♫”Well it goes from St. Louis, down to Missouri…”♫

What better way to celebrate the upcoming 96th anniversary of Route 66 than with a cool new license plate for your road car?  And since St. Louis is the largest city along Route 66 between Chicago and Los Angeles, this is a perfect time to sign up for a license plate commemorating the town’s beloved icon, the Gateway Arch.

On November 11, 1926, Route 66 was officially inaugurated as one of the nation’s original numbered highways.  It wound through small towns, around larger cities, and through undeveloped rural landscapes as it meandered from the Midwest to southern California.  The Mother Road eventually spanned 2,448 miles, though much of it was unpaved in its early days. 

The two-lane highway served as a primary route for people migrating westward during the Depression and Dust Bowl years.  In the 1940s it was an important supply route for soldiers and military equipment during World War II.  And in subsequent decades it became a cultural touchstone popularized in song and film.  But with the advent of the federal highway system and four-lane interstates, travelers bypassed numerous sections of Route 66 in favor of speedier journeys.  U.S. 66 was finally decommissioned as a federal highway in 1984 although various portions of the road have been restored and placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Credit: Explore St. Louis

Today the enduring popularity of the Route 66 legend continues to lure tourists – especially foreign travelers – seeking a taste of Americana from another era.  Numerous Route 66 associations offer maps that highlight roadside attractions and markers along the original route, including those in the St. Louis area.

Whether you plan to celebrate the Mother Road’s anniversary by driving to some of the route’s nostalgic sites or you just want to cruise around your neighborhood in style, show off your pride in our renowned St. Louis icon with an Arch license plate (Missouri car owners only).  When you sign up for a plate on JNPA’s website, your tax-deductible donation will help support education programs at Gateway Arch National Park.  And you can order an Arch license plate at any time, regardless of your Missouri license plate expiration date.

So sign up today.  Soon your car will be the envy of your fellow drivers!

License a Piece of History

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be one of the first people to own an automobile? Did you know that in order to drive this new and exciting creation, that you would need to make your own license plate?! The modern-day license plate has had quite a history since then, and on the 111th anniversary of the very first Missouri license plate, JNPA has a way for you to make history with your own license plate!

Way back in 1907 Missouri car owners had to register their cars and trucks for $2.00 per year. If the vehicle was to be operated at night, two lighted lamps were required, and the registration number was to be painted on the lamps.  Cars back then were registered by fuel types: gasoline, electric, or steam. License plates were handmade out of tin and leather.

It was 111 years ago this month, in March of 1911, that the first state-issued license plates were distributed in Missouri. They featured unpainted numbers embossed on a yellow background. In 1949, the state began adding year tabs to plates, although they were made of metal and affixed through slots in the license plate. For a brief period between 1967-1979, Missouri actually issued a brand new license plate to registered vehicles every single year!

License plates have come a long way since then.  But in addition to going with the standard state plates, Missourians now have another option – one that honors our world-famous Gateway Arch.  When you order a custom Gateway Arch license plate for your car, you’ll be showing your fellow drivers that you’re proud of our state and our iconic Arch.  Your tax-deductible contribution to JNPA helps support vital education programs at Gateway Arch National Park, including living history demonstrations, exhibits, and teacher workshops.

You can order Arch license plates at any time, regardless of when your current Missouri plates expire.  To get the process started, visit archplates.jnpa.com. Then you can start cruising around town in style!