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
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
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>
Josiah Keller performs Star Spangled Banner at The Mill on 66 Motorcycle Show 9-17-16
Josiah Keller performs Star Spangled Banner at The Mill on 66 Motorcycle Show 9-17-16
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:560px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/-PG9l9RMvto" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Signs Route 66 Motorcycle Plate Legislation 8/20/16
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner Signs Route 66 Motorcycle Plate Legislation 8/20/16
width="100%" style="width:100%; max-width:420px;" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/_vxaGbTMifM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
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>
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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
Rusty Star Marketplace & Route 66 Welcome Center
Divernon, IL
Discover a unique and charming marketplace with 80 small business shoppes under one roof. You will be pleasantly surprised at our fabulous lobby displays that change with the seasons and the holidays! Rusty Star Marketplace offers a wide variety of merchandise; antique, vintage, new, all displayed nicely in room settings, and for the ladies - jewelry, purses, clothing and accessories. Something for everyone!
The Tropics Restaurant Neon Sign
Lincoln, IL
The Tropics Restaurant Neon Sign is located at the original location of the famous Route 66 neon sign, which is now at the McDonald’s restaurant in Lincoln. It was recently restored by Ace Sign Company through the efforts of the Tropics Legacy Campaign, which included a grant from the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program.
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!
Motorheads Bar & Grill
Springfield, IL
Get ready Route 66...Motorheads is now fired up and serving customers! Over 18 different beers, 4 wines and 4 cocktails are on tap. The old Stuckey's Restaurant is being transformed into a bar and grill with video gaming, as well as a museum of Springfield, Route 66 and Car Racing artifacts. The museum contains a substantial portion of the former Shea's Gas Station museum collection. Several television screens in the bar area will feature car racing events. 
featured stories from the road
A Celtic Cross for Remembrance In Funk’s Grove
In Funk’s Grove, the Funk family cemetery held a secret for almost 150 years. A large grave holds the remains of about fifty unidentified Irishmen who probably died from cholera while laying the railroad tracks that run parallel to Route 66 and modern I-55. In 1847, the Alton & Sangamon Railroad (later named Chicago & Alton) began laying tracks from St. Louis to Springfield. By 1853, those tracks had reached Bloomington. Most of the men and boys who labored to make this road for the “iron horse” were from Ireland...
Seeing Pink and Saying “Cheese”

Along Route 66, near I-55's mile marker 37, is a land of giants and colossal pink elephants, giant ice cream cones and gingerbread gazebos, spaceships and other-worldly possessions. These collectibles sit outside the Pink Elephant Antique Mall. Since 2005, this yard art has enticed interstate travelers to stop for a closer look. Owner Dave Hammond traveled all over the country to salvage these oddities and bring them home to the front yard of I-55. Why? Because he likes to see people smile... 

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 lied upon the horizon.  How ironic that a little girl buried on 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 Dorothy.  The impact of his books and later a Movie would inspire generations to come.

Upcoming Events
Dwight Harvest Days & Annual Basset Waddle
17th Annual International Route 66 Mother Road Festival
Evergreen Cemetery Walk
50th Anniversary of the Bloomington Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts
Lincoln Heritage Museum Grand Soiree
Stewart's Deep Rock Historical Rt. 66 Cruise
The Mill on 66 12th Annual Car Cruise-In
Santa 5k and 1-Mile Stroll
Trunk-or-Treat
4th Annual Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference
Dwight Harvest Days & Annual Basset Waddle
17th Annual International Route 66 Mother Road Festival
Evergreen Cemetery Walk
50th Anniversary of the Bloomington Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts
Lincoln Heritage Museum Grand Soiree
Stewart's Deep Rock Historical Rt. 66 Cruise
The Mill on 66 12th Annual Car Cruise-In
Santa 5k and 1-Mile Stroll
Trunk-or-Treat
4th Annual Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference
9/20/18 - 9/23/18
Dwight
9/21/18 - 9/23/18
Springfield
9/28/18 - 10/7/18
Bloomington-Normal
9/29/18
Bloomington-Normal
9/29/18
Lincoln
10/6/18
Litchfield
10/13/18
Lincoln
10/20/18
Joliet
10/20/18
Joliet
10/25/18 - 10/28/18
Carlinville
9/20/18 - 9/23/18
Dwight
9/21/18 - 9/23/18
Springfield
9/28/18 - 10/7/18
Bloomington-Normal
9/29/18
Bloomington-Normal
9/29/18
Lincoln
10/6/18
Litchfield
10/13/18
Lincoln
10/20/18
Joliet
10/20/18
Joliet
10/25/18 - 10/28/18
Carlinville

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 21-23 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.


