Written by catsholiday on 01 Nov, 2012
FUNKS GROVEFunks Grove Pure Maple Sirup. We tried to find this for about half an hour and gave up so i have no idea what is there but if you do want to visit then be prepared to hunt as neither our satnav nor the…Read More
FUNKS GROVEFunks Grove Pure Maple Sirup. We tried to find this for about half an hour and gave up so i have no idea what is there but if you do want to visit then be prepared to hunt as neither our satnav nor the instructions on our Route 66 guide took us there. The Funk's Grove Maple Sirup business was established in 1891. Sirup is correctly spelled this way to distinguish it from sugar-based syrup. This was and continues to be a major stopping point along Route 66. Anyway we failed to get to this magical place!Funks Grove I-55 Rest Area; this we did manage to find and it was worth the stop because apart from the water fountains, drinks machines and toilets, which we made good use of, there were some unusual metal silhouette statues outside tell the story of travelling in automobiles, picnicking, and the beginnings of Route 66. Inside the building are some historical exhibits about Abraham Lincoln and Route 66., not a lot but enough to be of passing interest as you stop for the toilets.Mc LEANDixie Truck Stop; this was an original truck stop for Route 66 since the 1930s and originally had a restaurant, cabins and even cattle pens. No problems parking here as the parking lot is huge. The Dixie was owned and operated by the Geske family from 1928-2003 and was only closed one day after a fire in1965. The truck stop has now got new owners but still serves travellers along Route 66 for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The original Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame was here from 1990-2004, then it moved to Pontiac which we visited but there is still quite a lot of Route 66 memorabilia around the place and even a mini section specifically with Route 66 artefactsATLANTANo not that one in Georgia but a small town in Illinois which seems to have a few places of interest to see. None of them is individually that exciting but it is certainly worth a slight detour to visit this town.Atlanta Public Library was built in 1908 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. The building is an octagonal and has a domed rotunda. A Seth Thomas clock tower beside the library has to be hand cranked every 8 days. Just across the road in Route 66 park is a lovely mural which celebrates the fact that Atlanta is approximately 150 miles from both Chicago and St. Louis.Palms Grill Cafe was closed when we passed through Atlanta so if you visit on a Sunday you will miss out too. The cafe is famous for its neon sign which could be switched on to tell the greyhound bus to stop there. There is another big mural across the road from here.Bunyon's Statue Giant was the most entertaining thing we found in Atlanta as the place was deserted. This fibreglass giant was made in the 1960s apparently about 150 of these giants were made and put into service to advertise auto service. They became known as "Muffler Men." In 1965, this ex-Muffler Man was bought and the muffler (silencer to us Brits) was replaced by a hotdog and the statue was placed in front of "Bunyon's" the restaurant on Route 66 in Cicero, Illinois. For 38 years, "Bunyon's Statue" was a Route 66 landmark. In January 2003, the restaurant closed and the staue was brought to be enjoyed in Atlanta, so that it could stay on historic Route 66.Smiley Water Tower can be seen from some way away and makes you smile as the bright yellow water tower has a smiley face painted on it .LINCOLNThis is the only town named after Lincoln in his lifetime and you can visit the site where he christened the town with a watermelon! I was expecting something large but in fact the water melon is not a lot bigger than a real one and took some tracking down. This is called the Lincoln Christening Site and the event took place on August 27, 1853. There is a bit of an explanation panel next to the watermelon.Logan County Courthouse is another interesting historical building from 1905 and its claim to fame apart from the fact that Lincoln worked as a lawyer here, is that it is considered the second most architecturally spectacular historic courthouse in Illinois' 102 Counties (after Carlinville in Macoupin County, another Historic Route 66 town). It houses a statue of Lincoln, murals, plus historical display cases.The City Hall is a pretty ordinary solid looking building but what we found really strange was to see a telephone booth on the roof which was not just a practical joke which we originally thought, it was .Railsplitter Covered Wagon; we had to ask directions to this from someone in a charity shop which the only place we found open. This huge covered wagon being driven by an equally huge Lincoln is slightly out of town and near a hotel This has been officially recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the "World's Largest Covered Wagon." It has to be seen to appreciate the size of this and can be seen from some way off but apart from this there is nothing else around it so it os a case of parking the car having a walk around, taking photos and driving on.SPRINGFIELDThis is the capital city of Illinois but is a very sleepy city. I have written a