Explore It

One Mile
At A Time

Route 66

Route 66 defined a remarkable era in our nation's history - and it lives on today in Illinois' Route 66's many roadside attractions, museums, restaurants - and the shining ribbon of blacktop we call The Mother Road.

Explore It

One Mile
At A Time

Route 66

Route 66 defined a remarkable era in our nation's history - and it lives on today in Illinois' Route 66's many roadside attractions, museums, restaurants - and the shining ribbon of blacktop we call The Mother Road.

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New Photos From Route 66
Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center First Anniversary 4-25-16
Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center First Anniversary 4-25-16
Dwight IL Route 66 90th Birthday Celebration 4-21-16
Dwight IL Route 66 90th Birthday Celebration 4-21-16
Miles of Possibility Edwardsville Route 66 Conference
Miles of Possibility Edwardsville Route 66 Conference
45th Annual Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Festival 2015
45th Annual Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Festival 2015
Elkhart Fall Festival 10-10-15
Elkhart Fall Festival 10-10-15
2015 International Mother Road Festival
2015 International Mother Road Festival
Illinois State Fair Media Day 8-6-15
Illinois State Fair Media Day 8-6-15
Bloomington Car Show 6-6-15
Bloomington Car Show 6-6-15
International Mother Road Festival Springfield IL 9/26-9/28/14
International Mother Road Festival Springfield IL 9/26-9/28/14
Berwyn Route 66 Car Show 9-6-14
Berwyn Route 66 Car Show 9-6-14
Berwyn, IL
Berwyn, IL
17th Annual World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival
17th Annual World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival
Inaugural 2015 Blue Carpet Corridor 6-13 to 6-14
Inaugural 2015 Blue Carpet Corridor 6-13 to 6-14
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Videos From The Road
45th Annual National Railsplitting Contest - Lincoln IL
45th Annual National Railsplitting Contest - Lincoln IL
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2014 International Mother Road Festival City Nights Cruise
2014 International Mother Road Festival City Nights Cruise
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Whispering Joe @ 2014 International Mother Road Festival
Whispering Joe @ 2014 International Mother Road Festival
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Illinois Route 66
Illinois Route 66
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/hgWeEz269yw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Route 66 Stories, Ernie Edwards, Pig Hip Restaurant / Museum, Broadwell
Route 66 Stories, Ernie Edwards, Pig Hip Restaurant / Museum, Broadwell
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/37vFO00mCqE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Jim Jones - Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum, Pontiac
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Jim Jones - Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum, Pontiac
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Wmt795wJVVw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Route 66 Stories: Betty Estes - Illinois Route 66
Route 66 Stories: Betty Estes - Illinois Route 66
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/AqpgZTqjumY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Shea's Gas Station Museum, Springfield
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Shea's Gas Station Museum, Springfield
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/swPIsXfb1Hk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Ariston Cafe, Litchfield
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Ariston Cafe, Litchfield
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Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Ambler-Becker Texaco Station, Dwight
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Ambler-Becker Texaco Station, Dwight
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/dBYY2Ze05x0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
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The Three Alignments
This era encompasses the "Golden Age" of Route 66 where America's car culture took hold. Drive-in theaters, Drive-in restaurants, and motels were born and developed along the Mother Road during this period.
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The concept of the "bypass" was first implemented on Route 66 during this era. Transportation infrastructure is well underway at this point in history as well and traveler expectations have risen, resulting in gas stations, motels, and formalized rest areas.
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The "original" Route 66 alignment in Illinois signifies a turning point in transportation history as the emphasis of long distance travel shifts from a fixed rail system to a traveler driven navigation. Illinois was the first state to boast having Route 66 paved from end to end. It is during this time period that the Mother Road was most often referred to as " The Hard Road."
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Featured Attraction
Ace Sign Company Antique Sign Museum
Springfield, IL

The Ace Sign Company Antique Sign Museum is located in the new location for the company on First Street in Springfield. Ace Sign Company is a 75+ year old company with four generations of family ownership and operation. The museum has a large collection of signs, featuring neon signs and also artifacts from the Bel-Aire Motel in Springfield, including the fully restored Sputnik.

