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Route 66 is easy to find throughout Illinois. Interstate 55 runs right next to it most of the way across the state. The only places it varies is when Interstate 55 skips over the towns along the path.

Just to the east of the hotel sits an old Texaco Station that has been refurbished to its Route 66 glory days.

Dwight Texaco

Driving along Route 66 is pretty much the same today as it was back before the interstate. One of the nice things though is that a lot of the intersections now pass over both Route 66 and Interstate 55.

Route 66

Before getting to Springfield, Route 66 actually passes through the heart of several towns including Bloomington, population: 74,184.

 

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Miles Traveled: 80

Dwight

Odell

Cayuga

Pontiac

Chenoa

Lexington

Towanda

Bloomington

McClean

Atlanta

Lincoln

Broadwell

Elkhart

Williamsville

Springfield

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Route 66

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Day 2: Gardner to Springfield, IL

The Illinois State Capitol located in Springfield, Illinois.

As Route 66 heads towards Springfield, the highway passes through some of the most fertile rural area of Illinois. Not far from Gardner sits the town of Dwight.

For a town of less than 5,000, Dwight has plenty of history. Back in 1860 during the early years of the village or when Janesville Daily Gazette September 26, 1860Dwight was originally known as Dwight Station, Lord Renfrew (better known as Prince Albert or eventually King Edward VII) spent part of his tour of the United States near Dwight as was reported in the September 26, 1860 edition of the Janesville, Wisconsin Daily Gazette.

Dwight was also the home of the famed Keeley Institute that was one of the first instutions that treated alcholism as a disease. This business also helped the town grow with a steady stream of vistors during the late 1800's. The November 20, 1990 edition of the Chariton Hearld proclaimed the institute was "a place for the permanent cure of all intemperate habits, not by taking intoxicating liquors away from the patient, but taking the desire for either the taste or the effect of the same."

Alton Evening Telegraph May 4, 1937Within ten years after the beginning of Route 66, talk among Illinois politicians was already being made to expand the highway from Chicago to St. Louis to a four lane highway.

Interstate Highway 55 continues to follow Route 66 today as it moves diagonally across Illinois. Other towns along the way to Springfield, Illinois include Odell, Pontiac, Chenoa, Lexington, and Towanda before Route 66 passes through the heart of Bloomington.

As you roll into Springfield from the northeast you soon realize that this city is filled with historical buildings as well as a lot of other things to do.

President Lincoln practiced law in Springfield before becoming president. He was later buried here after his assassination.

Lincoln's Tomb in Springfield.

 

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