Route 66 History
Construction on the U.S. Route 66, known as the “Mother Road”, began in 1926 and eventually the 2,448 mile highway would cross through eight states on its way from Chicago to Santa Monica, California. In Illinois, and the Midwest in general, the construction of U.S. Route 66 was important to the economies of small, rural towns, which saw a burst of activity when the road finally passed through.
Route 66 originally followed the already in-use Illinois State Route 4 north of Hamel. The route navigates through Staunton, Sawyerville, Benld, Gillespie, Carlinville, to Nilwood. Route 4/Route 66 from Nilwood to Girard was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on May 23, 2002. Route 66 continues along Route 4 north through Virden, Thayer, to Auburn. A section of Illinois Route 4 north of Auburn, and south of Springfield, which was also part of the original span of U.S. 66, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on August 6, 1998. This is the last brick alignment in Illinois. Route 66 passes through Chatham to the south of Springfield, then breaks off U.S. 4 to enter Springfield near the crossroads of Interstate 55 and Interstate 74 and right by the Route 66 Hotel. North of the Route 66 Hotel, the route passes the Old State Capitol and within blocks of the Illinois State Capitol.
Route 66 Hotel & Conference Center – an authentic Route 66 experience!
From the moment you walk in, you’ll realize that we’re not just another hotel and conference center. Our remodeled facility features a unique “mini museum” with vehicles, signs and articles from the recent past – and we’re continuing to add to our collection! The Route 66 Hotel and Conference Center has an array of museum items throughout the hotel. You can see anything from a 1941 Model T Ford which sits stately in our lobby, along with an old fashion phone booth. You will find articles from the past, pictures from the past, pedal cars, motorcycles, guitars, and much more. Our museum is quite unique!
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum contains life-size dioramas of Lincoln’s boyhood home, areas of the White House, the presidential box at Ford’s Theater, and the settings of key events in Lincoln’s life, as well as pictures, artifacts and other memorabilia. Original artifacts are changed from time to time, but the collection usually includes items like the original hand written Gettysburg Address, a signed Emancipation Proclamation, his glasses and shaving mirror, Mary Todd Lincoln’s music box, items from her White House china, her wedding dress, and more.
The Lincoln Presidential Library is at 212 N. 6th Street, Springfield, IL 62701. Call them at 217-782-5764.
Lincoln’s Tomb is in Oak Ridge Cemetery at 1500 Monument Avenue Springfield, IL 62702 Call them at 217-782-2717. Be sure to visit the newly reconstructed east entrance that was used for Lincoln’s funeral and for the recent re-enactment in 2015.
Illinois State Capitol
The Illinois State Capitol is at Capitol Avenue and Second Street, Springfield, IL 62701
The Dana-Thomas House (DTH) was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1902 for Susan Lawrence Dana, a forward-thinking socialite living in Springfield, Illinois. The home, the 72nd building designed by Wright, contains the largest collection of site-specific, original Wright art glass and furniture. Wright’s first “blank check” commission, the home has 35 rooms in the 12,000 square feet of living space which includes 3 main levels and 16 varying levels in all.
Rightfully regarded as a local treasure, the DTH is a gorgeous house museum. Following its acquisition of the House, the Illinois State Historic Preservation Agency undertook a major restoration project. The results yielded a beautifully preserved example of Mr. Wright’s genius.
Beyond the essence of an architectural masterpiece of international significance, the house is a brilliant showcase of craftsmanship in glass doors, windows and light fixtures; terra cotta sculpture and an exquisite mural; it is the best preserved and most complete of Frank Lloyd Wright’s early “Prairie” houses.
(from the DTH website, www.dana-thomas.org)
Illinois State Fair
The Illinois State Fair is an annual festival, centering on the theme of agriculture, hosted by the state of Illinois in the state capital, Springfield. The state fair has been celebrated almost every year since 1853. In 2008 there were more than 700,000 visits, up five percent from 2005, making it the 13th largest state fair in the United States. Currently, the fair is held annually over a 10-day period in mid-August of each year. The 2017 IL State Fair will be held on August 10-20. An admission fee is charged.