Apr 182013
 





Route 66 tourism has become a multimillion dollar business in this country, and thanks to a small group of local historians and city officials, Edwardsville is working to raise awareness on a national and international level. Below are some of the ways Edwardsville will showcase its Route 66 heritage this year.


Route 66 Experience Hub

For several weeks motorists at the corner of Schwarz and West Streets have wondered about the mysterious structure beneath a large blue tarp at the side of the road. Saturday morning at 11 a.m. the cover will be removed for all to see. A Route 66 Experience Hub, one of only 13 in Illinois, will be revealed at the site of the former Idlewood Tourist Camp, a favorite stop for tourists and locals along Route 66.

The public is invited to attend the dedication. Area residents with vintage vehicles that may have driven Route 66 are encouraged to bring their restored vehicles. Brief remarks by Mayor Gary Niebur and William Kelly, director of Illinois Scenic Byway, will be followed by a ribbon cutting and unveiling of the new Route 66 Experience Hub.

Awareness of the Edwardsville Route 66 experience will be raised thanks to the work of City Planner Scott Hanson, Alderman Barb Stamer, the Historic Preservation Commission and other city officials who worked with the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway to design panels for the structure and bring the Route 66 Experience Hub to Edwardsville. Edwardsville is the sixth city along the route to install their exhibit.

The design of the structure was influenced by the fins of 1950s era automobiles. Attached to the “fin” are three panels, a large map showing the path of Route 66 through Illinois and two smaller panels showing local and regional attractions and Route 66 history. While reading about the Route 66 experience in Edwardsville, visitors can listen to Bobby Troup’s “Get Your Kicks on Route 66.”

The experience hubs also feature a tactile station where visitors can make a pencil rubbing of a design unique to each city. In Edwardsville the design is the Centennial Monument in City Park.

 

Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame

This week word was received that Edwardsville’s nomination of George Cathcart for the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame has been accepted. In 1922 George Cathcart and his wife purchased the Joseph Hotz house at 454 E. Vandalia in Edwardsville and opened it as a tourist home. Two years later, Cathcart built a modest hamburger stand next door at 456 E. Vandalia. As business grew, he expanded the building to include a large restaurant and grocery.

Cathcart’s Café became a popular stop along Route 66. The café building no longer exists, but the house just west of it that most recently housed the Galleria Hearth and Home, has been beautifully preserved. The Cathcarts later built tourist cabins next door to the house, some of which still exist. In the early 1930s the Cathcart Tourist Home and Cabins were sold to the Goddard family who rented rooms to Route 66 travelers for many years.

Cathcart was important to Edwardsville’s story of Route 66 not only because of his businesses, but because he led a successful fight in 1938 against state plans to move Route 66 away from Edwardsville’s business district.

 

Route 66 Festival

The 16th annual Edwardsville Route 66 Festival will kick off on June 6 with a sock hop and continue on Friday night and Saturday, June 7 and 8, with events in City Park. Classic cars, music, great food and family fun have proved to be a winning combination for the festival. The event is drawing people from an ever widening geographic circle of Route 66 fans. A full schedule of events will be published closer to the dates of the event visit www.edwardsvilleroute66.com.

 

New Route 66 Heritage Posters

Members of HPC along with designer Sherrie Hickman of Creative Options Graphic Design are creating posters reflecting the history of ten different Edwardsville buildings along Route 66 (now Route 157). The posters will be on display at the Route 66 Festival and in the store front windows of businesses interested in promoting their Route 66 history. A bright blue Route 66 shield will draw visitors to the buildings.

 

Writing About Route 66 in Edwardsville

Local author and historian Cheryl Eichar Jett has been spreading the word about Edwardsville’s Route 66 story through articles in regional Route 66 publications. During the past year she has written “Along Route 66,” a monthly column in the Prairieland Buzz covering Route 66 in Montgomery, Macoupin and Madison counties, and written specifically about Edwardsville in magazines for the Illinois and Missouri Route 66 Associations. She is the author of two books on the old highway, “Route 66 in Madison County” and “Route 66 in Springfield.” Jett also authored the successful Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame application for George Cathcart.

Until now, Edwardsville has not had a high profile in tourist publications describing historic Route 66. Fortunately, that situation is being remedied by folks with a love for America’s Mother Road and pride in Edwardsville’s heritage.

By Cindy Reinhardt – Intelligencer

Jan 052013
 





The Route 66 Association of Illinois will begin seeking nominations for the 2013 Hall of Fame. Nominations are accepted from January 1st, to February 28, 2013.


Nominations must include accurate documentation or declaration of the Nominee’s qualities, deeds, and history on Route 66 that merit this honor.

To qualify for election to the Hall of Fame, Nominees must have made significant contributions to the character or history of the Illinois portion of Route 66. The purpose of the Hall of Fame is to honor and commemorate those people, businesses, attractions and events that helped give Route 66 such special character and historical status in Illinois.

The Hall of Fame is located in Pontiac, Illinois, at the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum. The Hall of Fame and Museum is one of the most visited attractions on all of Route 66 in Illinois with visitors from all over the state as well as all over the world.

The committee invites anyone to submit a nomination. It must include a strong fact-based essay. It must include details about the nominee’s contributions to the character or history of the Illinois portion of Route 66. We encourage that photos, news clips, and other memorabilia accompany the essay but they are not required. A panel of historians and Hall of Fame members will judge all nominations.

Please submit nominations and all accompanying material to:
Route 66 Association of Illinois
ATTN: Hall of Fame Committee
110 West Howard Street
Pontiac, IL 61764

All nominations are kept for 3 years and presented to the committee for discussion. There is no limit on how many nominations can be submitted. The final decision regarding how many members are elected into the 2013 Class of the Hall of Fame is decided by the Hall of Fame committee. The Hall of Fame committee is comprised of 14 people who include current Hall of Fame members, Association historians, the Preservation Committee Chairman, and members who are appointed to the committee by the President based on their Route 66 knowledge.

Jan 112011
 

Nominations for the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame will be accepted for consideration until Feb. 28. Nominations postmarked after the deadline date will be held for consideration the following year.

To qualify for election in the Route 66 Association Hall of Fame, nominees must have made significant contributions to the character or history of the Illinois portion of U.S. Route 66.

Anyone can submit a nomination. It must include a fact-based essay about the nominee’s contributions to the character or history of Route 66 in Illinois. Photos, news clips and other memorabilia are welcome as part of the essay, but are not required.

Submissions should be sent to:
The Route 66 Association of Illinois
Attn: Hall of Fame Committee
110 W. Howard St., Pontiac, IL 61724

Nominations may also be sent by e-mail to Kathleen708@hotmail.com. Put Hall of Fame in the subject line. All photo attachments must be in the JPG file format and all nomination submissions should be in Microsoft Word documents.

All nominations and accompanying materials submitted will become the property of the Route 66 Association of Illinois and will not be returned.