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Dwight Community Profile & Itinerary
Description
Dwight is a village located mainly in Livingston County, Illinois, with a small portion in Grundy County. The population was 4,260 at the 2010 census. In the early 1850s two railroad surveyors, James Spencer and T.C. Myer set up camp in a clear prairie in Central Illinois.  Within a few years, the railroad was built and when the first Alton and Sangamon (later the Chicago and Alton) train came through from Chicago to St. Louis in 1854.  At the time, there were just two small wood buildings and a water tank. The station was given the name, West New York.  Richard P. Morgan,  another survey engineer, was asked to give the place a name, he suggested Dwight, after Henry Dwight of New York who had heavily invested into the building of the railroad.

During this period, railroad stops typically evolved into towns, and Dwight was no different.  Morgan built the first mill in 1859 and donated the land for the Presbyterian Church.  David McWilliams built a store in the downtown area, and was a success from it's beginning.  He would go on to help build the first school in town and opened the town’s first bank, which would go on to become the Bank of Dwight. In 1879, Dr. Leslie Keeley opened the Keeley Institute, which was the first medical institution to treat alcoholism as a disease.  By the turn of the century, Keeley Institutes were located in nearly every state in the nation and many overseas.

Route 66 made its way through the county, and Dwight was in its path.  Dwight's downtown was by-passed, and the towns businesses migrated their way to the Mother Road. Built in 1933 was Ambler’s Texaco Station, which later became The Marathon Oil Station serviced travelers until 1998.  The building has been renovated and is now a visitor's and information center.

 The C&A Railroad Depot, built in 1891, served for a time as the Village Hall, and is now home to the  Dwight Historical Society and the Chamber of Commerce.  Across the street from the Depot, sits the First National Bank of Dwight, designed by Architect Frank Lloyd Wright in 1905. The bank is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Prairie Creek Public Library, housed in the old Oughton carriage house, The Country Mansion, the Pioneer Gothic Church, and the historic Windmill, built in 1896 to supply water to the Oughton Estate and grounds - now owned by the Village - are all also on the National Register of Historic Places.


On April 21st, 2016, Dwight held the first 90th Anniversary of Route 66 celebration in the country. The event kicked off ten years of events leading to the 100th anniversary of The Mother Road.


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ATTRACTIONS:


Ambler/Becker Texaco Station
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. After major restoration work, the building 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.
417 West Waupansie Street
(815) 584-3077
Ambler/Becker Texaco Station Official Website


First National Bank of Dwight
Designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, this bank was constructed in 1905. It housed the real estate office and bank of Frank L. Smith, a prominent local citizen, U.S. Congressman and Senator. It was remodeled in the 1960’s using Wright’s original ideas and remains the only one of his three bank designs still standing.
122 West Main Street
(815) 584-1212
First National Bank of Dwight Official Website


Chicago & Alton Railroad Depot/Dwight Historical Society Museum
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.
119 West Main Street
(815) 584-3077
Chicago & Alton Railroad Depot/Dwight Historical Society Museum Official Website


Pioneer Gothic Church
Built in 1858, the Association of Illinois Architects in 2007 named this building as one of the “150 Architectural Treasures” in the State of Illinois due to its Carpenter Gothic Architecture. Listed on the National Register, the Prince of Wales, King Edward VII, worshiped here in 1860, while on a hunting expedition in the area.
201 North Franklin Street
(815) 584-1959
Pioneer Gothic Church Official Website


The Oughton Estate Windmill
The windmill is a prominent landmark on the John Oughton estate property. The five-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.
101 West South Street
(815) 584-3077
The Oughton Estate Windmill Official Website


The Oughton House/Country Mansion Restaurant
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 for 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.
101 West South Street
(815) 584-2345 or (800) 892-5969
The Oughton House/Country Mansion Restaurant Official Website


Old Route 66 Family Restaurant
Follow the Mother Road to great food at the Old Route 66 Family Restaurant in Dwight. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner, this restaurant features homemade chili and soups and a variety of homemade entrees. Delivery and carry-outs available, and catering and banquets also. Stop by and choose from the selection of Route 66 souvenirs and keepsakes.
105 South Old Route 66
(815) 584-2920
Old Route 66 Family Restaurant Official Website



Dwight has four different wayside exhibits located in the community. Full Service on Route 66 - Follow the history of a family run gas station from 1933-1999.  Where did full service come from and where did it go? Mom and Pop Motels, The Paulsen-Strufe Motel - What is the difference between a hotel and a motel? Learn how Route 66 changed the way America slept on the road. Shifting Roadways - Did you know that Route 66 created lakes? Find out how here. Dwight, A Well Connected Community - Leslie Keeley, Frank Lloyd Wright, and Henry Ives Cobb, what do they all have in common? Dwight Illinois of course! Learn how these famous innovators' lives intersected here.
Dwight, Illinois
(217) 525-9308
Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway Interpretive Exhibits Official Website
 
 
Dwight Illinois Route 66 Experience Hub
A Memorable Village - "Dwight was the first traffic light south of Chicago," recall some old-timers.  We may never know if that is true, but the Village of Dwight has always been a memorable stop on Route 66. Born in 1854 as a station along the Chicago and Alton railroad, it was designed around the depot instead of a town square.  Enjoy numerous historic buildings that tell the story of trains, princes, the Keeley Cure, and the Mother Road.
Downtown Dwight
(217) 525-9308
Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway Interpretive Exhibits Official Website


MAJOR EVENTS:


