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Route 66 Museum Litchfield Illinois

About Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center

Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center | Feat. @Someplace or Another | Litchfield IL

Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center, located in Litchfield, IL, promotes research and public education through its Museum collection. Visitors to the Museum can see Museum exhibits, attend events at the Museum, and access Museum educational programs. The Museum supports itself through ticket sales, membership, fundraisers, and donations.

You may contact Museums for questions about:

  • Museum exhibits and collections

County Office is not affiliated with any government agency. Third party advertisements support hosting, listing verification, updates, and site maintenance. Information found on CountyOffice.org is strictly for informational purposes and does not construe legal, financial or medical advice.

Route 66 Prairie And Monarch Butterflies

The Route 66 Prairie is a patch of the Illinois prairie that is the habitat of Monarch butterflies . The prairie is located along the east Frontage road of I-55 between exits 52 and 60 and is part of the Route 66 Monarch Flyway. Visit the illinoismonarchproject.org website for more details. This is the map marking the spot with the sign at Litchfield’s Route 66 prairie.

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The Final Attractions In Litchfield

Ruts Corner Tourist Camp

To your right, on the SW corner of Old 66 and Eilerman is the site of Ruts Corner Tourist Camp. Russell “Ruts” Brawley built his Tourist Camp with several cabins on his property facing Route 66. It also had a cafe that was destroyed by a fire in 1936. Rebuilt, it seated 150 guests. A filling station on the corner completed the complex. The cafe later became part of the adjacent Annex Motel . None of the original buildings remain. The image below shows where the cafe was:

Next door is the old Annex Motel and Service Station, facing both old and new Route 66 alignments.

The Annex Motel and Cafe

The Centennial Yearbook of Litchfield tells us that “The Annex, formerly known as Rut’s Corner, was purchased from William Bahr who had operated the business from 1947 to 1951.It was remodeled and opened in May, 1951, by Joseph Roseman and Estell R. Felts with Eugene A. Kozuk as manager. In April, 1952, Eugene A. Kozuk purchased the Felts interest and the Roseman-Kozuk partnership has continued since then.

It began as a ten unit motel expanded to 15 in 1953, and the restaurant sat 125 guests.

The Annex Motel and Cafe vintage postcard in Litchfield, Illinois

Its postcard also says that it had expanded further, to 32 air conditioned units and “Free TV some units“.

Below is the current view, the buildings haven’t changed but the low wall has gone. However, the foundation blocks of the lamp posts are still there .

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Route 66 Association Of Illinois Hall Of Fame And Museum

The Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac, Illinois was originally established by the Illinois Route 66 association at the Dixie Truckers Home on the former US Route 66 , relocated in June 2004 to early-1900s fire hall, and is now located in the former Pontiac City Hall and Fire Station, now known as the Pontiac Museum Complex.

Its collections include the vehicles of late Route 66 travelling artist and cartographer Bob Waldmire, on whom the Cars character “Fillmore” is based.

Paul Bunyon Hotdog Statue

Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center

Some of Illinois best roadside relics lie in wait on this stretch of the Mother Road. In Atlanta, snap a photo with the 19-ft. Paul Bunyon clutching a giant hot dog. One of Route 66s mythic roadside attractions, several of these giants still proudly grace the Mother Road. After your photo, head across the street for a quick bite at favorite The Palms Grill Café, featuring classic faire from the golden age Route 66. Save room for some pie.

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Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center

If youre looking for Route 66 in Litchfield, this is the place to start. Step back in time with an eclectic blend of artifacts from Litchfield and Route 66 history including an ORIGINAL Route 66 road-sign. Located on the heart of Litchfields Route 66, all other Route 66 attractions are in walking distance or a short drive. More information is available at www.litchfieldmuseum.org.

Route 66 Chicago To St Louis

This post is going to read a bit like a travel diary of my Route 66 going westbound from Chicago to St. Louis. Ill include all of the stops I made in the order that youll come to them and sooooo many pictures.

***And a little disclaimer before we get started: check hours and days of operations to attractions, restaurants, etc. to places that youre interested in before you go because not everything is open 24/7 and its always a bummer to miss something you were really looking forward to when you couldnt shuffled things around a bit to make it happen.

Lets get this party started!

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Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway

The United States Department of Transportation has designated certain US roads as National Scenic Byways because of their special significance to the American people. Route 66 in Illinois received that recognition in 2005. This non-profit organization is responsible for the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway. The group serves 90 communities in Illinois from Chicago to the Chain of Rocks Bridge near Madison, IL. They help attractions, small businesses, and communities take full advantage of their Route 66 resources to provide the best possible experience for visitors from around the world. The Scenic Byway also provides information to travelers to help them plan their adventure down Route 66.

Litchfield Museum And Route 66 Welcome Center

Illinois Stories | Litchfield Museum | WSEC-TV/PBS Springfield

Located on the site of the former Vic Suhling gas station, this retro designed building, complete with restored neon trim and sign, serves as the Litchfield History Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center.

