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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.
Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup
Guided tours offered during February and March that show syrup making by the "Boiling Down" process. Gift store stocked with syrup as well as Route 66 memorabilia.
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 Exhibit
Exhibit 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 Exhibit 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.
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, 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.
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.
Sky View Drive In - Litchfield
The Sky View Drive-In Theatre in Litchfield opened in the Spring of 1950 and has been in operation each season since then. We are a seasonal operation and run from the first or second weekend in April until the end of September. Open on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays only.
A 20th century Kankakee streetcar was moved to Gardner in 1932 to serve as a diner. In 1937, the streetcar became a cottage and playhouse. It was moved behind the Riviera in 1955 and is still there today. It was restored ty the Route 66 Association of Illinois and inducted into the Route 66 Hall of Fame in 2001.
The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge
Built in 1927, Old Chain of Rocks was the fifth bridge to cross the Mississippi River, which shortened the distance between St. Louis, Missouri, and Edwardsville, Illinois by 15 miles.
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.
The Yarn Studio
Visit our shop in downtown Casey and your creative spirit will soar. The newly renovated space provides a relaxed atmosphere for browsing. Our supplies include items for knit, crochet, spinning, and weaving. Many items are sold exclusively through independent retailers. We strive to help the beginner as well as motivated advanced knitter. Home to the World's Largest Knitting Needles and Crochet Hook.
Two-Cell Jail in Gardner
The historic Two-Cell Jail was built in 1906. It has been restored by the community and holds a strong presence near Gardner's downtown area. Visitors are now encouraged to "go behind bars" and have their own photo taken.
Two-Story Outhouse at Gays
Arguably one of the most famous outhouses left on the planet is located in the town of Gays, IL, located just five minutes from Mattoon. The existence of outhouses in general are rare, but certainly a two-story version is a unique oddity that the small rural community of 300 has capitalized on for quite some time. Stop by anytime for this great photo opportunity!
Weezy’s Route 66 Bar and Grill
The restaurant is known for charbroiled burgers, homemade pies and hearty breakfasts, particularly biscuits and gravy made with fresh sausage from locally produced hogs. The decor follows a diner theme with a black-and-white checkered floor and red vinyl seat cushions on chrome booths, tables and chairs. Walls are lined with vintage signs, photos of old vehicles and other Route 66 memorabilia and even has an outdoor patio.
World's Largest Golf Tee
The World's Largest Golf Tee measures 30ft and 3/4" and weighs 6,659 lbs! It is constructed of yellow pine boards and over 60 gallons of glue and 120 pounds of screws. This is a site you don't want to miss!
World's Largest Horseshoe
Weighing in at 1,144 lbs and measuring 5'8" by 4' 5/8", this horseshoe is sure to bring good luck to all that visit. The Martinsville Horseshoe gained its Guinness Book of World Record status in 2013. The horseshoe stands at the entrance to the Martinsville fairgrounds.
World's Largest Knitting Needles and Crochet Hook
The World's Largest Knitting Needles and Crochet Hook are located inside The Yarn Studio in downtown Casey, Illinois. In order to make it in to the Guinness Book of World Records shop owner, Jeanette Huisinga, had to knit and crochet a 10X10 square with the largest tools. Knitting Needles are 13ft .75in and 25 pounds each. Crochet Hook measures at 6ft. 1.5in and weight is 9lbs.