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Dr. Charles Wright House
Built in 1889 by Dr. C.M. Wright, this stately Renaissance Revival home holds three generations of Wright family furnishings, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Confederate Cemetery and Memorial
This monument remembers those who died in the infamous Alton prison. A smallpox virus spread rapidly through the Alton Prison in 1863, killing more than 1,435 incarcerated soldiers. The soldiers are laid to rest here and each of their names is commemorated at the Memorial. The Alton Prison and Confederate Cemetery are some of the rare northernmost monuments to the Confederate Soldier.
The final debate of Stephan A. Douglas and Abraham Lincoln took place in front of Alton's city hall at the corner of Broadway and Market Streets. The senatorial debate drew national attention along with more that 6,000 visitors. Life-like statues of the two statesmen keep the famous series of debates in 1858 frozen forever in time.
Piasa Bird Mural at Piasa Park
Located on the edge of Alton, Piasa Park is an attractive stop for motorists, picnickers and bicyclists. The park is set at the base of the giant Piasa Bird mural that is painted on the side of a huge bluff. A large granite arrowhead tells the story of the Piasa Bird, which, according to legend, Chief Ouatoga and his 20 warriors killed with poison darts.
J.E. Robinson Underground Railroad Tours
In the early 1800s, Alton became a safe haven for slaves escaping from the bonds of slavery. Because of the area's neighboring slave state of Missouri, runaways found refuge in the free land surrounding Alton. The tunnels of the Underground Railroad run deep beneath the streets along the "Alton Route." The area was a major stop along the Underground Railroad, hiding slaves in caves, barns and basements throughout Alton, Otterville and Jerseyville. Hear the slave's tales, feel their fear and learn about Alton's remarkable past on an Underground Railroad Tour. Tours available by appointment only.
Paul Bunyon Hotdog Statue
Standing 19 feet tall and clutching a giant hot dog, this Paul Bunyon statue, not “bunyan” purposely spelled with an “o”, is one of Route 66’s mythic Muffler Man Statues. A few of these giants still proudly grace the roadsides of historic Route 66. This one is located in Atlanta, just across the street from the Palms Grill Café, which features fine fare from The Mother Road’s golden age.
The Palms Grill Café
The Palms Grill Cafe was a well-known restaurant during the heyday of Route 66. Recently the cafe was revitalized and reopened, and is serving up delicious nostalgia from the fabled Route 66 era. The Palm’s Grill Café has been baking pies and feeding hungry travelers and residents for decades. Their pies are so delicious they've even won a few state pie competitions. Saddle up to the counter or take a seat at a table; either way, the pie and coffee with the community atmosphere is enough to make any first-timer feel like a regular. Conveniently located right across the street is the towering Bunyon’s Statue, another one of Route 66’s famous Muffler Man Statues.
J.H. Hawes Elevator
In the heart of our nation's cornbelt, just a block off Historic Rt. 66, you can discover your connection to Illinois' rich grain producing, storing, and shipping history by visiting the J. H. Hawes Grain Elevator Museum.
The Colaw Rooming House
Return to Rt. 66, circa 1947, when you overnight at The Colaw Rooming House. Where you'll experience travel on the Mother Road before Interstates and motel chains were the norm. Located just 2 blocks from Rt. 66 in quaint Atlanta, Illinois, The Colaw Rooming House offers three bedrooms, two full baths, a charming living room with fireplace, dinning room, curved front porch, and delightful yellow and red 1940's kitchen. To further enhance your step back in time, your stay includes a complimentary breakfast at The Palms Grill Cafe-Atlanta's fully restored, circa 1935 small town diner. For more information please visit our website www.thecolawhouse.com
Aurora Historic Districts/Aurora Historic Preservation Commission
Tour the Near Eastside (350 homes dating from the 1800s), Stolp Island, Westside and Riddle Highlands, two of which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Sri Venkateswara Swami Temple of Greater Chicago
This temple is one of only three Sri Venkateswara Hindu temples in the United States, constructed by Native American artisans.
Grand Army of the Republic Hall
Built in 1878, this structure was originally built as a monument to Aurora's Civil War Veterans. The building is currently listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has more than 2,500 artifacts, photographs, scrapbooks, medals, flags and items dating from the Civil War through the Vietnam War. This historic treasure is now open for public viewing on an initial limited basis. Self-guided public tours available Saturdays 12 noon to 4 pm and 6 - 8 pm during each First Friday event through November. Group tours (by appointment only) Wednesdays through Fridays. Tours free and open to the public. For information 630-256-INFO. Watch a quick virtual preview and then come visit in person. See the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Hall, Post 20: Virtual Museum and Research Center at https://www.aurora-il.org/gar/virtual_exhibit.php.
