Explore It

One Mile
At A Time

Route 66

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

Explore It

One Mile
At A Time

Route 66

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

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New Photos From Route 66
National Trust For Historic Preservation Route 66 Tour 7/3-7/5/2018
National Trust For Historic Preservation Route 66 Tour 7/3-7/5/2018
2018 Red Carpet Corridor
2018 Red Carpet Corridor
Ryburn Place at Sprague Super Service Grand Opening 8-12-17
Ryburn Place at Sprague Super Service Grand Opening 8-12-17
2017 Lincoln's Festival on Route 66
2017 Lincoln's Festival on Route 66
2017 Rock 'n Rods on 66 Festival
2017 Rock 'n Rods on 66 Festival
2017 World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival
2017 World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival
2017 Blue Carpet Corridor
2017 Blue Carpet Corridor
2017 Niehaus Cycle Sales Customer Appreciation Days
2017 Niehaus Cycle Sales Customer Appreciation Days
2017 Red Carpet Corridor
2017 Red Carpet Corridor
Railsplitter Antique Auto Club Car Show Lincoln IL 8-28-16
Railsplitter Antique Auto Club Car Show Lincoln IL 8-28-16
Berwyn Rt 66 Car Show 8-27-16
Berwyn Rt 66 Car Show 8-27-16
Lincoln Home National Park Service 100th Anniversary 8-25-16
Lincoln Home National Park Service 100th Anniversary 8-25-16
Evergreen Memorial Cemetery Vietnam Wall Ceremony 8-25-16
Evergreen Memorial Cemetery Vietnam Wall Ceremony 8-25-16
McLean IL Walldog Mural Festival 8-20-16
McLean IL Walldog Mural Festival 8-20-16
2016 Blue Carpet Corridor
2016 Blue Carpet Corridor
Downtown Bloomington Car Cruise-In 6-5-2016
Downtown Bloomington Car Cruise-In 6-5-2016
Logan County Arts Route 66 Exhibit Opening 6-2-16
Logan County Arts Route 66 Exhibit Opening 6-2-16
Bandit Run Pontiac IL 6-1-16
Bandit Run Pontiac IL 6-1-16
Rialto Square Theatre 90th Anniversary Celebration 5-24-16
Rialto Square Theatre 90th Anniversary Celebration 5-24-16
3rd Fridays Inaugural Event Lincoln IL 5-20-16
3rd Fridays Inaugural Event Lincoln IL 5-20-16
Niehaus Cycle Sales Customer Appreciation Days 5-14-16
Niehaus Cycle Sales Customer Appreciation Days 5-14-16
2016 Red Carpet Corridor
2016 Red Carpet Corridor
Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center First Anniversary 4-25-16
Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center First Anniversary 4-25-16
Dwight IL Route 66 90th Birthday Celebration 4-21-16
Dwight IL Route 66 90th Birthday Celebration 4-21-16
Miles of Possibility Edwardsville Route 66 Conference
Miles of Possibility Edwardsville Route 66 Conference
45th Annual Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Festival 2015
45th Annual Abraham Lincoln National Railsplitting Festival 2015
Elkhart Fall Festival 10-10-15
Elkhart Fall Festival 10-10-15
2015 International Mother Road Festival
2015 International Mother Road Festival
Illinois State Fair Media Day 8-6-15
Illinois State Fair Media Day 8-6-15
Bloomington Car Show 6-6-15
Bloomington Car Show 6-6-15
International Mother Road Festival Springfield IL 9/26-9/28/14
International Mother Road Festival Springfield IL 9/26-9/28/14
Berwyn Route 66 Car Show 9-6-14
Berwyn Route 66 Car Show 9-6-14
Berwyn, IL
Berwyn, IL
17th Annual World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival
17th Annual World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival
Inaugural 2015 Blue Carpet Corridor 6-13 to 6-14
Inaugural 2015 Blue Carpet Corridor 6-13 to 6-14
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Videos From The Road
I AM RT 66 Interview with Jim Livingston. Uncut & Unfettered
I AM RT 66 Interview with Jim Livingston. Uncut & Unfettered
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/RMpHvNdpglE" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>
Gemini Giant Lighting Ceremony -The Launching Pad 6/15/19
Gemini Giant Lighting Ceremony -The Launching Pad 6/15/19
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FHwHms1jj4o" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Route 66 Memories Video Compilation
Illinois Route 66 Memories Video Compilation
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Q2H_fLPyl0E" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>
Sorrento's Pizzeria 50th Anniversary Interview with Tony Curcuru
Sorrento's Pizzeria 50th Anniversary Interview with Tony Curcuru
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/H3Me_oLLjd0" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>
Ariston Cafe Neon Sign Relighting Ceremony 5/4/19
Ariston Cafe Neon Sign Relighting Ceremony 5/4/19
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/MCXLTef5xUM" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>
Gemini Giant/Launching Pad Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Gemini Giant/Launching Pad Grand Opening Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/OXU-r5huu1U" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>
Abraham Lincoln Letter to Kersey Fell Public Unveiling 2/1/19
Abraham Lincoln Letter to Kersey Fell Public Unveiling 2/1/19
