Click to preview Route 66 Abandoned photo book


The decommissioning of Route 66 has had a negative impact on many parts along its path, in some cases, a devastating impact.

Mel Shaker and I set out to photographically document abandoned structures along the old route. The structures were abandoned sometime around the route's decommissioning in 1985.

While we thought we would see a fair number of such structures, nothing could have prepared us for the sheer quantity of them, nor for the devastating degrees of disrepair we would find. Likewise, we never imagined the open access we would have to these abandoned buildings.

We set 3 guiding principles for our visits throughout this journey. We walked onto the property only if a no trespassing sign was not posted. We walked into the buildings only if the doors were not locked. And, we would not move any object away from where we found it.

Factories, gas stations, auto repair facilities, restaurants and diners, stores, schools, homes, farms and even churches -- the decommissioning spared no type.

Every evening, after a day's shoot, we started our dinners by staring at each other in amazement. What happened to the lives of those impacted by the bypassing of the new Interstates? It was as if time stood still. Accounting records still stored in filing cabinets, records dating back decades. Desks, tables, chairs, calendars, cash registers and so much more, all still inside.

And tires. With very few exceptions, each structure had old tires in it. Odd.

Join us in this adventure of over 2,000 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles along the route known by many as The Mother Road – in our adventure of Route 66 Abandoned.

For additional photos of the journey, go to

Edward J Mance & Melissa Shaker
January 2, 2009
Palo Alto, California, USA


About the Author

Edward J Mance
ejmance Palo Alto, California, USA
Born in Canada, Edward Mance picked up his first camera at age 13. Like his closest friends, he started by shooting endless roles of black and white film, then spent hours perfecting the final prints. But, as with most creative endeavors, photography would have to take a back seat to career and family. He has since moved to the US, settling in Palo Alto, California. An avid traveler, he was captivated by the enduring intrigue of Route 66. He wanted to capture the truth, a truth… the evidence of abandonment of so many structures once filled with the lives of their occupants. But he wanted to add a human element to his photo shoot as well. The light came on for him when he met and conspired with Melissa Shaker. So he brought Mel into the picture to help tell the story of this once thriving national artery. What follows is a small sample of the collection of photographs taken during their journey from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Publish Date  January 04, 2009

Dimensions  Large Format Landscape  84 pgs Standard Paper

Category  History

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