Since 1822, when people began settling the land that would later become known as McLean County, the county and its citizens have helped shaped the history of Illinois. From being home to Illinois’s first public university (Illinois State University), aiding Abraham Lincoln’s rise to the nation’s highest office, leading the way in agricultural innovations, and producing and training internationally known circus performers, the citizens of McLean County have made an indelible mark on almost 200 years of Illinois history that is worthy of celebrating.
Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts is turning 50! Join PR&CA for a great afternoon celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Bloomington Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts. All the fun will happen Saturday, Sept. 29th from 2 - 5 p.m. in Miller Park. Featuring Live Music, Sand Volleyball, Lawn Games, Shuffleboard, Trivia, Beach Fun, 50¢ Mini Golf & Paddle Boats. 

Lincoln College will be opening its doors for its annual gala premiere, the Grand Soirée. This event helps celebrate the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln while helping the Lincoln Heritage Museum raise funds to continue to conserve historical artifacts as well as grow its educational outreach efforts.

Stewart's Deep Rock Gas Station & Truck Stop Open Car, Truck and Motorcycle Historical Rt. 66 Cruise is coming to Litchfield on Saturday, October 6th at the Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center. Festivities begin at 2pm.

The Railsplitter Antique Auto Club has once again teamed up with the Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County to host the 11th Annual Car Cruise-In at The Mill. The event will take place Saturday, October 13th, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Mill, 738 S. Washington St. in Lincoln. All members of the Railsplitter Antique Auto Club, other car clubs, and the public are invited to this fun-filled family event. In keeping with the decades-old tradition of music at The Mill, there will be live music beginning at 11am, from Ryan Parcelle of Lincoln and Stan, Jeff & Lynn from Jacksonville.

This year’s event will feature a competitive, timed and scored 5K race as well as a leisurely 1-mile stroll with participants of all ages and ability levels including families, strollers and wheelchairs. Gates will open at 8 a.m., and race time is scheduled for 9 a.m. CT.
Families and race fans are invited to load up their trunks with candy and put their little ones in full costume before heading to the second annual Trunk-or-Treat fundraising event at Chicagoland Speedway on October 20 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

For just a $10 donation per car, children can navigate from car to car through Chicagoland Speedway’s Champion’s Park to collect candy as they would door-to-door on Halloween. The proceeds will benefit Chicagoland Speedway’s charitable entity, Racing Advocates for Community Enrichment (R.A.C.E.).

The Illinois Route 66 Blue Carpet Corridor is proud to present the 4th Annual Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference that will be held in Carlinville, Illinois, on Thursday-Saturday, October 25-27, 2018. The primary venue for the conference is Blackburn College, northeast of Downtown Carlinville at University and Nicholas Streets. The conference focuses on historic preservation, economic development, history, and marketing presented by an outstanding line-up of nationally known experts on Route 66.


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 21-23 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.


Since 1822, when people began settling the land that would later become known as McLean County, the county and its citizens have helped shaped the history of Illinois. From being home to Illinois’s first public university (Illinois State University), aiding Abraham Lincoln’s rise to the nation’s highest office, leading the way in agricultural innovations, and producing and training internationally known circus performers, the citizens of McLean County have made an indelible mark on almost 200 years of Illinois history that is worthy of celebrating.
Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts is turning 50! Join PR&CA for a great afternoon celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Bloomington Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts. All the fun will happen Saturday, Sept. 29th from 2 - 5 p.m. in Miller Park. Featuring Live Music, Sand Volleyball, Lawn Games, Shuffleboard, Trivia, Beach Fun, 50¢ Mini Golf & Paddle Boats. 

Lincoln College will be opening its doors for its annual gala premiere, the Grand Soirée. This event helps celebrate the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln while helping the Lincoln Heritage Museum raise funds to continue to conserve historical artifacts as well as grow its educational outreach efforts.

Stewart's Deep Rock Gas Station & Truck Stop Open Car, Truck and Motorcycle Historical Rt. 66 Cruise is coming to Litchfield on Saturday, October 6th at the Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center. Festivities begin at 2pm.

The Railsplitter Antique Auto Club has once again teamed up with the Route 66 Heritage Foundation of Logan County to host the 11th Annual Car Cruise-In at The Mill. The event will take place Saturday, October 13th, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at The Mill, 738 S. Washington St. in Lincoln. All members of the Railsplitter Antique Auto Club, other car clubs, and the public are invited to this fun-filled family event. In keeping with the decades-old tradition of music at The Mill, there will be live music beginning at 11am, from Ryan Parcelle of Lincoln and Stan, Jeff & Lynn from Jacksonville.

