Cozy Dog Drive-In
The restaurant is a shrine to Route 66 and to itself, packed with mementos, clippings, and old signs, as well as with Mother Road souvenirs for sale. The "corn dog on a stick" was invented during World War II by Ed Waldmire when he was in the Air Force stationed in Texas. Cozy Dogs were officially launched at the Lake Springfield Beach House in 1946, and a stand was opened on Ash and MacArthur. The Cozy Dog Drive-In is now situated where the old Abe Lincoln Motel used to be.
Jungle Jim’s Cafe
Just down from Bill Shea’s museum, this cafe serves up racing nostalgia and Springfield’s famed “Horseshoe Sandwich”—toast on a warm platter, meat over the toast smothered with cheese sauce and French fries.
Lincoln Home National Historic Site
Free ranger-led tours of the Lincoln Home are the central feature of the site. The Visitor Center offers orientation and interpretive films. Exhibits are located within the neighborhood. Stroll through the four-block historic area to see some houses in the Lincoln neighborhood. You should plan on 1½ to 2 hours for a comprehensive visit.
Henry's Ra66it Ranch
This modern attraction celebrates Route 66 and the people along the highway with its emporium of highway and trucking memorabilia that includes a collection of Campbell’s 66 Express “Humpin’ to Please” trailers next to a replica of a vintage gas station. This attraction offers all things about rabbits: Volkswagens or the furry kind.
Built in 1927 in Grant Park, its design is based on a Versailles Palace fountain. This is one of the largest fountains in the world. Daily music and light displays during the summer make this a popular attraction. Constructed one year after Route 66, it is the nostalgic and symbolic starting point of the road.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation
Located in the historic Santa Fe Building where the Road began and ended in 1926. Visitors are offered exhibits, tours and Chicago memorabilia. See Foundation website for list of tours and times.
Grant Park/Millennium Park
Built from landfill on the lakeshore, this park hosted the Columbian Exposition and contains many attractions including Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum of Natural History, and Adler Planetarium.
Skyscrapers and Historic Buildings
Many significant structures line the inbound and outbound Route 66 corridors of West Jackson Blvd and Adams Street. Of special interest to travelers are the Sears Tower, Marquette Building, Chicago Board of Trade, Union Station, and Old St. Patrick's Church. You have the sense that you are in the nation's economic hub as you walk through the narrow concrete canyons. The monumental buildings and dense traffic provide a contrast to the open farmland on the rest of Illinois Historic Route 66.
A skyscraper constructed in 1973 by the Sears, Roebuck & Co. At the time, it was the tallest building in the world. Today, it continues to be the tallest building in the United States at 1,451 feet tall. The Sears Tower Skydeck located on the 103rd floor, 1,353 feet up, is one of the most famous tourist attractions in Chicago, and provides a commanding view of Ogden Avenue and the Southwest suburbs of Route 66. Eastbound motorists are lured to the downtown by its towering height. Sears Tower is symbolic of the big, bold, and booming City of Broad Shoulders
Lou Mitchell's Restaurant
Built in 1923, Lou Mitchell's has served Route 66 travelers since its beginning. As part of its unique tradition, women receive a free box of milk duds. It was inducted into the Route 66 Hall of Fame in 2002. Its atmosphere and menu remain true to the heyday of Route 66.
Near the center of the Chicago Loop, the restaurant was opened in 1898 by Herman Joseph Berghoff. It has served Route 66 travelers since the beginning. The Berghoff Restaurant closed in February, 2006. The basement cafe was reopened by Carlyn Berghoff in April, 2006 as the "Berghoff Cafe." The bar was also reopened under the new name "17/West at the Berghoff." The dining room is offered as a private banquet hall.
1910 Railroad Viaduct
between Western Avenue and Rockwell Street As the only crossing of the multiple tracks, the viaduct between Western Avenue and Rockwell Street dictated that Route 66 follow this corridor. This grey concrete monolith appears old and utilitarian. Its appearance defies the importance it had in channeling Route 66 through Chicago.
This park was created by the Illinois legislature in 1869 to give Chicagoans a nature area on the edge of the city. Several early 20th century Prairie School structures designed by landscape architect Jens Jensen and others include the Flower Hall and Reflecting Pool, the Pergola, and the Georgian style Field House. Route 66 (W. Ogden Avenue) bisects the park. A visit to this "prairie park" makes one aware of the historic growth of Chicago west into the open countryside.
Castle Car Wash
This unique building started as a classic style filling station in 1925 and was in business until the early 1980s. It is considered an endangered Route 66 icon.
6031 West Ogden Ave, Cicero, Illinois 60804 phone:
708-656-9344 Their slogan, "It's a Meal in Itself," refers to the way they serve Chicago-style hot dogs in the same bag with French fries and a pickle spear. It is a regional mom and pop diner with a fun old 66 personality. Hours:
Monday - Saturday 10 am - 9 pm, Sunday 11 am - 8 pm.
Riverside Landscape Architectural District
10 Pine Avenue, Riverside, Illinois phone:
708-447-2542 web: riversidemuseum.net
This charming village is the site of many homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan and other prominent Chicago architects. The entire village is designated a National Historic Landmark. It is also one of the first planned suburban communities in the country, designed by noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted. A community tour is available online through the outstanding Riverside Historical Museum. This beautiful community has graced Route 66 for its entire existence. Hours:
Riverside Historical Museum: Saturdays, 10 am to 2 pm. Also on designated evenings during the summer months, or by appointment.
3910 Berrypoint Road, Lyons IL phone:
708-442-4500 Built in 1908 by a local brewer as a centerpiece for his Des Plaines River recreational business, the tower now houses the Lyons Historical Museum. Hours:
Open during summer months.
Snuffy's 24 Hour Grill
8408 Joliet Road, McCook, Illinois 60525 phone:
708-447-9780 Snuffy's is a Route 66 eatery whose classic Formica tables, vinyl seats, and counter stools are little changed from its 1964 opening. Hours:
Monday - Wednesday 5 am - 9 pm, Thursday -Sunday, open 24 hours.
The Wishing Well Motel
Formerly at 6363 Joliet Road, Countryside IL (map this site to show origin of Motel) Now an exhibit at Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac. Dating from 1941 and demolished in 2007, this motel was a retreat for Chicago entertainers and Route 66 travelers. The iconic wishing well structure is now preserved at the Route 66 Museum in Pontiac.
Route 66 Classic Motors
6420 S. Joliet Road, La Grange Hlds IL 60525 phone:
708-588-1560 Houses a 6,000 square-foot showroom with extensive and varied collectible automobiles. It was given dealership status in 2002 and is staffed by collector car enthusiasts. Hours:
call ahead for hours.
Wolf's Head Inn
6937 Joliet Road, Indian Head Park, Illinois 60525 phone:
708-246-0400 This restaurant is filled with curiosities and offers good food. Although not a historic restaurant, it is idiosyncratic in the Route 66 tradition. Hours:
Weekdays and Sundays 10 am - 9 pm, Saturdays 10 am - 10 pm.
Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket
645 Joliet Rd, Willowbrook, Illinois phone:
www.chickenbasket.com Dell Rhea's began in the late 1930s or early 1940s as a lunch counter in an old gas station along Route 66. The owner, Irv Kolarik, learned a special fried chicken recipe from some local farm women. The chicken was a hit and business boomed. An expanded building was built next door in 1946, which continues to serve travelers today. This 66 icon has survived as a remnant in a sea of residential and commercial development. It is an example of a "chicken diner" that was common on Route 66. Dell Rhea's has maintained its down home charm and menu. It is decorated with a vintage chicken motif and the historic neon sign is turned on every evening. Hours: Restaurant:
Sunday & Tuesday - Thursday 11 am - 9 pm. Friday - Saturday 11 am - 10 pm. Lounge:
Tuesday - Thursday 11 am - 10 pm, Friday - Saturday 11 am - 1 am. Sunday 11 am - midnight.
National Shrine of St. Therese and Castle Eden
8501 Bailey Road, Darien, Illinois phone:
630-969-3311 or 630-969-4141 web: www.saint-therese.org
Castle Eden, built in 1903, is a 1/10 scale model of the White House. The former 50 acre estate on which it stands is now the National Shrine of St. Therese and Carmelite Retreat Center. The shrine has a museum and gift shop. The chapel holds the largest religious wood carving in the country, hand carved in Italy of lindenwood. Hours:
Open Monday - Friday. Call ahead for tour and mass times.
Historic Structures in Plainfield
Joliet Road, Plainfield Illinois Three structures are listed in the National Register of Historic Places: Plainfield House (1836), Flanders House (1841), and a Standard Oil Gas Station (1928). Located within the Village are numerous Greek Revival, "upright and wing" cottages, a school built in 1847 (which may be the oldest surviving "one-room schoolhouse" in Illinois), and a number of early-19th-century homes.
White Fence Farm
1376 Joliet Rd, Romeoville Illinois 60446 phone:
630-739-1720 web: www.whitefencefarm.com
This restaurant dates to the 1920s and serves the "World's Greatest Chicken" family style. While you wait you can play with and observe a large collection of antique machines, cars, and other artifacts in a rambling building that feels like it dates to the 1920s. Hours:
Tuesday - Friday 5 pm - 9 pm, Saturday 4 pm - 9 pm, Sunday noon - 8 pm.
Isle a la Cache Museum
501 E. Romeo Road, Romeoville Illinois 60446 phone:
815-886-1467 This museum is situated on an island in the Des Plaines River. Meaning "Island of the Hiding Place," it is a historic fur trade site operated by the Forest Preserve of Will County. Kid-friendly hands-on exhibits deal with the fur trade of the late 18th Century including trade items and the lifestyles of the Native American people and the voyageurs who traded for animal pelts. Hours:
Tuesday - Saturday 10 am - 4 pm, Sunday Noon - 4 pm.
15701 S. Independence Blvd, Lockport Illinois phone:
815-836-5038 Patrick Fitzpatrick constructed this house in 1848. He was a laborer who helped construct the I&M canal. The house is made of the same limestone as that quarried for the canal. By 1860, this was one of the largest estates in the Lockport area. It is a solitary structure that has always been a Route 66 landmark. Today, it serves as the Lewis University Alumni Relations Development Office.
200 West 8th Street, Lockport IL 60441 phone:
815-588-1100 The oldest remaining commercial building in the I&M Canal National Heritage Corridor, the limestone Gaylord Building was built in 1837 to store canal construction materials. It was acquired by the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is now operated as a museum by the Canal Corridor Association. Hours
: Tuesday - Saturday 11 am - 5pm, Sundays Noon - 5 pm.
I&M Canal Museum
803 W. State Street, Lockport IL 60441 phone:
815-838-5080. Will County Historical Society operates a canal museum in the old I&M Canal Commission headquarters building. Here, engineer William Gooding designed the canal and supervised the contractors who hired thousands of immigrant canal workers. The original one-story building was constructed in 1837, with the two-story addition built in 1876. Docents in period dress will guide you through canal and local history exhibits. Hours:
Daily 1 pm - 4:30 pm.
Norton Building/Illinois State Museum Lockport Gallery
201 W. 10th Street, Lockport Illinois 60441 phone:
815-838-7400 The Illinois State Museum Lockport Gallery is located on the first floor of the historic Norton Building, a limestone structure built by Hiram Norton around 1850. Strategically placed at the edge of the I&M Canal, the large, arched portals were used as access points for storing, processing, and packaging barrels of grain. Hours:
Tuesday - Saturday 10 am - 5 pm, Sunday Noon - 5 pm.
201 W. 10th Street, Lockport Illinois 60441 phone:
815-838-7400. Behind the Illinois State Museum on the site of the canal Public Landing, is the Pioneer Settlement. These historic structures were moved here from different parts of Will County when they were threatened with demolition in the 1960s. They are reconstructed to give the impression of an early village. Hours:
Lockport Prairie Nature Preserve
Route 53 (Broadway) and Division Street, Lockport Illinois phone:
815-726-3306 web: www.fpdwc.org
Located in the Des Plaines River Valley, adjacent to Route 66, with an open view toward Lockport, this Will County preserve is a 254-acre surviving remnant of the rare "wet dolomite prairie" habitat. Shallow limestone restricts the prairie plant's roots, and the site is notable for its high number of federal- and state-threatened and endangered species. 0.4 mile trail. Hours:
April - October 8 am - 8 pm, November - March 8 am - 5 pm.
Stateville Correctional Center
Crest Hill, Illinois This prison has a historic 1925 "roundhouse" design and is still in operation. While not open to the public, it has an ominous presence for Route 66 travelers and has many stories to tell. The U.S. government tested malaria vaccines on prisoners during WWII. Leopold and Loeb, two university students who murdered a boy in 1924 to prove they could commit the perfect crime, were incarcerated here. And serial killer John Wayne Gacy was put to death here in 1994.
"Building the Lincoln Highway" Sculpture
1610 Plainview Rd, Crest Hill Illinois 60403 This statue depicts a 1915 Joliet road worker pouring concrete. The sculpture and associated interpretive panel are located across the street from the Crest Hill Municipal Center. Hours:
"Joliet Kicks on 66" Tours
877-4-JOLIET web: www.jolietkicks.com
Route 66 themed murals, sculptures, mosaics and antique replica gas pumps are found throughout Joliet's New City Center. These and other downtown attractions are part of the Joliet Kicks on 66 driving and walking tours. Visit the jolietkicks.com website for tour information. Hours:
"Route 66 Experience:" Joliet Area Historical Museum
201 N. Ottawa Street, Joliet Illinois web: www.jolietmuseum.org
This "must stop" for Route 66 tourists celebrates the themes and experiences of the people who settled the Joliet area, including a Route 66 Welcome Center, exhibit gallery, discovery room, gift shop, cafe and auditorium. A prominent Route 66 sculpture is outside. It is located at the "Crossroads of America" where Route 66 and Lincoln Highway intersected. Hours:
Tuesday-Saturday 10 am - 5 pm. Sunday Noon - 5 pm.
Route 66 Park, Joliet
920 N Broadway Street, Joliet Illinois This park has an overlook for viewing the historic Collins Street Prison where the Blues Brothers and other movies were filmed. Informational kiosks highlight Route 66 attractions in Joliet with directions, photos, and messages. Rich & Creamy on Broadway is also located here. Hours:
Collins Street Prison
201 N. Ottawa Street, Joliet Illinois An exhibit at the Joliet Area Historical Museum (201 N. Ottawa Street, Joliet, IL) interprets the prison. Also known as the Joliet Correctional Center, the prison was built here in 1858 by prison labor. Its 25 foot, 5 foot thick walls are made of pure Joliet limestone. It operated until 2002, having housed up to 1,300 inmates. The classic prison architecture and atmosphere has been the set for several movies and television productions including the Blues Brothers. Hours:
Historical Museum: Tuesday -Saturday 10 am - 5 pm. Sunday Noon - 5 pm.
