Romeoville in Will 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.
(reverse, top panel:)
Route 66 Attractions in the Romeoville region
1. White Fence Farm Restaurant - In the early 1920s, this restaurant was built on a farm and became popular with Chicago suburbanites and Route 66 travelers who wanted a taste of rural Illinois. Today, you can still enjoy "the world's greatest chicken" served family style.
2. Isle a la Cache
3. Fitzpatrick House - This historic building is now home to the Lewis University History Center and the Heritage Corridor Convention and Visitors Bureau. Stop in to learn about the area's history or plan a trip along the I & M Canal.
4. Illinois & Michigan Canal - Built in 1848, the historic I&M Canal runs the entire length of downtown Lockport. Walk a trail that follows the original towpath, and explore the remains of Lock #1 and some of the best preserved walls along the canal.
5. The Gaylord Building/Lincoln Landing Park - Visit the 1837 Gaylord Building, built originally to store canal construction materials. The adjacent Lincoln Landing Park features interactive exhibits, sculptures, and a walking path.
6. I & M Canal Museum - Located in the original 1837 Canal Headquarters Building, the museum displays artifacts that relate to the construction and operation of the canal.
7. Norton Building/ISM Lockport Gallery - Built around 1850, this limestone structure was used to store, process, and package grain shipped on the I&M Canal. It now houses the Illinois State Museum Lockport Gallery.
8. Plainfield: Intersecting the Lincoln Highway - This historic village is one of only two places where Route 66 crosses the Lincoln Highway (the other is in Joliet). The Lincoln Highway, established in 1913, was the country's first paved, transcontinental highway and stretched from New York to San Francisco. Discover more at www.DriveLincolnHighway.com
(reverse, bottom panel:)
Traveling the Old Indian Trace - Route 66 in Romeoville
Today's busy Route 53 has always been an important transportation corridor. Originally an Indian trail, the path evolved into a carriage road. The Fitzpatricks were early farmers in the area who depended on this road to transport their crops. As horses gave way to automobiles, the road was paved into a two lane highway. In 1926, it was designated Route 66 connecting Chicago to Los Angeles.
The Fitzpatrick Family
Patrick Fitzpatrick built his Greek Revival homestead out of locally quarried limestone in the 1840s. The Fitzpatricks once farmed over 700 acres, and the grain and other produce made their way to markets in nearby Lockport and beyond.
The Fitzpatricks donated land to the Archdiocese of Chicago which founded what is now Lewis University in 1932. Brother James Cantwell, FSC (above) greets students as they arrive on campus in the 1960s. He often recruited students from Chicago telling them that Lewis was "only three stoplights from the city" on Route 66.
Erected by Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Education • Industry & Commerce • Roads & Vehicles • Waterways & Vessels. In addition, it is included in the U.S. Route 66 series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1926.
Location. 41° 36.019′ N, 88° 4.461′ W. Marker is in Romeoville, Illinois, in Will County. Marker can be reached from South Independence Boulevard (Illinois Route 53) 0.3 miles south of University Parkway. Marker is outside the Fitzpatrick House. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 15701 S Independence Blvd, Romeoville IL 60446, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Gaylord Donnelly Canal Trail Mile Marker 29.1 (approx. 1.1 miles away); Abraham Lincoln (approx. 1.1 miles away); "Whittling Their Time Away" (approx. 1.1 miles away); William Schuler (approx. 1.1 miles away); George Gaylord (approx. 1.1 miles away); Illinois & Michigan Canal Office (approx. 1.1 miles away); The Norton Building (approx. 1.1 miles away); Historic Lockport (approx. 1.1 miles away).
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".
1. Before accessing this marker...
The Fitzpatrick House has been roped off from the public. Before I went on my Illinois Route 66 trip, I noticed on Google Maps that this was the case. The map was dated sometime in 2019 (before Covid-19). I'm guessing Lewis University officials have not been letting people inside or outside the place, since they own it. When I visited the actual location here, I parked alongside the road, in front of the blocked entrance. I only stayed for a few minutes, just to not be suspicious-like, if you know what I mean. It is my understanding that the Route 66 group (that erected the marker) wanted to place it next to a historic place off the Mother Road. I have suggested calling the university, but I wouldn't know who to ask to let anyone on the property. Just a tip to those who want to access the Route 66 Experience Hub/marker.
— Submitted November 2, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.
Credits. This page was last revised on November 2, 2020. It was originally submitted on November 2, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 164 times since then and 56 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on November 2, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.