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
International Mother Road Festival Springfield IL 9/26-9/28/14
Mill Car Cruise-In Lincoln IL 9/13/14
Berwyn Route 66 Car Show 9-6-14
Williamsville, IL
Virden, IL
Staunton, IL
Downtown Springfield, IL
Shea's Gas Station Museum
Springfield, IL 1
Nilwood, IL
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Videos From The Road
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
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/KCHtBOHvPA4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
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>
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Doc's Soda Fountain, Girard
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Doc's Soda Fountain, Girard
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/v4wI3TX5IJM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Henry's Ra66it Ranch, Staunton
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Henry's Ra66it Ranch, Staunton
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/j5elg_Rs-OA" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Knight's Action Park and Caribbean Water Adventure, Springfield
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Knight's Action Park and Caribbean Water Adventure, Springfield
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/QuIOoRnuOcM" 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
Charlie Parker's Diner
Springfield, IL
Charlie Parker's Diner has been serving up breakfast and lunch to locals and travelers alike in a Quonset hut since the early 1990's. The favorite eatery has won numerous awards and received regional and national press for their great food and outstanding service, including being featured by Guy Fieri on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives."
featured story from the mother road
The Cow in the Corn Sculpture - Lincoln, IL

A collaboration from two Lincoln, Illinois artists has produced a 22’ tall x 25’ wide sculpture located in down town Lincoln on the corner of Pulaski and Sangamon streets. Moses Pinkerton and Jason Hoffman of Logan County Arts erected the large steel sculpture with the help of heavy equipment in a downtown area park on July 20th of 2014. The “66” part of the sculpture was “originally loops there for nostrils”, but the 66 that emerged in the design was “an added kicker in promoting the idea to the city (of Lincoln),” according to Pinkerton.

