Wednesday, January 19, 2011
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Elkhart's Route 66 -- a trip down memory lane

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[January 19, 2011]  ELKHART -- The Elkhart Historical Society's dinner and lecture on Feb. 25 at The Wild Hare Café, 104 Gov. Oglesby St. in historic downtown Elkhart, will feature "What's a National Scenic Byway and Why Should Elkhart Care?" and "Elkhart's Place in Route 66 History" as the presentation topics.

Bill Kelly will present the first talk of the evening, "What's a National Scenic Byway and Why Should Elkhart Care?" Kelly grew up next to Route 66 in LaGrange. The opportunity to become involved with the same road where he got his first ticket led him to become executive director of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway program in February last year. Kelly will discuss the background of the organization, the kinds of projects they are working on, funding and will take questions on the project.

Carl Johnson, an Illinois Route 66 historian, will follow Kelly's presentation with his talk, "Elkhart's Place in Route 66 History." Johnson has studied the history, culture and joy of the Mother Road for years and will share Elkhart and Logan County stories and folklore about Route 66. He is the author of "Hidden 66: A Hidden Gem in Elkhart, Illinois" in Route 66 Federation News. A former land surveyor, Johnson will explain why old Route 66 was forced to go around the western city limits of Elkhart and how to find local remnants of the old road.


Make your trip to Elkhart an all-day or weekend event by adding visits to some of the famous Route 66 sites in nearby communities. Atlanta has a 19-foot "Paul Bunyon" statue and Route 66 murals that bring back memories of the heyday of Route 66. The Mill in Lincoln was a highlight of Route 66 and is under renovation. Lincoln also hosts the World's Largest Covered Wagon, recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records, at the Best Western Lincoln Inn. The Route 66 "ghost bridge" in Old Union Cemetery and the Route 66 log chapel on the corner of Fifth and Logan streets in Lincoln are other. Closer to Elkhart, see the Pig Hip marker in Broadwell. This marker tells the story of the Pig Hip Restaurant and its famous sandwiches. Also, though it stands empty now, the corner gas station in Elkhart is a classic reminder of America's Mother Road.

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If you are staying overnight on Route 66, the Best Western Lincoln Inn has special rates for those attending Elkhart events. Call 217-732-9641 and mention that you will be attending the February dinner and lecture in Elkhart.

Dinner reservations must be received by Feb. 21. The meal begins at 5:30 p.m., followed by the lecture from 7 to 8 p.m. The cost of the dinner is $24 per person and includes the meal, beverage (coffee or tea), dessert, tax and gratuity. More information and the online printable reservation form are available at or by calling 217-947-2046.

[Text from file received from Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County]

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