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Berwyn in Cook County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Berwyn, Illinois

Welcome to Route 66 Illinois

 
 
Berwyn, Illinois Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, October 1, 2020
1. Berwyn, Illinois Marker
Reverse side
Inscription.  

(front:)

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
Berwyn, Illinois Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, October 1, 2020
2. Berwyn, Illinois Marker
Front side (all Illinois Route 66 Experience Hubs have the same front)
served as a crossing over 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 panel:)

Route 66 Attractions in the Berwyn region

1. Castle Car Wash - This unique building served as a gas station from the 1920s to the 1970s.

2. Henry's Drive-In - This diner has been serving classic Chicago-style hotdogs since the 1940s.

3. A Road Well Traveled - Discover how Ogden Avenue evolved from a muddy trail to a
Berwyn, Illinois Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, October 1, 2020
3. Berwyn, Illinois Marker
This is, as of Nov. 2020, the final Route 66 Experience Hub on the Mother Road as you're headed to its end in Chicago. The Willis Tower can be seen (very small) in the background.
paved road.

4. Automobile Love Affair - Peek into the "car culture" at the world famous Ogden Top and Trim.

5. Cruising the Strip - Cruise Ogden Avenue and learn how it catered to the automobile.

6. Eating on the Run - Eat at the oldest White Castle on Route 66, opened in 1939.

7. Chicago Portage National Historic Site - View the "birthplace of Chicago", a vital land connection between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River.

8. Hofmann Tower - Built in 1908 by a local brewer, the tower now houses the Lyons Historical Museum.

9. Snuffy's Grill - Snuffy's truck-stop has been serving "the best roadie food" since 1930.

10. McCook Quarry - This massive 650-acre limestone quarry has been in operation for over 100 years. A portion of Route 66 once crossed the quarry, but was closed for safety reasons.

11. Countryside Exhibit - Discover the legacy of Countryside's farms and quarries, including the Marx Brothers' chicken farm in 1917.

12. Wolf's Head Inn - Dine in a unique restaurant surrounded by collectibles from around the world.

13. Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket - Started in a gas station by Irv Kolarik in 1939, the "secret recipe" for fried chicken has been popular for generations.

(reverse, bottom panel:)

The
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City of Homes - Route 66 in Berwyn

Berwyn was already a booming Chicago suburb when Route 66 was created in 1926.
Motorists drove through a diverse ethnic neighborhood where people lived the good life in neat rows of bungalows with gardens and mowed lawns. Route 66 on Ogden Avenue doubled as the community's business strip and as America's highway of dreams.

The City of Homes

Berwyn has the most significant collection of Chicago style bungalows in the nation. In the 1920s it was the fastest growing town in America. Whole neighborhoods were built simultaneously with all basements dug, foundations poured, and armies of carpenters, bricklayers and plasterers converging to build a single block at once.

Berwyn Route 66 Car Show

Every September, the city of Berwyn celebrates its Route 66 heritage with a massive car show that lines both sides of Ogden Avenue. Thousands of people gather to view classic cars and enjoy the festive atmosphere.

(photo caption:)

Berwyn bungalows are known for their architectural detail and ornamentation. This helps to give each neighborhood a sense of rhythm and unity.
 
Erected by Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Architecture
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Industry & CommerceRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the U.S. Route 66 🛣️ series list.
 
Location. 41° 49.936′ N, 87° 46.714′ W. Marker is in Berwyn, Illinois, in Cook County. Marker is on Ogden Avenue west of South Lombard Avenue, on the right when traveling west. Marker is on the sidewalk outside Buddy Bear Car Wash and a gas station. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 6201 Ogden Ave, Berwyn IL 60402, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. World War I Memorial (approx. 0.3 miles away); A Road Well Traveled (approx. 0.3 miles away); Automobile Love Affair (approx. 0.6 miles away); Arthur J. Dunham Centennial Home (approx. 1.1 miles away); Cruising the Strip (approx. 1.1 miles away); Eating on the Run (approx. 1.3 miles away); The Chicago Portage (approx. 2.2 miles away); Portage Creek Passage (approx. 2.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Berwyn.
 
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".

This is the last (or the first, depending on which direction you're coming from), northernmost Route 66 Experience Hub in Illinois. There were none erected past Berwyn heading northeast (in any of the cities such as Chicago and Cicero, as of November 2020).

Although the panels have been untouched, the Experience Hub has signs of visible damage.
 
Regarding Berwyn, Illinois. The marker advertises and mentions the Berwyn Route 66 Museum, which is permanently closed.
 
 
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 56 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on November 2, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.
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Mar. 6, 2021