Rich & Creamy on Broadway
Route 66 Park, 920 N Broadway Street, Joliet Illinois phone:
815-740-2899 This place is typical of ice cream shops that dotted Route 66 in its heyday, when Broadway was a leg of the highway in Joliet. City leaders restored Rich & Creamy back to its retro appearance from its heyday. Jake and Elwood, "The Blues Brothers," dance atop the tower wrapped in neon lights. Hours:
Monday - Saturday 11 am-9 pm, Sunday Noon - 9 pm. Open until 10 pm during warm-weather months.
First Dairy Queen
501 N. Chicago Street, Joliet IL The McCullough family developed soft-serve "ice cream, frozen seconds before you eat it" and called it Dairy Queen. The first store, opened in 1940, was located here in Joliet on Route 66. The building now serves as a church.
102 N. Chicago Street, Joliet Illinois phone:
815-726-6600 web: www.rialtosquare.com
On May 24, 1926, the Rialto Theater opened, unveiling a stunning reflection of Greek, Roman and Byzantine architecture. Serving the public for years, the theater underwent a complete restoration in 1980 and continues to offer a wide selection of performances today. Hours:
Tours available on Tuesdays at 1:30 pm. Group tours by appointment. Rates:
Tours $5 per person.
Bird Haven Greenhouse & Conservatory
225 N. Gougar Road, Joliet Illinois phone:
815-741-7278 Lord & Burnham designed this historic greenhouse featuring a tropical house, cacti-room, shows. Hours:
Daily 8 am - 4:30 pm. Rates:
Joliet Iron Works Historic Site
927 Collins Street, Joliet Illinois 60432 phone:
815-727-8700 Follow a 1-mile walkway through the site on a self-guided tour through exhibits explaining the iron making process, and just as importantly, describing the men who worked there. Hours:
201 W. Jefferson Street, Joliet Illinois 60432 phone:
firstname.lastname@example.org Built along the river on land that had been Joliet's first street, Bicentennial Park was developed in 1976 to celebrate the nation's 200th birthday. The park features a beautiful Riverwalk Promenade with views of Joliet's bridges, metal silhouette sculptures and interpretive panels that describe Joliet's history, a lighted fountain named "Frannie," and an entertainment stage. Hours:
Joliet Jackhammer Giant statue
Silver Cross Field, Joliet Illinois Located at Silver Cross Field, this muffler man sports the Joliet Jackhammers baseball team colors and holds a jack hammer. Named "Left Field Louie" by baseball fan submissions, the giant was purchased by Peter Ferro from Ham Lake, Minnesota in 2003. Hours:
On Historic Route 66, 500 Speedway Blvd, Joliet Illinois 60433 phone:
State of the art 75,000 seat, 1.5 mile superspeedway hosting the NASCAR Winston Cup, Indy Racing League, NASCAR Busch Series, ARCA RE/MAX Series and International Race of Champions events. Hours
: see website for race schedules.
Route 66 Raceway
500 Speedway Blvd, Joliet Illionis 60433 phone:
815-722-5500 web: www.route66raceway.com
A high-octane entertainment facility featuring concerts, motorsports, and more, including NHRA National Drag Racing events and Demolition Derbies. Hours:
see website for event schedule.
Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery
W. Hoff Road, Elwood Illinois 60421 phone:
815-423-9958 Established in 1999 on 982 acres of the Joliet Army Ammunition Plant, the cemetery has many monuments and garden niches that make it well worth a visit. The cemetery was dedicated by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration, and was named after President Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States and founder of the National Cemetery system.. Adjacent to the main entry is a monument to ammunition workers killed in an explosion. This grim memorial is testament to the wartime manufacture of munitions. Hours:
Open daily during daylight hours.
Original two-lane segment
W. Mississippi St, Elwood IL 60421 An original two lane segment of Route 66 dating from 1926-30 connects .3 mile south of Manhattan Road along S. Chicago Road, then right on W. Mississippi Street to Elwood.
Elwood Children's Garden
Half mile east of Mississippi Street in Elwood on Chicago Avenue phone
: 815-423-6861 This community garden has many delightful botanical nooks and mazes for children based on themes, including nursery rhymes, alphabet, and pizza ingredients. It reflects a community pride that is characteristic of the small rural towns on Illinois Route 66. Hours:
Midewin National Tallgrass Prairie Preserve and Welcome Center
30239 S State Route 53, Wilmington, Illinois phone:
815-423-6370 web: www.fs.fed.us/mntp/
The 18,000 acre Midewin Tallgrass Prairie extends from Elwood to Wilmington. The Welcome Center is two miles north of Wilmington along Historic Route 66. It has exhibits and a bookstore. Welcome Center Hours:
Daily 8:30 am - 4:30 pm. The Prairie Preserve encompasses 18,000 acres of the former Joliet Army Ammunition Plant, this is the largest tallgrass prairie restoration in North America. Historic Route 66 bisects the preserve. The immensity of this open grassland contrasts with the urban landscape of Chicagoland. It is a visual introduction to the prairie farmland of Illinois Route 66. Preserve Hours:
Daily Sunrise - Sunset. Rates:
Launching Pad Drive-In and Gemini Giant statue
810 E. Baltimore Street, Wilmington Illinois 60481 phone:
815-476-6535 Founded in 1960, the Launching Pad at first sold only hot dogs and ice cream, but now has a full service menu. It is also home to the Gemini Giant, a fiberglass "muffler man" sporting a space helmet and rocket ship, a remnant of our fascination with space travel. This is a friendly little establishment where travelers feel welcome and can easily chat with locals. It is reminiscent of drive-ins before corporate chains standardized them. Hours: Restaurant:
Daily 11 - 8 pm.
121 S. Main Street, Wilmington Illinois 60481 phone:
815-476-4662 web: www.the-mar.com
Built in 1937, the building has only been used as a movie theatre. The original auditorium comfortably seats 300 moviegoers with a new second auditorium accommodating 64 patrons. Outside, the original marquee is still used to inform moviegoers of current shows. The Mar is still a first run theatre and is one of the oldest and the only privately-owned operating movie theatre in the Will County Area. Hours
: Daily showings. Call or visit website for show times.
100 Water Street, Wilmington, Illinois 60481 The Eagle Hotel was built as a stage stop and hotel by David Lizer in 1836. Since then it has also been a warehouse, tavern, bank, and storefront. When repairs are made from a 1990 fire, it will serve as the Wilmington Area Historical Society Museum. The hotel may be one of the oldest commercial structures on Illinois Route 66.
Polk-a-Dot Drive In
222 N Front Street, Braidwood Illinois 60408 phone:
In 1956, Chester "Chet" Fife began taking fast food orders in his school bus painted in rainbow Polk-a-Dots. In 1962, he moved the business into the current building, which today continues to be a popular stop along Route 66. The drive-in has inside booths along with outdoor seating. Fiberglass figures of Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Betty Boop, James Dean, and the Blues Brothers adorn the outside. Travelers are quickly engaged by the light-hearted, fun atmosphere. Hours:
Daily 11am - 8 pm, Memorial Day - Labor Day 11am - 9 pm.
Braidwood Historic Service Station
100 N Washington Street, Braidwood Illinois 60408 Formerly Lucenta Tire, this 1939 Art Deco service station veneered in white ceramic tile is now an automotive repair shop.
K Mine Park
448 S. Kankakee Street, Godley Illionis phone:
815-458-6133 This large community recreation park is named for the mine that created the community of Godley. It has a children's zoo, playground, and statues of children at play. It also has pavilions, a community recreation center, and jogging trails.
Burma Shave Signs
A series of classic Burma Shave advertising signs with catchy phrases have been installed between Route 66 (Hwy. 53) and the railroad tracks on the edge of Godley.
Mazonia-Braidwood State Fish & Wildlife Area
IL Route 53 and Huston Rd, Braceville Illinois phone:
815-237-0063 web: www.dnr.state.il.us
Built on an old strip mine, the area consists of 1,017 acres dedicated to fish and wildlife management. Mazonia is well known among fossil collectors for its Pennsylvanian fossils. The maze of finger lakes created from surface coal mining is well worth a visit—a rare chance to experience the dramatic physical changes that mining has on the landscape. Hours:
Two-cell Jail and Christiansen Memorial
Christian Christiansen was born in Norway in 1859, immigrated to the U.S. in 1881, and was ordained as a Lutheran preacher in 1888. He served as a pastor of churches in the Gardner area for much of his life. At the age of 83, his knowledge of the Norway landscape helped defeat Nazi Germany. He showed the Allies a route that allowed commandos to destroy Nazi atomic bomb plants. The King of Norway cited him for his valuable war effort. The Gardner two-cell jail was built in 1906 and is a popular photo opportunity for travelers. A memorial adjacent to the jail honors Rev. Christian Christiansen for his contributions that helped prevent the construction of Nazi atomic bombs.
5650 S State Route 53, Gardner Illinois 60424 Destroyed by fire June 2010. Constructed in 1928 out of a church from Gardner and a mining office from South Wilmington, the Riviera hosted many famous customers, including Gene Kelly, Tom Mix, Al Capone, and his brother Ralph. A freezer in the basement with a heavy iron door was supposedly built to hide gambling machines and booze during Prohibition in case of a raid. The unique bar in the basement provided comfort before air conditioning and was decorated like a cave. In its heyday, this classic Route 66 roadhouse featured a zoo, picnic area, swimming hole, and gas station. Until recently, the restaurant still served good food and inexpensive draft beer. This venerable supper club offered travelers genuine Route 66 adventure. Interested customers were given personal tours to see where slot machines and prohibition booze were hidden from raiding revenuers and toilets that were placed on high "thrones" to keep them above periodic river flooding. Hours
: Destroyed by fire June 2010
Historic Streetcar Diner
E. Mazon St., Gardner Illinois 60424 (formerly located behind the Riviera) A historic Kankakee streetcar from the early 20th century was converted and moved to Gardner in 1932 to serve as a diner along Route 66. In 1937, the streetcar became a cottage and playhouse. It was moved behind the Riviera Roadhouse in 1955. The streetcar was restored by the Illinois Route 66 Association and later inducted into the Route 66 Hall of Fame in 2001. In June 2010, The Riviera was destroyed in a fire. By late November the diner was moved to the grounds of the two-cell jail and will undergo further restoration. Hours:
Established in 1854, Dwight was named for a New York railroad investor. It was still a quiet railroad town in 1879 when young Dr. Leslie Keeley opened the doors of the Keeley Institute, the first medical institution to treat alcoholism as a disease. By the 1890s, Keeley Institutes were located in nearly every state in the nation and many oversea countries. Several historic buildings associated with the Keeley and Oughton (a co-founder of the institute) families still stand in Dwight. During the heyday of Route 66, Dwight had the first stoplight on the road outside of Chicago. The route skirted around Dwight's downtown district, and several historic businesses continue to serve travelers. Today, Dwight is a town of 4,500 residents and celebrates its connection to Route 66.
Keeley Institute/Fox Development Center
134 W. Main Street, Dwight Illinois 60420 web: www.il66redcarpetcorridor.org/dwight.html
The former Keeley Institute for the treatment of alcoholism and drug addiction is known for its stained glass windows (depicting the five senses) and for the rich and famous patients treated there. With prohibition and the downsizing of the Keeley Institute, the building served as a Veteran's Administration Hospital from 1926-1966. The building today serves as the William W. Fox Development Center.
Bank of Dwight
132 E Main St, Dwight, Illinois 60420 www.il66redcarpetcorridor.org/dwight.html
The Bank of Dwight, opened in 1855 by David McWilliams, is the oldest state chartered bank still in operation under its original charter and the third oldest bank in Illinois. The current building was built in 1910 and features an original dome mural painted by Viennese artist, Oskar Gross.
Chicago & Alton Railroad Depot/Dwight Historical Society Museum
119 W Main St, Dwight, Illinois 60420 phone
: 815-584-1652 web: www.dwighthistoricalsociety.org
This limestone structure, built in 1891, was designed by famed Chicago architect Henry Ives Cobb. The building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982. The depot continues to serve Amtrak passenger traffic between Chicago and St. Louis. It also serves as the Dwight Historical Society Museum, which preserves the history and culture that pertains to the Dwight area. Hours:
2nd & 4th Saturdays 10:00 am - 1:00 pm. Groups by Reservation
Oughton House/Country Mansion Restaurant
101 West South Street, Dwight, Illinois 60420 phone:
1-800-892-5969 web: www.thecountrymansion.com
Built in 1891 on a different site, the Scott Boarding House was moved to the Keeley Estate in 1894. The building was remodeled into a home for John Oughton, a co-founder of the Keeley Institute. When Oughton died in 1925, the home became lodging for patients of the Keeley Institute. When the institute folded in 1965, Oughton's grandson converted the building into a restaurant. The handcrafted oak and maple woodwork and original fireplaces in the lounge area can be seen while eating lunch or dinner. Hours: Restaurant:
Open Tues - Sunday. Call or visit website for daily hours.
Oughton Estate Windmill
101 West South Street, Dwight Illinois 60420 web: www.il66redcarpetcorridor.org/dwight.html
The windmill is a prominent landmark on the John Oughton estate property. The 5-story, eight-sided, steel-framed windmill was built in 1896 to help pump water for the Oughton estate, which included the buildings that now house Country Mansion Restaurant and the Public Library. The estate, including the windmill, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980. This entire property is an inviting public space. Hours:
Ambler-Becker Texaco Gas Station
417 W. Waupansie Street, Dwight Illinois 60420 web: www.il66redcarpetcorridor.org/dwight.html
This historic 1933 filling station is identified as the longest operating gas station along Route 66. It dispensed fuel for 66 continuous years until 1999. Ambler's was the subject of major restoration work from 2005-2007, and reopened as a Route 66 visitor center in May, 2007. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2001. It features a digital audio player for visitors when the building is closed. Hours:
Route 66 Java Stop
502 West Mazon Avenue, Dwight Illinois A unique modern drive-through coffee shop built of two freight containers, one atop another.
Old Route 66 Family Restaurant
105 S Old Highway 66, Dwight Illinois 60420 phone:
815-584-2920 A modern restaurant with a Route 66 theme located across from the historic Marathon Station.
Pioneer Gothic Church
201 N. Franklin Street, Dwight Illinois 60420 phone:
815-584-1959 web: www.il66redcarpetcorridor.org/dwight.html
The church was built in 1857 and is known for its rare example of wooden "Carpenter Gothic" architecture. Restored in 1968, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Prince of Wales, future King Edward IV, participated in worship here in 1860.
North Prairie Avenue, Dwight IL. Renfrew Park is a nearly 20-acre parcel deeded to the Village of Dwight by David McWilliams in 1897. It was named for Baron Renfrew, the title used by future King Edward VII on his visit to Dwight in 1860.
This former "borrow pit" was excavated for the expansion of Route 66 into a four- lane highway. In the early 1990s, it was transformed into a small park with fishing, picnic tables, a playground, and walking path.
Odell "Subway" Tunnel
313 W Hamilton St., Odell, Illinois 60460 web: www.il66redcarpetcorridor.org/odell.html
Across from Saint Paul's church is an entrance to a 1937 pedestrian tunnel under Route 66, known locally as the "subway." The entrance was sealed in the 1950s. The first 3 steps and the railing were replaced in the spring of 2006 by the Illinois Route 66 Association. That this tunnel was a necessity to safely cross Route 66 is a revelation to anyone standing on this quiet corner today. It is a dramatic reminder of the importance of Route 66 as a national travel corridor.
