The Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center has been open for five years and hosts thousands of visitors annually from around the world. The Museum is open Monday-Saturday 10 am to 4 pm and Sunday 1-4 pm from April 1st to October 31st. Winter months the Museum is closed Sunday and Monday. Parking is available on the north, south and behind the building. Admission is FREE, but donations are always welcome. There are no paid employees, all are volunteers.
Litchfield was founded in 1853 along the new St Louis, Alton, and Terre Haute Railroad. Displays feature the early railroad history, the car manufacturing, world’s largest steam flouring mill, businesses, veterans, schools, government, and much more. The museum also features Route 66. Litchfield was located on the 1930-1940, two-lane, and the 1940-1977, four-lane alignments of the historic highway.
Some of the artifacts include a Litchfield Fire Wagon; the desk from the original city hall; a 1930 Ford Model A; memorabilia from Litchfield businesses; a school display featuring the rural and town school history, students, teachers and administration; a veterans’ display with a wide range of items and photos. Cornerstones are on site from the 1904 American Radiator Company and the 1924 Litchfield High School. Litchfield was also home to the Brown Shoe Factory, Litchfield Creamery (makers of Milnot & Chili Man Chili), Walton Park (site of the early Chautauqua events), Wabash Depot, and a number of historic homes.
The Route 66 display features many items from businesses along the Litchfield section of the Mother Road. The Ariston Café, the Sky-View Drive-in, the Belvidere Café & Motel and the Vic Suhling Gas for Less neon sign are available for photo ops. You can also have an evening meal at the Ariston and then take in a movie at the Drive-in.