Before the interstate highway system was developed, Route 66 was the safest, fastest way to cross the western half of the country. Starting in Chicago and ending Santa Monica, the "Main Street of America" came right though St. Louis, but not in the mostly straight lines we're accustomed to now. At various points in time, Route 66 traversed Watson Road, Manchester Road, the Martin Luther King Bridge and the Poplar Street Bridge. That shifting route helped spur the growth of cities and businesses along the way, as travelers stopped overnight at the Coral Court Motel or grabbed a bit to eat at the Parkmoor Restaurant. Route 66: Main Street Through St. Louis
, the new exhibition at the Missouri History Museum (Lindell Boulevard and DeBaliviere Avenue; 314-746-4599 or www.mohistory.org
), tells the story of the byway through roadside signs and gas pumps, historic vehicles, bus tours and photographs. Route 66 opens Saturday, June 25, and remains open through July 16, 2017. Admission is free.