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/DQysdMkb3qw" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>
Foggy Frosty Morning Drive - Route 66 Lincoln to Springfield, IL
Foggy Frosty Morning Drive - Route 66 Lincoln to Springfield, IL
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/4mNXDk8V7DM" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen>
2018 Guardian Angel Basset Rescue Basset Waddle
2018 Guardian Angel Basset Rescue Basset Waddle
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/052L1pjPsqk" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen>
Eagle Injured in 2017 Successfully Released Back Into Lake Lou Yaeger in Litchfield, IL - 1/20/18
Eagle Injured in 2017 Successfully Released Back Into Lake Lou Yaeger in Litchfield, IL - 1/20/18
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1M6ofF_HIZ8" frameborder="0" allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen>
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The Three Alignments
This era encompasses the "Golden Age" of Route 66 where America's car culture took hold. Drive-in theaters, Drive-in restaurants, and motels were born and developed along the Mother Road during this period.
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The concept of the "bypass" was first implemented on Route 66 during this era. Transportation infrastructure is well underway at this point in history as well and traveler expectations have risen, resulting in gas stations, motels, and formalized rest areas.
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The "original" Route 66 alignment in Illinois signifies a turning point in transportation history as the emphasis of long distance travel shifts from a fixed rail system to a traveler driven navigation. Illinois was the first state to boast having Route 66 paved from end to end. It is during this time period that the Mother Road was most often referred to as " The Hard Road."
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Featured Attractions
Green Top Grocery
Bloomington, IL
At Green Top Grocery, fresh, delicious food is just the beginning. Nourish your family. Discover local foods. Connect with others and help build a strong community. It all comes together at Green Top Grocery. Eat well. Do good.
Illinois Coal Museum at Gillespie
Gillespie, IL
This new museum in Gillespie is designed to stimulate appreciation for and knowledge of the role of coal mining in Illinois. The Illinois Coal Museum offers more than a collection of coal mining memorabilia. Visitors can take a walk through the coal mining past but also have a look into the future of the industry.
Nana’s Hidden Attic
Litchfield, IL
Nana’s Hidden Attic is located at Exit 60 off Interstate 55, and has over 16 thousand square feet containing over 80 individual booths. The merchandise ranges from antiques to vintage, as well as collectible and specialty merchandise.
Maldaner's Restaurant & Catering Since 1884
Springfield, IL
Established in 1884, Maldaner's Restaurant and Catering is one of Springfield's finest restaurants. The Oldest Restaurant on Route 66 now offers the experience of literally "Eating on 66", with outside patio seating including at the parklet, where you get to dine on the actual Mother Road pavement in historic downtown Springfield! This is truly a unique 66 experience. If you have visited The Old State Capitol, Frank Lloyd Wright's Dana-Thomas House or the State Capitol, you can imagine the wonderful celebrations held at Maldaner's from the turn of the last century to the present day. Maldaner's has been located on Historic Route 66 since the road began!
Kelly's on 66
Lexington, IL
Kelly's on Route 66 is now open and serving Pizza, Pasta, Sandwiches, Salads & Desserts! This family-friendly restaurant is located in the historic building that was home to Skelley's Service Station and Toby's Mesa Cafe. Featuring homemade pizza and homemade pies and cakes all made from scratch, as well as the occasional "blue plate special". Wine and beer are also served. Check out all the interesting artifacts that are part of the decor! Open 11am-8pm Tues-Thurs, 11am-10pm Fri-Sat and 11am-6pm Sundays.
Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices/Official Springfield Visitor Center
Springfield, IL
The city of Springfield has opened a new Visitors Center on the first floor of the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office across from the Old State Capitol. Stop by to find all the information you need to help create your legendary experience in Springfield. While the upper floors remain closed to tours, visitors can tour an exhibit of the law office on the first floor as well as the U.S. Post Office, located in the building from 1841-1849.
Historic Streetcar Diner
Gardner, IL
A historic Kankakee streetcar from the early 20th century was moved to Gardner in 1932 to serve as a diner along Route 66. In 1937, the streetcar became a cottage and playhouse. It was restored by the Illinois Route 66 Association and inducted into the Route 66 Hall of Fame in 2001.
Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center
Litchfield, IL

