Pontiac Installs New Interpretive Statue Along Route 66
Our thanks to Pontiac, IL's Tourism Director, Ellie Alexander for sharing this update on the installation of their new interpretive statue:
One of Pontiac’s most important Route 66 heritage sites has recently been given an exciting new element. The old Illinois State Police District 6 headquarters, located south of town along Historic Route 66, now has an interpretive statue and a corresponding wayside story panel celebrating the motorcycle patrolmen who served to enforce laws and protect travelers along the Mother Road. The Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway coordinated the project, which was funded through grants from the Federal Highway Administration's National Scenic Byway Program and the Illinois Office of Tourism. The iron silhouette of a mounted patrolman is one of nine cut-out statues being added to selected locations along the road in Illinois.
Bill Kelly, Executive Director of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, explained the significance of this latest series of interpretive exhibits along Illinois Route 66. “Statues tell the story of The Road in a way that is unique and unexpected by visitors. They also serve as a fun photo opportunity”, said Kelly. The Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway in the past has also worked with community partners to develop a series of 31 wayside exhibits and 14 experience hubs that have already been installed for the enhancement of the Route 66 experience for the traveler.
Pontiac has four other Route 66-related sites that have wayside exhibits. It is also one of the 14 locations selected to serve as an “experience hub.” According to Ellie Alexander, Director of Pontiac Tourism, “The new iron statue really makes an impression as you drive along old Route 66. You can see the cut-out looming on the horizon and if travelers stop to read the two wayside exhibit storyboards located at the old ISP HQ, they will learn a great deal about the history of policing along the road.” The District 6 HQ, which was built in 1942, was closed in 2003. It is unique for several reasons: it was designed in the shape of a handgun (when viewed from above), and it was one of the very few State Police facilities that was actually built right on US. Route 66 in Illinois.
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