Route 66 Wayside Exhibits

Route 66 history in Pontiac dates back to the earliest days of the "Mother Road." From the road's inception in 1926, through its decommissioning in the 1980s, Pontiac has been blessed with a number of famous Route 66 icons. There have been four different alignments of Route 66 as it made its way through town. Today there are six wayside exhibits in Pontiac, and each tells a different story about America's Main Street highway and the City of Pontiac.

Below you will find a description and the GPS location of each of our wayside exhibits.  Please hop in the car and visit each in person!

State and Local Officials Dedicate Route 66 Wayside Exhibits in Pontiac, Illinois

Route 66 Wayside Dedication

Route 66 Wayside Exhibit

Route 66 Wayside Exhibit

Route 66 Experience Hub - Behind the Route 66 Museum

Route 66 Experience Hub
The Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, in partnership with the Federal Highway Administration, the Schmeeckle Reserve at the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point, and Illinois Route 66 communities, including Pontiac, have developed and designed three types of interpretive displays; Wayside Exhibits, Experience Hubs, and Interpretive Statues.  Each display is placed in a location that has Route 66 significance and explains that  importance through various media forms.  

In Pontiac, there are 6 Wayside Exhibits, one Experience Hub, and one Interpretive Statue.

Pontiac's Route 66 Exhibits

Old Log Cabin Restaurant
18700 Old Route 66

The Old Log Cabin Restaurant and Service Station was built in 1926 to service cars and the people who rode in them along ISB Route 4. When the road was repositioned and integrated in the new Route 66, the entire restaurant was raised on jacks, and rotated 180° to face the newer thoroughfare. The Old Log Cabin still serves travelers and stands as a landmark on Old Route 66.

GPS: Latitude - 40.53.9\' 0" N Longitude. - 88.37.4\' 0" W
Aerial View of Old Log Cabin Diner
IL Route 4 Bridge – Ideal Service Station, Ideal Lunch, Ideal Cabin Court
531 – 601 Lincoln Avenue

This site combines two important Route 66 artifacts. The Route 4 Bridge was built in 1926 and was known locally as the North Creek Bridge. When Route 66 was first platted, the Route 4 Bridge became part of the new interstate highway.
Exterior View of Ideal Tourist Camp
Located a short distance from the North Creek Bridge is the site of the Ideal Service Station & Garage, the Ideal Lunch eatery, and the Ideal Cabin Court. These businesses offered 24-hour automobile maintenance and repair, the 1920-1930s equivalent of what we now know as “Fast Food,” and 10 octagon shaped tourist cabins for overnight visitors. Unfortunately, only the Route 4 Bridge remains.  The Ideal Service Station, eatery and cabin court are gone. 

GPS: Latitude - 40.53.3\' 0" N Longitude.- 88.38\' 0" W
Original Area Illinois State Police Headquarters
720 Lincoln Avenue

This building, currently a private residence, was rented in 1935 by the Illinois State Police, and served as their original area barracks and headquarters. District 6 was, in the early days of Route 66, a busy stretch of the Mother Road. The fledgling Illinois State Police, founded in 1922, was still evolving when the new Route 66 opened in 1926.
Two Suspects at Original ISP HQ
Pontiac has proudly served as host to the Illinois State Police District headquarters since 1935, when the ISP re-organized its districts. The Pontiac HQ was one of the first to be equipped with a 1000 watt voice transmission radio station.

GPS: Latitude - 40.53.2\' 0" N Longitude - 88.38.3\' 0" W
Ladd School Subterranean Walkway
500 North Ladd Street (Old Route 66) and Prairie Street

When Route 66 was realigned so as to avoid the downtown Pontiac congestion, the new route was placed on the west side of the railroad tracks so traffic would not have to cross the tracks twice while traveling through Pontiac. While moving Route 66 solved many traffic problems, it also created at least one serious issue for Pontiac children.
Design Plan for Pedestrian Underpass
The administrators of Ladd Elementary School, which was now fronted by the new road, feared for the safety of the many children who would have to cross the busy highway to enter the school building. There were several proposals which attempted to provide for the children’s safety, but the solution adopted was to build a subterranean walkway under Route 66.

GPS: Latitude - 40.53\' 0" N Longtude. 88.38.3\' 0" W
District 6 State Police HQ (1942- 2003)
Route 66 South of Pontiac

The District 6 State Police building, erected in 1942, replaced the earlier barracks located on Lincoln Avenue in Pontiac. The building is special in several aspects. First, it was one of the few State Police District headquarters to be located directly along Route 66. Secondly, its unique shape resembles a Derringer pistol when viewed from above.

GPS: Latitude - 40.51.1\' 0" N
Longitude - 88.39.3\' 0" W
Exterior View of 1942 ISP HQ
District 6 State Police HQ (1942- 2003) 
Route 66 South of Pontiac

Among the displays at the Old District 6 State Police headquarters is an iron "Shadow Sculpture" depicting an Illinois State Police motorcycle patrolman.  The accompanying Wayside Exhibit helps to tell the story of the early days of the Illinois State Police on Route 66.  

GPS: Latitude - 40.51.1\' 0" N
Longitude - 88.39.3\' 0" W
Shadow Sculpture
International - National Scenic Byway
300 North Main St. 

Located behind the Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum, this display features information on the history of Route 66. 
Wayside Exhibit