On November 11, 2006, celebrations honoring Veterans Day and the 80th birthday of the Mother Road were held across the length of 66. I know of at least three of them in Victorville, Ca., Galena, Ks., and in Illinois from Pontiac to Joliet.
About 40 cold souls ventured out into the blustery day and met at the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac, Illinois. where we had some delicious pastries and got to see the ongoing mural map by Bob Waldemire showing 66 through Illinois and sights along the way. Unfortunately, it is right by the bathrooms and I was filming it when a guy walked out. We had a very awkward moment. One can only imagine what he was thinking.
We then caravaned to Odell and visited the Standard station where John Weiss discussed the new preservation project at the Mill in Lincoln. Four beautifully painted signs are to be erected this weekend to direct visitors to the station.
Next stop was in Wilmington where we joined about 250 people for Veterans Day observance and the dedication of that part of Route 66 as a Blue Star Memorial Highway. John Weiss spoke a few words here as well.
Then, on to the Joliet Historical Museum where a new Route 66 sculpture incorporating many facets of the road was dedicated. It has 66 in Joliet, the Blue Swallow, Chain of Rocks Bridge, Santa Monica Pier, and a Depression era father holding his child in it. Very impressive.
We sang a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday and had cake. Then, there was a talk downstairs about the new things going on with the Route 66 Corridor.
John Weiss dedicated an original Lincoln Highway marker in the fountain garden and his wife, Lenore dedicated the new Jerry McClannahan map mural of all eight Route 66 states and sights.
Busy day for Route 66 in the Land of Lincoln.
Celebrating Route 66's 80th Birthday
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