Route 66 | WGLT

Route 66

Terri Ryburn at Ryburn Place
Eric Stock / WGLT

Route 66 advocates from across the Midwest will gather in Normal this weekend looking for ways to help the historic highway bring more tourism to their communities.

Cultural historian Candacy Taylor traveled Route 66 to document her findings on businesses and history for her second book. But once she got deeper into Route 66 culture, she uncovered findings about the culture of historically black "green book" sites that are still operating today.

Route 66 experience hub
Eric Stock / WGLT

Route 66 enthusiasts can find a new way to connect with the historic highway.

Connect Transit buses
Staff / WGLT

Economic developers in McLean County have created a wish list of four projects to seek federal funding.

Route 66 Airstream trailer
David Kafer / National Trust for Historic Preservation

Historic preservationists are making their case for preserving Route 66 by kicking off a five-week, 2,400-mile journey along the Mother Road.


A $17,000 grant from the National Park Service gives the green light to a plan to preserve and restore the iconic Tropics neon sign on Route 66 in Lincoln.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

McLean County and state and federal elected leaders hope a bike trail will eventually extend from the northern border to the south end of McLean County.

On Wednesday they dedicated a new eight mile stretch of the Constitution Trail extending along Route 66 from Normal to Towanda. U.S. Representative Darin LaHood (R-Dunlap) said he is sponsoring a bill to make Route 66 a national historic trail.

Creative Commons

Historic Route 66 was not only a highway, it was a pie-way.

Let's hear about food on the mother road. Rob Dirks is a retired food anthropologist at Illinois State University.

Renjishino / Wikipedia

Route 66 conjures up nostalgic memories for many white's of a certain age in the United States. Television, print, and other media often invoke the highway as a symbol of freedom in a simpler time.  For black Americans of that time, memories of traveling Route 66 are likely to evoke different symbols, as summed up by music legend Aretha Franklin's brother Cecil in the June 28, 1968 Time Magazine profile on Soul music.

"Driving eight or ten hours trying to make a gig, and becoming hungry and passing restaurants all along the road, and having to go off the highway into some little city to find a place to eat because you're black - that had its effect."

Don Palma / Palace Events

The 150 year-old Duncan Manor just outside of Towanda near Route 66 will host a Handmade and Vintage Market this Labor Day weekend and the couple which owns the historic landmark wants to be able to host many more events in the future. 

Ralph Weisheit / WGLT

Bloomington Aldermen will consider spending an additional $25 thousand this year to help with operational costs for the Route 66 Visitors Center at the entrance of the McLean County Museum of History.

Ralph Weisheit

The Normal Town Council approved $606,000 to renovate the former Sprague's Super Service fuel station along Route 66. Former Illinois State University professor and Route 66 Scholar Terri Ryburn, who is selling the building to the town, said she'll be happy to see this property develop.

Normal To Consider Fixing Up Route 66 Attraction

May 15, 2016
Staff / WGLT

A fuel station first built in the 1930’s along Route 66 in Normal could be fully restored by the town. The Normal Town Council will consider whether to spend $606,000 to purchase the property, make improvements to the building, and replace the parking lot.