This new museum is located where the Vic Suhling gas station once stood. The retro design of the building, with exterior neon trim and restored neon Suhling, sign welcomes visitors. The museum houses historical artifacts of Litchfield and showcases Litchfield's relationship with Route 66. Open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 4 pm and 1-4 on Sunday. Closed Sunday and Monday during November- March. Admission is free.

featured stories from the road
Steak N Shake # 2 - Keller’s Iron Skillet in Bloomington
Imagine you are riding in your Hot Rod with your lover by your side, the smell of octane fills the air, the music - “ I get around “ by The Beach Boys - is playing and you’re cruising behind a bunch of your friends in similar classic cars and hot rods. You just left “Steak N Shake” #1 in Normal on Route 66 only to go down the Road to another “Steak N Shake” # 2 in Bloomington, then to a “Dog N Suds” next to this other “Steak N Shake” # 2 in Bloomington, only to loop back to the “Steak N Shake” on Route 66 in Normal and this looping continues continuously through out the evening. This was known in the late 60’s and 70’s as "Tooling the Gag."
Parkview Inn Reopens on Route 66

Meet Rick McCormick (owner and operator) of The Parkview Inn on Route 66 in Bloomington, Illinois. He and his family have owned the restaurant for 23 years. Rick also owns Redbird Catering and has a list of the total of 9 owners of the Parkview Inn since 1928.

Evergreen Memorial Cemetery Honors Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourne
Evergreen Memorial Cemetery continues to honor those that are buried in their Cemetery on Route 66. A recent carving by Top Notch Carvings has completed their most recent Tribute to Charles "Old Hoss" Radbourne.
Legacy Candy Company Started in Bloomington, Illinois

Beich Original factory in the town of Bloomington, Illinois burned down 2005. It was bought by Nestle in 2008 and now resides in Nestle Factory on Route 66 in Bloomington, Illinois. The road that Nestle is on is Beich Road as tribute to the makers of the Candy !

The Champagne British Car Show
The Champagne British Car Show at The David Davis Mansion in Bloomington, Illinois. Incredible Machines from Across the Pond at an Awesome Historic Place where Lincoln himself has stayed. Music, food - Just a Great Time!
World Circus Day Marked by Multiple Celebrations in Bloomington-Normal
On Saturday, April 20, 2019, a full day of activities celebrated the circus and its legacy in McLean County. Festivities began with the re-dedication and blessing of the Ward Family plot at Park Hill Cemetery. The Ward Family of flyers, began with the brother-sister duo, Eddie Ward Sr. and Jennie Ward Todd. They were known for thrilling feats and they trained a great number of flyers during their lifetimes. The ceremony included an introduction of Ward Family members in attendance by Robert E. Handley, local photographer and past performer with Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus. A service was led by Donna (Ward) Skura, Pam Ward, and other Ward Family descendants. Fr. David Halt, Rector at Bloomington’s St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, also officiated the ceremony.
A New Hope on Route 66

Each year the Empire strikes against the Rebellion at the Annual Star Wars Day In Joliet, Illinois on Route 66. Thanks to the Public Library and the 501 First Legion organization, this annual celebration rivals a large movie set. The parade is large and professional and the costumes are outstanding. Each year this venue gets larger and the photo opportunities are high quality.

The Land of OZ on Route 66

Travelers on Route 66 remind me of that timeless story of Dorothy and Toto as they set out on their adventures to see what lay ahead upon the horizon.  How ironic that a little girl buried in a Route 66 cemetery would inspire such a story.  Dorothy Louise Gage, the niece of L. Frank Baum, who wrote the book, "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" passed away before she was 6 months old. Her death would inspire him to name his main character, in a book he was writing, as Dorothy.  The impact of his books and later a movie would inspire generations to come.