Standard-Sinclair/Odell Gas Station
West St., Odell Illinois phone:
815-998-2133 web: www.il66redcarpetcorridor.org/odell.html
On the National Register of Historic Places, this gas station was built in 1932 and served travelers until 1975. It was restored with the help of the Illinois Route 66 Association's Preservation Committee. A digital audio player makes audio messages available to visitors at any time. Hours:
Daily 11 am to 3 pm.
Meramec Caverns Barn Advertisement (Cayuga)
Also known as the Cayuga barn, this is a restored example of early highway advertising (Meramec Caverns is in Stanton, Missouri). The Illinois Department of Transportation created a pull-off area from Route 66 so travelers can safely exit the road and take photographs. It is one of two remaining advertisement barns along Illinois Route 66 (the other is near Hamel, IL). It was restored by the Route 66 Association of Illinois Preservation Committee.
Old Log Cabin Restaurant
18700 N. Aurora St (Old Route 66), Pontiac Illinois 61764 phone:
815-842-2908 web: www.route66oldlogcabin.com
Built in 1926, the restaurant originally faced the older Route 66 alignment behind the building (now gone). It is claimed to have been lifted and turned 180 degrees when the alignment changed at the intersection of Pontiac Road (two-lane 66) and the four-lane 66 on the north edge of town. The building was expanded over the years. It is a classic example of the economic significance that Route 66 had on roadside businesses. The restaurant still serves good food to travelers. Hours:
Monday - Saturday 5 am -8 pm.
North Creek/Route 4 Bridge
Bridge abutments, the only ones with the original Illinois Route 4 logo on them, are located on either side of North Creek. A 1926 bronze plaque and a 1998 Route 66 Association of Illinois plaque mark this historic bridge.
Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum
110 W. Howard Street, Pontiac Illinois phone:
815-844-4566 web: www.il66redcarpetcorridor.org/pontiac.html
Housed in an historic firehouse, this facility tells the story of the people and places that have been inducted into the hall of fame. The museum displays significant Illinois artifacts from along Route 66. The upstairs features "Route 66—A Photo Journal," a series of pictures by Michael Campanelli that captures the true spirit of Route 66. Hours:
April - October: Monday - Friday 9 am - 5 pm, Saturday - Sun 10 am to 4 pm. November - March: Monday - Friday 11 am - 3 pm, Saturday - Sunday 10 am - 4pm. Rates:
Old City Hall Shoppes
321 N Main Street, Pontiac, Illinois Located next to the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum are several craft and antique shops in Pontiac's Old 1900 City Hall. The shops offer Route 66 souvenirs. Hours:
Tuesday - Saturday 10 - 5. Sunday Noon - 4 pm.
Livingston County Courthouse
112 W Madison St, Pontiac, Illinois 61764 web: www.il66redcarpetcorridor.org/pontiac.html
Located on the square, the courthouse was built in 1875 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. J.C. Cochrane designed the historic edifice of the county's third courthouse. An Abraham Lincoln statue on the south side of the courthouse lawn memorializes the numerous visits Lincoln made to Pontiac between 1810 and 1860.
Three Roses Bed and Breakfast
209 E. Howard Street, Pontiac, Illinois phone:
www.threerosesbedandbreakfast.com This charming B&B operates in the Jamison House, a Victorian home from about 1890. The owners, David and Sharon Hansen, are strong supporters of Route 66.
314 East Madison St., Pontiac Illinois phone:
815-844-5847 web: www.il66redcarpetcorridor.org/pontiac.html
A Gothic Revival brick house built in 1858. It is named for Henry C. Jones, founder of the Pontiac Ice & Fuel Company, and is the oldest brick home in Pontiac. It is maintained by the Livingston County Historical Society. Hours:
Open by appointment.
Catherine V. Yost House Museum
298 W Water St, Pontiac, Illinois 61764 phone:
815-844-5847 web: www.il66redcarpetcorridor.org/pontiac.html
A Queen Anne style home built in 1898 by Z.F. Yost, an attorney. The museum contains most of the Yost family possessions dating back to the 1850s. Catherine Yost was an artist who traveled and painted in both Europe and the U.S. Her artwork is on display at the museum. It is maintained by the Livingston County Historical Society. Hours:
Open by appointment.
Pontiac Swinging Bridges
Chataqua Park, Play Park, Humiston-Riverside Park, Pontiac Illinois web: www.il66redcarpetcorridor.org/pontiac.html
Pontiac is the only city in Central Illinois with three swinging bridges. The bridges span the Vermilion River and were originally built so residents could get to work. An 1828 bridge connects Riverview Drive and Play Park. It was first built of iron in 1898 but today is a wooden structure. A 1926 bridge connects Play Park and Chautaqua Park. A 1978 bridge connects the south side of the city with Humiston-Riverside Park.
Dargon Park Sculptures
Large metal sculptures entitled "All Things Change and We Change with Them" depict the changes that humans experience while growing. Barry Tinsley, sculptor and artist, completed the design, construction, and erection of the figures in 1998.
Livingston County Poor Farm Cemetery
The cemetery is completely surrounded by farm fields. Livingston County residents that had no money were buried here from 1877 to 1934. The site was part of the Almshouse, built by the county in 1859 to provide a home for people who were poor, mentally or physically ill. In 2004, the cemetery was restored by local citizens, which included a marker along Old Route 66.
Humiston Woods Nature Center
Located just outside Pontiac, north of 2100 N St. on the east bank of the Vermillion River. web:
www.il66redcarpetcorridor.org/pontiac.html This 400 acre natural area has bottomland and mesic forests along with a 15 acre restored prairie. It is known for its spectacular display of spring flowers, dominated by Virginia Bluebells. It features six trails, including a wheelchair accessible trail. Hours:
Matthew T. Scott Home
227 North First Street, Chenoa Illinois phone:
815-945-4555 web: www.chenoail.org/scott_house_brochure.html
The home of agriculturalist, Matthew T. Scott and wife Julia Green Scott, one of the founders of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Scott established Chenoa in 1854. Hours:
Sundays 2 - 4 pm, or by appointment.
209 S. Green Street, Chenoa Illinois phone:
815-945-4211 Schuirman's Drug Store was founded in 1889. It was inducted into the Route 66 Hall of Fame in 2005. The building now houses Chenoa Pharmacy.
309-365-8105 A one mile stretch of original Route 66 that was dedicated in 1926. It has been restored back to the 1940s era with vintage billboard and Burma Shave signs. It can be walked year-round and is open to vehicular traffic during festivals. Hours:
Lexington Neon Arrow Sign
Originally erected in the late 1940s on Route 66, the arrow pointed the way east to the central business district of Lexington. The sign has recently been restored and is in the original location. It is reminiscent of the neon era on the road.
Lexington Route 66 Park
A small wayside park along Route 66 that provides information about historic Lexington and serves as a trailhead for the "Lexington Parkway" Route 66 Bike Trail. Hours: Year-Round.
Filling Station Restaurant
905 1/2 W Main St, Lexington, Illinios 61753. The Mesa Cafe was built in the 1940s and served as a filling station (Skelly) along Route 66. It closed in the 1970s and was brought back for a second life as the Filling Station Restaurant since 1982.
North Cherry Street, Lexington Pool Park, Lexington, Illinois 61753 phone:
309-365-3091 Located in P.J. Keller Park, the cabin was built by the area's first settler, John Patton in June, 1829 with the help of the Kickapoo and Delaware Indians. This cabin is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hours:
Open every Sunday in June, July and August from 2-4pm.
This cemetery contains graves from 1850-1916. Restoration began in 1981. The scattered headstones were gathered together to create a monument on a gravel pad.
"A Geographical Journey" Parkway
A 1.6 mile stretch of Route 66 (an abandoned lane of the 1954 four-lane alignment) with educational kiosks that interpret each state along the road. The walking tour has fliers printed in several languages for international tourists and a collection of Burma Shave signs. It was created by volunteers from Towanda with students and teachers from the Normal Community High School. Hours:
Towanda Dead Man's Curve
A dangerous curve on old Route 4, the original Route 66 before the 1940s. Travelers unaccustomed with the curve misjudged its sharpness and narrow width—just 18 feet wide for two-way traffic. The curve was bypassed after WWII. This curve became a familiar site to patrolling District 6 State Highway Police. Many of these accidents were caused by travelers from Chicago speeding on an unfamiliar road. A house located west of the curve was removed after a semi-trailer truck ran off the road, knocking the structure off its foundation. Before this event, the homeowners had replaced the front porch numerous times because of the damage from cars and trucks crashing into it.
Historic Highway 66, Towanda, Illinois 61776 The largest Italianate Farmhouse in McLean County, Towanda Meadows was built in the late 1860s by livestock businessman William R. Duncan nearly a decade after the Civil War. Duncan built his home just east of the Chicago and Alton Railroad Line, situated on the low hill near Towanda and intended for people to admire it. James H. Scott purchased the mansion from Duncan's heirs. Later owners included D. W. Kraft of Normal and his daughter Helen Kraft. It is currently undergoing restoration. South of Towanda, visible from I-55.
209 North Street, Normal Illinois phone:
309-454-9720 or 309-454-9722 web: www.normaltheater.com
The theater has been completely restored to its original condition when it opened in 1937. The first theater designed for sound films, today it shows classic films and hosts live theater and music. Hours:
See website for show schedule.
Sprague Super Service Station
305 E. Pine Street, Normal Illinois phone:
309-452-5325. This two-story Tudor-Revival style building was built in 1931 to serve increasing traveler needs on Route 66. The building housed a cafe, gas station, and garage on the first floor, while the upstairs served as housing for the owner and station attendant. Several different cafe and auto-related businesses utilized the building until 1976, when it ceased auto-related service. The building has been approved by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and nominated by the agency to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Rehabilitation plans include an information center, diner/soda fountain, bed and breakfast, and event space. It is the largest gas station/restaurant on Historic Route 66. The station still displays great architectural integrity despite minor conversions to other uses. It occupies a commanding location on Historic Route 66 within a very intact cultural landscape. A traveler senses that this streetscape has changed very little since the busy days of Route 66. Hours:
not currently open for tours, but can be viewed from the site.
Normal Water Works Tower/Fell Park
Fell Park, East Willow Street, Normal, Illinois 61761 web: www.normal.org
Created in the mid-1850s, this is the oldest park in Normal. Over the years, the park has served as a cow pasture and religious gathering space. The town constructed the Normal Water Works Tower in the park in 1898 to provide water in times of emergency. The brick sidewalks surrounding the park were constructed in the early 1900s. Hours:
Beer Nuts Factory and Company Store
103 N Robinson Street, Bloomington lllinois phone:
309-827-8580 Today's BEER NUTS Peanuts were originally called "Redskins" because they were prepared with their red skins intact. The peanuts were sold over the counter and were occasionally offered at no charge to entice patrons of the original Caramel Crisp shop to buy the homemade orange drink. The company continues to produce BEER NUTS using the original 1937 recipe. All BEER NUTS products are produced by the James A. Shirk family business at a single 100,000 square foot manufacturing facility in Bloomington, Illinois, where visitors may purchase nuts at the company store and view a video tour of the manufacturing process. Hours:
Monday-Friday 8 am - 5 pm.
David Davis Museum State Historic Site
1000 Monroe Drive, Bloomington Illinois phone:
309-828-1084 web: www.daviddavismansion.org
Also called Clover Lawn, this Victorian home was built in 1872 for U.S. Supreme Court Justice David Davis. In his early days, Davis rode the circuit with Abraham Lincoln. As president, Lincoln appointed Davis to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Davis mansion served as a focal point for the social, cultural, and political life of Bloomington. Today, it is operated by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. Hours:
Wednesday-Sunday 9 am - 4 pm. Call ahead to confirm hours. Group tours by appointment. Rates:
Suggested donation of $4/adult and $2/child
First Steak'n Shake
1219 S. Main Street, Bloomington Illinois Gus and Edith Belt owned a Shell Gas Station in Bloomington in the 1920s. They attached a dining room and began selling "Shell's Chicken." Gus quickly realized that the area had plenty of chicken restaurants, however, and changed his line to steak burgers. His first Steak'n Shake was built in Bloomington along Route 66 in 1934. This original location has since closed, but Steak 'n Shake restaurants can be found throughout Illinois.
Cotton's Village Inn
410 N. Main, Bloomington, Illinois This historic downtown restaurant was inducted into the Route 66 Hall of Fame in 1991.
McLean County Courthouse and Museum of History
200 N. Main Street, Bloomington Illinois phone:
309-827-0428 web: www.mchistory.org
The museum is housed in the Old McLean County Courthouse, built in 1900, which served the McLean County Circuit Court until 1976. This example of monumental architecture is well preserved. National award winning exhibits guide visitors through the county's history. It is also one of the top five genealogical reference libraries in the country. Hours:
Monday & Wednesday -Saturday 10 am - 5 pm, Tuesdays 10 am - 9 pm.
Miller Park and Zoo
1020 South Morris Avenue, Bloomington Illinois phone:
309-434-2250 web: www.cityblm.org
Located in the southwest part of Bloomington, the park features a restored 1906 pavilion, lake, war memorials, and a preserved steam locomotive, coal car, and caboose from the Nickel Plate Railroad. The zoo has an indoor tropical rain forest that houses exotic birds and an outdoor exhibit with lions, red wolves, snow leopards, and more. Hours:
Open daily 9:30 am to 4:30 pm.Rates: Adults $4.50, Kids 3-12 $3.50, Kids under 3 free.
Prairie Aviation Museum
2929 East Empire Street, Bloomington IL. phone:
www.prairieaviationmuseum.org Features a collection of preserved aircraft, revolving aviation exhibits and memorabilia, and a mini-theatre. Exhibits include a Bell Sea Cobra, Huey Helicopter, and F-14 Tomcat. The museum's DC-3 Flagship is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Hours:
Tuesday - Saturday 11 am - 4 pm. Sunday Noon to 4 pmAdults: $4 Children 6-11: $2, 5 and under: free
Funk Prairie Home
10875 Prairie Home Ln, Shirley, Illinois 61772 phone:
309-827-6792 web: www.funksgrove.org
This is the restored 1864 home of one of McLean County's most famous citizens, Lafayette Funk. Lafayette was co-founder and director of the Chicago Union Stockyards and served as an Illinois State Senator. The house features memorabilia and antiques owned by the Funk family, including a working Victrola and first ever electric kitchen island. Hours:
Tuesday - Saturday, 9 am - 4 pm, or by appointment. Closed January and February.
