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
Bloomington Car Show 6-6-15
International Mother Road Festival Springfield IL 9/26-9/28/14
Berwyn Route 66 Car Show 9-6-14
Berwyn, IL
17th Annual World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival
Inaugural 2015 Blue Carpet Corridor 6-13 to 6-14
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Videos From The Road
Illinois Route 66
Illinois Route 66
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Route 66 Stories, Ernie Edwards, Pig Hip Restaurant / Museum, Broadwell
Route 66 Stories, Ernie Edwards, Pig Hip Restaurant / Museum, Broadwell
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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
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Route 66 Stories: Betty Estes - Illinois Route 66
Route 66 Stories: Betty Estes - Illinois Route 66
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Illinois Route 66 Stories: Shea's Gas Station Museum, Springfield
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Shea's Gas Station Museum, Springfield
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Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Ariston Cafe, Litchfield
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Ariston Cafe, Litchfield
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Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Ambler-Becker Texaco Station, Dwight
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Ambler-Becker Texaco Station, Dwight
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Illinois Route 66 Stories: Doc's Soda Fountain, Girard
Illinois Route 66 Stories: Doc's Soda Fountain, Girard
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Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Henry's Ra66it Ranch, Staunton
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Henry's Ra66it Ranch, Staunton
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Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Knight's Action Park and Caribbean Water Adventure, Springfield
Illinois Route 66 Attractions: Knight's Action Park and Caribbean Water Adventure, Springfield
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/QuIOoRnuOcM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
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The Three Alignments
This era encompasses the "Golden Age" of Route 66 where America's car culture took hold. Drive-in theaters, Drive-in restaurants, and motels were born and developed along the Mother Road during this period.
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The concept of the "bypass" was first implemented on Route 66 during this era. Transportation infrastructure is well underway at this point in history as well and traveler expectations have risen, resulting in gas stations, motels, and formalized rest areas.
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The "original" Route 66 alignment in Illinois signifies a turning point in transportation history as the emphasis of long distance travel shifts from a fixed rail system to a traveler driven navigation. Illinois was the first state to boast having Route 66 paved from end to end. It is during this time period that the Mother Road was most often referred to as " The Hard Road."
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Featured Attraction
Lincoln Heritage Museum
Lincoln, IL
The museum is a repository of a large collection of manuscripts, artifacts, and other memorabilia relating to the life of Abraham Lincoln. The museum is located in their brand new expanded facility on the campus of Lincoln College, and also houses the Museum of Presidents, to honor the Chief Executives from Washington to the present day. Open Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Sundays.
featured story from the mother road
World's Largest Catsup Bottle Festival Marks the Historic Landmark's 66th Birthday
The rain took a break on Sunday July 12th, 2015, to give the citizens of Collinsville and the Route 66 community an opportunity to celebrate the 66th birthday of the World's Largest Catsup Bottle - a member of the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and also listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The giant Brooks Catsup Bottle was restored in the late 90s, and remains a beautiful photo opportunity along the road. This icon has generated it's own fan club and it's own festival for the last 17 years.
Traveling the Very First Blue Carpet Corridor
When a new Route 66 event launches in Illinois, even ominous rainy weather does not hamper the enthusiasm. The inaugural Blue Carpet Corridor, with events and sites to see in 18 southern Illinois communities, was a perfect example. The event had been in discussion for some time, when the late Stan Barker "pulled the trigger" and history was made last weekend, June 13th & 14th, 2015. Stan didn't live to see his dream come true, but incredible volunteers from the communities and key leadership roles taken on by Cheryl Eichar Jett from Edwardsville and Dave Tucker from Gillespie made sure the event still happened, and in a big way.
Upcoming Events
With Firmness in the Right
Illinois State Fair in Springfield
2nd Annual Get Your 6.6 on Route 66
2015 Berwyn Route 66 Car Show
Dwight Harvest Days & Annual Basset Waddle
14th Annual International Mother Road Festival
Miles of Possibility Conference at Edwardsville
With Firmness in the Right
Illinois State Fair in Springfield
2nd Annual Get Your 6.6 on Route 66
2015 Berwyn Route 66 Car Show
Dwight Harvest Days & Annual Basset Waddle
14th Annual International Mother Road Festival
Miles of Possibility Conference at Edwardsville
8/3/15 - 11/15/15
Springfield
8/13/15 - 8/23/15
Springfield
8/15/15
McLean
8/29/15
Berwyn
9/17/15 - 9/20/15
Dwight
9/25/15 - 9/27/15
Springfield
10/29/15 - 10/31/15
Edwardsville
8/3/15 - 11/15/15
Springfield
8/13/15 - 8/23/15
Springfield
8/15/15
McLean
8/29/15
Berwyn
9/17/15 - 9/20/15
Dwight
9/25/15 - 9/27/15
Springfield
10/29/15 - 10/31/15
Edwardsville

"With Firmness in the Right: Lincoln and the Jews", an exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, examines Lincoln’s role in paving the way for acceptance and inclusion of Jews in America.

You get everything you can possibly imagine when you attend the Illinois State Fair in Springfield this August, including top-notch performers at the grandstand shows, including Sammy Hagar, Justin Moore, Rascal Flatts, Hank Williams Jr. and many others!

Get Your 6.6 on Route 66! Calling all running, walking, Route 66, and local history enthusiasts - come out Saturday, August 15, when CORE of McLean, holds a 6.6k (4.1-mile) run/walk to benefit the community of McLean, IL.

The Berwyn Route 66 Car Show is the area's best and biggest car show born from the rich automotive heritage of Berwyn's Historic Route 66. Berwyn's show takes visitors on a stroll through 500+ vintage and custom cars, trucks and motorcycles. Highlights include live music, automobile flamethrowing and a cacklefest of dragsters that will thrill spectators!

