CALIFORNIA CLASSICS: U.S. 99 AND U.S. 101
Many books have been written tracing the course of iconic Route 66 across America’s heartland, but few pages have been dedicated to the “Main Street of California,” which connected towns all up and down the West Coast as the automotive era eclipsed the golden age of rail travel. Highway 99: The History of California’s Main Street is designed to be the most comprehensive book on the highway’s history in print. Similar in tone and approach to Fresno Growing Up, it comprises two sections: the first, longer portion is organized according to topic and includes chapters focusing on various aspects of the road’s development and history. The second is a tour of the old highway, from Calexico at the Mexican border all the way up to Yreka, with a brief look at each of the communities along the way.
Highway 99 is written for highway hunter searching for pieces of the road’s history as well as for readers who enjoy tales of what happened the route known as the Golden State Highway. There’s the story of the Richfield Beacon gas stations, an ambitious attempt to create a network that would not only serve motorists at regular intervals but would also light the way for airline pilots flying up and down the Pacific coast at night. There’s a look at roadside refreshments, served up at places like the Mammoth and Giant Orange stands, Pollard’s Chicken Kitchen in Stockton and Livingston’s Blueberry Hill Café. Among them: a place called Tip’s where James Dean reportedly ate his last meal on the day of his fatal crash.
Readers will learn about the ghost of Griffith Park and the man who started the Hollywood movie scene, who built a zoo alongside the old highway that almost became Disneyland forty years before Disneyland opened its gates. They’ll also find out about the woman who took matters into her own hands to create the West Coast’s first center stripe.
Highway 101 was built on the trail pioneered by the Spanish friars and marked by mission bells on the roadside. Illustrated throughout with historic photographs, Highway 101: The History of El Camino Real tells the picturesque story of this great highway and the restaurants, motels, gas stations, and roadside attractions that made it memorable to generations of travelers.
From Disneyland to the historic Madonna Inn to the Avenue of the Giants, Highway 101 catalogs the great landmarks along the road, plus the fascinating personalities, from Dorothea Lange to Jelly Roll Morton to Cecil B. DeMille, whose lives intersected with the history of the route.
A colorful history of Americana, commerce, travel, and fun, Highway 101 captures the magic of the open road.
Highway 99 is available on Amazon.
Highway 101 is available for preorder on Amazon.
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