Picture it… a scene nearly 100 years ago in the early 1920s. Automobiles were a new and novel means of transportation. Suddenly, people were able to be much more mobile! Distances melted and communities were connected via the roads on which they traveled. Roads indeed. Roads are not only the physical way to travel, they embody the freedom of going from here to there…
Let’s talk about one specific road: Route 66. Why is it significant? Simply put, it was the first road to span the miles between Chicago and Santa Monica, California. It was a more southerly route than previously existed, which made it a road more easily traveled year-round and, as a bonus, it shaved 200 miles from the entire distance of the journey between the two destinations. By the time of its completion in 1926, travelers and truckers alike were hopping on Route 66, making it truly, the Main Street of America.
Route 66 spans eight states: Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California as it traverses the American Midwest. Each state cares for its own Route 66 miles. We here at the Route 66 Association of Illinois do our part to preserve, protect, enjoy and educate history buffs, nostalgic folks and eager travelers about the 426 miles of the Mother Road within our borders.
How do we accomplish our goals? We’re so glad you asked! Our volunteers help perform regular maintenance on the many attractions and historic sites that make up the character of Route 66. We plan events at venues along the Route. In short, we get our kicks on Illinois ‘66!
Every year since 1990, we choose a new (well, actually an old) place, individual or attraction that exemplifies the spirit of Route 66 in Illinois and we induct them into our Hall of Fame. Then we celebrate them with a banquet! (In fact, this year’s banquet is coming up soon on the evening of June 12, 2021, which is during our annual Motor Tour. As of this writing, tickets are still available – join us and meet and eat with some fine folks and Route 66 enthusiasts!) Our Hall of Fame list is long and impressive; it pays tribute to those people and things that embody the Route 66 spirit of fun, hospitality and service.
Below, view a slideshow of some of our Hall of Fame inductees. Enjoy!
We’d like you to get to know more about our Hall of Famers, so we’re rolling out a series of informational stories about them, presented in random order. Stay tuned to this page for the stories as they’re published. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter for notifications, too.