Mahan's Filling Station at Fulgenzi's
Springfield, IL
Mahan’s Filling Station, a unique example of the earliest of gas stations, is now on display at Fulgenzi’s Pizza & Pasta located across from the Historic Illinois State Fairgrounds in Springfield. The roadside attraction is now accessible as a great photo and souvenir opportunity for Route 66 visitors. Fulgenzi’s restaurant property itself was once the site of two Route 66 motels and a car painting business in the heyday of the road. The current restaurant, which the Fulgenzi family opened originally in 1979 as a “Custard Castle”, has become a regular stop for 66 travelers.
Cruisin' with Lincoln on 66 Visitor Center
Bloomington, IL
The new Route 66 and Abraham Lincoln themed Visitor Center is located on the first floor of the McLean County Museum of History. This collaborative effort of local and state agencies showcases McLean County Route 66 and Abraham Lincoln stories for visitors from around the world.
featured story from the mother road
Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center First Anniversary Includes Economic Impact Assessment
The Sound of Illinois Chorus performed "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" and other favorites to kick off (appropriately) the one year anniversary of the opening of the Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center, located on the ground floor of the McLean County Museum of History in Bloomington, Illinois on April 25th. The Museum also provided free admission to the new permanent exhibit gallery, Making a Home, which explores the experience of living, working, farming, and creating community in McLean County.
Dwight 90th Birthday of Route 66 Ushers in an Already Busy Season Along the Mother Road
Dwight, Illinois ushered in the 90th anniversary of Route 66, with a celebration last Thursday April 21st at the restored Ambler/Becker Texaco gas station. The birthday party, which was the first 90th anniversary celebration in Illinois, included classic cars, hot dogs and cake, basset hounds and an enthusiastic crowd from all around the state. The event included an official presentation by Dwight Village President Jared Anderson, Bill Kelly of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway and Route 66 preservationist John Weiss. 
Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway Receives Two Awards at 2016 Illinois Governor's Conference on Travel & Tourism
The Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, including our staff and several board members, attended this year's Governor's Conference on Tourism in Springfield from March 21 -23. The highlight for the Byway was winning two marketing awards at the kick-off Illinois Excellence in Tourism Awards Dinner - Best Branding Initiative for our Interpretive Statues project and Best Website for illinoisroute66.org. Our partner for the Interpretive Statues award was Schmeekle Reserve at the University of Wisconsin, who has been a Byway partner not only in the development of the Interpretive Statues, but also with the Byway wayside exhibits and experience hubs, located all along Illinois Route 66. Our partner for the website was BlueBolt Solutions of Chicago, and the site was designed so that the Byway staff can easily edit and add new features.

Miles of Possibility Takeaways
The historic Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville was the setting for the Miles of Possibility conference Halloween weekend, and for me there were several important takeaways and memories. First though, I want to recognize event coordinator Cheryl Eichar Jett for her outstanding job in pulling this event off, as well as her volunteer staff that included the likes of Dave Tucker from Gillespie, IL and Sheila Martin from American Road Magazine, who was one of many people I got to meet in person for the first time.
Brooks on 66
Brooks, one of our four-legged friends, took to Route 66 in Illinois to see a few stops south of Springfield recently.  He donned his official Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway bandanna, and hopped in the car. As one of our fairly younger travelers (just recently celebrating his first birthday), he had a relatively short attention span and wanted to hit a few stops that were sure to impress. He decided to check out the Mother Road in Girard, Litchfield, and Collinsville.
Upcoming Events
Litchfield Pickers Market
10th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
Niehaus Cycle Sales 30th Anniversary Customer Appreciation Days
90th Birthday Celebration at the Rialto
2016 Route 66 Association of Illinois Motor Tour & Hall of Fame Banquet
Edwardsville Route 66 Festival
2nd Annual Blue Carpet Corridor Festival
Carlinville's Shop Local First Restaurant Week - Chairs on Parade
Illinois State Fair in Springfield
3rd Annual Get Your 6.6 on Route 66
Litchfield Pickers Market
10th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
Niehaus Cycle Sales 30th Anniversary Customer Appreciation Days
90th Birthday Celebration at the Rialto
2016 Route 66 Association of Illinois Motor Tour & Hall of Fame Banquet
Edwardsville Route 66 Festival
2nd Annual Blue Carpet Corridor Festival
Carlinville's Shop Local First Restaurant Week - Chairs on Parade
Illinois State Fair in Springfield
3rd Annual Get Your 6.6 on Route 66
4/10/16 - 10/9/16
Litchfield
5/7/16 - 5/8/16
Joliet
5/13/16 - 5/15/16
Litchfield
5/24/16
Joliet
6/10/16 - 6/12/16
Raymond
6/10/16 - 6/11/16
Edwardsville
6/11/16 - 6/12/16
Chatham
8/6/16 - 8/28/16
Carlinville
8/11/16 - 8/21/16
Springfield
8/20/16
McLean
4/10/16 - 10/9/16
Litchfield
5/7/16 - 5/8/16
Joliet
5/13/16 - 5/15/16
Litchfield
5/24/16
Joliet
6/10/16 - 6/12/16
Raymond
6/10/16 - 6/11/16
Edwardsville
6/11/16 - 6/12/16
Chatham
8/6/16 - 8/28/16
Carlinville
8/11/16 - 8/21/16
Springfield
8/20/16
McLean