separate review of sights to see in Springfield but will mention a couple of specifically route 66 places to see. Springfield is of course the place to visit to find our out Lincoln as the museum, his home, his tomb and so much more are within this city.Yet another of the ‘Muffler giants’ is here , the Lauterbach Giant who used to hold a tyre, but now is more patriotic with a U.S. flag. In 2006, he lost his head during a twister, but it has been repaired.Shea’ Gas station which is a private collection of gas station and Route 66 memorabilia of a lifetime local Texaco dealer Bill Shea who proudly overseas his museum. It was closed when we visited but to me it looked a bit like a junk shop but to those into Route 66 memorabilia and old signs, petrol pumps and the like might be interested in visiting and talking to Bill himself. It cost. $2 to visit and is open Wed-Fri & until Noon on Sat.The Cozy Dog drive in claims to be the place where the corn dog on a stick is claimed to have been invented and was called a "Cozy Dog." I am not sure that this would be something I would be proud of and when we went to see the ‘Cozy Dog’ we decided we didn’t fancy it and drove on and not in!While on this holiday we drive two major famous roads in the area, the Great Mississippi River Road and this section of Route 66, we have driven other sections from LA on previous holidays so it was interesting to see how much had to renovated and re opened at this end. It was a fun drive and we didn’t stop at every site only those i have mentioned. If you really wanted to look at everything closely then this section could take up to a week. We visited some places on our way to Springfield from Chicago, some while we were in Chicago and then others when we drove from Springfield back towards Chicago and then across to St Joseph in Michigan.There was no site that was unforgettable but they were many and varied and on the whole fun to see. There was a lot of social history as well as historical buildings to learn about on the way. I would certainly recommend this drive and it made our drive between Chicago to Springfield and back up very entertaining. Close
Written by catsholiday on 29 Sep, 2012
SPRINGFIELD , ILLINOISThis has to be the sleepiest state capital city I have visited. We couldn’t believe how quite the city was except for the hotel we had booked in to where there were two weddings and the guests staying so just as well we…Read More
SPRINGFIELD , ILLINOISThis has to be the sleepiest state capital city I have visited. We couldn’t believe how quite the city was except for the hotel we had booked in to where there were two weddings and the guests staying so just as well we booked in advance as the hotel was perfect, really central and you could walk to most sites of interest from there.Springfield is just full of places to experience where Lincoln lived, worked or is buried as well as the Capitol building and the Lincoln presidential museum and Library which is a must see place while in the city.LINCOLN SITESThe Lincoln Presidential Museum and library is essential. This is in two huge modern buildings across the road from each other. The museum has inter active displays, dramatic recreations ,films and live performances as well as fabulous displays. You are taken from Lincoln as a boy through to a very moving funeral lying in state. I have written a review on this separately.The Lincoln Home which is set up to recreate the time when the Lincoln family actually owned and lived in the house is free to tour but you must go on the escorted tour and they get busy to get there early. The house is set in a four block neighbourhood which has been taken back to look at it would have done in the Lincoln’s time with gravel roads and wooden pavements. Also see my review on this site.The Old State Capitol Building is open to visitors and this is where Lincoln gave his famous ‘House Divided’ speech and this is restored to the time when Lincoln would have been a member here. You can see where he would have sat and his hat is there on one of the desks. This is also free to enter and there are guides that will explain the different rooms and exhibits to you if you ask.The law office where Lincoln was a partner is on the corner of Sixth and Adams streets. This is really just a look from the outside as it is still in use as a business. All around the city are signs giving snippets of information about the great man and as you walk around you learn a lot about him and his achievements. You can also visit the church he used to go to and if you get into your car you can also visit his tomb which is just a little way out of the city and well worth the drive as it is spectacular as tombs go.Also needing a short drive is the rustic 1830s village of New Salem where Lincoln lived before his days in the legislature.The Lincoln Memorial Garden is a great place to escape the city and enjoy some green. The gardens have been designed by Jens Jensen and they are on Lake Springfield just out of the city again.The great Western Railroad depot is where Lincoln gave his farewell address to the city of Springfield when he left to go to Washington. It took him 12 days by train to get to Washington which was some journey.OTHER INTERESTING HOUSESThe Dana-Thomas House is a very interesting and free visit (they do ask for a donation