Thursday, May 5, 2016

An original section of Route 66 near Springfield, Illinois. (Tim Ashley)
Illinois stretch of Route 66 remains intact, drivable

Posted on June 4, 2014 at 12:30 p.m.

Tim Ashley is a local history buff who has written a book about the history of west Goshen and makes a living as an editor, reporter and photographer at a local paper. He’s a community blogger for The Elkhart Truth, and you can read more of his work on his blog, Local Remnants.

I don’t do this often, but I’m going to stray this week from local history to something more commonly known on a national level.

If you are at all familiar with famous American highways, Route 66 is likely one of the first ones that comes to mind. Opened in the 1920s, Route 66 essentially stretched from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Last summer, I had the opportunity to ride on a 100 mile stretch of Route 66 in Illinois. With the exception of a few miles on an interstate highway, you can still drive on old alignments of Route 66 in Illinois. It is well marked and well promoted, too.

Pictured is a portion of the original Route 66, which is now on the edge of a park and is a rest area in Sherman near Springfield. The two-lane highway design is preserved, along with an original cross-section with curbing and the original road surface. Simply put, it gives us a peek into the vintage road known by many as the Mother Road.

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