Funk Gem and Mineral Museum
10875 Prairie Home Ln, Shirley, Illinois 61772 phone:
309-827-6792 web: www.funksgrove.org
The museum houses a large number of fossils, petrified wood, Native American artifacts and rocks that Lafayette Funk II collected from all over the world. It also interprets the Funk Brothers Seed Company. Eugene Funk, son of Lafayette, pioneered the use of hybrid corn. Hours:
Tues - Sat, 9 am - 4 pm, or by appointment. Closed January and February. Rates:
Walker Store and Historic Depot
The Walker Store was a grocery store and gas station until the late 1970s, when it became an antique store. The abandoned rustic storefront complete with rusting gas pump is a nostalgic introduction to the community. Across the road is an abandoned historic depot that was moved from Shirley. The original Funks Grove Depot is located at the Maple Sirup Camp.
Funks Grove Cemetery
7054 E 535 North Rd, Mc Lean, Illinois 61754 web: www.funksgrove.org
A beautiful site nestled beneath the large maple trees of Funk's Grove. It includes an outdoor "Chapel of the Templed Trees." Visitors can enjoy the sanctuary-like peace of the grove and stroll through the cemetery and get a feel for the span of generations that have called this place home.
Sugar Grove Nature Center
4532 N. 725 East Road, Funks Grove Illinois phone:
309-874-2174 web: www.funksgrove.org
The center is located among over 1,000 acres of high quality natural areas. Funks Grove is the largest remaining intact prairie grove in the state of Illinois. It contains four dedicated nature preserves and has been designated as a National Natural Landmark by the U.S. Department of Interior. Over five miles of well maintained trails take visitors through prairie, forest, and riverine habitats. The center has interpretive exhibits, sensory displays, and live animals. Hours:
Nature Center: April - October : Tuesday - Friday 9 am - 5 pm. Saturdays 10 am - 3 pm. November - March: Tuesday - Saturday, 10 am - 3 pm. Trails are open year-round, dawn until dusk.
Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup
5257 Old Route 66 Funks Grove Illinois phone:
309-874-3360 web: www.funksgrove.org
Debby and Mike Funk continue the family traditions laid down by the previous six generations. Funk descendents have been making maple sirup here since the town was founded in 1824. The Funk's Grove Maple Sirup business was established in 1891. Sirup is correctly spelled this way to distinguish it from sugar-based syrup. This was and continues to be a major stopping point along Route 66. The gift shop features maple sirup seasonally and Route 66 souvenirs. Hours:
Open March - August. Monday - Saturday 9 am - 5 pm. Sunday 1 - 5 pm.
Funks Grove I-55 Rest Area
This modern rest area along I-55 features interior historical exhibits about Abraham Lincoln and Route 66. Metal silhouette statues outside tell the story of traveling in automobiles, picnicking, and the beginnings of Route 66. Historic Route 66 runs directly behind the rest area. There are no connecting access roads but off-ramps are nearby.
Dixie Truck Stop
501 S Main St, Mc Lean, Illinois 61754 phone:
309-874-2323 In 1928, J.P. Walters and John Geske rented part of a mechanic's garage here to sell sandwiches to Route 66 travelers and truckers. By the 1930s, the operation had grown to a full-fledged restaurant, cabins,and a cattle pen. The Dixie was owned and operated by the Geske family from 1928-2003 and was only closed one day after a fire in1965. The truck stop has changed hands, but still serves travelers along Route 66 and I-55, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The original Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame was housed here from 1990-2004, when it moved to Pontiac. Hours:
Open 24 hours a day.
J.H. Hawes Grain Elevator Museum
301 SW 2nd Street, Atlanta Illinois phone:
217-648-2056 or 217-648-5077 web: www.haweselevator.org
Built in 1904 to serve area farmers, the elevator continued to operate until 1976.The City of Atlanta purchased it in 1988 and completed full restoration in 1993. The wooden grain elevator is the only one of its kind in the State of Illinois and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.Today, this museum demonstrates the unique systems used to empty horse-drawn wagons, and later unload grain trucks. Grain elevators are a signature landmark of Illinois Route 66.They were the beacons that marked towns and a promise of gas, food and lodging. The museum also includes a brick engine house and a wooden scale house/office. Hours:
Sundays 1-3 pm, during June, July and August. Or by appointment.
Atlanta Public Library and Clock Tower
100 SE Race St, Atlanta, Illinois 61723 phone:
217-648-2112 Built in 1908, this octagon-shaped building is on the National Register of Historic Places. It features 1840s neo-classic details such as high ceilings, a domed rotunda, high narrow windows, the original solid oak woodwork, and an old fashioned fireplace. A Seth Thomas clock tower is on the library lawn; it must be hand cranked every 8 days. A museum was established in the basement in 1973 that houses pieces of local history. Hours:
Tuesday and Thursday 12:30- 8pm, Wednesday and Friday 12:30 - 4:30pm, Saturday 9am - 3pm.
Route 66 Park & Tourism Center, Atlanta
114 SW Arch St. Atlanta, IL 61723 This modern roadside park was built by Atlanta for Route 66 travelers to relax. An information booth is staffed seasonally to provide information about sites in Atlanta (once was a Ticket Office for the Atlanta Fair). It also includes the cornerstone of Atlanta High School (1909) and a memorial to the veterans of WWI (1921).
"Atlanta: Midway on Illinois' Mother Road" Mural
Located inside the Route 66 Park, the mural celebrates Atlanta's location approximately 150 miles from both Chicago and St. Louis. The 20'x6' mural was designed by Bill Diaz of Pontiac, Illinois. It was completed in June, 2003 by the Letterheads.
Palms Grill Cafe
112 S.W. Arch Street, Atlanta Illinois phone:
217.648.5077 web: www.atlantaillinois.net
Originally operated from 1934 to the late 1960s, the cafe has been refurbished as a working restaurant, and once again serves its traditional blue-plate specials to Route 66 travelers and visitors. It is noted for its beautifully restored neon sign. Historically, a customer would turn on a light at the bottom of the sign to notify the Greyhound bus driver to stop. This quaint procedure conjures images of humble travelers waiting patiently to journey to distant cities. It underscores the importance that Route 66 played in connecting scattered communities. The cafe is located in the historic Downey Building along with the new Atlanta Museum featuring local history. Hours:
Sunday-Thursday 8 am - 5 pm. Friday & Saturday 8 am - 8 pm.
Bunyon's Statue Giant
This fiberglass giant was made in the 1960s by International Fiberglass of Venice, California. Approximately 150 of these giants were made and put into service to advertise auto service. They became known as "Muffler Men." In 1965, this ex-Muffler Man was purchased by Hamlet Arthur Stephens. The muffler was replaced by a hotdog and the statue was placed in front of Stephen's restaurant, "Bunyon's" on Route 66 in Cicero, Illinois. For 38 years, "Bunyon's Statue" was a Route 66 landmark. In January 2003, the Bunyon's restaurant closed. The statue was relocated to downtown Atlanta, so that it could stay on historic Route 66.
Smiley Water Tower
Atlanta's bright yellow water tower with a smiley face painted on it is an inviting welcome to Route 66 travelers.
J.M. Judy and Sons Grocer mural
J.M. Judy operated a grocery store in Atlanta in the 1890s. This mural is a reproduction of a mural that adorned the side of this building. It was painted in June, 2002 as part of the "Route 66 Firecracker Walldog Jam" by Letterheads.
"Reisch Beer" Mural
Wall mural for 1894 building that served as an outlet for the Resich Brewing Company from Springfield. It was painted in June, 2003 by Letterheads.
"Wisteria Cafe" Mural
Mural for the Wisteria Cafe & Confectionery, a place for ice cream soda, cigars, and candy in the 1920s. The mural was painted in June, 2003 by the Letterheads.
Abandoned Route 66 Pavement, Lincoln
1905 N. Kickapoo St. Lincoln, IL 62656 A small stretch of original Route 66 alignment pavement, located behind a car dealership, once connected with a curve to the north. It is now used by the auto lot to park cars.
Lincoln College Museum
300 Keokuk Street, Lincoln Illinois phone:
217-735-5050 web: www.lincolncollege.edu/museum
The museum is a repository of a large collection of manuscripts, artifacts, and other memorabilia relating to the life of Abraham Lincoln. The college also houses the Museum of Presidents, to honor the Chief Executives from Washington to the present day. Hours:
Monday - Friday 9 am - 4:00 pm, Saturday - Sunday 1 pm - 4 pm
Krotz and Sons Antiques & Stuff
1010 N. Kickapoo, Lincoln IL Originally built in the early 1900s, some of the materials were salvaged from the 1858 Logan County Courthouse where Abraham Lincoln practiced law. G. Frank Krotz bought the building in 1919, and created the "Krotz and Sons Grocery Store," which operated until the early 1970s. Today, this curiosity shop is more of a historic museum, displaying vintage auto parts, merchandise from other bygone businesses, and old photos of the city of Lincoln.
Logan County Courthouse
601 Broadway St., Lincoln, Illinois 62656 phone:
217-732-8687 Erected in 1905, the courthouse is located on the square, which is a historic district. The stone, three-story, domed structure is considered the second most architecturally spectacular historic courthouse in Illinois' 102 Counties (after Carlinville in Macoupin County, another Historic Route 66 town). It houses a statue of Lincoln, murals, plus historical display cases.
Lincoln City Hall
700 Broadway Street, Lincoln Illinois Built in 1895, the red brick for the building came from the Lincoln Coal Company. A unique telephone booth on the roof was added later and was used by weather spotters to phone in sighted storms. Lincoln City Hall anchors the downtown National Historic Registered District and is one of the city's most visible symbols.
111 S. Kickapoo Street, Lincoln Illinois phone:
217-732-6923 Owned and operated by a grandson of the Huffmans, who began making their famous Schnitzel in the Mill Restaurant in 1945. The original Schnitzel is now served here in downtown Lincoln. Hours:
Sun - Thurs 11 am - 8 pm , Sat - Sun 11 am - 9 pm.
Lincoln Christening Site
101 N. Chicago Street, Lincoln, Illinois The site where Abraham Lincoln christened the town with the juice of a watermelon on August 27, 1853. A watermelon statue and interpretive panel mark the site at the intersection of Broadway and Chicago Streets.
Route 66 Chapel
Corner of 5th and Logan, Lincoln, Illinois Built by the Zion Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod, this small log cabin chapel next to Route 66 is open for travelers. It has a working bell tower.
Postville Courthouse State Historic Site
914 Fifth Street, Lincoln Illinois web: www.postvillecourthouse.com
The building is a reproduction of the first Logan County Courthouse in use from 1840 to 1847 where Abraham Lincoln served as a lawyer on the Eighth Judicial Circuit. Hours:
Tuesday-Saturday, noon to 5:00 pm during March - October, noon to 4:00 pm during November - February.
The Mill Restaurant
738 S. Washington, Lincoln Illinois web: www.SaveTheMill.org
Opened in 1929 under the name of the Blue Mill, it served grilled sandwiches at any hour of the day or night. The Dutch themed building with blue trim featured a revolving windmill and waitresses dressed in blue with white aprons. In 1945, Albert and Blossom Huffman purchased the building, added a barroom and dance hall, and then painted the building barn red. Over the years, the restaurant became famous for its fried schnitzel, originally made of veal, and later of pork. The Mill closed in 1996. In 2007 work began to restore the building as a museum.
1007 Hickox/Lincoln Parkway (Rt. 66), Lincoln, Illinois Opened in 1950 by Vince Schwenoha (son of Coonhound Johnny). He had served in Hawaii during his tour of duty and came up with the name "The Tropics." The original neon sign with palm tree still stands, although the restaurant is closed.
Railsplitter Covered Wagon
1750 5th St., (Corner of 5th Street and Route 66), Lincoln Illinois Recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the "World's Largest Covered Wagon," the Railsplitter and its driver, Abe Lincoln, welcome visitors throughout the year.
725 Hickox, Lincoln, Illinois 62656 phone:
217-732-4113 The Redwood Motel was built in 1955 at the junctions of Route 66, 10, and 21. This had previously been the site of a Standard Oil station built in 1934. The current owners are maintaining the motel in its 1950s-60s era.
Lincoln Ghost Bridge
Ruins of a bridge over Salt Creek south of Lincoln—part of the 1926 alignment. Concrete piers still remain. A covered wooden bridge spanned the creek here previously.
Madigan (Railsplitter) State Park
1366 1010th Ave, Lincoln, Illinois phone:
217- 735-2424 Formerly known as Railsplitter State Park, the land was acquired by the State of Illinois in 1970 from the Department of Mental Health. It is home to the largest sycamore tree in Illinois. Seven miles of trails, picnic tables, shelters, and playground equipment are available to visitors. The park was renamed in 1995 to honor Edward R. Madigan. Hours:
Open year-round. Sunrise to sunset.
Pig Hip Restaurant
101 W. Oak Street, Broadwell Illinois An icon of Route 66, the Pig Hip Restaurant was open from 1937 to 1991, and served as a popular museum from 1991 to 2007. The building caught fire on March 5, 2007 and was destroyed. Ernie Edwards, creator of the Pig Hip sandwich and owner of the restaurant, still lives next door. The site is now simply identified with a stone marker.
Pioneer's Rest Motel
101 W. Oak Street, Broadwell Illinois In the 1940s, the Edwards family expanded their successful Pig Hip restaurant business. Next door, Ernie's sister built tourist cabins that were later enclosed as the Pioneer's Rest Motel. The motel closed in 1991 at the same time as the Pig-Hip Restaurant. The building still stands, as does the classic block letter motel sign.
Elkhart, IL A glacial moraine that rises above the surrounding prairie. Native tribes used this natural landmark for navigation. It was once owned by John Dean Gillett known as the "Cattle King" of Illinois.
This beautiful wooded 1874 cemetery is the last resting place of Captain Adam Borgardus, expert marksman and performer in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show, John Dean Gillett, the cattle baron, and Governor Richard Oglesby. It is said to be haunted by the ghost of Emma Gillett Oglesby.
St. John the Baptist Chapel
In 1890, John Dean Gillett's wife, Lermira, had a chapel built in the Elkhart Cemetery in honor of her husband. This chapel, known as Chapel of St. John the Baptist, is the only privately owned chapel in the state of Illinois.
Gillett Memorial Arch Bridge
Commissioned by former Illinois first lady Emma Gillett Oglesby in 1915 as a memorial to her brother, this cast-concrete bridge serves as a link between the family cemetery and the grounds of the historic estate. The single- arch bridge is a unique visual feature along a scenic stretch of roadway. Over the years, family members and local residents have made efforts to maintain the bridge, which shows only minimal signs of wear.
Old Gillett Farm
The Old Gillett Farm is an historic seventh generation farm on Elkhart Hill. It covers 700 acres with beautiful gardens, the Elkhart Grove Forest Preserve, and open fields. Accommodations are available in the Brick House guest house. Tours of the Big House and Chapel, complete with stories about family associations with notable Illinoisans including Abraham Lincoln, are available by appointment. Visit oldgillettfarm.org for rates and reservations.
Elkhart Gas Station
Now closed, this was a 1940s era landmark of Route 66. Its exterior was covered with colored glazed block, which can be seen on the back of the building.
Bluestem Bake Shop
107 Gov Oglesby Street, Elkhart, Illinois phone:
217-947-2222 A true find! This locally owned cafe serves up fresh, made-from-scratch breakfast and lunch. The restaurants also sells baked goods at many area farmers markets, and was recognized for its version of True American Apple Pie. Hours:
Thursday - Sunday, 8 am - 2 pm.
