After World War II a higher majority of the population in the United States owned cars and went on road-trips than ever before. The National Parks drew huge crowds that they had never experienced and were unprepared for.
The purpose of Mission 66 was to update the nature centers and museums built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps with a new concept – visitor centers – that included modern conveniences such as bathrooms. A hundred such visitor centers were built between 1955 and 1966, including Colter Bay Visitor Center in Grand Teton National Park (pictured above). The remaining Mission 66 visitor centers are now on the National Register of Historical Places.
Mission 66 also led to the building of 584 comfort stations, 221 administrative buildings, 36 service buildings, 1,239 housing sites for employees, and 78 new park units including Canyonlands National Park.
For more information about Mission 66 click here.
Finch, C. Madrid. “What Is Mission 66?” Mission 66 – Modern Architecture in the National Parks. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 July 2017.