Thursday, September 27, 2012

Route 66 - Day 6 - Springfield, IL to Staunton, IL

Route 66 - Part 1
Day 6 Springfield, IL to Staunton, IL

62 Actual Miles / 634 Actual Elevation


             Chatham Railroad Museum

The first railroad to reach Chatham was the Alton & Sangamon Railroad, chartered by the Illinois General Assembly February 27, 1847 to build a railroad from Alton to Springfield through Carlinville to New Berlin. At New Berlin, it would connect with the Northern Cross, Illinois’ first railroad, and use their tracks to enter Springfield. In 1851, the General Assembly authorized the construction of the railroad on the most direct route from Carlinville to Springfield, through Chatham.
The first train from Alton to Springfield went through Chatham September 9, 1852; by then, the railroad’s name had been changed to Chicago and Mississippi. After a few more changes, on February 14, 1861, it became the Chicago and Alton until 1931 when it became known as the Alton Railroad and was owned by the Baltimore and Ohio. In 1947, it was purchased by the Mobile and Ohio and became the Gulf, Mobile, and Ohio. Currently, it is owned by Union Pacific and is the main line from St. Louis to Chicago for both freight and Amtrak passenger trains.

Double J Campgrounds & RV Park - Larry and Liz were so kind to us. They set up a rest stop for the riders including donuts, apples, raisins, powerade, energy bars, coffee and water. It was wonderful to meet them and I hope to see them again on our journeys.
Glenarm - A nearby park features a restored covered bridge and picnic grounds



Virden Coal Monument
The Battle of Virden Monument
 Mary Harris "Mother" Jones
            The Battle of Virden Monument Virden town square, a series of bronze, bas-relief sculptures memorializing a bloody struggle between coal miners and mine owners by in 1898. during which Mary Harris "Mother" Jones (1837 - 11/30/1930) played a major role.  She was an American schoolteacher and dressmaker who became a prominent labor and community organizer who helped coordinate major strikes and co-founded the Industrial Workers of the World. She was a very effective speaker, punctuating her speeches with stories, audience participation, humor and dramatic stunts. From 1897 (when she was 60) she was known as Mother Jones and in 1902 she was called "the most dangerous woman in America" for her success in organizing mine workers and their families against the mine owners. In 1903, upset about the lax enforcement of the child labor laws in the Pennsylvania mines and silk mills, she organized a Children's March from Philadelphia to the home of then president Theodore Roosevelt in New York.



Carlinville - Brick-lined square defines picturesque as does the impressive domed courthouse from 1870.
Sears Home illustration
In 1918, Standard Oil of Indiana made mail-order history when they placed a $1 million order with Sears Roebuck & Company for 192 Honor-Bilt® homes. It was purported to be the largest order in the history of the Sears Modern Homes department. Standard Oil purchased the houses for their workers in Carlinville, Wood River, and Schoper in southwestern Illinois. Of those 192 houses, 156 went to Carlinville, 12 were built in Schoper, and 24 were sent to Wood River. Throughout the 1920s, pictures of these homes were prominently featured in the front pages of the Sears Modern Homes catalogs.

Carlin house design
This design, originally called the Windsor,was renamed Carlin after the town
example of a Whitehall
The Whitehall model in Carlinville today
            Standard Addition - Located on an older alignment of Route 66 (Illinois 4), Carlinville is sometimes ignored by Mother Road travelers, but Carlinville has its own treasured piece of Americana--it's the site of the largest single grouping of Sears Roebuck catalog order houses in the world. The Standard Addition is an entire company neighborhood (created by Standard Oil) for which they ordered more than 150 houses and had them erected here for their employees.

    The often photographed sign of the newly remodeled “Art’s Motel.”

            Our Lady of the Highway - A small shrine, a marble statue of the Virgin Mary, near the town of Waggoner, IL, to remind travelers of the dangers of highway travel. It was established in 1959 by the Marten family, who still maintain the site. Additionally, there is a series of roadside signs that together comprise the "Hail Mary" prayer, a la Burma Shave.

             An old coal mining center.
Ariston Cafe - [217-324-2023] Junction of old Route 66 and Highway 16. Restaurant operating at the current location since 1935. The family originally started The Ariston (from the Greek aristos, meaning superior) in1924 in Carlinville (prior to Route 66's establishment) but moved when 66 was rerouted and traffic patterns shifted.
SkyView Drive In Theater
Route 66 Cafe

Mt. Olive

            Mother Jones [1837-1930] - Thought to be the inspiration for the folk song "She'll Be Coming 'Round the Mountain," Mary Harris "Mother" Jones was a well-known labor organizer in the early years of the twentieth century, and remained active in that role well into old age. She earned the nickname "most dangerous woman in America" during a confrontation with the district attorney of West Virginia. Famous for her passionate oratory like the phrase"Pray for the dead, and fight like hell for the living." Her gravesite is in the town cemetery of the Route 66 community of Mount Olive, IL.
Soulsby's Service Station
            Russell Soulsby Shell Station - 1st Street. Restored gasoline station that originally opened in 1926, the same year Route 66 and the rest of the numbered system of interstate highways was certified. The building was constructed by Henry Soulsby and his son Russell. Designed by Henry Soulsby, he incorporated design elements of the cottage style that allowed service stations to blend in with the community, and was actively used in various businesses by the family until the late 1990s, when the property was sold. In 2004, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Union Miners Cemetery - Near the entrance is a granite shaft rising from an elaborate pedestal, which serves as a memorial to Mary Harris "Mother" Jones


            In 1923, Staunton High School was defeated by Gillespie High in football by a score of 233-0.
            Coliseum Ballroom A historic structure dating to 1924 that houses a great antique mall. It is also home to a Giant Surfer Dude (a prop from the movie Flatliners and a not so big Pink Elephant.

            Henry's Rabbit Ranch & Route 66 Emporium - A latter day Route 66 visitor center that includes a collection of vintage "Humpin' to Please" truck trailers (“Snortin’ Norton”) – beloved mascot of the defunct Campbell 66 Express truck Company.

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