Die Cast Auto Sales
This 1930s service station is a collector's dream with vintage gas pumps and signs on the outside of the building. Although the building is now closed, it is a classic photo opportunity for Route 66 travelers.
Carpenter Park Route 66 pavement
An abandoned stretch of early Route 66 (1926-1936) forms the eastern border of Carpenter Park. Now listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the curbed concrete provides a peek into the Mother Road's vintage past. It preserves the two-lane highway design, original cross-section with curbing, and original surface. The road travels past scenic bluffs to the Sangamon River.
Flagg Farmstead B&B
500 Old Tipton School Road, Sherman, Illinois 62684 phone:
888-611-FLAG web: flaggfarmsteadbandb.com
This attractive historic home is surrounded by stately oak, maple, and hickory trees. The Farmhouse was built in 1871 for Cornelius Flagg, one of four entrepreneurs who platted the town of Sherman. The Italianate structure offers four antiqued finished bedrooms with private baths. The Flagg Farmstead is in the National Register of Historic Places.
Double H Bar
121 N 1st Street, Sherman Illinois phone:
217-496-3811 The Double H Bar was built in 1946 from handmade concrete blocks, and has served Route 66 travelers continuously since that time.
Ray's Route 66 Diner
A modern diner with inexpensive breakfast and lunch specials. An unusual shrine with a statue of Mary is located on a brick patio adjacent to the diner and visible from the road. The statue is elevated on bricks with a skylight above; true Route 66 kitsch.
1908 Race Riot Self-Guided Historical Tour
Tour starts at corner of 7th and Jefferson Streets, in downtown Springfield. Visit the Springfield CVB for map and info - 109 N. 7th Street, Springfield IL. Visitors to Springfield can take a self-guided tour of nine historical markers that describe key moments in the Springfield Race Riot of 1908. As a direct result of the Springfield Race Riot, a coalition of black and white citizens established the NAACP in New York City on February 12, 1909, Lincoln's birthday. Hours: Tours can be taken year-round. CVB (for maps) open Mon - Fri 8:30am - 5:00pm. Rates: Free
Located on the north side of Springfield, the Pioneer Motel was built in the 1940s, and consisted of 12 units arranged in a classic L-shape style. The name was never changed and the classic motel sign tower still greets guests.
Illinois State Police Heritage Foundation and Museum
Honors the men and women who have served on Illinois' highways since their establishment in 1922. Route 66 ("Bloody 66" as it was called) was a major patrol venue. The museum has pictures, uniforms, equipment and vintage cars dating back to the earliest years of the Illinois State Highway Patrol.
Lazy A Motel (Prairie Village Apartments)
A 1949 motel built with a Southwest Vernacular style—unusual for this part of the country. It represents the typical 1930s to ‘40s "mom and pop" motor court with garages between the units, and is the last remaining structure of its type on Illinois Historic Route 66. It is on the National Register of Historic Places. The motel has been converted into apartments, but the original style is well maintained.
Illinois State Fairgrounds/The Railsplitter Giant
801 Sangamon Avenue, Springfield Illinois phone:
217-782-6661 The Fairgrounds, as well as some of the exhibition buildings, date to 1894. Located on the state fairgrounds, "The Railsplitter" Abraham Lincoln giant statue was created and built by Carl W. Rinnus in commemoration of the State of Illinois' 150th Anniversary of its statehood (1968). Hours:
Admission fee required during State Fair dates and during other events. No charge for admission during off hours.
Shea's Gas Station Museum
This wonderful private museum, owned by the Shea family, is loaded with gas station and oil company collectibles and is an internationally renowned, must-see Route 66 landmark.
Capitol City Motel
1620 N. 9th St, Springfield IL. 217-528-0462 A classic motel (still in operation) that was active during the heyday of Route 66.
Watt Brothers Pharmacy
830 N. Grand Avenue East, Springfield Illinois phone: 217-522-3711 First open in 1938, Watt Bros. is the oldest pharmacy in the Springfield area. Located on the north side of the city, near the Ill.State Fairgrounds, it was inducted into the Route 66 Hall of Fame in 2001.
525 N. Grand Ave, Springfield Illinois phone:
217-732-8972 Founded in 1932 as a retail shop in Springfield, Illinois. Created during the height of the Great Depression, the founder, Kelly Grant Sr., decided to sell donuts at wholesale to restaurants and corner grocery stores. Mel-O-Cream became a household word in the Springfield area, with distributions expanding in the late 40s and early 50s. In 1964, the first franchise was opened. The North Grand location is the only one with classic signage and building. Hours:
Tuesday - Friday 5 am - 4 pm, Saturday - Sunday 5 am - noon.
On the day President Lincoln died, April 15, 1865, Springfield citizens began raising funds to build a memorial. On May 3, the body was delivered to Springfield and stored in a receiving vault at Oak Ridge Cemetery. The tomb, built of granite with a 117-foot high obelisk, was completed in 1874. This is the final resting place for Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary Todd, and three of their four sons.
War Memorials: WWII, Korean and Vietnam
Oak Ridge Cemetery, 1441 Monument Ave, Springfield, Illinois 62702 The World War II Veterans Memorial
Oak Ridge Cemetery, 1500 Monument Ave, Springfield, IL 62702. This memorial was dedicated on December 4, 2004 to honor the 987,000 men and women from the State of Illinois who served in the war, including 22,000 who lost their lives. The design centerpiece is a globe 12 feet in diameter with metal buttons that show the locations of major battles. The Korean War State Memorial
Oak Ridge Cemetery, 1441 Monument Ave, Springfield, IL 62702. This memorial was dedicated on June 16, 1996 to honor the 1,748 Illinoisans killed during the war. It consists of a 12-foot tall bronze bell mounted on a granite base with a carillon system that plays music. The Illinois Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Oak Ridge Cemetery, 1441 Monument Ave, Springfield, IL 62702. This memorial was dedicated in 1988 to honor the 3,000 Illinois troops killed or listed as missing during the war. The center of the monument is an eternal flame supported by five vertical gray granite walls. Hours:
Memorials available for viewing year-round.
Union Station Visitors Center
500 E. Madison, Springfield Illinois (adjacent to the Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library Complex) phone:
217-557-4588 Designed in the Richardson Romanesque style in 1896 as a combined passenger terminal for several railroads serving Springfield. The station closed in 1971 and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The building has been extensively restored, including its beautiful three-story clock tower, as a state visitor center. Hours:
Open daily 9 am - 5 pm.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
112-212 N. 6th Street, Springfield, Illinois phone:
217-558-8844 web: www.alplm.org
This 200,000 square foot complex includes an Archive, Library, and Museum. It features interactive exhibits, lifelike statues of Lincoln's life, and innovative theater presentations. It is over 50% larger than any other presidential library, and is the most visited. Hours:
Open daily, 9 am - 5 pm. Rates:
Fee for entrance and shows.
Maid Rite Sandwich Shop
118 N. Pasfield Street, Springfield ILllinois phone:
217-523-0723 On the National Register of Historic Places, this is one of America's oldest drive-ins, dating to 1924. It claims the first drive-up window in the country. It serves the original specially seasoned loose meat hamburger with mustard, pickle relish, and onion on a steamed bun. Hours:
Monday - Friday 10 am - 4:30 pm, Saturdays 11 am - 3 pm.
Old State Capitol
112 N 6th St, Springfield, Illinois 62702 phone:
217-785-7961 This is considered by many to be Lincoln's capitol as it was here that he argued cases before the Illinois Supreme Court, served in the state legislature, first confronted Stephen Douglas, and where he delivered his famous "House Divided" speech. Hours:
Tuesday - Saturday, 9 am - 5 pm. Rates:
Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices
6th St & Adams St, Springfield, IL 62701. 217-785-7960 Lincoln and his partner, William Herndon, occupied this building from 1843-1852. This is the only surviving building where Abraham Lincoln worked as a lawyer. It has been restored and tours are provided. Hours: Open daily May 15 – September 7. Rest of the year: Saturdays only. 9 am - 4 pm. Rates: Free
Coney Island Restaurant
210 S. 5th St, Springfield Illinois phone:
217-528-1193 Opened in 1919, patrons have enjoyed chili dogs (the "best in town") and hamburgers here for nearly 90 years. The restaurant's decor features old mirrors hanging above wooden booths dating from the 1940s. Hours:
Monday - Friday 11am - 2:30 pm.
10th & Monroe Streets, Springfield Illinois phone:
217-544-8695 or 788-1356 Three months after his election in November 1860, Abraham Lincoln left Springfield from this depot for Washington, D.C. to become the 16th President of the United States. The special train that would take him there left the Great Western Depot on the rainy morning of Monday, February 11, 1861, the last day Lincoln spent in Springfield. Hours:
May - August. Open daily. 10 am - 4 pm. Rates: Free
Illinois State Capitol
2nd and Capitol, Springfield Illinois phone:
217-782-2099 The capitol has served the people of Illinois since 1877. Many murals, plaques, paintings and statues depict significant people and events in Illinois history. You can watch the legislature when in session. Hours:
Monday - Friday, 8 am - 4:30 pm, Saturday - Sunday, 9 am - 3:30 pm. Rates:
Illinois State Museum
Capitol Complex on the corner of Spring and Edwards Streets, 217-782-7386 Houses interactive exhibitions that tell the story of the land, life, people, and art of Illinois. Hours: Monday - Saturday, 8:30 am - 5 pm, Sunday, noon - 5 pm. Rates: Free
Widow at Windsor Antique Shop
711 South Fifth Street, Springfield Illinois phone:
217-744-3735 Located in an old ornate Cadillac dealership building, the shop offers fine European antiques and architecturals. Hours:
Wednesday - Saturday 11 am - 5 pm.
300 East Lawrence, Springfield Illinois phone:
217-782-6776 A famous Frank Lloyd Wright prairie-style home, open for tours. In 1902, architect Frank Lloyd Wright was commissioned to design a home for Susan Lawrence Dana, a forward- thinking socialite in Springfield. The building is the best preserved and most complete of the early prairie-style homes. It contains the largest collection of site-specific, original Wright art glass and furniture. Wright traveled Route 66 with his entourage of students to reach Taliesin West (in Arizona), and would periodically stop by the house. Hours:
Wednesday - Sunday 9 am - 4 pm.
Joe Roger's Original Recipe Chili Parlor
Serves chili "just the way you like it"—with or without beans, mild, medium, medium/touch, medium hot, hot and the J.R. Special (if you survive a bowl of the Special, you get a second one free).
Route 66 Hotel & Conference Center
625 E. Saint Joseph Street, Springfield Illinois phone:
217-529-6626 Includes a "mini museum" with a unique array of vehicles, signs and articles from the Route 66 era, and a family-style restaurant dubbed the "Filling Station Bar and Grill."
3219 S 6th Street Rd, Springfield Illinois 62703 web: www.thecurveinn.com
Opened on Route 66 south of Springfield in 1945. The original owner, Guido Manci, served the public in the main tavern area, while "special" customers could ring a buzzer at the bottom of the back stairs to gain entrance to the gambling and prostitution parlor on the upper floor. In 1972, Neil McGillivary purchased the Inn and kept the name. Current owners Ray and Ami Merchant and Don Thompson purchased the Inn in 2002. It was inducted into the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame in 2007. Hours:
Mon - Fri 11am - 3 am, Sat 1 pm - 3 am, Sun Noon - 3 am.
Knights Action Park/Route 66 Drive-In
1700 Recreation Dr, Springfield, Illinois 62711 phone:
217-546-8881 web: www.knightsactionpark.com
Knights Action Park started in 1952 as a golf driving range by George Knight Sr. It has evolved into a diverse family fun park with water slides, bumper boats and batting cages. The Green Meadows Drive-In opened in 1978 and lasted just 4 years. Restored in 2002 as the Route 66 Drive-In, it now shows double features nightly from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day. Hours:
Open year-round. All entertainment available daily between Memorial Day - Labor Day.
Abandoned Brick Road Curve
An abandoned curve of the 1930-1933 Route 66 alignment that is still paved in bricks. It is currently on private property on North Cotton Hill Road.
Abandoned Pavement under Lake Springfield
From 1930-1933, Route 66 followed North Cotton Hill Road. In 1933, Lake Springfield was created by damming Sugar Creek, and the water level rose to cover a large segment of the highway. Route 66 was moved to the current location of I-55 to cross the lake. Old pavement still leads through the woods here to where the road disappears under the lake.
Washington Park Botanical Gardens and Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon
1740 West Fayette Ave, Springfield Illinois phone:
217-753-6228 web: www.springfieldparks.org
The Botanical Gardens is a domed conservatory with tropical foliage and more. The Thomas Rees Memorial Carillon is one of the largest carillons in the world, and one of the few open to the public. View bells and playing mechanisms during a narrated tour with video presentation. Hours:
Year-Round. Monday - Friday, noon - 4 pm. Sat - Sun, noon - 5 pm.
Lincoln Memorial Gardens
2301 East Lake Shore Drive, Springfield, Illinois Phone:
217-529-1111 Founded in 1936 as a living memorial to Abraham Lincoln. All plants in the garden are native to the three states Lincoln lived in— Illinois, Indiana and Kentucky. Located on Lake Springfield, the gardens were designed by famed Chicago landscape architect, Jens Jensen. Because of this association with Jensen, the gardens were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1992. A nature center and gift shop are open every day except Monday. Hours:
Year-Round. Sunrise to Sunset.
Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site
15588 History Lane, Petersburg, Illinois phone:
217-632-4000 About 2 miles south of Petersburg and about 20 miles northwest of Springfield is a reconstruction of the pioneer village where Abraham Lincoln spent his early adulthood. The six years Lincoln spent in New Salem formed a turning point in his career. Twelve log houses, the Rutledge Tavern, ten workshops, stores, mills, and a school where church services were held have been reproduced and furnished as they might have been in the 1830s. Daily demonstrations and special events make this a wonderful half- day visit. Hours:
Year-Round. Wednesday - Saturday 9 am - 5 pm.
1569 Wabash Avenue, Springfield, Illinois Lauterbach Tire and Auto Service has a fiberglass "muffler man" giant standing in the parking lot. He used to hold a tire, but was recently upgraded to be more patriotic with a U.S. flag. In 2006, the muffler man lost his head during a twister, but was skillfully repaired by the station.
Sugar Creek Covered Bridge
This historic 1880 bridge was built by Thomas Black. It spans 60 feet across Sugar Creek. The bridge has been restored and is open to foot traffic. A quaint park adjacent to the bridge and creek is an ideal place for a picnic.
Chatham Railroad Museum/Depot
100 N. State Street, Chatham, Illinois 62629. phone:
217- 483-7792 web: www.chathamrailroadmuseum.org
The first train from Alton to Springfield went through Chatham on September 9, 1852. The current station was built in 1902 to replace an earlier station that had burned. Western Union Telegraph and United States Express services were both available at the station and local residents could ship and receive freight such as furniture and farm supplies. After 70 years of service, the station was closed in 1972. The station is owned by the Village of Chatham and was restored by the Friends of the Depot in 1991. In 1999, the Chicago & Illinois Midland Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society signed an agreement with Chatham to re-restore the station and create the Chatham Railroad Museum. Hours:
Open 2nd and 4th Sunday of the month 2 pm - 4 pm. Or by appointment.
