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July 2015

25th Annual Berwyn Route 66 Car Show

The WeatherTech® Berwyn Rt66 Car Show sponsored by Paisans Pizzeria & Bar is taking place Saturday, August 29, 2015, 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM along Berwyn’s strip of Route 66 along Ogden Avenue between Oak Park Ave and Ridgeland Avenue.


25th Annual Berwyn Route 66 Car Show

Saturday, August 29, 2015 - 7:00am - 4:00pm

The WeatherTech® Berwyn Rt66 Car Show sponsored by Paisans Pizzeria & Bar is taking place Saturday, August 29, 2015, 7:00 AM - 4:00 PM along Berwyn’s strip of Route 66 along Ogden Avenue between Oak Park Ave and Ridgeland Avenue.

On August 29, visitors can soak up the classic car culture of Historic Route 66 with a stroll through over 550 vintage and custom cars, trucks and motorcycles. Demonstrations of Automobile Flamethrowing by Roamin’ Chariots Car Club and a Cacklefest with nitro fueled funny cars and dragsters. Don’t try this at home!

Click for more information on this event.

Summer, 2015

cathie.jpgSpring. We almost forgot what it looked like, felt like, the seasons have been so smushed together. It technically became summer the other day, but for now, warm in the daytime and cool at night is just fine. It’s time to get out on the old two lane, and traveler beware - this year there are some huge potholes on the Mother Road. Be careful! Until Illinois’ 5th season (construction) kicks in, be on the lookout.

Cruisin’ with Lincoln Visitor’s Center

Lincoln66_LogowTM.jpgTravelers looking to take to the road this season can get their kicks on Route 66 in a big way in the Bloomington-Normal area. The new Cruisin’ with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center located on the ground level of the McLean County Museum of History in historic downtown Bloomington is your ticket to the Mother Road. This new site is a partnership of the McLean County Museum of History, the Illinois Office of Tourism and the Bloomington-Normal Convention and Visitors Bureau. The center serves as a gateway - the only one of its kind in the area, an information hub for all area attractions and sites including restaurants, historic Route 66 sites, parks and historic communities. There is a large kiosk that features area attractions with a focus on things to see and do in the area. The partnership anticipates national and international travel to increase along the Route with the addition of this new site to the community.

Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative Collaboration Workshops

Our thanks to Geoff Ladd, Project Administrator, Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway for providing the following information for us to share:

On behalf of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, we want to inform you about a very important upcoming workshop next week. Mark your calendars for Tuesday, July 21st in Springfield, IL, for the first in a series of Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative Collaboration Workshops. The workshops will be held July 21-29 from Illinois to California. Members of Route 66 associations, tourism officials, economic development professionals, business persons, educators, preservationists and government officials are all invited to learn more about this national initiative and help shape the future of Route 66.


Route 66: The Road Ahead Initiative Collaboration Workshop

Tuesday, July 21, 2015 - 6:00pm - 8:30pm

Rt. 66 Hotel & Conference Center
625 E. St. Joseph Street
Springfield. IL

Click here for complete details of the event.

2015 Hall of Fame Inductees

On Saturday June 13, two new businesses were inducted into our Association’s Hall of Fame.

The Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame recognizes “those people and places along Route 66 whose blend of hardy individualism and grassroots community spirit gave the road such special character.”

To qualify for election to the Hall of Fame, nominees must have made significant contributions to the character or history of the Illinois portion of Route 66 from 1926 to 1977 while it was an official United States highway in the State of Illinois.

Steve's Café, Chenoa, IL

Steve's Cafe.png

(Adapted from Carolyn Parry’s nomination)

Steve’s Café was a famous landmark on old Route 66. It was known for, “The Finest Steaks
Between Chicago and St. Louis.” Steve’s Café started out as a garage, gas station and
lunchroom built in 1924 by Tom and Charles Elliott. The building was purchased in
1925 by Paul Lanterman and the lunchroom was operated by his wife, Ada. There was
counter seating for nine and a table which seated four customers. A superheterodyne
radio set was installed in the garage portion of the building and a sizeable crowd of
Chenoans would gather each evening to listen to whatever program was being received.

In 1926, State Route 4 was officially designated U.S. Route 55. In the 1930s, Elmer
and Orville Wahls purchased the property from the Lantermans, who moved across
the street, and added to their existing gasoline and oil business. Then the property was
purchased again and the new owners added 50 feet to the east of the existing dining room to accommodate the growing number of patrons.

The Café was one of the first to have air conditioning outside the Chicago area. The first
air conditioning equipment, made by Williams Oil-O-Matic Ice Cold Air, was installed in
the restaurant and a large sign was put up on the roof. Every time a new model was intro-
duced by Williams, it was brought to Chenoa to replace the older model and to test it as
new equipment. On hot days it was not unusual to see people lined up between the
front door and the counter, trying to keep cool.

Hall of Famer, Steve Funk, of Funks Grove Maple Sirup, Dies

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Hall of Famer, Steve Funk, of Funks Grove Maple Sirup died on June 21.

Association president, Cathie Stevanovich said, "He was a wonderful person, active member, and Hall of Famer. Steve will be missed."

Steve & Glaida Funk.jpg
Steve & Glaida Funk at the Funks Grove Midpoint Dedication

Click to read a complete story about Steve Funk on Route 66 News.

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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.