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

Carlinville, Illinois

Welcome to Route 66 Illinois

Carlinville, Illinois Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, January 14, 2020
1. Carlinville, 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.

(reverse, top:)

Route 66 Attractions in the Carlinville Region

1. Auburn Historic Brick Road - Drive this scenic 1.5 mile section of brick pavement, laid in 1932 after Route 66 was moved to the east.

2. Battle of Virden Memorial - Visit the Route 66 wayside exhibit and listen as a local historian brings this 1898 conflict between miners and coal companies to life.

Carlinville, Illinois Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, January 14, 2020
2. Carlinville, Illinois Marker
Reverse side
Post Office Mural - Stop by the Virden post office to view a mural called "Illinois Pastoral" painted in 1939 by James Daugherty.

4. Whirl-a-Whip Drive-In - This classic family-own 1950s diner offers lunch and 50 flavors of ice cream.

5. Doc's Soda Fountain and Deck's Drug Store - Enjoy lunch and old fashioned treats, while exploring an 1884 drug store owned by three generations of the Deck Family.

6. Nilwood Turkey Tracks - When this concrete was poured prior to its 1926 Route 66 designation, turkeys left their footprints.

7. Standard Edition: Sears Catalog Homes - The largest collection of Sears Catalog Homes in the country, these were built in 1918 by the Standard Oil Company for its mine workers.

8. Historic Carlinville Square - Explore historic buildings in the Carlinville Square, like the 1870 Loomis House. A Route 66 wayside exhibit shows photos of the square over time and plays a song that celebrates the city.

9. Macoupin County Courthouse - This historic 1970 building is one of the largest and most elegant courthouses in the country. Known as the " Million Dollar Courthouse," it took 40 years to pay it off.

10. Macoupin County Historic Jail - Built in 1869, this fortress-like jail was built with cannonballs embedded into its walls to prevent
Carlinville, Illinois Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, January 14, 2020
3. Carlinville, Illinois Marker
at the intersection of Nicholas and Broad Streets
jail breaks. It operated until 1988, and at one time held 33 prisoners.

11. Deerfield Drive Historic Bridge - Step back in time and walk over original curving Route 66 pavement and a 1920 concrete bridge.

12. Post Office Mural - Stop by the Gillespie post office to a view a mural called "Illinois Farm" painted in 1936 by Gustaf Dalstrom.

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Historical Treasure Trove - Route 66 In Carlinville

Carlinville is rich in history and architectural treasures. You are standing a few blocks north of the only round-about square on old Route 66. Nearby, see the historic Loomis House Hotel, the "Million Dollar" Courthouse, and the old "cannonball" jail. Northeast of here, visit the world's largest collection of Sears Catalog homes.

"Million Dollar" Courthouse

The Macoupin County Courthouse began as a $50,000 project in 1867. By the time it was completed in 1870, the cost had soared to over $1.3 million and it became one of the largest courthouses in the country. It took over 40 years for the county to pay it off.

Loomis House/St. George Hotel

This three-story, 50 room hotel was the height of elegance when built in 1870. Today, the building has been remarkably preserved and is home to several businesses.

Sears Catalog Homes

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has the largest collection of Sears Catalog homes in the world. They were built by the Standard Oil Company in 1917 for mine workers. Today 152 of the original 156 homes still stand.

Al Capone was here?

Route 66 traveled through Carlinville from 1926-1931 at the height of Prohibition. The infamous Ortic Inn was built on a farm a few miles south of here, and a large barn was rumored to store bootleg liquor. Local tales include secret visits by Al Capone and rum-runners driving the liquor from here to Chicago.
Erected by Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AnimalsBridges & ViaductsIndustry & CommerceParks & Recreational AreasRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the U.S. Route 66 series list.
Location. 39° 17.142′ N, 89° 52.904′ W. Marker is in Carlinville, Illinois, in Macoupin County. Marker is at the intersection of North Broad Street (Illinois Route 4) and West Nicholas Street, on the right when traveling south on North Broad Street. Marker is in front of Carlinville Library, near the stoplight. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 510 N Broad St, Carlinville IL 62626, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Loomis House (approx. 0.4 miles away); Loomis House/Loehr's Drug Store (approx. 0.4 miles away); Circling The Square (approx. 0.4 miles away); Abraham Lincoln (approx. 0.4 miles away); Site of the Ariston Restaurant on the Original Route 66 (approx. 0.4 miles away); Original Site of the Ariston Cafe, 1924 (approx. 0.4 miles away); a different marker also named Abraham Lincoln (approx. 0.4 miles away); Macoupin County Revolutionary War Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Carlinville.
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 397 times since then and 114 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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Dec. 8, 2023