This year’s event will feature a competitive, timed and scored 5K race as well as a leisurely 1-mile stroll with participants of all ages and ability levels including families, strollers and wheelchairs. Gates will open at 8 a.m., and race time is scheduled for 9 a.m. CT.
Families and race fans are invited to load up their trunks with candy and put their little ones in full costume before heading to the second annual Trunk-or-Treat fundraising event at Chicagoland Speedway on October 20 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.

For just a $10 donation per car, children can navigate from car to car through Chicagoland Speedway’s Champion’s Park to collect candy as they would door-to-door on Halloween. The proceeds will benefit Chicagoland Speedway’s charitable entity, Racing Advocates for Community Enrichment (R.A.C.E.).

The Illinois Route 66 Blue Carpet Corridor is proud to present the 4th Annual Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference that will be held in Carlinville, Illinois, on Thursday-Saturday, October 25-27, 2018. The primary venue for the conference is Blackburn College, northeast of Downtown Carlinville at University and Nicholas Streets. The conference focuses on historic preservation, economic development, history, and marketing presented by an outstanding line-up of nationally known experts on Route 66.

Dwight Harvest Days & Annual Basset Waddle
9/20/18 - 9/23/18
Dwight
17th Annual International Route 66 Mother Road Festival
9/21/18 - 9/23/18
Springfield
Evergreen Cemetery Walk
9/28/18 - 10/7/18
Bloomington-Normal
50th Anniversary of the Bloomington Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts
9/29/18
Bloomington-Normal
Lincoln Heritage Museum Grand Soiree
9/29/18
Lincoln
Stewart's Deep Rock Historical Rt. 66 Cruise
10/6/18
Litchfield
The Mill on 66 12th Annual Car Cruise-In
10/13/18
Lincoln
Santa 5k and 1-Mile Stroll
10/20/18
Joliet
Trunk-or-Treat
10/20/18
Joliet
4th Annual Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference
10/25/18 - 10/28/18
Carlinville
Dwight Harvest Days & Annual Basset Waddle
9/20/18 - 9/23/18
Dwight
17th Annual International Route 66 Mother Road Festival
9/21/18 - 9/23/18
Springfield
Evergreen Cemetery Walk
9/28/18 - 10/7/18
Bloomington-Normal
50th Anniversary of the Bloomington Parks, Recreation & Cultural Arts
9/29/18
Bloomington-Normal
Lincoln Heritage Museum Grand Soiree
9/29/18
Lincoln
Stewart's Deep Rock Historical Rt. 66 Cruise
10/6/18
Litchfield
The Mill on 66 12th Annual Car Cruise-In
10/13/18
Lincoln
Santa 5k and 1-Mile Stroll
10/20/18
Joliet
Trunk-or-Treat
10/20/18
Joliet
4th Annual Route 66 Miles of Possibility Conference
10/25/18 - 10/28/18
Carlinville
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LATEST NEWS FROM ROUTE 66
Rising From the Ashes on Route 66
Sep 06, 2018
The Parkview Food & Pub, better known as the Parkview Inn, in Bloomington, Illinois, is on a mission to reopen after a it caught fire awhile back and virtually destroyed the historic establishment. The Parkview sits on a 1930 to 1940 alignment of Route 66 at 1003 S. Morris Ave. The Parkview has been around since 1928, and is Bloomington's oldest restaurant that has remained on the same site. This means it is only a few years newer than the very beginnings of Route 66.
McLean County Museum Hires New Executive Director
Mar 27, 2018
Adam Lovell, of Reedsville Wisconsin, has been named the new Executive Director at the McLean County Museum of History. Lovell has over 18 years’ experience in museum operations.  Most recently, he spent two years as Assistant Director and Curator at the Rahr-West Art Museum in Manitowoc, Wisconsin and eight years as Curator of Collections at the Detroit Historical Society in Detroit Michigan.
Eagle injured in April to be released at Lake Lou Yaeger
Jan 12, 2018
Last April, at Lake Lou Yaeger in Litchfield, IL, a female Bald Eagle was injured, in what was viewed as a territorial fight with a male Bald Eagle. While the male Bald Eagle did not survive, thankfully the female Bald Eagle was able to be transported to the Treehouse Wildlife Rescue Center in Dow, IL to recover from her injuries. The female bald Eagle has made a full recovery and will be released back to her native territory at Lake Lou Yaeger. The release is scheduled for Saturday, January 20th and the public is invited to attend.