Hours of operation: April-October: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and November-March: Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Information

Step inside and you’ll be swept down memory lane as you view local historical artifacts and Mother Road nostalgia.

Located on the site of the former Vic Suhling gas station, this retro designed building, complete with restored neon trim and sign, serves as the Litchfield History Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center.

Hours of operation: April-October: Monday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. and November-March: Tuesday-Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Contact Details

  • 334 North Old Route 66Litchfield IL62056

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Leaving Chicagoland Behind: Onward Across The Midwest

Gemini Giant at the Launching Pad: Wilmington, IL

This is my favorite of the giant Muffler Men along Route 66 so far. The Launching Pad was closed when I came through here, and Ive heard that theyre not going to be able to reopen as a restaurant anytime soon, but are going to be running the gift shop regularly.

Polk-a-Dot Drive-In: Braidwood, IL

Also closed when I came through, but this looks like a pretty authentic 50s style diner .

First National Bank: Dwight, IL

Designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright, the area where the bank sits in downtown Dwight is worth getting out to stretch your legs.

Historic Ambler/Decker Station: Dwight, IL

This is such a great restored service station. During the summer travel season, the inside is open 10am-2pm Wednesday to Sunday.

Standard Oil Company: Odell, IL

Heres a double whammy for you! Two charming, well preserved service stations back to back!

Jubelts Bakery & Restaurant

Also in the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame, Jubelts Bakery & Restaurant is the right stop for a fresh pastry and a cup of joe. Dont miss their best-selling Tea Cookie! With delicious, hearty meals and baked goods served all day long, theres no better way to start the day . To view the menu, check out their website.

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Entering The Land Of Lincoln: Springfield Il

Boy oh boy theres a lot here. Surprisingly , Springfield, IL was one of the stops I was most excited about. I think because Ive spent time in the states and cities along the route in Missouri, OK, TX and NM many times before but Illinois was brand new to me and theres so much history here.

If youre a history buff, youre going to want to carve out some extra time to spend around Springfield.

Cozy Drive In: Springfield, IL

I singled this out as my must eat place in this section of the route and honestly the food was just okay, but its a really cute place with a lot of history .

Dana Thomas House: Springfield, IL

Im a Frank Lloyd Wright fan so Ill usually go out of my way to see a house or building of his, and this one is pretty incredible although I was so sad I didnt have time to do a tour of the inside.

Rail Splitter Statue: Springfield, IL

I just happened to be in Springfield when they were setting up for the state fair and WOWZERS. Its on my bucket list to go to a big time midwestern state fair so maybe Ill got back to Springfield for this one. Whether youre in town for the fair or not, youll want to see the Rail Splitter statue at the fairgrounds.

Route 66 Drive In: Springfield, IL

There arent too many drive-ins left in the country so its always nice to see one still standing. And what a way to spend a summer evening!

Illinois State Capitol : Springfield, IL

Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum: Springfield, IL

Lincoln Tomb: Springfield, IL

Illinois Route 66 Hall Of Fame And Museum

Litchfield Museum &  Route 66 Welcome Center

No Route 66 journey is complete without a visit to one of the Mother Roads classic museums. A must-see is the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac, packed full with the finest memorabilia associated with the history of Route 66. Among the artifacts, youll find the bus and van of Route 66 icon, Bob Waldmirea true legend of the Mother Road. Step around back for a photo op with the Worlds Largest Route 66 shield.

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Oklahoma Route 66 Museum

The Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton, Oklahoma, covers the history of Route 66 from Chicago, Illinois to Santa, Monica, California. It is the largest museum dedicated to the history and culture of Route 66, the most famous highway in the World. The museum also offers changing special exhibits, focusing on the Route 66 experience in the Now and Future Gallery. And don’t forget to step into the gift shop for some Route 66 Memorabilia.

Arizona Route 66 Museum

The Arizona Route 66 Museum opened in Kingman, Arizona on September 29, 2001 during Andy Devine Days. The museum, located in the Powerhouse Visitor Center, formerly the Desert Power & Water Co. Electric Power Plant, depicts the historical evolution of travel along the 35th parallel that became Route 66.

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Purchase A Brick Paver

In front of the museum, a patio has been constructed of brick pavers to honor those associated with Litchfield, the Litchfield Museum, and area visitors. Its a wonderful to make a permanent memorial to those who have made a valuable contribution to the Litchfield community. Brick pavers can be purchased here in honor of, in memory of, or in recognition of any individual for a tax deductible contribution of as little as $66. Pavers are available in three sizes. Download a form HERE.

Route 66 Wayside Exhibits

Route 66 Prairie in Litchfield, IL

What would Route 66 be without a couple roadside surprises? Stop by one of our three wayside exhibits along the 1930-1940 alignment for a photo and some Mother Road history. Wayside exhibits can be found at the Ariston Café, Niehaus Cycle Sales and The Litchfield Sky View Drive-In. More roadside exhibits can be found all around Illinois, courtesy of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway.

