Route 66 was one of the United State's first continuous stretches of paved highway, and served as a major path for those who migrated west.
"The Mother Road" was established on November 11, 1926, and ultimately stretched 2,448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles.
Most travelers seem to start their journey on Route 66 in Chicago, and head westbound. That is the direction we take on this website.
The beginning point of Route 66 in Chicago has changed over the years. Today, the starting point is at East Adams Street at South Michigan Avenue, and the end point is at East Jackson at South Michigan. One way streets in the area can be difficult to navigate for first-time Route 66 visitors!
Once outside the metropolitan Chicago area, Route 66 followed the Pontiac Trail, a former Indian trail and stagecoach road.
From its beginning in Chicago, Route 66 headed southwest to Joliet, Wilmington, Dwight, Odell, Pontiac, Normal and Bloomington.
Map showing the approximate route of U.S. Highway 66 in Illinois and the location of Bloomington
Bloomington - Normal, Illinois
The Bloomington - Normal area is located in the heart of Illinois, at the intersections of Interstates 39, 55 and 74 and within two hours of Chicago and St. Louis. The Bloomington-Normal area is a vibrant community, home to over 167,000 people who exemplify the values of the Midwest and a remarkable quality of life.
The legendary U.S. Route 66 once ran directly through downtown Bloomington and Normal, and later on a bypass to the east. Today, it features a number of Route 66 attractions.
Be sure to check out the "Cruisin with Lincoln on 66 Visitors Center"! One wing of the center is dedicated to Route 66, and one wing to Abraham Lincoln. Visitors can compare the travels of Abraham Lincoln with those of tourists and travelers by automobile during the golden era of Route 66.
The exhibits cover stories from dining to lodging and travel. Interactive exhibits, video monitors, a gift shop and visitor information are also included in the center.
Also available is the Bloomington Area Route 66 Driving Tour which includes complete list of major and historical attractions along Route 66 in Bloomington-Normal.
Other popular attractions include the Miller Park Zoo, David Davis Mansion, McClean County Museum of History, the Prairie Aviation Museum and much more!
For more information, visit the website of the
|A New Illinois Route 66 sign in Normal, two blocks east of Ryburn Place
Sprague's Super Service ... A Station and a Home
Circa 1931 Sprague's Super Service and its large, unique, brick, two-story Tudor Revival architecture .... and Ryburn Place Gifts & Gab. At 305 Pine Street in Normal, a former Route 66 segment.
|McClean County Museum of History
||David Davis Mansion
|Miller Park Zoo
||Prairie Aviation Museum
Located only 9 miles north of Bloomington is Towanda, Illinois along Route 66 ... Dead Man's Curve shown to the right below
More Information about Bloomington-Normal & Route 66
What was Route 66 like in its earlier years, as visitors drove around or through Bloomington? What did all the service stations, motels and public buildings look like when they were new?
What did the traveling public experience on the Mother Road? We wonder such things when we travel Route 66 today.
Those earlier times in the 1930s, 40s and 50s were not always captured on film. But the use of colorful postcards was common in those decades.
We have included below a sampling of our collection of vintage travel postcards showing scenes in Bloomington. These portray the city in its earlier years and help us to visualize "yesterday" as we drive Route 66 today.
||Rusk Haven Motel
||Withers Public Library
|The Hills Hotel
||Prairie Travler Motel