Lincoln & Route 66

Two American icons intersect in the heart of the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area: Abraham Lincoln and America's mother road Route 66. Traversing the state of Illinois from Chicago to St. Louis, Route 66 winds its way through communities where Lincoln worked, gave stump speeches, and lived. From North to South, the communities of Pontiac, Bloomington, Atlanta, Lincoln, Elkhart, and Springfield tell the stories of Lincoln's life and times and historic Route 66.

Besides the sites that are directly on Route 66 noted below, there are excellent half-day side trips not too far off the Mother Road. These include:


Lincoln's New Salem, Petersberg, Illinois

This historic village of cabins  lies about 20 miles northwest of Springfield, and is a peek into Lincoln's early life in Illinois.


Alton, Illinois; Rivers & Routes

This historic community along the intersection of the mighty Mississippi, Illinois, and Missouri rivers has long been an important location of Illinois early history, as well as the nation. Many historic and natural sites are waiting to be explored.

To learn more about Route 66 in Illinois visit the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway website.

 

Lincoln Sites Along Route 66 in Illinois

Route 66 Sites

"My Good Friend"
1000 Monroe Dr. Bloomington, Illinois 61701

The beautifully restored, nineteenth-century estate tells the story of Judge David Davis, whose influence on Abraham Lincoln's legal and political career was crucial to President Lincoln's success. Lincoln often visited his friend, fellow lawyer and political advisor here at his home.

Looking for Lincoln wayside exhibits tell the stories of Lincoln’s life and times in Illinois.  Each wayside exhibit tells a unique Lincoln story and a local story.  Many of the waysides share little known stories about Lincoln and the individuals he interacted with.  There are over 260 Looking for Lincoln waysides in the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area.    

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"Wide Awakes" March in Atlanta
112 SW Arch Atlanta, Illinois 61723

Looking for Lincoln wayside exhibits tell the stories of Lincoln’s life and times in Illinois.  Each wayside exhibit tells a unique Lincoln story and a local story.  Many of the waysides share little known stories about Lincoln and the individuals he interacted with.  There are over 260 Looking for Lincoln waysides in the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area.    

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Abe Lincoln Stranded Here
299 N Oak Street Pontiac, Illinois 61764

200 Block of North Oak Street - by County Market Grocery

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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
112 N. 6th St. Springfield, Illinois 62701

The Presidential Library contains an overwhelming treasury of carefully preserved Lincoln documents and artifacts, including more than 12 million items from the Illinois State Historical Library.

Whether learning more about the life and times of President Lincoln or following your own family's genealogical ties to Illinois, the Presidential Library is an amazing resource of information for families, historians and scholars.

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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum
212 N. 6th St. Springfield, Illinois 62701

This state-of-the-art facility was carefully designed with exacting historical detail. Amazingly well-preserved artifacts tell the entire life story of our nation's 16th President. Dedicated to the life and legacy of Abraham Lincoln, the Presidential Museum, unlike any other in the U.S., features high-tech exhibits, interactive displays, and multimedia programs, as well as a reproduction of the White House as it looked in 1861.

The holographic and special effects theaters will entertain, educate and mesmerize you with ghostly images, live actors and high action. Witness the 1860 Presidential Election as though it were happening today, complete with television news coverage and campaign commercials. Items from the institution's world-class Lincoln Collection, numbering in the tens of thousands, are exhibited on a rotating basis in the Museum's Treasures Gallery, including an original hand-written copy of the Gettysburg Address, the evening gloves in President Lincoln's pocket the night he was assassinated, and the quill pen used to sign the Emancipation Proclamation.

In Mrs. Lincoln's Attic, kids can play with a model of the Lincoln Home, try on period clothing, perform chores from the 1800s, and play with reproduction historic toys. They can also have their photos take with life-size models of Abraham Lincoln as a boy and an adult, as well as with Mary Todd and the Lincoln children.

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Abraham Lincoln Sites Narrated Tour
200 N. Main Street Bloomington, Illinois 61701

You can explore Lincoln sites throughout downtown and other sites in Bloomington-Normal using the McLean County Museum of History narrated tour. It is available on the McLean County Museum of History iOS and Android  app, at the Cruisin' with Lincoln on 66 website, and also as a CD in the gift shop.

Begin the tour at the McLean County Museum of History

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Animal Problems
625 E. Monroe St. Springfield, Illinois 62701

View over 40 outdoor interpretive exhibits placed throughout the downtown area to experience Springfield as Abraham Lincoln knew it. Each exhibit is intended to capture a moment in time for Lincoln and how he was affected by the people, places and events he encountered in his hometown. Each story is accompanied by graphics or photographs and a medallion that is symbolic of that particular story. Visitors are encouraged to collect rubbings of each medallion.

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Asahel Gridley's Bank
66 E. Front St. Bloomington, Illinois 61701

Lincoln frequented the law offices of David Davis and the bank owned by Asahel Gridley.

Looking for Lincoln wayside exhibits tell the stories of Lincoln’s life and times in Illinois.  Each wayside exhibit tells a unique Lincoln story and a local story.  Many of the waysides share little known stories about Lincoln and the individuals he interacted with.  There are over 260 Looking for Lincoln waysides in the Abraham Lincoln National Heritage Area.    

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Atlanta Museum
100 SE Race St. Atlanta, Illinois 61723

Exhibits focused on Abraham Lincoln, Route 66, and other aspects of Atlanta's history are featured. The Museum's Local History Resource Center provides extensive genealogy materials accessible to the public. Housed in a beautifully restored 1867 building, the Atlanta Museum presents both permanent and new, rotating exhibits. 

Watch the Video on the Atlanta Museum here!

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Atlanta Public Library
100 Race Street Atlanta, Illinois 61723

Hours: Monday, 10 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.; Tuesday & Thursday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.; Wednesday & Friday, 10 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.

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