The Route 66 Association of Illinois

The Route 66 Association of Illinois

Our mission is to preserve, educate, promote and enjoy Route 66 in Illinois

Another Exciting Motor Tour!

Another Exciting Motor Tour!

Our 2014, "Making Memories" Motor Tour, commemorating our 25th Anniversary, was a fun celebration of the Mother Road, with some new and exciting activities and stops for participants to enjoy. Read and see it here!



Please join our association's efforts to preserve, promote, educate and enjoy Route 66 in Illinois.

A nostalgic trip through Americana

A nostalgic trip through Americana

Learn about this historic highway and why Route 66 is an American treasure worth preserving.

Illinois Attractions & Towns

Illinois Attractions & Towns

Visit these attractions and towns along Route 66 in Illinois for a nostalgic family fun!

Here are some helpful and informative sources to help you along your Route 66 journey. We've assembled a collection of web sites and information that are sure to add to your knowledge and appreciation of the Mother Road.

Web Links
Historic Maps
Town Along The Road
Sign up for our Day Tripper email announcements
View the Day Tripper Archives

Preservation is one of our core missions. With our motto of 'we work for food' our members paint, build, repair, clean, and fight to preserve all that is Route 66.

What is Preservation?
Hall of Fame Inductees
Our Museum
Preservation Projects and Announcements

Association Events

Fall Quarterly Meeting October 18, 2015 - 10:00am

Hall of Fame Nominations for the “Class of 2016”

We look forward to reviewing your nominations to our Association’s Hall of Fame!
Nomination submissions will be accepted between

October 31, 2015 and December 31, 2015.

Thank you for taking the time to nominate a person or place to the Hall of Fame, that has contributed to the education of others and/or promotion of Rt.66 in Illinois.

General Guidelines for nominating to the Illinois Route 66 Association Hall of Fame:

Route 66 Mural Earns National Geographic Calendar Cover

Our thanks to Pontiac, IL tourism director, Ellie Alexander, for providing this information for us to share with you.

Pontiac’s own world’s largest painted Route 66 shield mural is the featured cover photograph on one of National Geographic’s 2016 promotional calendars. The Route 66-themed calendar includes 12 stunning images taken along the historic “Mother Road.” Pontiac’s shield mural is the image for December, and was selected as the calendar’s impressive cover photo.

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Livingston County War Museum Receives Award

The Illinois Association of Museums (IAM) recently announced that the Livingston County War Museum and Dal Estes Education Center has been awarded the distinction of being the IAM’s Volunteer Institution of the Year for 2015. The presentation of the award will take place at the Annual Fall Conference for the IAM to be held September 24-25, 2015 in Springfield.

Web Site Survey Now Available!

To our enthusiastic website readers:

Our beloved website is showing her age. What happens when a website gets old? Well, it means the platform on which it runs is no longer being supported. In other words, the technology that makes the website work behind the scenes is becoming obsolete. That causes the site to experience technical glitches and be difficult to post content to. Perhaps the most significant issue for our aging website is that in its current version, it is completely ignored by google searches due to the fact that it’s not mobile responsive; and as more people utilize their mobile phones and tablets to visit our site, this is unacceptable. She had a good run in her present incarnation - she’s served us faithfully since 2008, and seven years in technology terms is positively elderly. The time to get current has arrived.


We’d like to take this opportunity to do more than simply revamp the website, however. We’d like to make some changes to both what we present and how we present it. We’ve got some juicy ideas and plans of our own but we want to make certain that we take into account you, the readers, needs, wants and preferences.

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.

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.


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.

Civil War Music to Be Presented in Live Performances

Our thanks to Ellie Alexander, Pontiac, IL Director of Tourism, for providing the following information for us to share.

One of the new exhibits to open recently at the Pontiac Illinois Museum Complex is dedicated to the music of the antebellum period, and the American Civil War. 150 years ago, the American Civil War touched the lives of all citizens, many in a dramatic and tragic fashion. Their hardships, pain, sorrow, grief, and strength are expressed in the songs of the era. Stephen Foster is, perhaps, the most commonly referenced music composer of the era, but others made significant contributions as well. Over 40 pieces of original sheet music are on display at the exhibit, as well as rare civil war musical instruments and other paraphernalia.

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Miles of Possibility: The Edwardsville Route 66 Conference

Our thanks to Cheryl Eichar Jett for sharing the following press release for us to share.

“Miles of Possibility: The Edwardsville Route 66 Conference” will be held in Edwardsville, Illinois, on Thursday-Saturday, October 29-31. Sponsored by the Illinois Route 66 Blue Carpet Corridor Coalition and hosted by the City of Edwardsville, the primary venue for the conference is the beautifully-restored historic Wildey Theatre on N. Main Street, just two blocks off Edwardsville's Route 66.

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Got Content?

EditorWe welcome your Route 66 news, stories, photos and events for publication in our newsletter or on our web site!

Submit it here

Send us your change of address to:
110 W Howard St
Pontiac, IL, 61764
or use our handy contact form

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.