Upcoming Events
In This Great Struggle: The Greatest Generation Remembers World War II
EHS Dinner Lecture 10/25 “Conn’s Hospitality Group“
In This Great Struggle: The Greatest Generation Remembers World War II
EHS Dinner Lecture 10/25 “Conn’s Hospitality Group“
6/6/19 - 1/12/20
Springfield
10/25/19
Elkhart
6/6/19 - 1/12/20
Springfield
10/25/19
Elkhart

SPRINGFIELD – The new exhibit “In This Great Struggle: The Greatest Generation Remembers World War II” opens at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Thursday, the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

 

The Elkhart Historical Society is pleased to present Court and Karen Conn as our October 25th dinner lecture speakers, at Horsefeather’s Wild Hare Café in Elkhart Illinois at 104 Gov Oglesby St.   This dynamic duo has created a wonderful assortment of businesses in Springfield, Peoria and most recently Elkhart, that comprise Conn’s Hospitality group. Come enjoy the Conn’s in person as they describe the creation of their hospitality dream “From Then to Now”.  Seven decades of successful ventures have now fashioned such well known landmarks as the Inn at 835, Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery & Eatery, Wm. Van’s Coffee House, Merchant House and the latest endeavor the Historic Gillett Farm in Elkhart Illinois.

SPRINGFIELD – The new exhibit “In This Great Struggle: The Greatest Generation Remembers World War II” opens at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum on Thursday, the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

 

The Elkhart Historical Society is pleased to present Court and Karen Conn as our October 25th dinner lecture speakers, at Horsefeather’s Wild Hare Café in Elkhart Illinois at 104 Gov Oglesby St.   This dynamic duo has created a wonderful assortment of businesses in Springfield, Peoria and most recently Elkhart, that comprise Conn’s Hospitality group. Come enjoy the Conn’s in person as they describe the creation of their hospitality dream “From Then to Now”.  Seven decades of successful ventures have now fashioned such well known landmarks as the Inn at 835, Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery & Eatery, Wm. Van’s Coffee House, Merchant House and the latest endeavor the Historic Gillett Farm in Elkhart Illinois.
In This Great Struggle: The Greatest Generation Remembers World War II
6/6/19 - 1/12/20
Springfield
EHS Dinner Lecture 10/25 “Conn’s Hospitality Group“
10/25/19
Elkhart
In This Great Struggle: The Greatest Generation Remembers World War II
6/6/19 - 1/12/20
Springfield
EHS Dinner Lecture 10/25 “Conn’s Hospitality Group“
10/25/19
Elkhart
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LATEST NEWS FROM ROUTE 66
Gemini Giant Lighting Ceremony a Glowing Success!
Jun 17, 2019

Holly Higgins Barker and Tully Tornado Garrett have done it again! After a phenomenal Ribbon Cutting Ceremony that recently marked the re-opening of The Launching Pad, the duo has set their sites on restoring The Gemini Giant to its glory and beyond. 

Ambler Becker Texaco Gas Station Sets Attendance Record at Red Carpet Corridor
May 06, 2019
A record 892 people signed the guest book at the Texaco Welcome Center this past weekend at the 13th annual Red Carpet Corridor Festival. Visitors signed in from Chicago and its suburbs to the Quad Cities, from Peoria to Park Ridge, from Wisconsin, Indiana, Canada, the Czech Republic, England, Poland, Argentina, France and Spain, just to name a few.
2019 Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership Annual Board Meeting
Mar 11, 2019
The Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership held its third Annual Board of Directors Meeting February 22-23, 2019, in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Highlights of the meeting included an update on efforts to designate Route 66 a National Historic Trail, the 2019 budget, a new partnership policy, reports from working groups and task forces, and the election of the 2019 Board Officers.
Iconic Sonrise Doughnut Sign Acquired by Springfield's Convention & Visitors Bureau
Dec 14, 2018
The City of Springfield’s Convention and Visitors Bureau announced today (12/14/18) the city is the new owner of the iconic Route 66 Sonrise Doughnut sign. In partnership with Ace Sign Company who assisted the city in navigating the bidding process, the Convention & Visitors Bureau purchased the complete sign to retain its historic value for $22,000.
36 on 66 – Abe’s Carmelcorn Shoppe Begins a Year of Celebration
Oct 09, 2018

In early 2018, during the winter months, Abe’s Carmelcorn Shoppe, located at 117 N. Kickapoo Street in Historic Downtown Lincoln, Illinois, underwent a major renovation to the interior of the building. The result was stunning – new flooring and lighting accented by classic wood fixtures. In addition, the floor space was increased by 500 square feet to accommodate the unique shopping experience that features a cutting-edge selection of merchandise designed to make memories of a lifetime.