The San Gabriel Mountains of southern California look down on the City of Cucamonga. A famous road, Route 66, winds its way through the center of that same City. In the downtown area of the City of Rancho Cucamonga, Route 66 has become a street, a street lined with many commercial establishments.
Now in 2006 the City's Redevelopment Agency has proposed a way to encourage more business investment in the commercialized section of Route 66. That section, called Foothill Boulevard, has become a central thoroughfare within the City of Cucamonga. The Agency would like to add some more color to that Boulevard.
The Agency has announced a special Mural Program for the Foothill Boulevard. In order to make the Boulevard more "pedestrian friendly," the Agency has agreed to finance any person, business or organization that wants to put a mural along the Boulevard. The Agency hopes that an increase in foot traffic could then lead to an increase in business for the shop owners on that stretch of Route 66.
The Agency also sees the murals as a way to help residents and tourists in the City of Rancho Cucamonga "connect with" the history of the area around the City. If tourists like the murals, then the City might manage to recapture some of the prosperity that it got from tourists right after World War II.
Following World War II, many returning servicemen spent time traveling around in California and other areas of the southwest. During those post-war years, the residents of southern California noticed a lot of uniformed "tourists." Some of the uniformed tourists stopped in the City of Rancho Cucamonga.
One of those tourists might have been a former Marine named Bobby Troup. Prior to the War, Troup had run his fingers over piano keys for the famous Tommy Dorsey Band. Later he had traveled over Route 66, and he had then written the much repeated tune "Get Your Kicks on Route 66."
Interestingly, that tune does not mention the City of Rancho Cucamonga. It is therefore difficult to know whether or not Troup ever visited that City. One thing that's certain is this: His tune gave greater appeal to a road that had linked Chicago and Los Angeles. Troup's song called attention to a road that had been assigned a federal route number back in 1926.
Now twenty years after the release of that hit song, the City of Rancho Cucamonga has come-up with a way to attract tourists to at least one small section of Route 66. The City's Redevelopment Agency hopes that the murals along the Foothill Boulevard can restore the spirit, the kindness and the friendliness of the old Route 66.
At the same time, the Agency anticipates a greater interest in at least one town along Route 66. The Agency envisions many tourists strolling along before the planned murals, and then spending money in the Boulevard shops. Then who knows what might happen next? Then maybe some musicians might perform before one or more of those Foothill Boulevard murals. Maybe a group of musicians might even decide to play the tune "Get Your Kicks on Route 66."