Historic Brick Road
Snell Road and Curran Road, Auburn, Illinois This original 1.4 mile hand-lain brick road was completed in 1931, and curves through corn fields near Auburn. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Route 66 Memorial Rest Area
This is an original preserved rest area along Route 66 next to the Double H Bar. Historic rest areas had few amenities; they were places to stretch legs and eat at picnic tables.
Ace Sign Company
402 N. 4th Street, Springfield Illinois phone:
217-522-8417. Established in 1940, this business constructed many of the classic neon signs that advertised businesses throughout Springfield. Joe Bringuet (father) and Dennis Bringuet (son) currently run the business. A large number of vintage signs from Springfield are stored in the company's warehouse. Hours:
Tours by appointment to view the collection of classic signs.
Old Route 66, Auburn, Illinois phone:
217-836-3043 On the site of an old hosiery factory, this modern emporium offers antiques, collectibles, souvenirs and a collection of road signs. In the snack shop, visitors may hear stories of local legends, play the jukebox, grab a cold drink or seek information. Located on the last brick alignment of Historic Route 66 in Illinois and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. Appointments welcome. Hours:
Thursday-Sunday 10 am - 5 pm.
Maggie's In Thayer
100 E. Ebony Street, Thayer, Illinois phone:
217-965-9860. A restaurant that celebrates the region's past with historic photographs on the walls and lots of local flavor and customers. Hours:
Tuesday - Thursday 5 - 9 pm, Friday - Saturday 5 - 10 pm, Sundays 4 - 8:30 pm.
Virden Miner's Riot Memorial/Central Park
The town's central park has a large granite and bronze three-dimensional memorial depicting the 1898 Virden Miner's Riot. The memorial was dedicated in October of 2006. The park has a historic bandstand that recalls an era of Saturday night band concerts and ice cream socials. A Soldier's Monument commemorates local veterans who served in WWI.
Virden History Mural
A mural on the side of the Sav-Mor Building depicts events in the history of the town, including Route 66.
Post Office Mural by James Daugherty
The Virden post office has a New Deal-era mural painted by James Daugherty entitled "Illinois Pastoral" is in the U.S. Post Office on Route 4. It is the only post office mural by Daugherty, a noted author and illustrator.
309 S. 3rd Street, Girard IL phone:
217-627-3210 web: www.whirl-a-whip.com
This classic 1950s drive-in restaurant still offers travelers food and 50 flavors of ice cream in the summer. It is family owned and non-franchised. Hours:
Sunday - Thursday 11am - 9 pm, Friday - Saturday 11 am - 10 pm.
Doc's Soda Fountain/Deck's Drug Store
133 S. 2nd Street, Girard IL phone:
217-627-2311 This drug store was operated continuously from 1884 to 2001 by three generations of the Deck family. It became a community gathering place with the addition of a soda fountain in 1929. In 2007, the store reopened offering soda fountain ice cream and a free drug store museum.
Turkey Tracks in Pavement
An original piece of the narrow 1926-30 Route 66 alignment winds south of Nilwood, parallel to the current straight configuration Ill-4. Turkey tracks were imprinted in the 1920s when the original Route 4 concrete was poured, prior to its designation as Route 66. The story varies from a local farmer's escaped turkeys to wild turkeys as being the owners of the prints.
Macoupin County "Million Dollar" Courthouse
Block between East and High Streets, Carlinville, Illinois web: www.carlinvillechamber.com
Designed by E.E. Meyers in 1867, the court house began as a $50,000 project supported by bonds and taxes. By the time it was completed in 1870, the cost was over $1.3 million, and it was one of the largest courthouses (second perhaps to one in New York) in the U.S. It took 40 years for the county to pay it off. The scandalous cost inspired the nickname of "Million Dollar Courthouse." It is recognized as the most magnificent courthouse in Illinois.
Macoupin County Historical Museum
432 Breckenridge Street, Carlinville, Illinois phone:
217-854-8916 or 217-854-8500 web: www.macsociety.org
Housed in the Victorian-style Anderson Mansion, the museum consists of two stories of antiques and collectibles from Macoupin County's past. Hours
: Wednesdays during April - November, 10am-2pm or by appointment.
Standard Addition/Sears and Roebuck Mail Order Houses
Around Charles and Rice Streets, Carlinville, Illinois phone:
This largest U.S. collection of 156 Sears and Roebuck mail order houses, built in 1918 for the mine workers of the Standard Oil Company, can be toured using a guide available from most shops. The neighborhood is known as the Standard Addition and 152 of the 156 homes are still standing.
Macoupin County Jail
215 East Street, Carlinville, Illinois Across from the courthouse. web: www.carlinvillechamber.com
The historic jail was open from 1869 to 1988. This Gothic Revival stone structure has cannonballs embedded within the walls to help prevent jail breaks. Only one person ever escaped and was apprehended a few blocks away.
Loomis House Hotel
Main and Broad Streets, Carlinville, Illinois web: www.carlinvillechamber.com
A former 50 room hotel designed by E.E. Meyers, the architect of the "Million Dollar Courthouse." Judge Thaddeus Loomis contracted with Meyer for the construction of the hotel at the same time that he oversaw the construction of the controversial courthouse and jail. When the $50,000 construction project began to spin out of control, people publicly charged Judge Loomis with corruption. Although never fully responding to the charges, Loomis did admit that the hotel limestone was indeed taken from the courthouse project—but only from the leftover scrap! He survived the scandal with his reputation somewhat intact. His town clerk and associate, George Holiday, skipped town at the peak of the controversy, never to be seen again. A 1909 pharmacy on the first floor is beautifully preserved.
Deerfield Drive Historic Bridge
Several miles south of Carlinville along Ill-4, a small original section of Route 66 survives called Deerfield Drive. A small concrete bridge built in 1920 was saved from destruction.
Zion Church Neon Cross
501 S Broad St, Carlinville, Illinois 62626 The Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church adjacent to Route 66 in Gillespie has a neon cross that is lit up at night. The church was built in 1901. Train tracks once ran next to the church. On November 25, 1967, a train wreck destroyed the church steps and entrance canopy, while one freight car leaned dangerously close to the sacristy. Services were still held the next day.
Coliseum Ball Room
420 S Hardroad, Benld, Illinois 62009 Opened in 1924, this ball room in its heyday featured the biggest dance floor (10,000 square feet) between Chicago and St. Louis. Stars such as Tommy Dorsey, Fats Domino, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Ike and Tina Turner, Ray Charles, and the Everly Brothers played here. It is currently an antique mall.
The Holy Dormition of the Theotokos Russian Orthodox Church
300 North 4th Street, Benld, Illinois 62009 Benld is noted for its Italian and Russian miners, and the picturesque onion-domed Russian Orthodox Church was established there in 1907. The parish has become a historical site because it is the only Russian Orthodox Parish under the Moscow Patriarchate in the state of Illinois.
Art's Motel and Restaurant
101 Main Street, Farmersville, Illinois phone:
217-227-3277 Art McAnamey opened a restaurant and gas station here in 1937 and rented six cabins to overnight guests. In 1952, his two-story building caught fire, and he rebuilt a single- story restaurant. After he died in 1960, his sons replaced the cabins with a 13-room L-shaped motel. The motel and restaurant are still open to travelers. In 2007, the Route 66 Association restored the classic motel sign, including the replacement of neon on the "Art's."
Our Lady of the Highways Memorial
Built in 1959 as a high school project, the shrine harks to an era when "Bloody 66" was a dangerous drive. The Carrara marble statue is inscribed, "Mary, Loving Mother of Jesus, Protect us on the Highway." Along the road from this site is a trail of Burma Shave style signs of the Hail Mary.
Green Diamond Rail-Trail Depot
The wooden Waggoner Depot was restored in 2000 and now serves as a trailhead for the Green Diamond Rail-Trail. This is the first bicycling/pedestrian trail in Montgomery County, and it's an easy, flat ride. At 4-miles long, the trail is paved and free from motorized traffic, making it an enjoyable path for bicylists, walkers and runners.
413 Old Route 66 North, Litchfield, Illinois phone:
217-324-2023 web: www.ariston-cafe.com
Pete Adam started the Ariston Cafe in nearby Carlinville in 1924. When the Mother Road was rerouted in 1929, Pete leased a new building in Litchfield. The Ariston's great reputation for service, excellent food and unbelievable desserts led Pete to relocate across the street in 1935 to his own building that still stands today. The family still offers the same wonderful food and great service that it has for more than 80 years. It is said to be the oldest cafe on Route 66. The Ariston was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006 and is in the Route 66 Hall of Fame. Hours:
Open Sundays & Tuesday - Friday from 11 am. Open Saturdays from 4 pm.
Sky View Drive-In Theatre
1200 N Old Route 66, Litchfield, Illinois phone:
217-324-4451. A Route 66 Hall of Fame inductee, the SkyView opened in the spring of 1951 and has been in seasonal operation since. It is the last remaining original operating drive-in theatre on Route 66 in Illinois. Hours:
May - October. Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays. One showing per night, starting at dusk. Rates:
$2 per person.
Niehaus Cycle Sales
718 N Old Route 66, Litchfield, Illinois phone:
217-324-6565 web: www.niehauscycle.com
A family-run business since the early 1970s, Niehaus Cycle Sales sells motorcycles, trailers, clothing, and accessories. It is housed in a retro building with exterior neon trim, themed to Route 66. The owners plan to create a cycle museum in the building.
Belevidere Cafe and Motel
817 Old Route 66 (Sherman St.), Litchfield IL. The Belevidere Cafe and Motel was built by Lester and Edith Kranich in the mid-1930s. The motel was a plain clapboard building with a series of attached units, unusual in an era of roadside cabins. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in March, 2007. The cafe and motel are closed. Rooms are rented to residents. The buildings are for sale.
Litchfield Carnegie Public Library
400 N State Street, Litchfield, Illinois phone:
217-324-3866 web: www.litchfieldpubliclibrary.org
The public library is housed in an original 1904 Carnegie building. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Hours:
Monday, Wednesday & Friday 10 am - 5 pm, Tuesday and Thursday 1 pm - 8 pm, Saturday 10 am - 2 pm.
424 N. Monroe Street, Litchfield, Illinois Located in downtown Litchfield, this ornate former Elks Lodge was built by Oliver Steigemeyer in the early 1900s in the Classical Revival style. It features an elk head statue above the main entrance.
13 Franks Lane, Litchfield Illinois Established in the 1850s by Michael Mankse, an immigrant from Prussia, the site has some of the region's most complete examples of 19th and early 20th-century farm architecture including several barns, a granary, a brick smokehouse and a windmill that has been part of an Oklahoma State University study on the subject. The farm was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.
Union Miners Cemetery
Miners killed in the Virden Mine Riot were denied burial in the established cemeteries. In response, the local union purchased a one acre site and the bodies were moved to the new Union Miners' Cemetery in 1899. Over the years, additional land was acquired and a monument was dedicated on October 11, 1936. The cemetery is the final resting place of Mary Harris "Mother" Jones, a fierce advocate for the rights of both miners and children. Before her death at the age of 100 in 1930, Mary Jones requested to be buried with "her boys" – the coal miners that she championed for decades. The cemetery is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Mother Jones Monument
Located in the Union Miner's Cemetery, the granite monument was added in 1936. Mary "Mother" Jones is buried here at her own request, as is Alexander "General" Bradley who organized the strike leading to the October 1897 riot in Virden.
Soulsby's Service Station
In 1926 Henry Soulsby and his son Russell built a Shell gas station. Today it ranks as one of the oldest filling stations still standing on Route 66. The original 1926 station was a mere 13 by 20 feet wide and had just enough room for a desk, cash register, battery charger, and a few supplies. The Soulsbys doubled the size of the station in the 1930s, but it was never big enough to be called a garage. There is a drive up ramp located outside of the station that was used for oil changes and minor repairs—it now has a large tree growing inside it. Russell learned about electronics in the Navy during WWII and started a TV repair business in the 1950s, which allowed him to survive the opening of I-55. After Henry died, Russell and his sister Ola ran the station until 1991, and continued to greet visitors until 1997. The new station owner is working with the Soulsby Station Society and the Illinois Route 66 Association to maintain this classic filling station as a historical and educational attraction. Hours:
Decamp Junction Roadhouse
8727 State Route 4, Staunton, Illinois phone:
618-637-2951 This historic roadhouse on Route 66 had tourist cabins, a dance hall, gambling, and a brothel. In 1930, gangsters arrived in a black sedan with guns drawn and robbed the bar of slot machines, alcohol, guns, and cash. This historic tavern displays the photographs of the old dance hall that was here. Decamp Junction also has a wide variety of beers as well as a popular homemade apple cider. Hours:
Wednesday - Sunday 4pm - 11pm (later on weekends).
Country Classic Cars
2149 E. Frontage Road, Staunton, Illinois phone:
618-635-7056 web: www.countryclassiccars.com
A family owned and operated business along historic Route 66 that features classic cars and trucks displayed outside and in an indoor showroom. The gift shop is loaded with reproduction collectable and Route 66 memorabilia. Hours:
Monday - Saturday 9 am- 5 pm. Rates:
$1.00 fee to view the cars.
Pink Elephant Antique Mall
908 Veterans Memorial Dr, Livingston Illinois This unique antique mall sports larger than life sculptures of a pink elephant, a male swimmer, and two normal-colored elephants emerging from an exterior wall of the old Livingston High School building. A visit inside the building reveals another "shorter" muffler man of Route 66 fame. These were originally at the Coliseum Antique Mall in Benld. Hours:
Daily 9:30 am-5 pm.
Church of the Neon Cross
North of town is St. Paul Lutheran Church and its large blue neon cross. Placed there during WWII by the Brunnworth family in memory of their son killed at Anzio, the large cross has signified safe travels for those driving Route 66. Route 66 was always dangerous. Lonely and vulnerable travelers sought guidance along the road. This cross offered that guidance.
Meramec Caverns Barn Advertisement (Hamel)
The Meramec Caverns Barn is a restored example of early highway advertising (Meramec Caverns is in Stanton, Missouri). Located north of Hamel across the Interstate from St. Paul's Lutheran Church, it is one of two remaining barn advertisements along Illinois Route 66 (the other is near Cayuga, IL). Restored by the Route 66 Illinois Preservation Committee. It speaks to our longing for the old individualism and entrepreneurial spirit of classic Route 66 signage.
Homestead Rest Area
A rest area off of I-55 that is themed for Route 66. The 1957-1977 alignment actually follows I-55 at this point. This rest area does not currently have any interpretation, but does feature Route 66 ceiling banners, a floor map, and three-dimensional etchings in the brick wall.
