Friday, October 9, 2015

Route 66-Springfield


  There’s a lot to see in Springfield but we just hit some of the highlights starting with the 30’ tall Abe made by a local man for the 1968 Illinois Sesquicentennial. Drive into the state fairgrounds at gate 1 and park on the right side of the road to view the statue.

  Down 66 a bit farther is Shea's Gas Station Route 66 Museum. Sadly Bill Shea who collected Route 66 memorabilia died a few years ago and his family can not run the museum so everything is going to be auctioned this weekend.


  The Lincoln Home National Historic Site  preserves the home where Abraham and Sarah Lincoln lived when he practiced law in Springfield. The Lincoln home is opened for guided tours. The houses along two blocks of Eighth Street have been restored and two of them have exhibits inside. The visitor center has a film and a few exhibits.



  The visitor center, sidewalks and the two houses are accessible. The Lincoln Home is accessible on the first floor. Photos of the second are available. Visitors with wheelchairs will have a personal tour. Since the home is a popular site several tours may be running at the same time and some waiting may be necessary. The park uses a very unobtrusive lift which should end the excuse that many historic sites use – “any type of ramp or lift  would damage the structure or destroy the integrity of the restoration”.



   A parking lot for buses and RVs is located next to the visitor center. A pass, available at the visitor center, is required. The car parking lot is south of the visitor center. Both lots have a $2.00 per hour parking fee. Everything else is free.

  We visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum a few years ago so this is a repost of that visit.

  This is more an experience than a museum. The story of Lincoln’s life is told with dioramas featuring realistic full size figures and elaborately detailed scenes. Overall it’s very well done but lacking in substance. Both of us thought that the “Lying in State” scene was kind of creepy.

  Visitors follow passageways through the two main exhibits from one scene to the next. The passageways can get crowded and hard to navigate through with a wheelchair especially after an audience leaves the theater show. Waiting for a short while until the people move on and visiting later in the day solves that problem.

  Everything is very accessible and the theater even has special sections on the floor so wheelchair visitors can feel the effects.

   A parking garage is located north, in the next block, on the opposite side of the street. The garage also has a lot for buses and RVs – $5.00 a day. Pay at the booth at the garage exit on 5th Street.

  We also visited the Illinois State Museum at that time so another repost:

   The main exhibit in the museum documents the changes in the physical environment of Illinois as it progressed from a shallow sea to tropical forest and swampland. Later the effects of the ice ages were felt as glaciers spread into the northern regions.

  The”At Home” exhibit explores the lives and decision making processes of immigrant families – where they came from, why they came and how they made Illinois feel like home. Life size dioramas depict the the Native Americans tribes who inhabited Illinois before the European settlers arrived. An art gallery displays changing exhibits.

    The museum is accessible.

   A free parking lot is located on Edwards Street, one block west of the museum. Large RVs will not fit in this lot but there are metered parking spaces along the street. Visit on the weekends to avoid traffic and crowds. Visitors can park in either of the large State parking lots to the east and west of the building on weekends and State holidays. 

   To protect our health we haven’t been stopping at all of the roadside diners :-D but Cozy Dog Drive In was calling. A method of deep frying corn battered hot dogs was invented by Ed Waldmire in the 1940s and Cozy Dog has been a family business since 1946.


The interior has a lot of cool memorabilia, information on the Waldmire family and artwork by Bob Waldmire. The food? We’re good for a long, long time now. The parking lot is very small and I don’t recommend trying to park in the lot if your RV is longer than 25’.


One more Route 66 sight as we leave town - the Lauterbach Tire Giant holding a flag.



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