Showing 1-57 of 57 items found in History
The experiences you’ll find here are as unique, fun and memorable as the road is long. Route 66 defined a remarkable era in our nation’s history - and it lives on today in Illinois Route 66’s many roadside attractions, museums, restaurants - and the shining ribbon of blacktop we call The Mother Road. Illinois’ stretch of this mythic road boasts the highest density of kitschy, interesting things to do you’ll find from here to California. So, join us for the far out journey that never ends on Illinois Route 66.
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.
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.
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.
The Polk-a-Dot Drive In was founded over 50 years ago has become one of the most memorable attractions along Illinois Route 66. Stop in and see the collection of memorabilia and enjoy a great meal.
The Railsplitter Covered Wagon, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest covered wagon in the world, is located on the front lawn of the Best Western Lincoln Inn, near historic Route 66. A statue of Abe Lincoln reading a law book sits in the huge wooden wagon, which stands 24 feet tall.
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.
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.
This 170-foot-tall bottle that resembles a Brook's Catsup Bottle served as a water tower for the catsup manufacturer after being constructed in 1949. A popular roadside attraction, it makes for a great photo op.
A Chicago tradition for 83 years. Breakfast all day. Homemade pastries, bread and famous omelettes. Fresh squeezed O.J. Outstanding fresh daily lunch specials. Milk Duds for the ladies! One block west of Union Station. Mon.-Sat. 5:30am-3pm; Sun. 7am-3pm.
Visitors can enjoy a dazzling music, light and water show at the Clarence F. Buckingham Memorial Fountain, one of the largest fountains in the world. Located at Columbus Drive, shows runs from dusk to 11pm every hour and lasts for 20 minutes. Operates April through mid-October.
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 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.
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 Pink Elephant Antique Mall has many hidden gems. Open daily 9:30 am - 5:30 pm.
The Chicken Basket in Willowbrook opened in the summer of 1946 on Historic Illinois Route 66. Dell Rhea’s chicken has been bringing visitors from around the world on a regular basis for years.
Restored and reopened drive-in located along historic Route 66 in Springfield. Single screen drive-in with double features nightly.
Opened in the late 1800's, this city zoo began to house exotic animals after a traveling circus left behind a lion cub. Located on Historic Route 66 the zoo became a popular attraction among travelers. It is also the only Illinois zoo to feature the endangered Sumatran tiger. They offer many exhibits and zookeeper interaction opportunities that are enjoyed by the whole family. Some highlights include: sun bear, reindeer, Harbor Seals, red pandas, lemurs, Galapagos Tortoise, Bald Eagles, Pallas' Cat, Snow Leopards, gibbons, and Red Wolves. The Zoo features many large indoor and outdoor exhibits such as a Tropical America Rainforest, ZooLab, Katthoefer Animal Building, Wallaby WalkAbout, Children's Zoo, and Animals of Asia.
The history of the Oakland and Pontiac car brands as seen through 15 classic cars, dealer artifacts, a complete print library and memorabilia. Free admission-open year round.
These murals bring back the memories of the heyday of Route 66 in Pontiac, Illinois.
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.
Historic Vaudeville Movie Theatre listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Wide variety of performances.
This clean-shaven statue of young Mr. Lincoln stands in front of the Illinois Exhibits building at Gate 1 of the State Fair Grounds. He is about 30 feet tall, a thin, gawky pre-grow-a-beard Abe. He holds an ax almost in Muffler Man configuration -- the statue is named "The Rail Splitter" -- and dates from 1968, when he was sculpted by Carl W. Rinnus, a Springfield native.
This small park is right on Route 66, and it's a great place to check out the town of Atlanta. It is a great park, including flat area to run and playground for the kids to climb and run on, you and your family are sure to enjoy.
This giant fiberglass statue stands outside Lauterbach Auto Service in Springfield, Illinois. You can see him and many other "Muffler Men" along the historic route.
Travel through time and space! Walk through a replica of the I & M Canal, window shop on a turn-of-the-century street, take a virtual ride on a replica trolley, live the legend of Route 66, land on the moon in a walk-in simulator, and experience space exploration and the Apollo missions. Temporary exhibits change often in our Special Exhibition Gallery. There's always family fun in our discovery room, and remember your visit with a souvenir from our Gift Shop.
