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The Ariston Cafe was founded by Pete Adam, a Greek immigrant, in Carlinville, Illinois in 1924. The original cafe was located on Route 4, the predecessor of Historic Route 66. In 1929, the Cafe was relocated to Litchfield, Illinois and moved into its present location on Route 66 in 1935. Since 1966, Pete’s son Nick and wife, Deme, continue to offer the traditional service expected of a family-owned and operated restaurant. The cafe is believed to be one of the oldest restaurants on Route 66 and has been inducted into the Route 66 Hall of Fame and is placed on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Atlanta Public Library and Museum
Located across from Route 66 Park in historic downtown Atlanta, Illinois, the Atlanta Public Library is a hub of community activity and an attraction for tourists who are making the Route 66 pilgrimage. Throughout the year, the Library offers a wide range of programs for children, teens and adults. From reading, arts, and crafts activities for children to outdoor family programming, adult book clubs, writing workshops, programs for seniors, informational programs, and special events, the Library has something for everyone. Built in 1908, this octagon-shaped building is one of the few of its kind in the state. The museum in the basement of the library houses pieces of local history. The library and museum are both on the National Register of Historic Places.
Ballard Nature Center
Just minutes away from the city but a world away, Ballard Nature Center is home to dozens of species of birds and wildlife. Natural prairie, wetlands, butterfly and hummingbird gardens, ponds and creeks round out the outdoor experience.
Clocktower in Atlanta
Located next to the Atlanta Public Library and Museum the clock tower was added in the 70s. The clock itself is the original 1909 hand-would clock from the Atlanta High School.
Dixie Truckers Home
Established in 1928 at the intersection of U.S. Route 66 and Route 136 in McLean, Illinois, Dixie Truckers Home is the oldest truck stop in America. It is still in operation today and although it has been restored after a fire in 1965 the original signs are still in place.
Doc’s Soda Fountain
Located on historic Route 66, this was originally a pharmacy built in the 1880’s. The soda fountain was added to the business in the 1950’s. Stop in for an old-fashioned treat or ice-cream. Doc’s is also open for lunch and dinner.
Effingham County Courthouse
The courthouse was built in 1871 after Effingham was named the county seat. The courhouse retains a pristine exterior and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It also features a museum inside. The museum displays two rooms devoted to the military, which gets changed throughout the year. It also has a room dedicated to the railroads in Effingham County. The Effingham County Courthouse is open Tuesday and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The Gemini Giant is a landmark statue on U.S. Route 66. The 30 foot tall statue is named after the Gemini space program and holds a silver "rocket ship" in his hands, while sporting an astronaut's space helmet that looks more like a welding mask.
Henry's Ra66it Ranch
This quirky must-see Route 66 attraction, information center and souvenir gift shop is home to rabbits of all kinds, bunny and VW, as well as Mother Road memorabilia.
History in the Paint Public Art Tour
In the summer of 2013, a collective of artists, called the Walldogs, came to Kewanee, IL to paint 15 historic murals depicting the long history and heritage of the city. These paintings can be found on many downtown facades, as well as at the Amtrak Station that brings new people to the area, every day. About this mural: Kewanee was founded in May of 1854, when the Military Tract Railroad was routed to the north of Wethersfield. The town founders were from Wethersfield Township to the south, Sylvester Blish, Ralph Tenney, Henry Little and Sullivan Howard, plus Nelson Lay from Wisconsin. Colonel Berrian, civil engineer who supervised the laying of the track through this area, was asked to choose a name and he decided on “Kewanee,” a Winnebago Indian word for “prairie chicken.” In 1921, Wethersfield’s 2,000 people asked to be annexed to Kewanee with its 16,000. That 18,000 would turn out to be Kewanee’s peak population.
Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum
See the finest memorabilia associated with the history of the Mother Road in Illinois. Among the artifacts, you’ll find the bus and van of Route 66 icon, Bob Waldmire—a true legend of the Mother Road. During your visit, you’ll likely spot Bob’s brother, Buz Waldmire, sharing stories of his late brother’s famous travels up and down Route 66. Be sure to step around back for a great photo op in front of the World's Largest Route 66 shield and other great murals. Admission is free.
International Walldog Mural and Sign Art Museum
Free admission to a museum featuring the history of outdoor sign and mural art. Videos, drawings, and artifacts tell the story of advertising art. Art work for sale. The International Walldog Mural & Sign Art Museum is dedicated to the preservation and appreciation of the outdoor wall advertising signs painted in the days before electronic mass media. The painters who created those early signs called themselves "Walldogs." The displays which are found at the museum tell the history of the early sign painters who created their art on the sides of brick buildings, barns, and other structures. Examples of those early signs can still be seen throughout the Midwest and, though faded, peeling, and sometimes barely readable, these "ghost signs" remain an important part of our collective cultural and commercial history.
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.
McDonald's #1 Store Museum
This museum is a replica of the first McDonald's restaurant opened by Ray Kroc on April 15, 1955. View an array of memorabilia, from the original kitchen equipment to the 1950s classic cars parked on site.
CITY: Des Plaines
Metropolis Lighthouse - Hope Light
The lighthouse is located at the west entrance to the city-owned Dorothy Miller Park in Metropolis, Illinois overlooking the Ohio River. The lighthouse stands thirty feet tall and is surrounded by a circular walkway consisting of concrete and personalized bricks.
Noel Neill/Lois Lane Statue
The statue acknowledges Noel's contributions to the Superman Celebration as the "First Lady of Metropolis" and her portrayal of Lois Lane in the Serials and the TV series of the 1950s, "The Adventures of Superman" with an honorable and permanent gesture of love from the citizens of Metropolis and from her countless fans around the world.
Old Log Cabin Restaurant
Situated along the historical old route 66, this small town restaurant is authentic and rich with history. Opened in 1926 by Joe & Victor Seloti it still contains the knotty pine walls that were crafted from cedar telephone poles. Stop by to enjoy classic home cooking and take a step back in time.
Original Brick Road
This beautiful 1.4 mile long piece of restored hand-laid brick road is a segment of 66 done in 1931 and placed over a concrete roadbed. Route 66 at its best.
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, Illinois, just across the street from the Palms Grill Café, which features fine fare from The Mother Road’s golden age.
Pink Elephant Antique Mall
The Pink Elephant Antique Mall has many hidden gems. Open daily 9:30 am - 5:30 pm.
Rendleman Orchards Farm Market
Tree ripened peaches & nectarines from July - August, and apples from September - December. This farm market is open 7 days a week with seasonal produce, preserves, pickles and other specialty food items and gifts.
CITY: Alto Pass
Historic Vaudeville Movie Theatre listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Wide variety of performances.
Rosiclare River Walk
Located in Rosiclare City Park, the River Walk offers great views of the Ohio River. The walk is handicapped accessible with benches for those who want to rest and enjoy the view.
Route 66 Drive In
Restored and reopened drive-in located along historic Route 66 in Springfield. Single screen drive-in with double features nightly.