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Site approved for Route 66 museum in Litchfield November 23, 2011

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Museums.
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Organizers for a Route 66 museum in Litchfield, Ill., have approved a site and building design, and plan on starting construction in the spring, reports The Journal-News in nearby Hillsboro.

According to the newspaper:

The 4,600 square foot building will be located on historic Route 66 across from Jubelts and the Ariston.

The museum will house Litchfield artifacts and memorabilia and highlight the city’s history and growth. [...]

Tourist information and a history of Route 66 will also have a place in the building.

The Ariston refers to the Ariston Cafe, which has operated in Litchfield next to Route 66 since 1935. As a result, the museum couldn’t be in a better location.

It was reported a few weeks ago that Andy Ritchie was planning a cross-country bicycle ride to raise funds for the museum. At the time, a building and site hadn’t been announced.

The building will also be the home of Litchfield’s tourism coordinator, Litchfield Chamber of Commerce, and Montgomery County Genealogy Society.

UPDATE 12/2/2011: The State-Journal Register in Springfield has more details about the museum, including this:

The sleek, art-deco-inspired structure designed by John Fletcher will rise from the former Vic Suhling gas station, which used to greet travelers on one of the remaining original stretches of the Mother Road. The former station’s neon sign — “Vic” Suhling Gas for Less — is the only thing remaining on the lot in the 300 block of Historic Route 66.

The sign — already a tourist draw — will remain. The association plans to restore its neon.

The nonprofit group needs to raise $500,000 to make the museum a reality.

Comments»

1. Henrys Ra66it Ranch - November 24, 2011

I think its neat that Litchfield took the lead to establish a well needed Route 66 museum on the southern part of Illinois Route 66. The people behind it are enthusiastic/well qualified and will make it second to none. We have seen artist dipiction of what the building will appear as. Very retro.

Its actual location is the former site of Vic Suhring’s gas for less, and its my understanding that that sign will be put back up in it original location.

Go Litchfield and look forward to working with you and making it grow,

Rich, Big Red and rest of Queen Montana’s legacy at Henrys Ra66it Ranch in Staunton, Illinois.

2. Sal Paradise - November 25, 2011

We always enjoyed the original one, started and maintained by Tom Teague, at the old Dixie in Mclean, IL. Was to the point and covered the route in the state very well. I wonder sometimes if this topic is getting a bit overdone recently. The theme isn’t that deep to being with. Multiple museums, I think, might be spreading it too thin. It seems like there are now competing museums across the Route. In places like Oklahoma, for example, there seems to be one every town. It’s easy to get into that ‘you’ve seen one…’ frame of mind. When they’re used as self-made tourist attractions then you might be going too far. But, I guess the proof is in the mix, and if people stop in then its a good idea.

Ron Warnick - November 25, 2011

Point is well-taken, but the museum will serve several purposes. So it least won’t necessarily be hamstrung by a narrow focus.

And, yes, there are a lot of Route 66 museums now. However, New Mexico has yet to have one. So potential openings still exist.


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