In 1926, Illinois becomes the first state to have the entirety of its portion of Route 66 paved, from Chicago to St. Louis, utilizing the existing SBI 4 for the newly created U.S. highway.
In 2026, the Mother Road turns 100, and celebrations are coming. Among other centennial news, Illinois passed the Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission Act. The Route 66 Association of Illinois has selected Liz Vincent to represent us on that commission.
Our Association is excited to be a part of the celebrations, and welcomes all communities and participants hoping to take part in the events to come over the next months and years. As events are scheduled, we plan on listing them here so everyone will know what will be available. Check back often to see what plans you might consider to join us in this once in a lifetime celebration.
Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership
The Association is proud to be a member of the Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership, a nationally-focused group including representatives from all eight Route 66 states, working on Route 66 projects from a national perspective. The centennial is a major focus of the partnership.
Route 66 Centennial Commission
While the Association is not directly a part of it, the Route 66 Centennial Commission was established by Congress to study and recommend to Congress activities that would be fitting and proper to celebrate the centennial of Route 66 in 2026. In 2023, most of the members of the Commission were seated and started having regular meetings.
Per the legislation, “The Commission shall study activities that may be carried out by the Federal Government to honor Route 66, including potential ceremonies and celebrations, the production and publication of media or other materials, and the issuance of commemorative items.” They are tasked with recommending these activities to Congress. The Centennial Commission has a Facebook page where you can view updates.
And let us not forget that, along with the centennial of the Mother Road, we will also be celebrating 250 years since the signing of the Declaration of Independence, another celebration of note!