Springfest
The Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor hosts visitors traveling between Joliet and Towanda the first weekend of May.  Stop to meet our Texaco Man and admire classic cars driving Route 66. In addition to greeting visitors at the Ambler/Becker Rt. 66 Gas Station, Dwight also hosts Springfest.  Located “just around the curve” from the gas station, this Saturday event includes food, a craft show, entertainment on the stage, and children’s contests and activities. The sanctioned, state championship Route 66 Smoke Out also be takes in the same venue.
445 W. Waupansie St.
(815) 584-1830
Springfest Official Website


Route 66 Smoke Out (BBQ Competition)
Join the fun for the state championship barbecue contest, sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbeque Society. Approximately 40 teams from across the midwest will face off for their share of a $6,000 prize pool.  Competitions include Chicken, Ribs, Pork, and Brisket. The competition is held at the Basset Waddle Park at 445 W. Waupansie St.(Old Route 66) alongside our Springfest celebration. Springfest will feature crafters, displays, music, children’s activities and food.  Take a few minutes and walk “around the curve” to our Rt. 66 Gas Station/Welcome Center to step back in time to a working 1940-1950’s gas station. Meet the Texaco Man and admire classic cars driving Route 66. The Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor hosts visitors traveling between Joliet and Towanda the first weekend of May.  Stop to meet our Texaco Man and admire classic cars driving Route 66. In addition to greeting visitors at the Ambler/Becker Rt. 66 Gas Station, Dwight also hosts Springfest.  Located “just around the curve” from the gas station, this Saturday event includes food, a craft show, entertainment on the stage, and children’s contests and activities. The sanctioned, state championship Route 66 Smoke Out also be takes in the same venue.  Watch these master barbecuers as they face off for their share of a $6,000 prize pool.
445 W. Waupansie St.
(815) 374-0364
Route 66 Smoke Out Official Website
 

Dwight Farmer's Market
Farmer's Markets are held in the downtown parking lot every Wednesday June - August.  Beginning at 5PM area farmers will offer fresh garden produce.  Flowers and plants, crafts, Junk in the Trunk and baked goods are also available.  Sponsored by Dwight Economic Alliance.
Downtown Dwight
(815) 726-6600
Dwight Farmer's Market Official Website



Let’s Buzz the Gut Cruise Night
The Annual Let’s Buzz the Gut Cruise Night gets it’s name from the 1950’s and beyond practice of “buzzing the gut” or cruising downtown to see everyone else doing the same. Held from 4-9PM on the fourth Saturday in June, cool cars, food and music fill the downtown.  Awards are presented to car owners in several categories. Classic cars, music, raffle, Silent Auction, Games & demonstrations.  Food, crafts, novelty items vendors too!
Downtown Dwight
(815) 584-1830
Let’s Buzz the Gut Cruise Night Official Website


Taste of Dwight

Taste of Dwight is held in beautiful Renfrew Park the second Sunday in August. Activities include children’s scavenger hunt, vendor Bingo, displays by member businesses, 50/50 raffle, food vendors, beer tent, and musical entertainment on the stage. Sponsored by Dwight Economic Alliance. Member businesses may set up displays showcasing their business.  Local restaurants also are set up selling food from their establishments.  Entertainment and children's games also. Held the 2nd Sunday in August, 2pm–9pm.
101-105 W North St.
(815) 584-1830
Taste of Dwight Official Website


Dwight Harvest Days
This weekend festival offers something for everyone--crafts and flea market, food vendors, carnival, entertainment on the downtown stage, Kiddie parade, car show and tractor show.  Parade on Sunday. Held the 3rd Full Weekend of September. Events throughout the day from 9am – 1am during the weekend. Sponsored by the Harvest Days Committee.
Downtown Dwight
(815) 474-9795
Dwight Harvest Days Official Website


Basset Waddle
Activities, entertainment and food available for Bassets and their owners at the GABR Park.  Public is welcome to attend. This is held on Harvest Day’s weekend with the Waddle to lead the Harvest Day’s Parade. Sponsored by Guardian Angel Basset Rescue.
445 W. Waupansie St.
(815) 474-9795
Basset Waddle Official Website


Breakfast with Santa
Children and parents may enjoy a pancake and sausage breakfast.  Santa will be available to visit and pose for pictures.  The will also be games to play, face painting and a chance to write Santa a letter. Held the 1st Saturday in December at the Country Mansion Garden Room around 8am. Sponsored by Dwight Economic Alliance.
101-105 W North St.
(815) 584-1830
Breakfast with Santa Official Website


Red Carpet Corridor Festival
The Annual Red Carpet Corridor Festival is held the first full weekend in May and 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.
(815) 844-5847
Red Carpet Corridor Official Website


Route 66 Association of Illinois Motor Tour
The Motor Tour has been traversing Illinois Route 66, alternating each year from North to South and South to North. The caravan makes passport stops at major attractions along the way (including in Joliet), and also includes the annual Hall of Fame Banquet. Held the second weekend in June.
(708) 444-1312
Route 66 Association of Illinois Official Website


AMENITIES:


Village of Dwight

209 S. Prairie Ave.
Dwight, Illinois 60420
(815) 584-3077
Village of Dwight Official Website


Dwight Economic Alliance
119 W. Main St.
Dwight, IL 60420
(815) 584-1830
Dwight Economic Alliance Official Website


Heritage Corridor CVB Visitors Center
30 N. Bluff Street
Joliet, IL 60435
(815) 727-2323
Heritage Corridor Route 66 Website

Dwight Accommodations:


Classic Inn Motel
15 E Northbrook Dr.
Dwight, IL 60420
(815) 584-1200
Classic Inn Motel Facebook Page


Super 8 Motel
14 E Northbrook Dr.
Dwight, IL 60420
(815) 584-1888 or 800-454-3213
Super 8 Dwight Website

Dwight Dining, Shopping & Services

GOOGLE MAP:
Location
Alignment 1926||1930||1940
Northern Region

Dwight, IL
60420

Contact
815-584-3077
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