Springers Creek Winery
817 Hillsboro Avenue, Edwardsville, Illinois phone:
618-656-0815 web: www.springerscreekwinery.com
Owned and operated by Sam Makler, The Springers Creek Winery is housed in a historic 1910 storefront grocery and an adjacent historic house. Many classic decorative features still exist, including an awning over the entrance with original pressed metal enhancements. The residence has a unique copper Lincoln head embedded into its front steps. Locally produced wine, like a semi-sweet Route 66 blush, is served and sold in this cozy, restored environment. The old building is full of antiques, comfortable spaces, and a wine garden where the owner, a professional musician, provides evening entertainment with acoustical instruments. This is an opportunity to interact with locals and travelers in a friendly atmosphere. Hours:
Thursdays noon - 9 pm, Friday & Saturday noon - 10 pm, Sunday noon - 7 pm
St. Louis Street Historic District
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in the 1880s and 90s, the homes on St. Louis Street represent several architectural styles. Located on St. Louis Street, just west of where Route 66 turns to the east.
Leclaire Village Historic District
In 1890, industrialist N.O. Nelson chose a tract of land just south of Edwardsville to locate his plumbing manufacturing company. He would also create a model "utopian" village here called Leclaire, where everyone had their own home, access to schools, parks, lectures, recreation and employment. Nelson believed in profit-sharing and all employees had a stake in the company. Nelson was a visionary and is considered to be a renaissance man, years ahead of his time. Today, the Village of Leclaire has been incorporated into the City of Edwardsville. It remains a vibrant area with a beautiful lake and park, baseball field, the Edwardsville Children's Museum that is located in the former Leclaire Academy, and the factory buildings that are now the home of Lewis and Clark Community College. In 1979 the village was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. Each year in October, the "Friends of Leclaire" host an annual Parkfest with food, live music, activities, a tractor parade, pony rides, a book sale, and much more.
Yanda Log Cabin
148 S. Main St, Glen Carbon, Illinois 62034 web: www.glen-carbon.il.us
This historic cabin is believed to have been built by blacksmith William Yanda in 1853. William Yanda (1818-1885) and his wife Annie Zeola (1823-1901) were immigrants from Bohemia, Austria. William and Annie and their ten children lived in the cabin. Frank (1846-1912), their oldest son also became a blacksmith. He practiced his craft in other towns in the area and eventually moved back to the "homeplace" in 1882 with his wife Anna Benda (1845-1912). Frank and Anna raised eleven children in the cabin. Frank sold the cabin to his son Frank Jr. (one of the early mayors of the Village of Glen Carbon). Frank Jr. did not have any children. He sold the cabin and eventually the Village of Glen Carbon bought the lot and cabin in 1989. A cabin renovation was begun the 1989 and was concluded in time for the Village's Centennial Celebration in June 1992.
Glen Carbon Covered Bridge
The bridge was constructed in 1976 to celebrate the 200th birthday of the United States. Today, it serves as a Village focal point.
Brooks Catsup Bottle Water Tower
Standing proudly next to Route 159, this unique 170-foot water tower is the world's largest catsup bottle. It was built in 1949 for the bottlers of Brooks old original rich and tangy catsup. In 1995, due to the efforts of the Catsup Bottle Preservation Group, this landmark roadside attraction was saved from demolition and beautifully restored to its original appearance. In August of 2002 it was named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Historic Downtown Collinsville
Collinsville's downtown has a well preserved historic district with quaint shops and beautiful architecture. Visitors can experience the area by taking a self guided tour that interprets a 1908 Bull Durham Tobacco sign, the 150 year old Blum House, the D.D. Collins House, and the old Miner's Theater.
Bert's Chuck Wagon Bar-B-Q
207 E. Clay Street, Collinsville, Illinois phone:
618-344-7993 Classic 1950s-60s small diner that serves barbeque sandwiches and is known for its enchiladas and tacos. The sign is in the shape of a covered wagon and was once decorated in neon. Hours:
Monday - Thursday 10 am - 9 pm, Friday and Saturday 10 am -10 pm
Willoughby Heritage Farm and Conservation Reserve
631 Willoughby Lane, Collinsville, Illinois phone:
618-346-7529 web: www.collinsvillerec.com
This 40-acre farmstead dates from the 1900s and is the last significant tract of open space along the Collinsville bluff line. It is currently being restored and maintained by the Collinsville Area Recreation District (CARD). The goal of the project is to educate the public about the family farm of the 1920s-50s, as well as the region's natural history. A restored barn, historic farm house, chicken coop, gardens, and interpretive trails are located on the site. This is an opportunity to experience local farm heritage and feel the geographic transition from Illinois prairies to Mississippi bluffs. Hours:
Daily 10 am - 4 pm.
Fairmount Park Racetrack
9301 Collinsville Road, Collinsville IL phone:
618-345-4300 web: www.fairmountpark.com
Opened in 1925, this popular horse racing track is the only one in Illinois outside of the Chicago metro area. It currently offers 90 live racing days per year. Hours:
April - September
Gateway Classic Cars
5401 Collinsville Road, phone:
800-231-3616 web: www.gatewayclassiccars.com
Classic car consignments sales house that sells cars for private owners, collectors, and estates. The 105,000 square-foot showroom and museum houses hundreds of classic cars. Hours:
Monday - Friday 10 am - 5 pm, Saturdays 9 am - 5 pm
201 E. Chain of Rocks Road, Mitchell, Illinois phone:
618-931-3152 The cafe was built in 1924, two years prior to the establishment of Route 66. It is rumored to have been frequented by gangsters like Al Capone. The Luna did operate as a cafe on the main floor, but had a gambling operation in the basement and a house of ill repute upstairs. The neon sign out front, still standing, has a cherry which used ruby glass to enhance its red glow. It is said that if the cherry was lit, the girls were in. At one time, the cafe was a "fine dining establishment" and so expensive that most law-abiding citizens could not afford to eat there. The Luna is now a working man's bar frequented by locals. There is an ongoing effort to have the neon sign restored to its former glory. Hours:
Sunday - Friday 8 am - 1 am, Saturdays 8 am - 3 am.
Debby's Route 66 Frozen Custard/Sun Motel
3241 Chain of Rocks Road, Granite City, Illinois phone:
618-797-3305 Debby and Bernard Birger are in the process of restoring the Sun Motel, a vintage 1940s court on the Chain of Rocks Road. They also opened a small frozen custard stand called "Debby's Route 66 Frozen Custard." The 1958 pink Cadillac, parked outside the shop, draws in crowds from the Mother Road.
Horseshoe Lake State Park
3321 Highway 111, Granite City Illinois phone:
618-931-0270 This 2,960 acre park is situated around an oxbow lake formed from a cut-off meander of the Mississippi River. This was an important resource for Native Americans. The park is an ideal place for bird watching. A 4-mile self guided nature trail on Walker Island features several observation areas. Fishing, boating, picnicking, and camping are popular activities.
Lewis & Clark State Historic Site Visitors Center
One Lewis and Clark Trail, Hartford, Illinois phone:
618-251-5811 web: www.campdubois.com
This state-of-the-art interpretive center is located at the winter camp area of the Lewis and Clark expedition. It focuses on the often- untold Illinois story, where the expedition was prepared and launched. The focal point exhibit is a 55-foot full-scale replica of the expedition's keel boat. This is the starting point for the National Lewis and Clark Heritage Trail. Hours:
The visitors center is open Wednesday -Sunday 9am-5pm.
Chain of Rocks Bridge
The third alignment of Route 66 crossed the Mississippi River here from 1936-1955. The eastern end of this scenic bridge is on Chouteau Island (part of Madison, Illinois), while the western end is on the Missouri shoreline. Its most notable feature is a 22-degree bend occurring at the middle of the crossing, necessary because of difficulties in finding solid footings. Originally a motor route, it now carries walking and biking trails over the river. The bridge was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. The bridge's name comes from a rock-ledged reach of river literally described as a chain of rocks, stretching to the north of St. Louis. The Mississippi's water, narrowed by these ledges, roars down a decline of 11 feet in seven river miles. The bridge was privately built as a toll bridge in 1929 at a cost of $3 million and later turned over to the city of Madison, Illinois, the current owner of the bridge. Eventually, the toll was removed from the bridge due to a law prohibiting the collecting of tolls on U.S. Highways. In 1967, the New Chain of Rocks Bridge was built immediately to the north in order to carry I-270 traffic; the old Chain of Rocks Bridge was subsequently closed in 1967. The bridge walk offers an immersive experience of strolling high above the Mississippi River, feeling river breezes, while peering down into river bottom forests and watching floating logs as they ride south with the current. The structural engineering of the bridge with its unique bend in the center and the immensity of the problems of crossing such a huge natural feature can be appreciated when seen close-up on this high bridge.
Gateway International Raceway
700 Raceway Blvd, Madison, Illinois phone
: 618-482-2400 web: www.gatewayraceway.com
In 1967, an eighth-mile drag strip was built on swampy land and called St. Louis Raceway Park. The big names in drag racing attracted 8,000 fans to a facility designed for 3,000. In 1971, the track was expanded to a quarter-mile strip and renamed St. Louis International Raceway. In 1997, the new Gateway International Raceway was opened to sellout crowds. Today, it is the site of more than 250 racing events.
The first Route 66 alignment crossed the Mississippi River here from 1926-1929. The steel truss bridge connects the city of St. Louis with Venice, Illinois. It opened in 1910 and was taken out of service on October 30, 2001. The bridge was reopened for pedestrians and bicyclists on November 17, 2007 with a grand re-opening celebration. The bridge carried both railroad and vehicular traffic across the Mississippi River for decades. By 1978, the railroad line over the span was closed, and an additional set of lanes were opened for vehicles in the inner roadway. It is commonly assumed that the bridge was named for President William McKinley; but in reality, it was named for the builder, William B. McKinley, chief executive of the Illinois Traction System interurban electric railway, which accessed St. Louis via the bridge.
McKinley Bridge Roadside Park
Located on the east side of McKinley Bridge, this small roadside park commemorates the history of McKinley Bridge and Madison County. A kiosk with interpretive panels describes the region's cities, transportation, geography, and industry. A modest interpretation of Route 66 is included in the panel text. A tall metal sculpture called "Salute to Steel" is topped with intertwined rings (that represent Venice, Madison, and Granite City). The park also features benches and picnic tables. The sculpture and park were dedicated in November, 2007 when the McKinley Bridge was re-opened.
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Bridge
The fourth Route 66 alignment crossed the Mississippi River here from 1955-1967. Formerly called the Veterans Memorial Bridge when built in 1951, it was originally a toll bridge. The bridge is still open to traffic.
Poplar Street Bridge
The fifth and final Route 66 alignment crossed the Mississippi River here from 1968-1977. The bridge is officially named the Bernard F. Dickmann Bridge for a former St. Louis mayor. The bridge crosses the south end of "Bloody Island," connected to the mainland with landfill by Robert E. Lee in the 1850s. Several Missouri politicians fought duels here. Today, the island is a train yard. This was also the bridge featured in "National Lampoon's Vacation." The bridge is still open to traffic (I-70, I-64, I-55, Hwy. 40)
Weezy's Route 66 Bar & Grill
108 S. Old Route 66, Hamel, Illinois phone
This roadhouse at the intersection of old 66 and Ill. 140 has been serving travelers since the late 1930s. In the past, it was named "tourist Haven," "Village Inn," "Earnie's Roadhouse," and "Scotty's." The old signs still decorate the walls along with histroic photographs. The dining room has a Route 66 theme, and the beautiful exterior brickwork connotes its place in the evolution of travel on the old Mother Road. Hours:
Open at 11 am Monday - Saturday.
Land of Lincoln Motel
3220 Chain of Rocks Road, Granite City, Illinois phone:
618-931-1414 A Route 66 era motel near the Chain of Rocks Bridge, now called the Budget Motel.
Canal Motel & Cafe
3317 Chain of Rocks Road, Granite City, Illinois phone:
618-931-0744 This Route 66 era motel still has several neon signs.
Chain of Rocks Road, Mitchell, Illinois Currently operated by the same owners as the nearby Apple Valley Motel.
Chicago International Hostel
6318 N Winthrop Ave Chicago IL 773-262-1011 www.hostelz.com
Hostel with attitude, funky decor with a homey atmosphere. Complete kitchen. Safe neighborhood near Loyola University, convenient to affordable local shopping and restaurants, and accessible to good public transportation 24 hours a day. Two blocks from Lake Michigan and 10 minutes walk to the beach.
Wooded Isle Suites (B&B)
5750 S Stony Island Ave Chicago IL 60637 773-288-5578 or 800-290-6844 Email: Reserve@woodedisle.com www.woodedisle.com
An alternative to hotels with 13 vintage apartment suites in a neighborhood setting. It is a wonderful base for visitors who want to see Chicago's many museums or catch a ball game or are here on business.
Wheeler Mansion (B&B)
2020 S Calumet Ave Chicago IL 60616 312-945-2020 Email: email@example.com www.wheelermansion.com
A convenient five-minute walk to Chicago's McCormick Place convention center and is located in the elite Prairie Preservation District of the city's South Loop neighborhood. Includes complimentary on-site parking as well as a daily gourmet breakfasts.
House of Two Urns B&B
1239 N Greenview Ave Chicago IL 60622 773-235-1408 or 877-896-8767 www.twourns.com
Enjoy Chicago in one of its hippest neighborhoods, Wicker Park, where the Two Urns offers all the amenities of the 21st Century in a Victorian setting.
Wyndham Garden Hotel Chicago O’Hare
6810 N Mannheim Rd Rosemont IL 60018 773-693-2323 or 800-WYNDHAM www.wyndham.com
Adjacent to Allstate Arena, Wyndham O'Hare is a contemporary-style Chicago area hotel, five minutes from O'Hare International Airport and close to Donald E. Stephens Convention Center. Free 24-hour airport shuttle service.
633 North St Clair Chicago IL 60611 312-573-0300 www.wyndham.com
Conveniently located in Chicago's Magnificent Mile, just one block east of Michigan Ave and within walking distance of many restaurants, world-class shopping and a variety of attractions including Navy Pier and Water Tower Place.
The Whitehall Hotel
105 E Delaware Place Chicago IL 60611 312-944-6300 or 800-948-4255 www.whitehallhotel.com
Ideally located in the heart of Chicago’s Gold Coast. This hotel is nestled amid the shops on the Magnificent Mile, restaurants, theaters, entertainment, and the business district.
The Westin Chicago River North
320 N Dearborn St Chicago IL 60610 312-744-1900 www.westinchicago.com
The Westin Chicago River North is Chicago's leading, upscale downtown hotel, centrally located in the heart of the business and theater district and within walking distance of Michigan Ave.
644 N Lake Shore Dr Chicago IL 60611 312-943-9200 or 800-WHOTELS www.whotels.com
Four Diamond Rating by AAA. Chicago's only beach front hotel near Navy Pier and shops on Michigan Ave. Signature Whiskey Sky & Wave Restaurant.
W-Chicago City Center
172 W Adams St Chicago IL 60603 312-332-1200 or 888-627-8280 www.whotels.com
Located in the heart of Chicago's famed "Loop" area, this historical building has been renovated to capture the flair of W. Elegant elements of the past are cleverly combined with modern touches to create an inventively striking and dramatic space.
