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.

prev
next
New Photos From Route 66
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
prev
next
prev
next
prev
next
Close
Videos From The Road
45th Annual National Railsplitting Contest - Lincoln IL
45th Annual National Railsplitting Contest - Lincoln IL
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:420px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/HEmd9fnmc5w" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
2014 International Mother Road Festival City Nights Cruise
2014 International Mother Road Festival City Nights Cruise
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:420px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/wjC2MkEbA5o" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Whispering Joe @ 2014 International Mother Road Festival
Whispering Joe @ 2014 International Mother Road Festival
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:420px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2ZdOj1nbW2w" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Route 66
Illinois Route 66
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/hgWeEz269yw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Route 66 Stories, Ernie Edwards, Pig Hip Restaurant / Museum, Broadwell
Route 66 Stories, Ernie Edwards, Pig Hip Restaurant / Museum, Broadwell
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/37vFO00mCqE" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Jim Jones - Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum, Pontiac
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Jim Jones - Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum, Pontiac
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Wmt795wJVVw" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Route 66 Stories: Betty Estes - Illinois Route 66
Route 66 Stories: Betty Estes - Illinois Route 66
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/AqpgZTqjumY" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Shea's Gas Station Museum, Springfield
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Shea's Gas Station Museum, Springfield
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/swPIsXfb1Hk" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Ariston Cafe, Litchfield
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Ariston Cafe, Litchfield
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/KCHtBOHvPA4" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Ambler-Becker Texaco Station, Dwight
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Ambler-Becker Texaco Station, Dwight
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/dBYY2Ze05x0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
prev
next
Close
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.
···
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.
···
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."
···
Featured Attraction
DeLongs' Casual Dining And Spirits
Pontiac, IL
DeLongs' Casual Dining And Spirits located in beautiful downtown Pontiac, IL offers the highest quality food in a relaxed setting. DeLongs' food is made-to-order with homemade recipes using the freshest, local ingredients. The steaks and chops are cut onsite, the salads are crisp, and the frozen custard is homemade.
featured story from the mother road
Miles of Possibility Takeaways
The historic Wildey Theatre in Edwardsville was the setting for the Miles of Possibility conference Halloween weekend, and for me there were several important takeaways and memories. First though, I want to recognize event coordinator Cheryl Eichar Jett for her outstanding job in pulling this event off, as well as her volunteer staff that included the likes of Dave Tucker from Gillespie, IL and Sheila Martin from American Road Magazine, who was one of many people I got to meet in person for the first time.
Brooks on 66
Brooks, one of our four-legged friends, took to Route 66 in Illinois to see a few stops south of Springfield recently.  He donned his official Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway bandanna, and hopped in the car. As one of our fairly younger travelers (just recently celebrating his first birthday), he had a relatively short attention span and wanted to hit a few stops that were sure to impress. He decided to check out the Mother Road in Girard, Litchfield, and Collinsville.
Upcoming Events
Elkhart Historical Society 2016 Winter Dinner Lecture Series
The Midwest Tribute to the King Competition
David Davis Mansion Celebrates President Lincoln’s Birthday February 6th
Ragtime The Musical
Free Admission Day at Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
The Chieftains with Paddy Maloney
Chicago Flower & Garden Show
Spring Equinox Sunrise Observance at Reconstructed Woodhenge
10th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
2nd Annual Blue Carpet Corridor Festival
Elkhart Historical Society 2016 Winter Dinner Lecture Series
The Midwest Tribute to the King Competition
David Davis Mansion Celebrates President Lincoln’s Birthday February 6th
Ragtime The Musical
Free Admission Day at Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
The Chieftains with Paddy Maloney
Chicago Flower & Garden Show
Spring Equinox Sunrise Observance at Reconstructed Woodhenge
10th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
2nd Annual Blue Carpet Corridor Festival
1/29/16 - 3/18/16
2/5/16 - 2/6/16
Springfield
2/6/16
Bloomington-Normal
2/7/16
Joliet
2/12/16
Springfield
3/2/16
Joliet
3/12/16 - 3/20/16
Chicago
3/17/16
Collinsville
5/7/16 - 5/8/16
Joliet
6/10/16 - 6/11/16
Chatham
1/29/16 - 3/18/16
2/5/16 - 2/6/16
Springfield
2/6/16
Bloomington-Normal
2/7/16
Joliet
2/12/16
Springfield
3/2/16
Joliet
3/12/16 - 3/20/16
Chicago
3/17/16
Collinsville
5/7/16 - 5/8/16
Joliet
6/10/16 - 6/11/16
Chatham
Elkhart, Illinois, The Elkhart Historical Society has announced that    “An Evening with Mark McDonald” will be the first of three scheduled dinner lectures at Elkhart’s Wild Hare Café which will start at 5:30pm on Friday January 29, 2016. McDonald has become a staple in many people’s television preferences due to his award winning, “Illinois Stories” program on PBS. (Note- the January 29th dinner lecture, “An Evening with Mark McDonald” sold out so quickly they have decided to add an additional night, Friday February 5, 2016 - tickets are still available for the February event).

