This past Thursday, Nov. 13,
crews from the Lincoln Streets Department worked to mount new
signage marking a former alignment of U.S. Route 66 through the
On Tuesday one last sign was
installed for the dedication. A group of Route 66 representatives
and local officials, including City Clerk Melanie Riggs representing
Mayor Elizabeth Davis, gathered to dedicate the new signs. City
Streets Department Superintendent Tracy Jackson and Larry Schaub
were on hand to install the sign at the corner of Postville and
Stringer avenues (on Business 55 at the back corner of LDC).
Other people present at the
dedication were Ernie Edwards of the Route 66 Association, Bob
Borowiak and Charles Ott. Local historian Paul Gleason, who was also
involved in the project, was unable to attend.
"I've wanted these signs for
years," former Lincoln restaurateur and Route 66 legend Ernie
Edwards stated. "Why, back in those days these roads were booming
with business, and all that traffic went right through town. Once
the bypass was built, things really changed. These signs can help
bring some of that traffic back."
The new markers designate the
path of the historic route between 1926 and 1930, which many
residents recognize as Business 55. The signs begin at the
intersection of Lincoln Parkway and Kickapoo Street, then head south
through Lincoln's historic downtown district, past the Postville
Courthouse and the Lincoln Developmental Center. Formerly, the only
Route 66 signage followed the 1950 to 1977 alignments along Lincoln
Parkway. The loop created by the new signage reconnects with Lincoln
Parkway near Old Union Cemetery.
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Thressia Usherwood, executive
director of the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County,
noted that thousands of travelers are driving Route 66 and never see
what we have to offer in the heart of Lincoln.
"When I found out it was
possible to sign alternative routes, I jumped at the chance," she
said. "I knew it would be a great opportunity for the attractions
and businesses along the road, especially in the downtown area."
The process, facilitated by the
Illinois Route 66 Heritage Project, involved a cooperative effort
between the city, the tourism bureau, a number of interested local
history buffs and the Illinois Department of Transportation.
Research for the project began nearly eight months ago with the
collection of vintage photos and oral histories from individuals who
remembered the roadway.
Patty Kuhn, executive director
of the Route 66 Heritage Project, joined the group for the
dedication. "We're working hard to promote travel of Route 66 in
Illinois, and we know the number of visitors is on the rise," she
said. "Signing this corridor opens the door for renewed development
and offers Route 66 travelers an entirely new experience in
Lincoln." The Heritage Project helps communities discover a new
identity, she added.
Kuhn also thanked parties
involved in Route 66 projects: the Route 66 Association for working
hard to keep the road alive and the Illinois Department of
Transportation for providing the signs to the city.
the dedication closed, Kuhn presented Thressia Usherwood with a
souvenir Route 66 license plate, which Usherwood proudly accepted,
saying that she would keep it in the window at her office.