Dwight's premiere annual event is a great time for the whole family. Enjoy pie baking and pie eating contests, hypnosis/magician, Jr. Karaoke contest, Live Country Music, Live Dixieland Band, All Star Jam Band, Hairbanger's Ball, car show, tractor show and hours of fun!

Over 1,000 cool cars and 80,000 spectators will roll into the heart of Springfield's historic downtown September 25-27, 2015 for a weekend of family fun in the sun and non-stop live music and entertainment! Come celebrate the golden age of Route 66...the cars, the music, the food, the friends - all brought together along Illinois Route 66.
"Miles of Possibility: The Edwardsville Route 66 Conference" will be held in Edwardsville, Illinois, on Thursday-Saturday, October 29-31. Sponsored by the Illinois Route 66 Blue Carpet Corridor Coalition and hosted by the City of Edwardsville, the primary venue for the conference is the beautifully-restored historic Wildey Theatre on N. Main Street, just two blocks off Edwardsville's Route 66. Conference sessions will include presentations, panel discussions, and workshops by nationally and internationally known experts on Route 66, history, preservation, and marketing.

"With Firmness in the Right: Lincoln and the Jews", an exhibit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, examines Lincoln’s role in paving the way for acceptance and inclusion of Jews in America.

You get everything you can possibly imagine when you attend the Illinois State Fair in Springfield this August, including top-notch performers at the grandstand shows, including Sammy Hagar, Justin Moore, Rascal Flatts, Hank Williams Jr. and many others!

Get Your 6.6 on Route 66! Calling all running, walking, Route 66, and local history enthusiasts - come out Saturday, August 15, when CORE of McLean, holds a 6.6k (4.1-mile) run/walk to benefit the community of McLean, IL.

The Berwyn Route 66 Car Show is the area's best and biggest car show born from the rich automotive heritage of Berwyn's Historic Route 66. Berwyn's show takes visitors on a stroll through 500+ vintage and custom cars, trucks and motorcycles. Highlights include live music, automobile flamethrowing and a cacklefest of dragsters that will thrill spectators!

Dwight's premiere annual event is a great time for the whole family. Enjoy pie baking and pie eating contests, hypnosis/magician, Jr. Karaoke contest, Live Country Music, Live Dixieland Band, All Star Jam Band, Hairbanger's Ball, car show, tractor show and hours of fun!

Over 1,000 cool cars and 80,000 spectators will roll into the heart of Springfield's historic downtown September 25-27, 2015 for a weekend of family fun in the sun and non-stop live music and entertainment! Come celebrate the golden age of Route 66...the cars, the music, the food, the friends - all brought together along Illinois Route 66.
"Miles of Possibility: The Edwardsville Route 66 Conference" will be held in Edwardsville, Illinois, on Thursday-Saturday, October 29-31. Sponsored by the Illinois Route 66 Blue Carpet Corridor Coalition and hosted by the City of Edwardsville, the primary venue for the conference is the beautifully-restored historic Wildey Theatre on N. Main Street, just two blocks off Edwardsville's Route 66. Conference sessions will include presentations, panel discussions, and workshops by nationally and internationally known experts on Route 66, history, preservation, and marketing.
With Firmness in the Right
8/3/15 - 11/15/15
Springfield
Illinois State Fair in Springfield
8/13/15 - 8/23/15
Springfield
2nd Annual Get Your 6.6 on Route 66
8/15/15
McLean
2015 Berwyn Route 66 Car Show
8/29/15
Berwyn
Dwight Harvest Days & Annual Basset Waddle
9/17/15 - 9/20/15
Dwight
14th Annual International Mother Road Festival
9/25/15 - 9/27/15
Springfield
Miles of Possibility Conference at Edwardsville
10/29/15 - 10/31/15
Edwardsville
With Firmness in the Right
8/3/15 - 11/15/15
Springfield
Illinois State Fair in Springfield
8/13/15 - 8/23/15
Springfield
2nd Annual Get Your 6.6 on Route 66
8/15/15
McLean
2015 Berwyn Route 66 Car Show
8/29/15
Berwyn
Dwight Harvest Days & Annual Basset Waddle
9/17/15 - 9/20/15
Dwight
14th Annual International Mother Road Festival
9/25/15 - 9/27/15
Springfield
Miles of Possibility Conference at Edwardsville
10/29/15 - 10/31/15
Edwardsville
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LATEST NEWS FROM ROUTE 66
Route 66 - The Road Ahead Collaboration Workshops
Jul 09, 2015
Mark your calendars for Tuesday, July 21st in Springfield, IL, for the first in a series of Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative Collaboration Workshops. The workshops will be held July 21-29 from Illinois to California. Members of Route 66 associations, tourism officials, economic development professionals, business persons, educators, preservationists and government officials are all invited to learn more about this national initiative and help shape the future of Route 66.
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 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!

Miles of Possibility - The Edwardsville Route 66 Conference
Mar 20, 2015
"Miles of Possibility: The Edwardsville Route 66 Conference" will be held in Edwardsville, Illinois, on Thursday-Saturday, October 29-31. Sponsored by the Illinois Route 66 Blue Carpet Corridor Coalition and hosted by the City of Edwardsville, the primary venue for the conference is the beautifully-restored historic Wildey Theatre on N. Main Street, just two blocks off Edwardsville's Route 66.  Conference sessions will include presentations, panel discussions, and workshops by nationally and internationally known experts on Route 66, history, preservation, and marketing. The complete conference schedule, as well as online registration, will be offered, beginning on or about April 1, on the conference webpage, www.bluecarpetcorridor.org/rt66conference.