Meet us at the Route 66 Hotel for 20th anniversary of the Midwest Tribute to the King! Elvis tribute artists compete for cash/prizes with a live band. Event is open to the public with admission fee's between $20 - $40.
Who was Old Buck? Why was Abraham Lincoln’s sense of humor so important? What role did Lincoln’s hat play in his political fortunes? Visitors will discover all that and more when the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site throws a birthday party for Lincoln on Saturday, Feb. 6.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., families can celebrate at the home of Lincoln’s close friend and political ally, Judge David Davis. Through tall tales and amusing stories, visitors will learn about Lincoln’s life and his relationship with Davis, who became a senator and Supreme Court justice. 
At the dawn of a new century, everything is changing ... and anything is possible. Ragtime returns to the road in an all-new touring production Directed & Choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge and Produced by the team that most recently brought you The Addams Family, Spamalot, Rock of Ages and The Color Purple.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum offers two ways for children to learn about the 16th president at no charge this month. First, school groups can make free visits to the presidential library in February. Second, everyone – both children and adults – can visit for free on Feb. 12, Lincoln’s birthday.
Six-time Grammy Award winners, The Chieftains, have been highly recognized for reinventing traditional Irish music on a contemporary and International scale. After fifty years of making some of the most beautiful music in the world, The Chieftains' music remains as fresh and relevant as when they first began. 
Get ready for brilliant color, sweet fragrance and great gardening ideas at the annual Chicago Flower & Garden Show presented by Mariano's at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Over 20 feature gardens from top designers bring visitors the first joys of spring and exciting ways to "Do Green. Do Good." The Marketplace's 100 exhibitors is a shopper's paradise; the Kids Activity Garden is so much fun, kids don't realize how much they're learning about greening our world. Garden Gourmet features top chefs with cooking demos.
The perfect, peaceful early-bird event at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. Meet at the reconstructed Woodhenge to hear an explanation of the discovery, form end function of this post-circle sun calendar. Arrive by 6:45 a.m. One of the greatest cities of the world, Cahokia was larger than London was in AD 1250.
The 10th Annual Red Carpet Corridor Festival traverses 13 Communities from Joliet to Towanda along a 90-mile stretch of Old Route 66 that collectively celebrates the Mother Road. Each town puts together its own events for the weekend, making for a great shopping and sight-seeing experience. Gather the family and take a trip down memory lane. Towns include Joliet, Elwood, Wilmington, Braidwood, Godley, Braceville, Gardner, Dwight, Odell, Pontiac, Chenoa, Lexington and Towanda.

The 2nd annual Blue Carpet Corridor Festival is Fri-Sun, June 10-11, 2016, featuring 18 towns from Chatham to Collinsville with a shared history of miners, mobsters and the Mother Road. Enjoy three days of fun and surprises!
Elkhart, Illinois, The Elkhart Historical Society has announced that    “An Evening with Mark McDonald” will be the first of three scheduled dinner lectures at Elkhart’s Wild Hare Café which will start at 5:30pm on Friday January 29, 2016. McDonald has become a staple in many people’s television preferences due to his award winning, “Illinois Stories” program on PBS. (Note- the January 29th dinner lecture, “An Evening with Mark McDonald” sold out so quickly they have decided to add an additional night, Friday February 5, 2016 - tickets are still available for the February event).

Meet us at the Route 66 Hotel for 20th anniversary of the Midwest Tribute to the King! Elvis tribute artists compete for cash/prizes with a live band. Event is open to the public with admission fee's between $20 - $40.
Who was Old Buck? Why was Abraham Lincoln’s sense of humor so important? What role did Lincoln’s hat play in his political fortunes? Visitors will discover all that and more when the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site throws a birthday party for Lincoln on Saturday, Feb. 6.

From 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., families can celebrate at the home of Lincoln’s close friend and political ally, Judge David Davis. Through tall tales and amusing stories, visitors will learn about Lincoln’s life and his relationship with Davis, who became a senator and Supreme Court justice. 
At the dawn of a new century, everything is changing ... and anything is possible. Ragtime returns to the road in an all-new touring production Directed & Choreographed by Marcia Milgrom Dodge and Produced by the team that most recently brought you The Addams Family, Spamalot, Rock of Ages and The Color Purple.

The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum offers two ways for children to learn about the 16th president at no charge this month. First, school groups can make free visits to the presidential library in February. Second, everyone – both children and adults – can visit for free on Feb. 12, Lincoln’s birthday.
Six-time Grammy Award winners, The Chieftains, have been highly recognized for reinventing traditional Irish music on a contemporary and International scale. After fifty years of making some of the most beautiful music in the world, The Chieftains' music remains as fresh and relevant as when they first began. 
Get ready for brilliant color, sweet fragrance and great gardening ideas at the annual Chicago Flower & Garden Show presented by Mariano's at Chicago’s Navy Pier. Over 20 feature gardens from top designers bring visitors the first joys of spring and exciting ways to "Do Green. Do Good." The Marketplace's 100 exhibitors is a shopper's paradise; the Kids Activity Garden is so much fun, kids don't realize how much they're learning about greening our world. Garden Gourmet features top chefs with cooking demos.
The perfect, peaceful early-bird event at Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site. Meet at the reconstructed Woodhenge to hear an explanation of the discovery, form end function of this post-circle sun calendar. Arrive by 6:45 a.m. One of the greatest cities of the world, Cahokia was larger than London was in AD 1250.
The 10th Annual Red Carpet Corridor Festival traverses 13 Communities from Joliet to Towanda along a 90-mile stretch of Old Route 66 that collectively celebrates the Mother Road. Each town puts together its own events for the weekend, making for a great shopping and sight-seeing experience. Gather the family and take a trip down memory lane. Towns include Joliet, Elwood, Wilmington, Braidwood, Godley, Braceville, Gardner, Dwight, Odell, Pontiac, Chenoa, Lexington and Towanda.

