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September 2012

In Route 66 History: An Aviation Tragedy on Route 66

Our thanks to Keith Yearman, associate professor of geography at the College of DuPage, Glen Ellyn, IL, and co-author of the upcoming book, The Curious Traveler’s Guide to Route 66 in Metro Chicago, form which this story is partially excerpted.

By Keith Yearman

One of the more dramatic and tragic incidents in the history of U.S. Route 66 played out in the air on July 6, 1930. What began as a stunt ended in death. Had it not involved a fatality, it would have been grist for a screwball comedy of the decade.

The Boots Motel

Our sincere thanks to Brian L. Alexander for writing and submitting the following article about the restoration of the Route 66 icon, the Boots Motel, in Carthage, Missouri.

By Brian L. Alexander

Fran and I decided to go with the Route 66 Association of Missouri, September, two years ago, on their Road Tour. We had so much fun the previous year; we had to do it again the following year. We started in Miami Oklahoma, not too far from Joplin Missouri. We drove a short thirteen miles of Route 66 through Kansas and made our way, back through Missouri, all the way back to Leasburg. The entire group had lunch at Skippy’s, a bar and grill in Leasburg, the tours’ end. (Leasburg is little more than hour southwest of St. Louis, on Route 44 - (Actually Skippy’s is on Old Route 66). The Ozark Countryside was as beautiful last fall, as it was the previous year.

We toured the thirteen miles of US Route 66 through Kansas, our tour then took us through Joplin, Missouri and then onto Carthage Missouri.

Boots 1.png

The Boot’s Motel was one of our Passport Stops. We pulled up to the Boots Motel in Carthage Missouri; as a Route 66 Roadie I knew the buildings were going to be remodeled. My second thought was how did this place miss the wrecking ball? In fact it was purchased by a developer who intended on tearing it down and plans were in the works for it to be a Walgreens Drug Store but preservationists lobbied for its survival.

A Motor Tour Story for 2012

Many thanks to frequent contributor, Josh Friedrich, for writing the following account which invites us to share his family's experiences on Motor Tour 2012.

It was a gorgeous Friday and we began our three day journey along the Main Street of America. This year was going to be extra special because it would be Lizzy’s first Motor Tour. We loaded everyone & everything into the van and hit the road.

Our first destination was Collinsville and to see the World’s Largest Catsup Bottle, a first for us. It was an impressive sight to say the least. We also made a quick stop at Ashman’s Pharmacy to pick up a few Brooks Bottle souvenirs.

Motor Tour 2012 Wrap-up (in a Few Words and LOTS of Photos)

Our 2012 Motor Tour - The Funk's Grove Midpoint Tour - took place June 8-10, 2012. It began with a fun Friday night kickoff at the Edwardsville Route 66 Festival. A special event took place after dark on Friday night - a thrilling relighting of the neon signs at the Luna Cafe in Mitchell, IL.

The next morning brought a historic crossing of the Chain of Rocks Bridge by a caravan of very excited Motor Tour participants. The tour progressed northward throughout the day with many exciting stops and events in Hamel, Mt Olive, Litchfield, Springfield and Lincoln.

Old Route 66 Takes a New Turn

Our sincere thanks to Keith A. Sculle for writing this piece and providing the accompanying photos.

By Keith A. Sculle

A few blocks south of the Illinois State Fairgrounds, where Route 66 in Springfield turns from a diagonal (Peoria Road) into a north-south street (N. 9th Street), progress made its way in late-August-early-September 2012. Five veteran buildings were readied for demolition so that the unsafe bend in the road could be converted into a curve. It will permit safer sight-lines. On the west side, a two-story building (most recently The Sazerac restaurant), a tiny motel (built c. 1960), and a two-story brick building were readied to be razed.

Capitol City Motel sign, looking north (February 2012)

Calling All Route 66 Sign Experts!

A reader named Helen has written into our website with the following question about a highway sign. Can you help her out? If so, please answer in the comments of this post.

Hello Everyone...We have had this sign in our garage for decades. I just began exploring the history of Route 66 and I am fascinated. However, all of the old signs I see posted read "ILLINOIS U.S. 66" whereas ours reads only "ILLINOIS 66." On the back it reads "State of Illinois Div. of Highways Dist. No.". It is made of a very heavy steel and definitely genuine. Can anyone tell us when this was manufactured and used on Route 66?

Thanks for any help you can offer.

Click the photo to view a full-size image of the sign.

Route 66 Sign

1st Annual Wheels for Diamonds Motorcycle Run to Benefit The Miracle League of Joliet

Our thanks to Malise Gallardo for sending along the following information about the Miracle League of Joliet:

I am writing on behalf of the Miracle League of Joliet, an organization that provides children with mental and/or physical challenges the opportunity to play baseball in an organized league. There is something about playing the game of baseball that lights up a child’s eyes, but for children facing physical and mental challenges that opportunity can be difficult to access. The Miracle League provides these children a chance to play the sport, regardless of limitations.

The Miracle League of Joliet will be hosting the
1st Annual Wheels for Diamonds Motorcycle Run


September 29, 2012

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Learning to use our calendar puts the fun and adventure of Route 66 at your fingertips. It's easy to discover the when, what and where of events along the road.

Here's How!

Historic Maps

Highway GuideWatch Route 66 evolve into The Mother Road  with maps and highway guides from 1917-1992 courtesty of the official Illinois Digital Archives.