66 has been a part of our cultural heritage since the early 20th century when
the 2,448-mile road threaded together eight states from Chicago to Los
Angeles. As the face of America was changing, this stretch of road provided a
sweeping movement of people in our country’s history -- inspiring the
all-American classic song, “Get Your Kicks on Route 66.”
66 offered anyone with a car an opportunity to travel westward. This
large-scale shift gave rural towns in Illinois a chance to thrive in a time
of unprecedented social, economic, political and global conflicts. The boom
days of the 400-mile stretch -- from Chicago to Collinsville -- boosted local
economies as motorists stopped and purchased goods and services. Author John
Steinbeck called Route 66 the “Mother Road” that binds us together.
as “America’s Main Street,” Illinois Route 66 has provided travelers and
tourists alike a unique view of Illinois’ natural and well-preserved
landscape. A two-to-three day trip will give anyone enough time to enjoy the
economic, social and cultural attributes along the way. Groups such as the
Illinois Route 66 Association, Route 66 Preservation Committee, Illinois
Route 66 Heritage Project and others have been working hard to save what
remains of Route 66 and promote awareness of this gem.
more motorists and tourists today rediscover the historic route, they also
have a unique opportunity to travel through America’s Main Street
communities. The National Main Street Program is designed to improve all
aspects of the downtown or central business district. Improving economic
management, strengthening public participation, and making downtown a fun
place to visit are as critical to Main Street’s future as recruiting new
businesses, rehabilitating buildings, and expanding parking.
Main Street towns survived the advent of the Interstate highway -- which made
Route 66 obsolete -- and now serve as a reminder of our state’s cultural
legacy, as well as providing both a heritage and historic-based tourism
vehicle for those Illinois Main Street communities aligned on Route 66.
help increase “nostalgia-based tourism” in Illinois and promote Illinois’
cultural and historic heritage, I will be joined by a convoy of vintage cars
starting at Chicago’s Buckingham Fountain on Friday, September 24, to drive
Route 66 through designated Illinois Main Street communities of Plainfield,
Dwight, Pontiac, Bloomington, Lincoln and cap the 198-mile adventure in
Springfield at the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival -- Route 66
City Nights Parade.
us celebrate Route 66! Bring your vintage cruisers and embark on a one-day
road trip down historic Route 66. Each town we visit offers its own unique
history where we will be charmed with vintage gas stations, old farm
vehicles, giant fiberglass statues and classic American architecture. Route
66 and Main Street towns capture the grassroots spirit of Americans.
join our “cruiser convoy” or meet at any of the designated stops, call the
Lieutenant Governor’s office at 217-782-5990 and ask how to Get Your Kicks on