The 2nd annual Blue Carpet Corridor Festival is Fri-Sun, June 10-11, 2016, featuring 18 towns from Chatham to Collinsville with a shared history of miners, mobsters and the Mother Road. Enjoy three days of fun and surprises!
Elkhart Historical Society 2016 Winter Dinner Lecture Series
1/29/16 - 3/18/16
The Midwest Tribute to the King Competition
2/5/16 - 2/6/16
Springfield
David Davis Mansion Celebrates President Lincoln’s Birthday February 6th
2/6/16
Bloomington-Normal
Ragtime The Musical
2/7/16
Joliet
Free Admission Day at Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
2/12/16
Springfield
The Chieftains with Paddy Maloney
3/2/16
Joliet
Chicago Flower & Garden Show
3/12/16 - 3/20/16
Chicago
Spring Equinox Sunrise Observance at Reconstructed Woodhenge
3/17/16
Collinsville
10th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
5/7/16 - 5/8/16
Joliet
2nd Annual Blue Carpet Corridor Festival
6/10/16 - 6/11/16
Chatham
Elkhart Historical Society 2016 Winter Dinner Lecture Series
1/29/16 - 3/18/16
The Midwest Tribute to the King Competition
2/5/16 - 2/6/16
Springfield
David Davis Mansion Celebrates President Lincoln’s Birthday February 6th
2/6/16
Bloomington-Normal
Ragtime The Musical
2/7/16
Joliet
Free Admission Day at Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
2/12/16
Springfield
The Chieftains with Paddy Maloney
3/2/16
Joliet
Chicago Flower & Garden Show
3/12/16 - 3/20/16
Chicago
Spring Equinox Sunrise Observance at Reconstructed Woodhenge
3/17/16
Collinsville
10th Annual Illinois Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor Festival
5/7/16 - 5/8/16
Joliet
2nd Annual Blue Carpet Corridor Festival
6/10/16 - 6/11/16
Chatham
prev
next
LATEST NEWS FROM ROUTE 66
Pontiac Breaking Ground for New Hotel
Dec 04, 2015
Pontiac’s newest hotel has taken the first big step towards its completion, which is expected in 2016.  A group of city officials, representatives from the Pontiac Area Chamber of Commerce, the Pontiac Hotel Developers, LLC, Hotel Development Services of Oxford, Ohio, and the hotel’s new management team, Monchino Management LLC of Herrin, IL, conducted the ground breaking ceremony on Wednesday, December 2nd at the site of the new hotel near the Interstate 55 interchange. 
Route 66 Collaboration Workshops Final Report
Nov 24, 2015
The Route 66: The Road Ahead Steering Committee has completed its review and analysis of feedback collected from the over 300 Rt. 66 stakeholders who took part in this past summer's series of Collaboration Workshops. Based on its discussions, the Steering Committee has produced the Collaboration Workshops Final Report which can be accessed here.
Charlie Parker's Diner Owner Wins National Thomas' Breakfast Battle
Oct 26, 2015
Congratulations go out to Mike Murphy, owner of Charlie Parker's Diner in Springfield, IL, who won $25,000 last weekend in a national breakfast recipe competition. Murphy made it to the final round of two competitors, who battled it out Saturday morning, October 24th on Fox & Friends morning news show.  Murphy whipped up a famous breakfast horseshoe for the final round of the competition. Online voting closed at 11pm Sunday October 25th, and Murphy emerged the winner of the Thomas' Breakfast Battle.
Pontiac Route 66 Mural Earns National Geographic Calendar Cover
Aug 19, 2015
Pontiac's own world's largest painted Route 66 shield mural is the featured cover photograph on one of National Geographic's 2016 promotional calendars. The Route 66-themed calendar includes 12 stunning images taken along the historic "Mother Road." Pontiac's shield mural is the image for December, and was selected as the calendar's impressive cover photo.
Atlanta Unveils Hit the Road Highstriker Game Attraction
Jun 17, 2015
On June 13, 2015, the city of Atlanta unveiled their newest Route 66 tourist attraction, the "Hit the Road!" highstriker game. The game is located next to Bunyon's Statue downtown, and is modeled after the strongman games found at carnivals and fairs. The purpose of the game is to challenge visitors to see how far they can "travel" on Route 66 by swinging a giant mallet that hits a steel weight that shoots up along a map of Route 66 with each state represented from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Sputnik Orbit Comes Full Circle
May 20, 2015

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

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

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

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