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New Cathie image_1.jpgAutumn….warm days and cool nights. I’m already noticing it gets dark earlier than before and colors are starting to change along the route. The farmers tell me a summer like this is followed by a tough Winter. So much to do before the leaves complete their change, what a busy summer it was along the road.

Ernie Edward’s 95th Birthday Party was a resounding success due to the help of many of the businesses in the Lincoln/Broadwell area! The Pig Hip sign was restored by the Preservation Committee and rededicated.

The Litchfield museum project is well underway and on target for a late Fall completion. Martha Jackson and the Litchfield museum board has worked tirelessly to raise funds and interest to complete this new building. The Route 66 Associations of Illinois and Missouri under the guidance of Jim Thole (Neon Preservation Committee) will be applying for National Parks funds to redo the neon ‘Vic Suhling Gas for Less” sign that the new multi-use Route 66 Visitor and Welcome Center will have for its street sign. The center plans to be open 7 days a week and will provide a new home for 5 different historical groups from the Litchfield area in addition to its Route 66 heritage.

The Dixie has been sold and was reopened September 6th after an extensive remodeling. The new “Dixie” will have a Route 66 theme, and the new owners are featuring Michael Campanelli’s photos, two big screen TVs; John Weiss and Emmy Bates set up a display featuring the communities along the road. This is another “new” information center which will help direct tourists both up and down the road 24 hours a day. This is a one of a kind Road Ranger station – another first along Route 66 in Illinois.

Tremendous effort by the Preservation Committee this year resulted in Odell Station being spruced up for the Tourist season and the 2nd Relighting at the Luna Café with its seven neon-colored sign. Many articles were written about the Giant being repainted in Atlanta which cited how far people drove to come and help. Fall brings cleanups along the road, but remember, “We work for food” so come out and get dirty and play with your Preservation friends.

The new Illiana Toll Road will be crossing over some Illinois communities and the Mother Road herself. We have members who are going to these meetings as volunteers to remind the committee that Route 66 is on the national historic register and cannot be changed or destroyed.

We also have volunteers going to the High Speed train meetings to ensure unnecessary changes are not made to Route 66. The Federal Government is eyeing the original 66 pavement in Illinois to use again because the railroad will need more room to make their gates and train intersections safer and more compliant. Remember this is a single train track for now as there is not enough money to build two tracks at this time.

We are in the process of raising funds to work on Bob Waldmire’s land yacht. The roof needs to be secured and waterproofed. Volunteers are looking into either an epoxy water-proofing of the roof, or a cover of some sort.

Bob’s van will be going to the Springfield Mother Road Festival in Springfield on September 21-23, and then will be returning to the museum in Pontiac.

The Preservation Committee will be building a new display in the front entrance hall to the City’s museum complex. This will feature information about becoming a volunteer Preservationist and show some of the things we do. The only skills needed to become a Preservation Committee member are a sense of humor and the ability to move – not even fast or slow – just move!

Association elections are coming up in October. Come out and vote (or run) for Office. Several positions are up for renewal.

This year we’ve lost Frances Mowery (Pontiac Hall of Fame member), Ernie Edwards (Broadwell Hall of Fame member), Betty Estes (Unofficial Godmother of Route 66 in Illinois and former Pontiac Tourism Director), Rita Erickson (Hall of Fame member and former owner/operator of The Odell Shelter) and Jack Barrick (Barrick Transport in Lincoln, Illinois). These people were strong individuals whose dedication and hard work helped the road prosper. If you know of anyone who impacted your life or your community, remember that nominations for the 2013 Class of the Hall of Fame will be accepted January 1 through February 28.

Check your calendar! Pumpkin Chucking in Girard, The Mother Road Festival in Springfield, the Dwight Basset Waddle, the Blue Grass Festival in Pontiac! Think of the colors, the smell of burning leaves, the fresh hot apple pie at cafes and diners along the road. Take a ride – stop and wander. Make some new 66 memories to keep you warm during the coming cold Winter nights!

See you on the road!

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Pontiac, IL, 61764
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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.