The Talbott Hotel
20 E Delaware Place Chicago IL 60611 312-944-4970 or 800-621-8506 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.talbothotel.com
Charming European style just steps from the John Hancock Center. Two fireplaces form a focal point in the Victorian style lobby. Completely renovated in 2001. Complimentary high speed internet access in guestrooms.
Sofitel Chicago Water Tower
20 E Chestnut St Chicago IL 60611 312-324-4000 or 877-813-7700 www.sofitel.com
The hotel offers 415 luxurious bedrooms on 32 floors including junior, deluxe, and presidential suites and offers 10,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space for groups of ten to 250. Two restautrants and a bar.
Renaissance Chicago O’Hare Hotel
8500 W Bryn Mawr Ave Chicago IL 60631 773-380-9600 or 800-HOTELS1 www.marriott.com
One restaurant. Indoor pool. On-site health club. Room service. Amenities include in-room safes, club level, concierge, complimentary airport and local transportation. Located near O'Hare Airport, HIP, Downtown Chicago, Stephens Convention Center, Allstate Arena.
Ramada Lake Shore
4900 S Lake Shore Dr Chicago IL 60615 773-288-5800 or 800-237-4933 Email: email@example.com www.ramada.com
Designed for business and leisure travelers. Clean, comfortable, and large rooms with a magnificent view of the Chicago skyline from the shore of Lake Michigan.
201 E Delaware Place Chicago IL 60611 312-943-5000 or 800-983-7870 www.chicagoraffaello.com
Boutique luxury means you count at the 4-star boutique Raffaello Hotel. Personalized service blends with modern technology and luxurious furnishings to create 4-star boutique service unlike other Chicago hotels. Completely non-smoking.
Radisson Hotel & Suites Chicago
160 E Huron St Chicago IL 60611 312-787-2900 or 800-333-3333 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.radisson.com
First-class 350 room property with 100 suites. Over 15,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, windows overlooking city and lake. Becco d' Oro Italian Restaurant open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 24-hr room service, rooftop outdoor pool, and fitness center.
Omni Chicago Hotel
676 N Michigan Ave Chicago IL 60611 312-944-6664 or 800-843-6664 www.omniehotels.com
4-star - 4-diamond all suite hotel located on Chicago's famed Magnificent Mile. We are a few short steps from world-class shopping, dining and cultural attractions.
Ohio House Motel
600 N LaSalle Street Chicago IL 60611 Phone: 312-943-6000 Phone: 866-601-6446 www.ohiohousemotel.com
This distinctive hotel is located in Chicago's most fashionable neighborhood near the city's famed Magnificent Mile and is just steps away from the city's finest dining, shopping, and nightlife.
Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel
163 E Walton Place Chicago IL 60611 312-751-8100 or 800-621-8140 www.millenniumhotels.com
This distinctive hotel is located in Chicago's most fashionable neighborhood near the city's famed Magnificent Mile and is just steps away from the city's finest dining, shopping, and nightlife.
Marriott Chicago Midway
6520 S Cicero Ave Chicago IL 60638 708-594-5500 www.marriott.com
Located at Chicago Midway Airport and eight miles from downtown Chicago and all of its attractions. The hotel offers complimentary 24 hour airport shuttle service to and from Chicago's Midway Airport.
The James Chicago
616 N Rush St Chicago IL 60611 312-337-1000 or 877-526-3755 www.jameshotel.com
The second in a dynamic new line of hotels that Travel & Leisure named "America's sexiest." James fuses modern American comfort, service and style with state of the art technology. A multiregional Italian restaurant, JBar and The Gym, our signature fitness center, are highlights. Located at Rush & Ontario at the center of the Magnificent Mile and gateway to River North.
505 N Michigan Ave Chicago IL 60611 312-944-4100 or 800-628-2112 Email: email@example.com www.icchicagohotel.com
The Hotel Intercontinental Chicago, located directly on Michigan Ave, has recently been enhanced by a mulit-million dollar renovation. Guests of the hotel will be impressed with the original historic design combined with upgraded guest rooms.
Inn at Lincoln Park
601 W Diversey Pkwy Chicago IL 60614 773-348-2810 or 866-774-PARK www.innlp.com
74 rooms. Deluxe Continental breakfast served daily. Located one mile south of Wrigley Field, and one-half mile north of Lincoln Park Zoo.
Hyatt Regency Chicago
151 E Wacker Dr Chicago IL 60601 312-565-1234 or 800-233-1234 www.chicagoregency.hyatt.com
Hyatt's flagship property and Chicago's largest hotel boasts 210,000 sq. ft. of meeting space, three stunning ball rooms, 63 meeting rooms, five restaurants and has been the recipient of numerous awards for excellence in hospitality and cuisine.
1 W Washington St Chicago IL 60602 312-782-1111 or 877-294-9712 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.burnhamhotel.com
122 room luxury historic hotel with 19th century detailing in deep mahogany, frosted Tiffany glass, Terrazzo mosiac tiling, and a wrought iron and marble staircase. Guestrooms are appointed in warm tones of burgundy, gold and cobalt blue with canopy beds.
500 S Dearborn Chicago IL 60605 312-986-1234 www.hotelblake.com
162 rooms. Four suites. On-site health club. 1 restaurant. Room service. Uniquely decorated and feature two TV's, two phones, mini-bar and high ceilings. Located in the cultural and financial heart of Chicago's loop, the hotel is steps away from the Art Institute, Sears Tower, Museum Campus, Grant Park and Chicago's lakefront.
71 E Wacker Dr Chicago IL 60601 312-346-7100 or 800-621-4005 www.hotel71.com
New urban lifestyle hotel that overlooks the Chicago River at Michigan Ave. Giant guest rooms with luxury amenities, amazing restaurant and bar. Lobby features multimedia design. Health club and business center.
Holiday Inn Chicago Mart Plaza
350 N Orleans St Chicago, IL 60654 312-836-5000 or 800-HOLIDAY www.martplaza.com
521 guest rooms atop Apparel Center across the street from the Merchandise Mart. 2 phone lines, voicemail, coffee makers, hair dryers, iron and iron board.
720 S Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60605 312-922-4400 or 800-445-8667 www.hilton.com
Luxury hotel located on Michigan Ave overlooking Grant Park and Lake Michigan.
Hard Rock Hotel
230 N. Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60601 312-345-1000 www.hardrockhotelchicago.com
381 rooms. 14 suites. 305 non-smoking rooms. 9 meeting/conference rooms. 2 restaurants. On-site health club. Room service. Special amenities include CD/DVD player in room, complimentary CD, hair dryer.
The Four Seasons Hotel Chicago
120 E Delaware Place Chicago, IL 60611 312-280-8800 or 800-332-3442 Email: email@example.com www.fourseasons.com
/chicagofs Opened in the spring of 1989, Four Seasons Hotel Chicago welcomes guests to experience world-class luxury and genuine midwestern hospitality. Located on Michigan Avenue and Delaware Place, the hotel provides easy access to Chicago's business centers.
Four Points Sheraton Midway
7353 S Cicero Ave Chicago IL 60629 773-518-5300 or 800-325-3535 www.fourpoints.com
/midwayairport The Four Points by Sheraton Chicago Midway is the closest full service hotel from Chicago Midway Airport. Recently, the hotel completed a $3 Million dollar renovation. For your convenience there is a 24-hour shuttle to/from the Chicago Midway Airport.
The Fairmont Hotel
200 N Columbus Dr Chicago, IL 60601 312-565-8000 or 800-527-4727 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.fairmont.com
/chicago Rising gracefully above Grant Park and Chicago's Lakefront, the Fairmont Hotel is within walking distance of the Magnificent Mile, Business District, and world-class museums and theatres.
Fairfield Inn Chicago/Midway
6630 S Cicero Ave Chicago IL 60638 708-594-0090 www.marriott.com
/hotels/travel/chimd-fairfield-inn-and-suites-chicago-midway-airport The Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott Chicago Midway Airport Hotel is part of the Midway Hotel Center, located just two blocks south of Midway Airport, with free 24 hour Shuttle Service to/from Midway Airport free Wireless Internet Service.
The Essex Inn
800 S Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60605 312-939-2800 or 800-621-6909 Email: email@example.com www.essexinn.com
Newly renovated. Conveniently located in the heart of Chicago across from Grant Park and four of Chicago's major museums. Free shuttle to the exclusive Magnificent Mile shopping district. Hotel features reduced parking rates, year-round pools and more.
The Drake Hotel
140 E Walton Place Chicago, IL 60611 312-787-2200 or 800-55-DRAKE Email: firstname.lastname@example.org www.thedrakehotel.com
The Drake is a cityscape landmark and has been a symbol of white glove elegance for eighty years. The pride of all Chicagoans, it has been the first choice of celebrities and Heads of State since its opening in 1920.
Days Inn Lincoln Park North
644 W Diversey Pkwy Chicago, IL 60614 773-525-7010 or 888-LPN-DAYS Email: email@example.com www.daysinn.com
Winner of the 2004 Days Inn Hotel of the Year Award. Guests have free access to Bally's Total Fitness located next door. Other hotel amenities include expanded cable Tv, valet parking, valet and guest laundry facilities. Safe and exciting neighborhood.
Courtyard By Marriott Chicago/Midway Airport
6610 S Cicero Ave Chicago IL 60638 708-563-0200 www.marriott.com
/hotels/travel/chicm-courtyard-chicago-midway-airport Located just 2 block south of Midway Airport, with free 24-hour shuttle service to/from Midway Airport. Complimentary high-speed internet service. Smoke-free policy. 8 miles from downtown Chicago.
Conrad Hilton Chicago
521 N Rush St Chicago, IL 60611 312-645-1500 www.conradhotels1.hilton.com
The Conrad Chicago hotel is situated on the Magnificent Mile, just off Michigan Avenue. This prestigious location offers easy access to the Westfield North Bridge shopping corridor and is adjacent to Nordstrom.
Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile
540 N Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60611 312-836-0100 or 800-228-0265 www.marriott.com
Soaring 46 stories into the Chicago skyline above the famed Magnificent Mile, the Chicago Marriott Downtown rises to every occasion, providing incomparable service and an optimum location for business, leisure, and meeting needs.
Inn of Chicago
162 E Ohio St Chicago IL 60611 312-787-3100 or 800-557-BEST www.innofchicago.com
A downtown boutique hotel one-half block from shopping on The Magnificent Mile and State Street, five blocks from Millennium Park and Navy Pier. Wireless Internet access, free local calls, no access fees, fitness center, valet or self-park.
3901 S Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60653 773-285-1000 www.amberinn2u.com
110 rooms. 2 suites. 25 non-smoking rooms. Room service. Luxury hotel accommodations. Hotel located near the Hyatt and downtown hotels.
The Allerton Crowne Plaza Hotel
701 N Michigan Ave Chicago, IL 60611 312-440-1550 or 800-227-6963 www.theallertonhotel.com
Historic landmark building on Chicago's Magnificent Mile. Minutes from the city's most famous shopping and dining. We offer experienced staff to cater to your highest expectations.
166 E Superior St Chicago, IL 60611 312-787-6000 or 800-AFFINIA www.affinia.com
216 rooms with a variety of suites and guest room choices. Signature amenities and restaurant. Meeting and banquet facilities up to 100 people.
Chicago City Centre Hotel & Sports Club
300 E Ohio St Chicago, IL 60611 312-787-6100 www.chicc.com
495 completely remodeled guestrooms and suites. Indoor/outdoor pools, complimentary access to on-site Lakeshore Athletic Club. Located two blocks east of North Michigan Ave; four blocks from Navy Pier.
Ramada Plaza Hotel Chicago O'Hare Airport
5615 N Cumberland Ave Chicago IL 60631 773-693-5800 www.ramada.com
Amenities include complimentary shuttle to and from O'Hare airport. Free pass to Bally Total Fitness. Located near O'Hare Airport, 15 minutes from Downtown Chicago, Allstate Arena, Rosemont Theatre.
Renaissance Chicago Hotel
1 W Wacker Dr Chicago IL 60601 312-372-7200 www.renaissancehotels.com
Located in the heart of Chicago's North Loop, the stylish and elegant Renaissance Chicago Hotel is a four star, four diamond rated property - within walking distance to the Central Business District, Theater District, and the "Magnificent Mile" shops.
Renaissance Chicago O'Hare Hotel
8500 W Bryn Mawr Ave Chicago IL 60631 773-380-9600 or 800-HOTELS1 www.renaissanceohare.com
Amenities include in-room safes, club level, concierge, complimentary airport and local transportation. Located near O'Hare Airport, HIP, Downtown Chicago, Stephens Convention Center, Allstate Arena.
Wyndham Chicago O'Hare
847-297-1234 or 800-WYNDHAM 6810 N Mannheim Rd Rosemont IL 60018 www.Wyndham.com/Chicago-OHare
Adjacent to Allstate Arena, Wyndham O'Hare is a contemporary-style Chicago area hotel, five minutes from O'Hare International Airport and close to Donald E. Stephens Convention Center.
120 N Washington Street, Braidwood, Illinois Built in the 1960s as Rossi's Motel, the classic U-shaped brick building is still serving travelers on Route 66. It was renamed the Braidwood Motel.
Three Roses Bed and Breakfast
209 E. Howard Street, Pontiac, Illinois phone:
www.threerosesbedandbreakfast.com This charming B&B operates in the Jamison House, a Victorian home from about 1890. The owners, David and Sharon Hansen, are strong supporters of Route 66.
The loft is a late 1800's retail space transformed into a 1600 square foot "Chicago Style" loft available for lodging by the night or week! The entrance to the loft is walking distance to museums, shops, parks, restaurants and pubs. Phone: 309-824-2490 Website: lydiasloftonroute66.com
1019 N. Heitmann Drive, Lincoln IL 62656 217-732-6729 lincoln.hamptoninn.com
Magnuson Grand Hotel and Conference Center
I-55 & IL Route 108, Carlinville, Illinois This hotel is located several miles east of Carlinville on the 1940-77 alignment, just off of I-55 between Waggoner and Litchfield. A large paddle boat called the Carlin Belle is located in a pond on the hotel grounds. The owner has a passion for boats, which shows in the decorating scheme and restaurant names ("Captain's Table," "Yacht Club Lounge").
The Carlin Villa
Step back in time and enjoy a simpler, more relaxed way to travel at an original Route 66 motel. All of the rooms feature hi-speed internet access, color cable television, direct dial phones and air conditioning. The quiet, countryside location encourages you to relax after a long day of travel or sight seeing. Conveniently located near the Carlinville Historic Square this roadside motel offers an authentic Route 66 travel experience.
Art's Motel and Restaurant
101 Main Street, Farmersville, Illinois phone:
217-227-3277 Art McAnamey opened a restaurant and gas station here in 1937 and rented six cabins to overnight guests. In 1952, his two-story building caught fire, and he rebuilt a single- story restaurant. After he died in 1960, his sons replaced the cabins with a 13-room L-shaped motel. The motel and restaurant are still open to travelers. In 2007, the Route 66 Association restored the classic motel sign, including the replacement of neon on the "Art's."