though) to this pretty fabulous house designed by frank Lloyd Wright. This is one of the best preserved houses created by FLW and is well worth a visit. Once again you can only go into the house with a guide and they are at specific times so plan your visit and get there in plenty of time. I have written a separate review on this house tour as well.Elijah Iles House is believed to be Springfield’s oldest house and was built in the 1830s. It is supposed to have been designed by the same architect as designed the Old State Capitol Building. It is in the Greek revival style of architecture for those in the know. Lincoln is said to have visited the house when he lived in Springfield as a guest of the owner Robert Irwin and is supposed to have played cards there. The house is on the National Register of historic Places and was registered in 1978. The house was moved to this present location in 2004 which must have been a fairly tricky procedure.Edwards Place is the oldest house in Springfield that is still in its original location. This mansion was built in 1833. In its heyday it was the centre of the social and political life in the city but today it houses several art collections.MUSEUMSApart from the Lincoln Presidential Museum there are others that you can visit if you have the time or specific interest. These include, The Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Museum, The Illinois Fire Museum, The Illinois State Military Museum, Abraham Lincoln’s National Museum of Surveying, The Pearson Museum and the Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War Museum. So you could spend a few days just visiting museums in the city.ROUTE 66Yes this famous road once passed straight through the city and one of the sites celebrating this is Shea’s Gas Station Museum. This is a rather eccentric collection of the owner Bill Shea. He owned and operated this as a gas station until 1982 and the collection was born from the fact that he threw nothing away in his sixty years there. To us it looked a bit like a junk yard but he has thousands of oil cans, old fuel pumps, a 1952 trailer (caravan thing), a restored 1984 school bus and so much more, signs and other paraphernalia from the Route 66 heyday. He likes nothing better than to chat about the good old days and his collection.You can also visit the Cosy Dog restaurant along Route 66 but we called by and were not tempted.We walked all around the city and passed the new Capitol building back to our hotel which had a view of this building. It is an easy city to get around on foot and there is very little traffic to speak of. This is not a city that you would head to for shopping as many of them seemed to be closed when we were there.On Saturday night we headed into the city to get a meal and we struggled to find a restaurant that was open. We eventually found a sports bar and had a traditional Springfield dish called a ‘Horse shoe’ which was extremely filling and not really a dish I would rush to enjoy a second time but was interesting to try. It consisted of a pile of chips (fries) and chicken or mixed meat on a bread roll covered in a cheesy sauce. When I had finished eating I could still have fed another two people with mine!If you are interested in history and Lincoln particularly then Springfield must be on your list of places to visit in the USA. Two days will allow you to see most of the Lincoln sights which is what we concentrated on . Close
Written by KP8 on 27 Jul, 2005
Visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum for an interactive, balanced look at the nation's 16th president. Next, go to his restored home, a National Park Service site, then the tomb where his body was interred after his assassination in 1865. You can…Read More
Visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum for an interactive, balanced look at the nation's 16th president. Next, go to his restored home, a National Park Service site, then the tomb where his body was interred after his assassination in 1865. You can also tour his law offices, the "old" state capitol that he helped to secure for Springfield, and the reconstructed frontier village, New Salem, where he first lived as a single young man. Also in Springfield, see Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture at the Dana-Thomas home, then admire the beautiful "new" state capitol rotunda.
For water-sports enthusiasts, Lake Springfield is a large lake popular with boaters and skiers. Motorcyclists converge on the city several times a year for race events, and the state fair comes in August, with agricultural and other shows year-round on the grounds.
The signature dish in Springfield is the horseshoe, an open-faced sandwich topped with fries and cheese sauce; D'arcy's Pint is supposed to be the best. Capitol City Steakhouse downtown serves fine cuisine. Xochimilco is a good Mexican place, and Monty's offers good sandwiches. There are numerous lunch and dinner cafés in the downtown area near the museum complex, such as Z Bistro and The Feed Store. Check out Bentoh's for a fancy lunch, but this place is only open at lunchtime.
Springfield is a nice place to spend a day or so if you plan to go to St. Louis or Chicago. We're conveniently located off I-55 between the two major cities, and the attractions within the city are all free or reasonably priced.