Litchfield Tourism has partnered with Prairie Pickers to bring to you the Litchfield Pickers Market! This incredible event is held every second Sunday of the month from April through October from 9am to 3pm in Downtown Litchfield. Set dates for the 2016 market are April 10, May 8, June 12, July 10, August 14, September 11, and October 9.
The 10th Annual Red Carpet Corridor Festival traverses 13 Communities from Joliet to Towanda along a 90-mile stretch of Old Route 66 that collectively celebrates the Mother Road. Each town puts together its own events for the weekend, making for a great shopping and sight-seeing experience. Gather the family and take a trip down memory lane. Towns include Joliet, Elwood, Wilmington, Braidwood, Godley, Braceville, Gardner, Dwight, Odell, Pontiac, Chenoa, Lexington and Towanda.
Every year on the weekend after Mother's Day is the large Appreciation Days event, attended by as many as 5000 people from as far away as Canada, and it features the "Show of Lights Ride" through downtown Litchfield. This is the 30th year for the event. The Celebration lasts until someone wins a New 2016 Gold Wing, F6B, Valkyrie, or Pioneer 1000-5D at 4pm May 15, 2016!

90th Birthday Celebration – free tours, organ concerts, original silent movie shown on the theater's opening day and the Duchess during the afternoon. And of course birthday cake and a birthday toast to the Rialto in the early evening.

The 2016 Motor Tour is traveling south to north this year, with the Hall of Fame banquet at the Grand Magnuson Hotel in Raymond. The tour will also be making stops during the new Blue Carpet Corridor event.

Come get your kicks at the Edwardsville, Illinois Route 66 Festival! If classic cars, great food and family fun are your idea of a good time, join us for the 19th Annual Route 66 Festival on June 10 & 11 at City Park in downtown Edwardsville.

The City of Edwardsville is excited to welcome the community back to the park to enjoy great food, live music, the classic car cruise through town, the local talent show, local artists, children's activities, trolley rides and much more.

The 2nd annual Blue Carpet Corridor Festival is Sat-Sun, June 11-12, 2016, featuring 13 towns from Chatham to Collinsville with a shared history of miners, mobsters and the Mother Road. Enjoy three days of fun and surprises!

Chairs on Parade is an event where Carlinville businesses purchases a chair and decorates it to their liking. The event is all about bringing old fashioned fun, family and shopping together while supporting the local business community. The chairs will be on display outside of the businesses beginning on Saturday, August 6th. All chairs will be placed around Carlinville in front of local businesses or around the beautiful downtown square and put on a colorful map to be passed out to visitors so they can tour the exhibition.

You get everything you can possibly imagine when you attend the Illinois State Fair in Springfield this August, including top-notch performers at the grandstand shows!

Get Your 6.6 on Route 66! Calling all running, walking, Route 66, and local history enthusiasts - come out Saturday, August 20, when CORE of McLean, holds a 6.6k (4.1-mile) run/walk to benefit the community of McLean, IL.


Litchfield Tourism has partnered with Prairie Pickers to bring to you the Litchfield Pickers Market! This incredible event is held every second Sunday of the month from April through October from 9am to 3pm in Downtown Litchfield. Set dates for the 2016 market are April 10, May 8, June 12, July 10, August 14, September 11, and October 9.
The 10th Annual Red Carpet Corridor Festival traverses 13 Communities from Joliet to Towanda along a 90-mile stretch of Old Route 66 that collectively celebrates the Mother Road. Each town puts together its own events for the weekend, making for a great shopping and sight-seeing experience. Gather the family and take a trip down memory lane. Towns include Joliet, Elwood, Wilmington, Braidwood, Godley, Braceville, Gardner, Dwight, Odell, Pontiac, Chenoa, Lexington and Towanda.
Every year on the weekend after Mother's Day is the large Appreciation Days event, attended by as many as 5000 people from as far away as Canada, and it features the "Show of Lights Ride" through downtown Litchfield. This is the 30th year for the event. The Celebration lasts until someone wins a New 2016 Gold Wing, F6B, Valkyrie, or Pioneer 1000-5D at 4pm May 15, 2016!

