We crossed into Illinois early this morning and drove over to Pontiac where we start our journey down Old Route 66 to St. Louis. Our first stop was the Route 66 Museum in Pontiac which memorializes the route through Illinois. It’s housed in the old fire station in Pontiac and is laid out as the route progresses from Chicago to St. Louis. Many of the displays recognize the people who helped make the route an experience as well as a journey – the restaurants along the way, the gas stations, advertising signs and small towns where people actually welcomed the travelers.
Snuggled into the museum on the second floor is a great collection of memorabilia from the 40s called The Selle-Agner Exhibit. It has displays of toys from the era, a complete setup of how a home looked at that time and a mockup of a canteen, complete with band and music (Glenn Miller). This was probably the best collection I have seen of how life looked during the 40s. They even had a “Wall of Newspapers” exhibit that shows the headlines about WWII from its 1939 beginning to the 1945 victory.
We walked around the town where dozens of wall murals were painted representing the Route and the era (are you jealous, Marj/Nancy/Pat?).
After we left Pontiac we stopped off at Funk’s Grove to see an 1845 Church and Cemetery where hundreds of members of the Funk and Stubblefield family are buried. Nancy has a connection with a Funk family, and she wanted to check it out.
We stopped at Atlanta, a small town on the Route with the Paul Bunyon Giant statue and a 1908 clock tower and a water tower painted with a happy face!
Our last stop for the day was in Lincoln, where we saw the old Courthouse, City Hall with a phone booth on the roof (placed there so someone could watch for tornados), and the World’s largest Abe Lincoln and Wagon statue. We looked for the old Mill Café, but it was under reconstruction and its famous menu had been moved to a downtown restaurant. We went there and had Schnitzel sandwiches the size of a large pizza.