Upcoming Events
Remembering Lincoln's "Undying Words"
Lincoln’s Ghost Walk: Legends & Lore
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum April Events Mark 150th Anniversary of Civil War's End & Lincoln's Death
Old State Capitol April Events Mark 150th Anniversary of Civil War's End & Lincoln's Death
Springfield Theatre Center Presents Our American Cousin
2015 Vendor Markets at The Mill on 66 in Lincoln
Lincoln Tomb April-May Events Mark 150th Anniversary of Lincoln's Death
The 2015 Lincoln Funeral Re-enactment
9th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
Pontiac Cruise Nights
Remembering Lincoln's "Undying Words"
Lincoln’s Ghost Walk: Legends & Lore
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum April Events Mark 150th Anniversary of Civil War's End & Lincoln's Death
Old State Capitol April Events Mark 150th Anniversary of Civil War's End & Lincoln's Death
Springfield Theatre Center Presents Our American Cousin
2015 Vendor Markets at The Mill on 66 in Lincoln
Lincoln Tomb April-May Events Mark 150th Anniversary of Lincoln's Death
The 2015 Lincoln Funeral Re-enactment
9th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
Pontiac Cruise Nights
11/22/14 - 12/31/15
Springfield
3/10/15 - 10/31/15
Springfield
4/2/15 - 4/19/15
Springfield
4/8/15 - 4/24/15
Springfield
4/10/15 - 4/19/15
Springfield
4/11/15 - 10/10/15
Lincoln
4/11/15 - 5/4/15
Springfield
5/1/15 - 5/3/15
Springfield
5/2/15 - 5/3/15
Joliet
5/16/15 - 8/15/15
Pontiac
11/22/14 - 12/31/15
Springfield
3/10/15 - 10/31/15
Springfield
4/2/15 - 4/19/15
Springfield
4/8/15 - 4/24/15
Springfield
4/10/15 - 4/19/15
Springfield
4/11/15 - 10/10/15
Lincoln
4/11/15 - 5/4/15
Springfield
5/1/15 - 5/3/15
Springfield
5/2/15 - 5/3/15
Joliet
5/16/15 - 8/15/15
Pontiac
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Chicago History Museum have joined forces for exhibition on Lincoln’s greatest years. Abraham Lincoln uttered some of the most famous words in history. He spoke out against slavery, urged his countrymen to reject war and defended “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” The exhibition commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s end and Lincoln’s death. “Undying Words: Lincoln 1858-1865” opens Nov. 22 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and runs throughout 2015.
A ninety minute ten block walking tour presented by Garret Moffett, that uses the Lincoln sites as the scene for the strange and bizarre history surrounding Lincoln’s life and death.
On April 9, 1865, the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee essentially ended the Civil War, ensuring the nation would remain whole. Less than a week later, on April 15, President Abraham Lincoln was dead, plunging the nation into grief. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum in Springfield has a number of events planned in April to mark this important time in our nation's history.
The Old State Capitol State Historic Site in Springfield has a number of events planned in April to mark the anniversary of the end of the Civile War and Lincoln's death. On April 15th, furniture from the Lincoln funeral train goes on display. Chairs, a settee and a table that stood in the railroad car that carried President Lincoln and his son Willie home from Washington will be exhibited until Sept. 15th.
This play is being presented at the Hoogland Center for the Arts to coincide with the anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln. Our American Cousin is a play in three acts written by Tom Taylor. The play is a farcical comedy whose plot is based on the introduction of an awkward, boorish American to his aristocratic English relatives. The play’s most famous performance came seven years later, however, at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865. Halfway through Act III, Scene 2. Performances Will be Fri-Sun April 10-12 and Fri-Sun April 17-19. Also on Tuesday, April 14th, there will be a special performance that includes a fundraiser dinner with the Lincolns prior top the show.
On the second Saturday, April-October, at the historic Mill in Lincoln, located at 738 S. Washington, there will be a variety of vendors taking part in the first of monthly weekend flea markets during the tourist season, on the second Saturday, April through October, from 8am-5pm. Spaces are still available for $10 to $15 dollars for the day and throughout the season. “We’ll run a Vendor Market with a variety of flea market items, crafts, specialty products and antiques on a monthly basis from April-Oct,” said Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County treasurer Andrea Dykman. The Mill will also be a passport stop on Sunday, June 14th for the Route 66 Association Motor Tour, and will have their annual car cruise-in this fall (date TBD).
The Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site in Springfield has a number of events planned in April and May to mark the 150th Anniversary of the death of President Abraham Lincoln on on April 15, 1865, including the 59th annual Lincoln Tomb Ceremony on April 11th.
For the first time since 1865, re-enactors, period carriages, visitors and dignitaries will convene in Springfield, Illinois, to pay tribute to our 16th President with many events and the historic and solemn re-creation of the funeral procession to Oak Ridge Cemetery. There will also be a host of events beginning in February and leading up to the anniversary weekend, including noted speakers, symposiums, encampments, performances and church services.
The 9th 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.
Pontiac  Cruise Nights are some the best Cruise Nights in Central Illinois. These cruises are produced by a dedicated group of individuals that work year round. Pontiac Cruise Night is now in its 9th year and has become a major community event that brings everyone downtown to see and watch the cars of yesteryear. Pontiac Cruise Night's are held every 3rd Saturday in May, June, July and August in downtown Pontiac around the square.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Chicago History Museum have joined forces for exhibition on Lincoln’s greatest years. Abraham Lincoln uttered some of the most famous words in history. He spoke out against slavery, urged his countrymen to reject war and defended “government of the people, by the people, for the people.” The exhibition commemorates the 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s end and Lincoln’s death. “Undying Words: Lincoln 1858-1865” opens Nov. 22 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, and runs throughout 2015.
A ninety minute ten block walking tour presented by Garret Moffett, that uses the Lincoln sites as the scene for the strange and bizarre history surrounding Lincoln’s life and death.
