Trip on Route 66 to Springfield, Illinois

The Illinois State Capitol in SpringfieldThe Illinois State Capitol in Springfield

Most travelers seem to start their journey on Route 66 in Chicago, and head westbound. That is the direction we take on this website.

The beginning point of Route 66 in Chicago has changed over the years, originally starting on Jackson Boulevard at Michigan Avenue in 1926. Since 1933 the starting point has been Jackson Boulevard at Lake Shore Drive.

Once outside the metropolitan Chicago area, Route 66 followed the Pontiac Trail, a former Indian trail and stagecoach road.

From its beginning in Chicago, Route 66 headed southwest to Joliet, Wilmington, Dwight, Odell, Pontiac, Bloomington, Lincoln and Springfield. The segment from Chicago to Springfield is roughly a 2.5 hour drive.

Springfield is the capital of Illinois and the county seat of Sangamon County, and home to over 115,000 residents. The most famous historic resident was¬†Abraham Lincoln, who lived in Springfield from 1837 until 1861, when he was elected President and moved to Washington, D.C.

Visitors can tour the house where Lincoln lived, the Lincoln Tomb State Historical Site, the Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum, and the Illinois State Capitol Building. The Lincoln Train Station and Springfield Union Station are also popular attractions as is the Dana Thomas house designed by Frank LLoyd Wright in 1904.

The city of Springfield operates a Visitors Center on the first floor of the Lincoln-Herndon Law Office across from the Old State Capitol.

Leaving Springfield, Route 66 traversed Litchfield, Staunton and Hamel, and then continued on to the Chain of Rocks Bridge at St. Louis, where it turned west through Rolla, Springfield, Joplin and into Kansas and Oklahoma.

Map showing the location of Springfield, Illinois on Historic Route 66
Map showing the location of Springfield, Illinois on Historic Route 66


 

Photo Highlights from Our Road Trips to Springfield

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum in Springfield, Illinois
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum in Springfield, Illinois

Lincoln Presidential Library

Opened in 2005, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum has become a popular attraction for visitors to Springfield.

The 200,000 square foot complex, which includes an Archive, Library and Museum, features public experiences, galleries and theater presentations.

Inside the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library (Staff Photo)
Inside the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield Illinois

It is located at 112 North Sixth Street in Springfield.

Lincoln's Tomb

The Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site is the final resting place of Abraham Lincoln, his wife Mary, and three of their four sons.

The Lincoln Tomb was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960; it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1966.

Construction of the Lincoln Monument began in 1868, and it was dedicated in 1874.

The setting for Lincoln's Tomb (Staff Photo)
Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site in Springfield, Illinois

Bust of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Tomb in Springfield (Staff Photo)
Bust of Abraham Lincoln at the Lincoln Tomb in Springfield

In front of the Tomb is a bronze reproduction of Gutzon Borglum’s marble head of Lincoln, which is displayed in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The Tomb is located at 1500 Monument Avenue in Springfield.


Lincoln Home National Historic Site

The Lincoln Home National Historic Site preserves the home where Abraham Lincoln lived from 1844 to 1861, before becoming the 16th President of the United States. The site includes four blocks surrounding the home and a visitor center.

Lincoln Home National Historic Site (Staff Photo)
Entrance area to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site in Springfield

The Visitor Center is located at 426 South Seventh Street. Street access to the Lincoln Home National Historic Site is restricted to pedestrian access only.

Details, directions and hours at the Lincoln Home website at NPS

Abraham Lincoln home in Springfield Illinois
Abraham Lincoln home in Springfield Illinois

The Lincoln Depot in Springfield Illinois
The Lincoln Depot in Springfield Illinois


Union Station in Springfield Illinois

Union Station in Springfield Illinois


The Dana Thomas House, at 300 E Lawrence Avenue, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in 1904, in Springfield Illinois
The Dana Thomas House, at 300 E Lawrence Avenue, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, in Springfield Illinois

Shea's gas station in its earlier days ... now closed and moved to another location in Springfield

Shea's in Springfield Illinois, along Historic Route 6

 

Lodging Options Along Illinois Route 66

Springfield, Illinois

Chicago, Illinois

Joliet, Illinois

Pontiac, Illinois

TripAdvisor

 

Earlier Images of Route 66 in Springfield

What was Route 66 like in its earlier years, as visitors drove around or through Springfield? What did all the service stations, motels and public buildings look like when they were new? What did the traveling public experience on the Mother Road? We wonder such things when we travel Route 66 today.

Those earlier times in the 1930s, 40s and 50s were not always captured on film. But the use of colorful postcards was common in those decades.

We have included below a sampling of our collection of vintage travel postcards showing scenes in Springfield. These portray the city in its earlier years and help us to visualize "yesterday" as we drive Route 66 today.

Little Chum's Lodge

Little Chum's Lodge, U.S. Highway 66, Springfield, Illinois

Little Chum's Lodge, U.S. Highway 66, Springfield, Illinois

Fleck's Motel

Fleck's Motel on Lincoln's Trail, Springfield, Illinois

Fleck's Motel on Lincoln's Trail, Springfield, Illinois

Highway Hotel

Highway Hotel, Springfield, Illinois

Highway Hotel, Springfield, Illinois

Leonard's Modern Motel

Leonard's Modern Motel, 2224 East Cook Street, Springfield, Illinois

Leonard's Modern Motel, 2224 East Cook Street, Springfield, Illinois

Lincoln Trail Motel

Lincoln Trail Motel on U.S. Highway 36, Springfield, Illinois

Lincoln Trail Motel on U.S. Highway 36, Springfield, Illinois

Leland Hotel

Leland Hotel, downtown Springfield, Illinois

Leland Hotel, downtown Springfield, Illinois

 

 

Interactive Map of Springfield, Illinois

 

Driving West
on the Next Route 66 Segment?

From St. Louis to Joplin Across Missouri

Route 66 Road Trip across Missouri from St. Louis to Joplin

 

Click to travel on more scenic roads of America!


More Information About Springfield

Springfield Convention & Visitor Bureau website

 

City of Springfield, Illinois website

 

Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce website

 

Dana Thomas House

 

Lincoln Home National Historic Site

 

Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum

 

Lincoln Tomb

 

Springfield Travel Guide at TripAdvisor: Hotels, restaurants, things to do

 

Route 66 Association of Illinois

More Route 66 and Travel-Related Resources


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