90th Birthday Celebration – free tours, organ concerts, original silent movie shown on the theater's opening day and the Duchess during the afternoon. And of course birthday cake and a birthday toast to the Rialto in the early evening.

The 2016 Motor Tour is traveling south to north this year, with the Hall of Fame banquet at the Grand Magnuson Hotel in Raymond. The tour will also be making stops during the new Blue Carpet Corridor event.

Come get your kicks at the Edwardsville, Illinois Route 66 Festival! If classic cars, great food and family fun are your idea of a good time, join us for the 19th Annual Route 66 Festival on June 10 & 11 at City Park in downtown Edwardsville.

The City of Edwardsville is excited to welcome the community back to the park to enjoy great food, live music, the classic car cruise through town, the local talent show, local artists, children's activities, trolley rides and much more.

The 2nd annual Blue Carpet Corridor Festival is Sat-Sun, June 11-12, 2016, featuring 13 towns from Chatham to Collinsville with a shared history of miners, mobsters and the Mother Road. Enjoy three days of fun and surprises!

Chairs on Parade is an event where Carlinville businesses purchases a chair and decorates it to their liking. The event is all about bringing old fashioned fun, family and shopping together while supporting the local business community. The chairs will be on display outside of the businesses beginning on Saturday, August 6th. All chairs will be placed around Carlinville in front of local businesses or around the beautiful downtown square and put on a colorful map to be passed out to visitors so they can tour the exhibition.

You get everything you can possibly imagine when you attend the Illinois State Fair in Springfield this August, including top-notch performers at the grandstand shows!

Get Your 6.6 on Route 66! Calling all running, walking, Route 66, and local history enthusiasts - come out Saturday, August 20, when CORE of McLean, holds a 6.6k (4.1-mile) run/walk to benefit the community of McLean, IL.

