“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Litchfield in Montgomery County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)

Litchfield, Illinois

Welcome to Route 66 Illinois

Litchfield, Illinois Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, August 14, 2019
1. Litchfield, Illinois Marker
Front side
Route 66, the Mother Road, is an American icon that symbolizes romance and freedom of the open road. Born in 1926, Route 66 was one of the first numbered U.S. highways, journeying 2,500 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. Today, you can still "get your kicks on Route 66" by exploring the Illinois Historic Route 66 National Scenic Byway.

The Mother Road

Route 66 was the road of flight for people escaping the Dust Bowl in the 1930s. It was the route of adventure for families seeking the wonders of the Southwest and California in the 1950s and '60s.

Roadside Oddities

Quirky attractions lured travelers off the road with the promise of fun and adventure. Explore giants, museums, and other attractions that still exist today.

Fill 'er Up?

Service stations along Route 66 did more than just pump gas. Friendly attendants assisted travelers with a smile. Today, you can rediscover several historic service stations.

On to Missouri

The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge is the scenic endpoint of Route 66 in Illinois. It served as a crossing over
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the Mississippi River for traffic from 1936 to 1955. It is now open for walking and biking.

The Beginning

Historic Route 66 starts in downtown Chicago, the business and cultural capital of the Midwest. It travels through bustling Chicago suburbs before reaching the rural countryside.

Main Street of America

Grain elevators and fields greet modern travelers, much as they did in earlier eras. Journey through prairie farmland and friendly Midwestern towns.

Good Eatin'

Diners and cafes sprang up along the road catering to people on the move. You can still enjoy home style cooking from a time before fast food.

Route 66 Lives On

Unable to compete with fast-moving freeways, U.S. Route 66 was decommissioned in 1985. Nostalgia for hometowns and America's landscape, fueled by movies, TV shows, and music, keeps the Mother Road alive.

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Route 66 Attractions in the Litchfield Region

1. Art's Cafe and Motel - Grab a meal or stay for the night; Art's has been in business since 1937.

2. Our Lady of the Highways - Built in 1959, this shrine was created to remind motorists that the road could be a dangerous place.

3. Sky View Drive-In - Watch a movie at the last continuously operating
Litchfield, Illinois Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, August 14, 2019
2. Litchfield, Illinois Marker
Reverse side
drive-in theater on Illinois Route 66, first opened in 1950.

4. Niehaus Cycle Sales - A Route 66 themed cycle shop that has been operating on the Mother Road for more than 40 years.

5. Ariston Cafe - In business since 1924, enjoy an excellent meal at the oldest operating cafe on Route 66.

6. "Vic" Suhling Sign - Snap a photo of this classic symbol of a Route 66 service station, across the road from the Ariston.

7. Belevidere Cafe and Motel - See a vintage cafe and motel that served motorists beginning in the mid-1930s (now closed).

8. Union Miners Cemetery and Mother Jones Monument - Burial site of miners killed in the Virden Mine Riot and Mother Jones, a fierce advocate of labor rights.

9. Soulsby Service Station - Opened in 1926, explore one of the oldest service stations still standing on Route 66.

10. Henry's Ra66it Ranch - Pet a rabbit while you explore this emporium of Route 66 highway and trucking memorabilia.

11. DeCamp Junction Roadhouse - Drop in for a drink or meal at this historic tavern, a popular stop since 1931.

12. Pink Elephant Antiques - Experience an antique mall that sports larger than life sculptures inside and out.

13. Weezy's Bar and Grill - Originally called "Tourist Haven," this
Litchfield, Illinois Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, August 14, 2019
3. Litchfield, Illinois Marker
Next to a sign at Niehaus Cycle Sales
restaurant has been serving Route 66 truckers and travelers since 1937. Visit the exhibit across the street to hear a waitress share her memories.

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"Drive-In" and Enjoy Route 66 in Litchfield

Glowing neon signs lined Route 66 through Litchfield, beckoning travelers to stop at service stations, hotels, and restaurants. Local farmers woke at dawn to drive their trucks loaded with cattle to the East St. Louis Stockyards. Litchfield residents gathered in cafes to share news and socialize. These places nurtured a sense of community, which continues today.

The Ariston Cafe

Eat a delicious meal across the street at the Ariston, one of the oldest operating restaurants on Route 66. The neon signs still beckon travelers, as they did when it moved to its current location in 1935.

Sky View Drive In

Enjoy an outdoor movie at the Sky View Drive In, located just north of here along the 1940-1977 Route 66 alignment. Opened in 1950, it is the last original Route 66 drive-in theater in Illinois.

(photo caption:)

A bird's-eye view of Route 66 in the late 1930s shows some of the service stations and diners lining the road through Litchfield.
Erected by Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway.
Topics and series. This historical marker
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is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureArts, Letters, MusicBridges & ViaductsEntertainmentIndustry & CommerceRoads & VehiclesWaterways & VesselsWomen. In addition, it is included in the U.S. Route 66 series list.
Location. 39° 10.785′ N, 89° 39.95′ W. Marker is in Litchfield, Illinois, in Montgomery County. Marker is on North Old Route 66, on the right when traveling north. Marker is located on the grounds of Niehaus Cycle Sales, next to their road sign. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 718 North Old Route 66, Litchfield IL 62056, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Fine Dining on Rte 66 (about 800 feet away, measured in a direct line); The Ariston Café, Litchfield, Illinois (approx. 0.2 miles away); Schutt Mosaic (approx. 0.2 miles away); George Gustavus Lafferty (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Litchfield Car and Machine Company (approx. 0.2 miles away); The Vic Suhling Sign (approx. 0.2 miles away); Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center (approx. 0.2 miles away); Litchfield's Wind Mill Factory (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Litchfield.
More about this marker. This is one of 14 "experience hubs" that are all over Illinois along the old Route 66. All experience hub markers have the same front text, but have different reverse signs on the back. They also have a button where people can listen to Bobby Troup's "Get Your Kicks on Route 66". Some have a passport rubbing area, as this one does.
Credits. This page was last revised on January 17, 2020. It was originally submitted on January 16, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 275 times since then and 8 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on January 16, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.

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Mar. 3, 2024