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Illinois Route 66

Normal and Towanda
Route 66

Illinois Route 66

 

Towanda Remembers Route 66

     
As you enter Towanda from the east you will notice an old vintage bridge alongside the road on the right. This is part of the four-lane Route 66 in this area. Of course this section is no longer used and has been put to good use by the city of Towanda. This old Route 66 bridge was slated for destruction until the students got a petition going to save it. Not only did they save the bridge for future generations to enjoy, but also they learned that they CAN make a difference! Route 66 Bridge in Towanda
      
Pure Truck Gas Station in Towanda

Towanda also has some remnants of Route 66 like Eddies Pure Oil Truck Stop. This gas station opened in the late 1940s and survived until the Interstate rerouted traffic away from it.

       

People Don't Stop Here Anymore

      
Towanda Route 66 Park

The biggest claim to fame in Towanda could be the new Route 66 Exhibit: A Geographic Journey. The exhibit is a 1.6 mile walking tour along the old unused portion of Route 66. Along the way exhibits offer insight about the road we called "America’s Main Street." The park is maintained by Towanda High School students and dedicated volunteers. Towanda is another town that realizes the importance of its Route 66 heritage.

      
Towanda Exhibit

 

It's Normal Just Outside of Bloomington

     
Normal and Bloomington are so close together it is hard to tell where one ends and the other begins. In fact they both share the same Main Street – the only city in the U.S. that does that! The area gained notoriety after the Indians held a big party here. Seems they stumbled across a keg of whisky hidden by trappers in a grove of trees and made good use of the liquor. When the first settlers arrived in the area in 1822 the site already had the dubious name of Keg Grove. Many flowers bloomed in the area, so much so that the name was changed to Bloom Grove. I guess you could say the town of Bloomington lucked out by narrowly escaping being known as Kegtown.
       

Ghost Road in Normal
Old Route 66 Ends at the Interstate

The Normal/Bloomington area offered all the amenities a traveler could want. If you are coming from Towanda going west you will enter Normal first. Route 66 travels through what appears to be residential areas. If you look closer you will see faint traces of the Mother Road here and there. There are a couple of homes that were obviously gas stations at one time.
     

Old Gas Station Lives Again as a Home in Normal

It's Normal to Live in an Old Gas Station in Normal

These old gas stations have been converted into homes in Normal, Illinois. This type of station probably dates back to the 1930s, notice the living quarters over where the pumps once were.

 

Photographs taken June 2003

Click on an area or city of Route 66 on the map below to take a cyber tour of that section of the  Mother Road

Travel Cyber Route 66 in Illinois

Go West on Route 66

NAVIGATION NOTE: Buckle up and hold on to your mouse! These pages are arranged like the map above, from the western state border to the eastern state border. I have set up this site as if you were traveling from EAST to WEST, much like the Joad family in The Grapes of Wrath. You can click on the Route 66 shields to "travel" the Mother Road in either direction though. Or you can select any shield below to take you to that specific state.

Go East on Route 66

To Funk's Grove

To Lexington

 

Select the Route 66 State to Visit

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