the Pacific highway (In Washington, it overlaid not only the
Pacific highway, but parts of the Evergreen and Pioneer highways as well).
Further south in California, it was the Valley and Golden State routes around Sacramento while
between Los Angeles and Bakersfield, the dreaded Ridge Route terrified truckers
and families alike!
Regardless of the name, wherever old 99 went,
gas stations, cafes and motels followed to service the empty, the hungry, and
the weary. What a sight that must have been! Each cafe or motel
trying to outdo its neighbor down the street. From giant fiberglass
statues to flashy neon, no gimmick was too outrageous to try at least once!
Although unique roadside architecture is now being overtaken by an overwhelming sense
of sameness, thankfully there are some examples of vintage 99 left.
I am trying to capture some of that
'uniqueness' of 99 while it still remains. For example, I dallied too
long, and missed the opportunity to photograph the Twin Tepees Supper Club (was Power's Pancake Palace in the
60's but may date from the 30's) which resided right
alongside Green Lake in Seattle. It featured a restaurant area
anchored at each end with a tepee reminiscent of the Wigwam Motels. It was
still standing when I first saw it, but was razed in the summer of 2001. Only
the sign remains as of this writing, and I'm sure that too, will soon disappear.
I have not had the opportunity to travel
the highways entire length, but I have had the opportunity to see quite a bit of
Washington State while working at Boeing aircraft in Seattle.
Therefore, at this point, I can only post a smattering of pics from a few
isolated areas in Oregon and California in addition to a few great postcards, but please send me a 99 shot of your own.
With your permission, I'll post them here! I hope you enjoy.