Litchfield Pickers Market
4/10/16 - 10/9/16
Litchfield
10th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
5/7/16 - 5/8/16
Joliet
Niehaus Cycle Sales 30th Anniversary Customer Appreciation Days
5/13/16 - 5/15/16
Litchfield
90th Birthday Celebration at the Rialto
5/24/16
Joliet
2016 Route 66 Association of Illinois Motor Tour & Hall of Fame Banquet
6/10/16 - 6/12/16
Raymond
Edwardsville Route 66 Festival
6/10/16 - 6/11/16
Edwardsville
2nd Annual Blue Carpet Corridor Festival
6/11/16 - 6/12/16
Chatham
Carlinville's Shop Local First Restaurant Week - Chairs on Parade
8/6/16 - 8/28/16
Carlinville
Illinois State Fair in Springfield
8/11/16 - 8/21/16
Springfield
3rd Annual Get Your 6.6 on Route 66
8/20/16
McLean
Litchfield Pickers Market
4/10/16 - 10/9/16
Litchfield
10th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
5/7/16 - 5/8/16
Joliet
Niehaus Cycle Sales 30th Anniversary Customer Appreciation Days
5/13/16 - 5/15/16
Litchfield
90th Birthday Celebration at the Rialto
5/24/16
Joliet
2016 Route 66 Association of Illinois Motor Tour & Hall of Fame Banquet
6/10/16 - 6/12/16
Raymond
Edwardsville Route 66 Festival
6/10/16 - 6/11/16
Edwardsville
2nd Annual Blue Carpet Corridor Festival
6/11/16 - 6/12/16
Chatham
Carlinville's Shop Local First Restaurant Week - Chairs on Parade
8/6/16 - 8/28/16
Carlinville
Illinois State Fair in Springfield
8/11/16 - 8/21/16
Springfield
3rd Annual Get Your 6.6 on Route 66
8/20/16
McLean
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LATEST NEWS FROM ROUTE 66
Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative announces Name & Logo Contest
Feb 25, 2016
The Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative has announced a Name & Logo Contest, designed to produce a name and logo for the new organization it is creating. The past two years, a group of Rt. 66 stakeholders, facilitated by the World Monuments Fund and the National Park Service, have been working to establish a new organization dedicated to fostering collaboration amongst all Route 66 stakeholders, with a specific mission to: Revitalize and sustain Route 66 as a national icon, for the benefit of all Route 66 communities, travelers, and businesses/attractions, through collaborative partnerships focused on promotion, preservation, research/education, and economic development.
Pontiac Breaking Ground for New Hotel
Dec 04, 2015
Pontiac’s newest hotel has taken the first big step towards its completion, which is expected in 2016.  A group of city officials, representatives from the Pontiac Area Chamber of Commerce, the Pontiac Hotel Developers, LLC, Hotel Development Services of Oxford, Ohio, and the hotel’s new management team, Monchino Management LLC of Herrin, IL, conducted the ground breaking ceremony on Wednesday, December 2nd at the site of the new hotel near the Interstate 55 interchange. 
Route 66 Collaboration Workshops Final Report
Nov 24, 2015
The Route 66: The Road Ahead Steering Committee has completed its review and analysis of feedback collected from the over 300 Rt. 66 stakeholders who took part in this past summer's series of Collaboration Workshops. Based on its discussions, the Steering Committee has produced the Collaboration Workshops Final Report which can be accessed here.
Charlie Parker's Diner Owner Wins National Thomas' Breakfast Battle
Oct 26, 2015
Congratulations go out to Mike Murphy, owner of Charlie Parker's Diner in Springfield, IL, who won $25,000 last weekend in a national breakfast recipe competition. Murphy made it to the final round of two competitors, who battled it out Saturday morning, October 24th on Fox & Friends morning news show.  Murphy whipped up a famous breakfast horseshoe for the final round of the competition. Online voting closed at 11pm Sunday October 25th, and Murphy emerged the winner of the Thomas' Breakfast Battle.
Pontiac Route 66 Mural Earns National Geographic Calendar Cover
Aug 19, 2015
Pontiac's own world's largest painted Route 66 shield mural is the featured cover photograph on one of National Geographic's 2016 promotional calendars. The Route 66-themed calendar includes 12 stunning images taken along the historic "Mother Road." Pontiac's shield mural is the image for December, and was selected as the calendar's impressive cover photo.
Atlanta Unveils Hit the Road Highstriker Game Attraction
Jun 17, 2015
On June 13, 2015, the city of Atlanta unveiled their newest Route 66 tourist attraction, the "Hit the Road!" highstriker game. The game is located next to Bunyon's Statue downtown, and is modeled after the strongman games found at carnivals and fairs. The purpose of the game is to challenge visitors to see how far they can "travel" on Route 66 by swinging a giant mallet that hits a steel weight that shoots up along a map of Route 66 with each state represented from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Sputnik Orbit Comes Full Circle
May 20, 2015

At what seems to have been the speed of space travel, the iconic Sputnik from the Bel-Aire Motel in Springfield, IL has been saved and restored by Ace Sign Company, and was unveiled Tuesday, May 19th at the dedication of the sign museum at the company's new location at 2540 South First Street in Springfield.

Joe Bringuet from Ace Sign Company was around back when the sign was purchased by the Bel-Aire from a California company, and the motel then hired Ace Sign to install it. Joe recalls that this was somewhere around 1963 to 1965. The sputniks were sold around the country to motels and restaurants primarily, according to Bringuet. They were designed to look like the Soviet Sputnik space satellite. This was the first satellite to orbit the Earth, launched by the Soviet Union on October 4, 1957.

Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway Launches Selfies on 66 Campaign
May 05, 2015

Out exploring Route 66 in Illinois? Take a selfie! Be creative and capture yourself and friends at Illinois Route 66 landmarks or even more out-of-the-way harder to find sites along the road. Take your "selfie" and post it on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram with the hashtag #MyIL66. Each month, the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway will select three photos to be highlighted on their social media outlets, and the photo with the most likes/comments/shares will win an Illinois Route 66 commemorative license plate and baseball hat! But it gets better...once per year, the Byway will let voters choose from the 12 monthly winners, and the photo that gets the most likes/comments/shares will win the grand prize: a basket full of Illinois Route 66 memorabilia, gift certificates, and more!