My sister, Nancy, and her husband traveled Route 66 from end to end about five years ago. She proved to be a fantastic source of tips, suggestions, and “don’t miss this” spots as we moved on down the road. One such tip was to stop at a cemetery in Elkhart, Illinois. The Elkhart Historic Cemetery contained not only graves dating back to the early 1800s, but also an amazing old chapel.
This St. John the Baptist Chapel was built in 1890! I wanted to get inside, but not surprisingly it was locked up. What a beautiful structure, though!
Just up the road we drove through Broadwell and all that is left of the famous Pig-Hip Restaurant. The location operated as a restaurant from 1937 until 1991 with Ernie Edwards as the creator of the Pig Hip Sandwich. When the restaurant closed, it reopened as a museum until, sadly, it burned down in March 2007.
Less than 10 miles on to the north brought us to, interestingly, Lincoln, Illinois. President Lincoln practiced law here from 1847 to 1859—two years prior to being elected president. The Mill, an iconic landmark along Route 66, was opened here as a restaurant in 1929. It is now a museum featuring Route 66 memorabilia.
Another excellent tip from my sister was to enjoy breakfast at the landmark Palms Grill Cafe in Atlanta. How could I resist? My choice for breakfast, the Denver Skillet, was huge and delicious. Unfortunately, it did not leave room for a piece of pie…my mistake. The Palms Grill, opened in 1934, not only serving very tasty food—pies are a specialty—but also it was the Greyhound Bus depot in downtown Atlanta for years. Check out this video to learn more about an iconic Route 66 diner.
Looking at old photographs on their walls, the place hasn’t changed much in over 80 years!
Just across the street from the grill is one of Route 66’s mythic Muffler Man Statues. Standing 19 feet tall and clutching a giant hot dog, this Paul Bunyon statue, not “bunyan” purposely spelled with an “o”, is not that lumberjack found farther north!
I’ve never seen a county building quite as ornate at the one in Pontiac, Illinois, the county seat of Livingston County. The building was completed in 1875 and recently underwent a multi-million dollar restoration. The town is also the setting of the 1984 movie, Grandview, U.S.A.
Two more historic stops and our travel and tour of Route 66 was over. The Mother Road is quite an extraordinary byway, no doubt about that.
Well preserved in Odell, IL
Finally, I must thank Abby—my travel buddy, navigator, and copilot. She kept things interesting and keeps me on my toes, that’s for sure!
We traveled over 5,700 miles, loving every minute of it except when we returned north and had to deal with two mild ice storms and a few inches of snow. Obviously, it could have been much worse. If you followed along on this long trip, I hope you enjoyed the ride! Thanks for reading!