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, and then on to Wilmington, Dwight, Odell, and Pontiac.
Map showing the approximate route of U.S. Highway 66 in Illinois and the location of Joliet
Joliet is located about 35 miles southwest of Chicago, on the Des Plaines River; it is the county seat of Will County. It is the third largest city in Illinois, with a population of over 150,000 residents. It was incorporated in 1852.
Joliet is part of the original 1926 alignment of Route 66 in Illinois. The segment of Route 66 from Joliet to Wilmington was placed on to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. In Joliet, Historic Route 66 intersects with the Lincoln Highway (see photo below).
The city is popularly known as "The City of Spires" due to the architectural features for many of its churches.
The City is a popular stop for national and international Route 66 heritage travelers. It offer visitors a wide variety of attractions, hotels and lodging, and dining options.
Joliet, Illinois Attractions
When traveling on Route 66, be sure visit the Joliet Area Historical Museum, the Route 66 Welcome Center, the Rialto Square Theatre, Old Joliet Prison Historical Site, Jacob Henry Mansion, and the Joliet "Kicks on 66 sign" (below).
For more information link to VisitJoliet.com
|Rich and Creamy in Joliet on 920 N. Broadway
Read more about this restored ice cream store
|Dick's Towing Service
911 North Broadway in Joliet, Illinois
Rialto Square Theatre
The construction of a “vaudeville movie palace” in Joliet, Illinois was the undertaking of the six Rubens brothers. The Royal Theatre Company was formed to guarantee the 2 million dollar project. With the opening of the theatre on May 24, 1926, the Royal Theatre Company leased the operation of the theatre to the Great States Theatre, Inc.
As one of the ten most beautiful theaters in the nation, the building reflects Greek, Roman and Byzantine architecture. The esplanade, or inner lobby, is designed after the Hall of Mirrors in the Palace of Versailles near Paris, France. The arch between the esplanade and rotunda area has been carefully copied from the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. In the center is the head of the goddess Athena.
It is located at 102 N. Chicago St. For more information, visit the website of the Rialto Square Theatre
Joliet Area Historical Museum
The Joliet Area Historical Museum occupies the space formerly known as the Ottawa Street Methodist Church at the intersection of Cass and Ottawa Streets in downtown Joliet.
Since its opening in the fall of 2002, the museum's main exhibition gallery serves as an introduction to the many stories of the Joliet area and its people. Exhibits are enhanced by state-of-the-art audio-visual presentations, life-size models, award-winning touch screen visuals, and even a step-in Lunar Lander Simulator for interaction as one explores how the past shaped today's world.
Temporary exhibits and targeted educational programming provide additional interpretive opportunities. And be sure to experience the great Route 66 photo op just outside the entrance!
The museum is located at 204 Ottawa Street. For more information, visit the website of the Joliet Area Historical Museum
More Information about Joliet & Illinois Route 66