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Route 66 Chicago To St Louis: Beginning Of The Route Abe Lincoln Sites And So Much Corn

Its always a bit exciting setting out on a road trip, but since Route 66 is the ultimate American road trip, it feels extra special. Loading up the car and pulling out of Chicago to set out across the country2500 miles to Californiaa trip that many people before you have experiencedsome out of necessity and some just for the adventure of hitting the road. Im ready to go just thinking about it!

If youre driving Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles and youre anything like me, youre probably going to want to break the whole trip into smaller segments to make the planning a little easier. Well, the first major segment of the trip is from Chicago to St Louis and theres a LOT here.

Growing up on Route 66 and just having a general sense of travel through the US, I always thought more heavily of the New Mexico and Arizona stretch of Route 66 than the beginning portion that winds through the midwest. But after driving Route 66 through Illinois , I can say that I was pretty impressed by everything I saw.

Being from Oklahoma, I thought I knew farmland , but what you see driving through Illinois is unlike anything else. Mix that with Chicago and a pretty high concentration of attractions along the route and youve got the recipe for a fantastic start to your Route 66 road trip.

Old Chain Of Rocks Bridge

Chain of Rocks Bridge is one of the more interesting bridges in America. Its hard to forget a 30-degree turn midway across a mile-long bridge more than 60 feet above the mighty Mississippi. For more than three decades, the bridge was a significant landmark for travelers driving Route 66.

The bridges colorful name came from a 17-mile shoal, or series of rocky rapids, called the Chain of Rocks beginning just north of St. Louis. Multiple rock ledges just under the surface made this stretch of the Mississippi River extremely dangerous to navigate. In the 1960s, the Corps of Engineers built a low-water dam covering the Chain of Rocks. Thats why you cant see them today. Back in 1929, at the time of the construction of the bridge, the Chain was a serious concern for boatmen.

Today you might say that the Chain of Rocks Bridge has completed a historic cycle. Built at the beginning of Americas love affair with the automobile, it is now a reflection of Americas desire not to ride in cars so often. During the 1980s, greenways and pedestrian corridors became increasingly popular, and a group called Trailnet began cleanup and restoration of the bridge. Linked to more than 300 miles of trails on both sides of the river, the old Chain of Rocks Bridge reopened to the public as part of the Route 66 Bikeway in 1999.

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Belvidere Motel Cafe And Gas Stations

To your right, on the frontage road of the old 4-lane sixtysix, on the SE corner of W Tyler Ave and E Columbian Ave is an icebox styled gas station from the 1950s.

Belvidere Motel

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

Drive south along the old Frontage road, you will see a long gable roof building built with plain clapboard. These were the first rooms of the Belvidere motel complex, you can see them in this 1956 aerial photo. It was the era where roadside cabins were becoming motels, with integrated units. Route 66 passed along the opposite side of the property, these units were in the rear. After 1940 the new highway was realigned here, behind the motel.

Turn left along Eilerman Ave. you can see the second set of units facing it. When you reach the corner you will see the original buildings, at 817 South Old Route 66.

Belvidere Cafe and Original Gas station

Albina and her husband Vincenzo Cerolla owned the property until they passed away. They first built a small one-room gas station and expanded it. By 1936 they owned a brick gas station and a brick cafe facing Route 66. The café had a samll dance floor and juke box. It became a popular stop.Both buildings are still standing. Below is a “Then and Now” sequence:

Old Shell cottage style with sign and gas pump , Cafe .

Same spot now, the pumps and Shell signs are gone, and the cafe is a bit faded and old:

Below is a viewo of the motel when it had a nice neon sign and was in better shape:

Lets Keep On Cruising Towards Springfield

@Illinois  Rebecca Radnor

Memory Lane: Lexington, IL

There are two memory lane type stretches in the area and the one in Lexington is the first one youll come to. Theres a pretty visible sign so youll know where to turn off the road. Its only a mile or so and its pretty heavily wooded stretch so you wont see it from the main road. Honestly, theres not a ton to see here , but you can drive it in your car so you might as well.

Towanda Route 66 Parkway: Towanda, IL

The parkway in Towanda is the really good one. And unfortunately I was short on time when I drove through here so I didnt get as many photos as Id like. This stretch of old 66 is not open to cars, but you can walk or bike it . It has some pretty cool signs and setups including Dead Mans Curve and the best sets of Burma Shave signs Ive seen anywhere on the route.

Spragues Super Service: Normal, IL

Another great refurbished service station thats definitely worth your time. I peeked through the windows and it looks like a really good gift shop inside too.

Cruisin with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center: Bloomington, IL

This place is basically the lobby of the McLean County Museum of History, but theres some pretty good exhibits to read and a great gift shop. Its free to stop in and this is where I ended up getting my Route 66 passport .

Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup: Funks Grove, IL

They had closed up shop for the day when we drove through, but if its open, stop and get some maple sirup to take home with you.

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