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Pre-1930 66 Segment - Chatham to Staunton - Page 2

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Route 66, Girard to Nilwood (1919-1931) - Underscoring the fast paced evolution of Route 66 in Illinois, this segment was designated as a part of the Mother Road in 1926, but, was quickly replaced in 1930 with a major realignment to the east. Constructed in 1920 as part of old State Route 4, this short-lived section of Illinois Route 66 is typical of the engineering and construction methods of the post-World War I era. This was a time of genuine transition in road construction, often combining horse and mule with World War I state-of-the-art trucks and machinery. The road’s cross section included two eight-foot wide lanes with 4-7 foot wide gravel shoulders. The Portland cement slab was generally six inches thick.


Although cracked in places, its current concrete pavement is original. The road segment retains five of its original concrete box culverts and an original, 1920 single span concrete bridge. An interesting piece of the pavement can be seen just south of Nilwood, Illinois where turkey tracks were imprinted within the original concrete when it was poured. After more than 80 years, they can still be seen today.


Turkey tracks in Route 66 pavement south of Nilwood, Illinois

Just south of Nilwood, Illinois, turkey tracks were imprinted within the original concrete when it was poured. After more than 80 years, they can still be seen today. Kathy Weiser, October, 2010.







  • From downtown Springfield, take Mac Arthur Boulevard south to Wabash Avenue and travel west.

  • Turn south on Chatham Road, crossing I-72.

  • Just after I-72, look for Recreation Drive to the east. At 1700 Recreation Drive stands the still active Route 66 Drive-In.

  • Return to Chatham Road continuing to travel south.

  • Turn west on Woodside Road.

  • Turn south onto IL-4 (Veteran's Parkway)

  • Mulberry St in Chatham, IllinoisFollow IL-4 to Chatham - Caldwell Mansion on the north side of town, a few old buildings on Mulberry Street business district, Chatham Railroad Museum at at 100 N. State Street.

  • Continue on IL-4 to Auburn - About two miles north of Auburn is Becky's Barn at 5029 Snell Road, sitting right off the historic 1931 1.4 mile hand-laid brick road. Historic buildings in Auburn's downtown square at Jefferson and 5th Streets.

  • Continue on IL-4 to Thayer.

  • Mural in Virden, IllinoisContinue on IL-4 to Virden - Watch for mural.

  • Continue on IL-4 to Girard - Doc's Soda Fountain and Deck's Pharmacy Museum, 1919-31 alignment starts here.

  • Continue on IL-4 to Nilwood - Turkey tracks in concrete pavement south of town.

  • Continue on IL-4 to Carlinville - Million Dollar Courthouse and 1869 Macoupin County Jail.

  • Continue on IL-4 to Gillespie - Zion Church Neon Cross.

  • Continue on IL-4 to Benld - Coliseum Ball Room antique Mall.

  • Continue on IL-4 to Sawyerville

  • Continue on IL-4 to Staunton - Henry's Ra66it Ranch, Country Classic Cars, Decamp Junction Roadhouse.

Doc's Soda Fountain and Deck's Pharmacy Museum in Girard, Illinois

Doc's Soda Fountain and Deck's Pharmacy Museum in Girard, Illinois. Kathy Weiser, October, 2010. This image available for photo prints & editorial downloads HERE.


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