Recently named one of the Top Ten Theatres in Chicago by the League of Chicago Theatres, the Paramount continues to provide world-class entertainment—including dance, music, Broadway-caliber theatre, and children’s programming—for an annual audience of 150,000 patrons from over 250 communities. The Paramount also hosts free community events and its opulent interiors provide a spectacular backdrop for private functions such as wedding receptions or corporate galas. (Photography: Liz Lauren & Charles Osgood)
Formerly known as the Illinois Asylum for the Incurable Insane. Come take a tour and hear stories of the history of the hospital, employees and the inmates. See how this nationally recognized historic
An authentic, five-story (68 feet) working Dutch windmill located on the Fox River Trail. Built in the 1850's by two German craftsmen and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Volunteer millers serve as docents on the weekends. The Fabyan Windmill is open weekends, May 15 – October 15, from 1-4 p.m. Private tours are also available by appointment.
Whether you're interested in science or just fishing in the ponds near the buffalo herd you're welcome at Fermilab. Take a self-guided tour of the laboratory, the Art Gallery and science and educational displays. View the grounds from the 15th floor observation area. Visitors may also visit the Lederman Science Center. Performing arts and lectures. Groups welcome by appointment. Public tours are offered every Wednesday at 10:30 a.m. and as part of the Ask-a-Scientist event on the first Sunday of each month.
As the centerpiece of downtown Batavia, the Riverwalk extends along the Depot Pond and Fox River to a north point pavilion, where grand views of the Fox River are available.
Fey Orr Memorial Mural
This mural honors the late Fey Orr, a prominent local businessman and philanthropist. The mural is painted on the Chebanse Grain & Lumber Co. building, and depicts the people and lifestyle of Beaverville.
Belvidere Cemetery and Pettit Memorial Chapel
Established in 1847, this is the burial ground for Belvidere's illustrious pioneers. Want to go right to a Frank Lloyd Wright landmark? Visit the Pettit Memorial Chapel.
Bishop Hill State Historic Site
Four historically significant buildings are owned by the State of Illinois and are maintained as part of the Bishop Hill State Historic Site. These architectural treasures are the two-story Colony Church (1850), the three-story Colony Hotel (1852-ca. 1860), the Boys Dormitory (ca. 1850), and the Colony Barn (mid-1850s) that has been relocated behind the Hotel. In addition, the central village park contains a reconstructed gazebo and war monuments. On the south edge of the village, stands a new brick Museum to house a comprehensive collection of paintings by colonist and self-taught artist, Olof Krans (1838-1916). Hours and days of operation change with the season. Please call to confirm your visit.
Bishop Hill Steeple Building
Take a look back in history and visit the Steeple building, built in 1854. Architecturally intriguing it is a three-story stucco Greek Revival structure with a two-story tower and 66 six-over-six windows. It was built to be used as a hotel, but instead was used as a dwelling, school, administration building, and later housed a bank, telephone switchboard and apartments. The museum is home to the Bishop Hill Heritage Association offices. The rooms and exhibit showcase historic artifacts and photos of early Colony days and take visitors back through time to a quaint prairie village. Group tours by appointment, small fee. Open Daily 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday Noon to 4 p.m.
McLean County Museum of History
Founded in 1904, the museum is housed in a magnificent courthouse that’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Located in downtown Bloomington, the museum reveals the lives of the people who shaped McLean County, including those who encountered and knew Abraham Lincoln.
Cruisin' With Lincoln on 66
The main source for information about McLean County’s historic and modern attractions in the Bloomington-Normal area is the "Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66" Visitors Center. Located in Downtown Bloomington, the Visitors Center provides information on all of the wonderful attractions, events, dining and lodging available in McLean County. Their exhibits highlight two types of heritage tourism that is integral to Central Illinois: Historic Route 66 and Abraham Lincoln. The gift shop is filled with local products, memorabilia and more!
Behind the Curtain Tour - Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts
The fascinating history of the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts comes to life in the Behind the Curtain historic tour program. Led by a group of specially trained docents, you'll not only see the beautiful neo-Classical interior design of the BCPA, but also learn all about the many technical and patron service updates achieved in the building's significant renovation. You won't want to miss this surprising, fascinating, and fun-filled look at one of Bloomington's historic and most thriving buildings. Bring your stories, your questions, and, above all, your curiosity. Behind the Curtain tours are one hour in length and can accommodate a wide variety of group sizes.