Brooding…

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On the farm there were multiple “out buildings” such as the barn, the corn crib, the tool shed, the chicken coop…and the brooder house, or “brood house”. That is what my photo today shows you…the brooder house on the farm of my childhood. 

This little building was used for the baby chicks. At times we might have a few hundred of the little fuzzy things running around in there. There was corn mash for them to eat and water to drink and there were heat lamps that hung from the ceiling to keep the little birds from freezing in the really cold weather. Sadly, sometimes we’d find baby chicks that had fallen into the water and drowned, or that died from some other cause. That always made me sad. 

Why weren’t they just put in the regular chicken coop? Good question! It’s because the big chickens could sometimes peck the little babies to death so it was for the protection of the chicks until they got big enough that they would be safe. 

The lower part of the door is now hanging but the memories are still fresh.

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1985, after 59 years, the iconic Route 66 entered the realm of history when the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials decertifies the road and votes to remove all its highway signs.

Measuring some 2,200 miles in its heyday, Route 66 stretched from Chicago to Santa Monica, CA, passing through eight states. According to a New York Times article about its decertification, most of Route 66 followed a path through the wilderness forged in 1857 by U.S. Navy Lieutenant Edward Beale at the head of a caravan of camels. Over the years, wagon trains and cattlemen eventually made way for trucks and passenger automobiles.

The idea of building a highway along this route surfaced in Oklahoma in the mid-1920s as a way to link the state to cities like Chicago and Los Angeles. Highway Commissioner Cyrus S. Avery touted it as a way of diverting traffic from Kansas City, Missouri, and Denver. In 1926, the highway earned its official designation as Route 66. The diagonal course of Route 66 linked hundreds of mostly rural communities to the cities along its route, allowing farmers to more easily transport grain and other types of produce for distribution. The highway was also a lifeline for the long-distance trucking industry, which by 1930 was competing with the railroad for dominance in the shipping market.

Route 66 was the scene of a mass westward migration during the 1930s, when more than 200,000 people traveled from the poverty-stricken Dust Bowl to California. John Steinbeck immortalized the highway, which he called the “Mother Road,” in his classic 1939 novel “The Grapes of Wrath.”

Beginning in the 1950s, the building of a massive system of interstate highways made older roads increasingly obsolete, and by 1970, modern four-lane highways had bypassed nearly all sections of Route 66. In October 1984, Interstate-40 bypassed the last original stretch of Route 66 at Williams, Arizona, and the following year the road was decertified. According to the National Historic Route 66 Federation, drivers can still use 85 percent of the road, and Route 66 has become a destination for tourists from all over the world.

Often called the “Main Street of America,” Route 66 became a pop culture mainstay over the years, inspiring its own song (written in 1947 by Bobby Troup, “Route 66″ was later recorded by artists as varied as Nat “King” Cole, Chuck Berry and the Rolling Stones) as well as a 1960s television series. More recently, the historic highway was featured prominently in the hit animated film “Cars” (2006).

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Juneau, Alaska, with over 3,000 square miles (192,000 acres) within its boundaries, has the largest area of any North American city. The North Slope Borough, at 88,000 square miles (5,632,000 acres), or slightly larger than Idaho, is the largest municipally governed entity in the world.

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