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Illinois Route 66

Historic Pontiac
Route 66

Illinois Route 66

 

Meramec Cavern Barn

Meramec Caverns Barn   The Route 66 Association of Illinois is an action kind of bunch. Another preservation project of theirs included this old barn and the restoration of the Meramec Caverns sign. Meramec Caverns is one of the best known of all Route 66 tourist stops. Lester B. Dill, owner and promoter made the name of Meramec Caverns in Stanton, Missouri famous all along the Mother Road. His marketing schemes have influenced advertising even to this present day. In 1935 Lester started what would become an American institution, the bumper sticker. Countless travelers criss-crossed the U.S. with the name of Meramec Caverns pasted to their bumpers.
      
Not only did Lester’s bumper stickers advertise his caverns, but also many a rural barn proclaimed its wonder on their roofs. Lester would approach the owners of weather beaten barns and offer to paint them for free if they would allow him to advertise Meramec Caverns on the roofs or sides. During the hey-day of Route 66 for hundreds of miles in either direction old barns were painted as huge signs advertising this underground wonder, providing a unique billboard for the Mother Road. This is the furthest east on Route 66 that these barns were painted to advertise the famous caverns.

Illinois Route 66 Association Attraction

Pontiac, Illinois

George Fell founded Pontiac in 1837 and named it in honor of Chief Pontiac of the Ottawa Indians who; over sixty years earlier gave so much grief to white settlers invading the Ottawa lands. Though he waged war on the settlers, he was admired as a great leader by both whites and Native Americans alike. He was particularly noted for his foresight in uniting different tribes to block the white invasion. Tecumseh would attempt to do the same thing a few years later and probably was influenced by Pontiac. It was the classic example of "United we stand, divided we fall."
     

Old Log Cabin Cafe

The old Log Cabin Cafe is still open for business in Pontiac. This is a classic old restaurant that got its start back in 1926. Its history has been entwined with Route 66 ever since. The original front door of the Log Cabin was located where the back of the building is today. It used to face the early alignment of Route 66. When Route 66 had it's old alignment changed to the other side of the building they just moved the front door to accommodate!
        
I’m told that the log building next to the present day Log Cabin Restaurant was the original restaurant when the newer one was built they turned this old log cabin into a gas station. Never the less, there’s a lot of Route 66 history right here. Original Log Cabin in Pontiac
        

Pontiac Route 4

Jeff LaFollette, President of the Illinois Route 66 Association, shows off an Old State Route 4 bridge in Pontiac that would later become a part of Route 66. In pre-Route 66 days the highway number was painted on the bridge itself. This bridge was one of the first preservation projects of the Illinois Route 66 Association's Preservation Committee.

      

Pontiac Courthouse

Courthouse Detail

      
The Pontiac Courthouse is a site the Route 66 explorers should see. It was built in 1875 and is a real beauty. The Neo-Classic style Pontiac Courthouse has just recently been restored and is on the National Register of Historic Places. Yes, I think Pontiac realizes what a boon they have in their rich historical heritage.

 

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 Memory Lane &
Lexington

To the Odell Station & Odell

 

Select the Route 66 State to Visit

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