This hand-built chapel in Lincoln is open for prayer and meditation 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
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 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.
Be sure to stop by and pick up local Pontiac and tourist information for area attractions, dining, coupons and shopping. Located inside the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum building.
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.
The Livingston-Staunton Muffler Man, in his spiffy orange "Harley-Davidson" shirt, is located outside the Pink Elephant antique mall. He's clearly visible from I-55 now, but looks so tiny in the middle of a field with nothing for reference. You can see him and many other "Muffler Men" along the historic route.
Designed to reflect the Route 66 era, the museum houses exhibits which focus on the roles the railroads, Route 66, businesses, agriculture, and the military have played in Litchfield's history.
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.
Built in 1929, The Mill Restaurant was a highlight of Route 66 in Lincoln. The building sat empty and was in danger of destruction, but is now on the way to recovery. Special tours will be given upon request and appointment.
The Soulsby Service Station is a historic service station in Mount Olive, Illinois. The station is located along historic U.S. Route 66 and is the oldest usable service station on the highway in Illinois. It serves as an example of the house and canopy gas station design.
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.
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.
Although Odell's Standard Oil Gas Station no longer sells gasoline, it has become a welcome center for the Village of Odell. Owned by the Village of Odell, the station is open daily 11:00am to 3:00pm for tours and as a visitor center.
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.
This circa 1940s Texaco station was once a thriving service station but now serves as a Route 66 welcome center. The station is listed on the National Register of Historice Places and has been awarded fundng through the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program to be restored to look like it did in the 1940s.
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.
A Tudor revival building constructed in 1931 by William Sprague to house a service station, restaurant and garage, it is the largest of three remaining two-story fuel station buildings on US 66, originally housing a café and service station on the main floor plus two second-floor apartments for the owner and the station attendant.
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.
Boasting an eclectic collection of Route 66 artifacts, aerial photos and historic signs, the RT 66 Museum is a great beginning for your journey. Open weekdays 9am to 5pm. No charge for admission.
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.
The City of Berwyn has placed four exhibits on Ogden Avenue to educate travelers, tourists, and residents about Berwyn's heritage as one of the first eastern suburban communities along Historic Route 66. Berwyn's four exhibits feature the origin of the Ogden corridor and its early history, its first auto-oriented "fast food" restaurants, and its automobile-based economy and car culture. Visit our Information Kiosk for more information!
Stop by this eclectic museum to explore the history of Route 66, car culture and local history. There is even a Rolls-Royce on display! The collection was brought together by a local historian with great stories to share. Located just a few doors from the Palm's Grill this museum is a must see.
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
Exhibits focused on Abraham Lincoln, Route 66, and other aspects of Atlanta’s history are featured. The Museum’s Local History Resource Center provides extensive genealogy materials accessible to the public. Housed in a beautifully restored 1867 building, the Atlanta Museum presents both permanent and new, rotating exhibits. Open Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Closed Sundays.
The Rt. 66 Arcade Museum is chock full of vintage pinball and video games from the 1930s-1970s - most of which can be played. It's the perfect place to misspend your youth all over again, one quarter at a time!
Located in the heart of Downtown Bloomington on Historic Route 66, the Cruisin with Lincoln on 66 Visitor Center exhibits cover stories about dining, lodging and travel, which were experienced by both Abraham Lincoln and Route 66 travelers. These are supplemented by local items, books, cards, maps and more!
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!
The Lucca Grill was established in 1936 by brothers Fred and John Baldini and was named for their hometown of Lucca, Italy. Located on Historic Route 66, customers enjoy the delicious thin-crust pizza as much as they appreciate the ornate tin ceiling and antique mahogany bar.
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.
This locally-owned pub traces its roots back to 1928. Its scenic location across from Miller Park, Forrest Park and on Historic Route 66 makes this restaurant a popular stop for Route 66 travelers. They offer a variety of food specials, drink specials, video gaming, and lottery. Plus you can watch the game on the big screens. Stop by and try some delicious broasted chicken, walleye, burger's and more!