On April 9, 1865, the surrender of Confederate General Robert E. Lee essentially ended the Civil War, ensuring the nation would remain whole. Less than a week later, on April 15, President Abraham Lincoln was dead, plunging the nation into grief. The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum in Springfield has a number of events planned in April to mark this important time in our nation's history.
The Old State Capitol State Historic Site in Springfield has a number of events planned in April to mark the anniversary of the end of the Civile War and Lincoln's death. On April 15th, furniture from the Lincoln funeral train goes on display. Chairs, a settee and a table that stood in the railroad car that carried President Lincoln and his son Willie home from Washington will be exhibited until Sept. 15th.
This play is being presented at the Hoogland Center for the Arts to coincide with the anniversary of the death of Abraham Lincoln. Our American Cousin is a play in three acts written by Tom Taylor. The play is a farcical comedy whose plot is based on the introduction of an awkward, boorish American to his aristocratic English relatives. The play’s most famous performance came seven years later, however, at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C. on April 14, 1865. Halfway through Act III, Scene 2. Performances Will be Fri-Sun April 10-12 and Fri-Sun April 17-19. Also on Tuesday, April 14th, there will be a special performance that includes a fundraiser dinner with the Lincolns prior top the show.
On the second Saturday, April-October, at the historic Mill in Lincoln, located at 738 S. Washington, there will be a variety of vendors taking part in the first of monthly weekend flea markets during the tourist season, on the second Saturday, April through October, from 8am-5pm. Spaces are still available for $10 to $15 dollars for the day and throughout the season. “We’ll run a Vendor Market with a variety of flea market items, crafts, specialty products and antiques on a monthly basis from April-Oct,” said Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County treasurer Andrea Dykman. The Mill will also be a passport stop on Sunday, June 14th for the Route 66 Association Motor Tour, and will have their annual car cruise-in this fall (date TBD).
The Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site in Springfield has a number of events planned in April and May to mark the 150th Anniversary of the death of President Abraham Lincoln on on April 15, 1865, including the 59th annual Lincoln Tomb Ceremony on April 11th.
For the first time since 1865, re-enactors, period carriages, visitors and dignitaries will convene in Springfield, Illinois, to pay tribute to our 16th President with many events and the historic and solemn re-creation of the funeral procession to Oak Ridge Cemetery. There will also be a host of events beginning in February and leading up to the anniversary weekend, including noted speakers, symposiums, encampments, performances and church services.
The 9th 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.
Pontiac  Cruise Nights are some the best Cruise Nights in Central Illinois. These cruises are produced by a dedicated group of individuals that work year round. Pontiac Cruise Night is now in its 9th year and has become a major community event that brings everyone downtown to see and watch the cars of yesteryear. Pontiac Cruise Night's are held every 3rd Saturday in May, June, July and August in downtown Pontiac around the square.
Remembering Lincoln's "Undying Words"
11/22/14 - 12/31/15
Springfield
Lincoln’s Ghost Walk: Legends & Lore
3/10/15 - 10/31/15
Springfield
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum April Events Mark 150th Anniversary of Civil War's End & Lincoln's Death
4/2/15 - 4/19/15
Springfield
Old State Capitol April Events Mark 150th Anniversary of Civil War's End & Lincoln's Death
4/8/15 - 4/24/15
Springfield
Springfield Theatre Center Presents Our American Cousin
4/10/15 - 4/19/15
Springfield
2015 Vendor Markets at The Mill on 66 in Lincoln
4/11/15 - 10/10/15
Lincoln
Lincoln Tomb April-May Events Mark 150th Anniversary of Lincoln's Death
4/11/15 - 5/4/15
Springfield
The 2015 Lincoln Funeral Re-enactment
5/1/15 - 5/3/15
Springfield
9th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
5/2/15 - 5/3/15
Joliet
Pontiac Cruise Nights
5/16/15 - 8/15/15
Pontiac
Remembering Lincoln's "Undying Words"
11/22/14 - 12/31/15
Springfield
Lincoln’s Ghost Walk: Legends & Lore
3/10/15 - 10/31/15
Springfield
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum April Events Mark 150th Anniversary of Civil War's End & Lincoln's Death
4/2/15 - 4/19/15
Springfield
Old State Capitol April Events Mark 150th Anniversary of Civil War's End & Lincoln's Death
4/8/15 - 4/24/15
Springfield
Springfield Theatre Center Presents Our American Cousin
4/10/15 - 4/19/15
Springfield
2015 Vendor Markets at The Mill on 66 in Lincoln
4/11/15 - 10/10/15
Lincoln
Lincoln Tomb April-May Events Mark 150th Anniversary of Lincoln's Death
4/11/15 - 5/4/15
Springfield
The 2015 Lincoln Funeral Re-enactment
5/1/15 - 5/3/15
Springfield
9th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
5/2/15 - 5/3/15
Joliet
Pontiac Cruise Nights
5/16/15 - 8/15/15
Pontiac
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LATEST NEWS FROM ROUTE 66
Red Carpet Corridor Festival Plans in Progress
Mar 24, 2015
The 9th annual Red Carpet Corridor Festival will run May 2 & 3, 2015.  This festival takes place along a 90-mile stretch of historic Route 66 – starting in Joliet in the north and ending at Towanda, Illinois in the south.  Along that length of America’s Main Street, there will be scheduled events both days of the festival.  Each of the 13 communities along the Mother Road will stage special activities for young and old alike.  There will be bake sales, flea markets, car shows, history displays and presentations, contests, dances, live music, great food, and fun for everyone. You can examine the full slate of events by visiting the Red Carpet Corridor’s webpage at www.il66redcarpetcorridor.org.
Miles of Possibility - The Edwardsville Route 66 Conference
Mar 20, 2015
"Miles of Possibility: The Edwardsville Route 66 Conference" will be held in Edwardsville, Illinois, on Thursday-Saturday, October 29-31. Sponsored by the Illinois Route 66 Blue Carpet Corridor Coalition and hosted by the City of Edwardsville, the primary venue for the conference is the beautifully-restored historic Wildey Theatre on N. Main Street, just two blocks off Edwardsville's Route 66.  Conference sessions will include presentations, panel discussions, and workshops by nationally and internationally known experts on Route 66, history, preservation, and marketing. The complete conference schedule, as well as online registration, will be offered, beginning on or about April 1, on the conference webpage, www.bluecarpetcorridor.org/rt66conference.
The Mill in Lincoln Launches International Indiegogo Crowd Funding Campaign to Complete Restoration & Open as a Museum
Mar 20, 2015

The Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County has launched an Indiegogo.com crowd funding campaign to finish restoring the famous Mill Restaurant on Route 66 in Lincoln, IL into a museum, featuring a collection of items representing Route 66 in Logan County. The campaign runs for 40 days and ends on April 25, 2015. The goal for completing the renovation work is in time for the annual October celebration in 2015. The Mill is considered a prime example of early American roadside architecture and is one of the few buildings in the area still standing from that era. 

Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative
Feb 09, 2015

In November 2013, organizational leaders and representative stakeholders of Route 66 met at "The Road Ahead" strategic roundtable in Anaheim, California. Sponsored by the World Monument Fund/American Express, their purpose was to discuss a vision and strategies for developing a national framework for collaboration along the Road.


Blue Dog Inn is Latest of Five Restaurants in Route 66 Communities to Receive a Delicious Destination Award
Feb 06, 2015

The Blue Dog Inn in Lincoln is latest of five Route 66 restaurants to receive an "Enjoy Illinois: Delicious Destination" award from the Illinois Office of Tourism. The award is designated to restaurants that are "beloved destinations for visitors and locals alike," according to press information from the agency.

Located in the Historic District of Lincoln Illinois, the Blue Dog Inn was opened by Susie Fuher in 1979.  Primarily a pub at opening, it evolved over a period of time into a full service restaurant with an extensive menu becoming well known for the Horseshoes and Coney Dogs.