Dwight in Livingston County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Welcome to Route 66 Illinois
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.
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
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.
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 Dwight Region
Dwight Wayside Exhibits
Visit all of the Route 66 wayside exhibits in Dwight to discover more about the Mother Road.
1. Full Service on Route 66 - The Ambler-Becker Texaco Station was the longest operating service station on Route 66 from 1933 to 1999. Listen to Phil Becker describe
2. Mom and Pop Motels - Discover the history of the Paulsen-Strufe Motel, a classic family operated motel along Route 66 from 1935 to 1994.
3. Shifting Roadways - Take a walk at Lions Lake, originally a borrow pit dug to build the Route 66 Bypass, and discover how the roadway has changed alignments over time.
4. A Well Connected Bridge - Don't miss the historic architecture in downtown Dwight. Learn about the 1854 Dwight Depot and the Keeley Institute founded in 1879.
5. Dwight Windmill - Walk the Keeley Institute grounds of the Oughton Estate and visit the picturesque 5-story windmill built in 1896.
6. "Odell Subway" Tunnel - Explore the remnants of a 1937 tunnel built under busy Route 66 to allow safe crossing for schoolchildren.
7. Odell Standard Oil Gas Station - Stop and listen to the stories of this historic service station that operated on Route 66 from 1932 to 1975.
8. Cayuga "Meramec Caverns" Barn - Take a photo of this restored early highway advertising, which once lured cross-country travelers.
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A Memorable Village - Route 66 in Dwight
"Dwight was the first traffic light south of Chicago," recall some old-timers. We may never know if that is true, but the Village of Dwight has always been a memorable stop on Route 66. Born in 1854 as a station along the Chicago and Alton railroad, it was designed around the depot instead of a town square. Enjoy numerous historic buildings that tell the story of trains, princes, the Keeley Cure, and the Mother Road.
Just a few blocks east of here is historic downtown Dwight. Although bypassed by Route 66 to avoid congestion, the area is a treasure trove of architecture and is well worth a visit.
A Royal Visit
Dwight's Pioneer Gothic Church was built in 1857. The Prince of Wales, future King Edward IV, visited Dwight and worshipped here in 1860.
· The 1891 Dwight Depot is an architectural gem that still serves as the central focus of downtown and houses the Dwight Historical Society Museum.
· Visit the many buildings of the Keeley Institute and learn the legend of the first medical "cure for alcoholism."
· The 1905 First National Bank is the last remaining bank designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.
Erected by Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & Religion • Industry & Commerce • Railroads & Streetcars • Roads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the U.S. Route 66 🛣️ series list.
Location. 41° 5.661′ N, 88° 26.379′ W. Marker is in Dwight, Illinois, in Livingston County. Marker is on West Waupansie Street north of West Mazon Avenue (Illinois Route 17), on the right when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 417 W Waupansie St, Dwight IL 60420, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Full Service on Rte 66 (here, next to this marker); Welcome to Dwight (within shouting distance of this marker); Mom and Pop Motels (approx. ¼ mile away); A Well Connected Village (approx. 0.6 miles away); 1879-1979 (approx. 0.6 miles away); War Memorial (approx. 0.6 miles away); Pioneer Gothic Church (approx. 0.7 miles away); Shifting Roadways (approx. 0.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Dwight.
More about this marker. This is one of 14 "experience hubs" (erected by Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway) 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. The top panel typically shows recommended Route 66 and local tourist stops, as well as maps of different Route 66 alignments. The bottom reverse panel usually has historical content, as well as a passport rubbing stamp. All experience hubs are nine feet tall, and have a button where people can listen to Bobby Troup's "Get Your Kicks on Route 66".
Credits. This page was last revised on October 20, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 19, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 45 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on October 20, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.