Discover the Rich History of Historic Route 66 in Illinois

Apr 11, 2022

Introduction to Historic Route 66

Star Gift Card Exchange welcomes you to embark on a fascinating journey through the history of Historic Route 66 in Illinois. Known as the "Main Street of America," Route 66 holds a special place in American culture and offers an array of memorable experiences. From its inception in the 1920s to its current status as a celebrated historic landmark, this legendary road has captivated the hearts and minds of countless travelers.

Exploring Route 66 in Bloomington

Bloomington, Illinois, serves as an ideal starting point to delve into the wonders of Route 66. This charming city is situated right along the historic highway, making it a convenient and exciting destination for enthusiasts and history buffs alike. As you venture through Bloomington, you'll encounter a treasure trove of historic landmarks, vibrant roadside attractions, and local establishments that have witnessed the evolution of this iconic route.

The Birth of Route 66

Route 66 was established on November 11, 1926, and became one of the original highways in the United States highway system. It connected Chicago, Illinois, to Santa Monica, California, spanning over 2,400 miles. This transcontinental highway served as a vital link for long-distance travel, fostering economic growth and enabling adventurous souls to explore the diverse landscapes of America.

Historic Landmarks Along the Route

Immerse yourself in the history of Route 66 by visiting iconic landmarks that have withstood the test of time. The Munsterman Building, a historic commercial building in downtown Bloomington, showcases stunning architecture that takes you back to the early days of the road. Don't miss the Anker-Holth Automobile Company Building known for its association with the automobile industry during the heyday of car travel.

The Legacy of Abraham Lincoln

Route 66 intersects with a significant piece of American history in Bloomington. Visit the David Davis Mansion State Historic Site, the former residence of David Davis, a close friend and mentor to Abraham Lincoln. Explore this beautifully preserved Victorian mansion, surrounded by picturesque gardens, and gain insights into the life and times of one of America's greatest presidents.

Quirky Roadside Attractions

No journey along Route 66 is complete without encountering unique roadside attractions that have become synonymous with the road itself. In Bloomington, keep an eye out for the whimsical Bunyon's Statue, a giant statue of Paul Bunyan that serves as a memorable photo opportunity and a symbol of the road's colorful past.

Present-Day Route 66 Attractions

While Route 66 may no longer serve as a primary highway, its legacy lives on through various present-day attractions that offer visitors a glimpse into the past. Experience the nostalgia at the McLean County Museum of History, where exhibits dedicated to the historic road transport you back in time. The Corn Crib Stadium provides a unique baseball experience with its location near the original alignment of Route 66.

Route 66 Festivals and Events

Throughout the year, Bloomington celebrates the historic significance of Route 66 with lively festivals and events. Whether you're a classic car enthusiast attending the Annual Red Carpet Corridor Festival or marveling at the impressive displays during the Cruise-In for Cancer, you'll find plenty of opportunities to connect with fellow road enthusiasts and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture inspired by Route 66.

Shopping and Dining Experiences

Indulge in local flavors and unique shopping experiences near Route 66 in Bloomington. Take a break from exploring and savor delicious meals at Chester's BBQ, a beloved establishment serving mouthwatering barbecued specialties since 1947. Browse through vintage boutiques and antique shops scattered along the route, where you can uncover hidden treasures and collectibles.


As you traverse the historic Route 66 in Illinois, you'll encounter a tapestry of stories, landmarks, and experiences that embody the spirit of a bygone era. Bloomington, with its rich history and present-day attractions, offers a perfect starting point to embark on this unforgettable journey. Star Gift Card Exchange invites you to experience the magic of Route 66 and create lasting memories along the way.

I had no idea about the rich history of Historic Route 66 in Illinois until I read this. It's definitely worth exploring!
Oct 4, 2023