Facts, Information and trivia
Elevation: Elevation 689 ft (210 m). Population est. 200 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
Cayuga is a small unincorporated community in Livingston County; this is a Map of Cayuga.
History of Cayuga
See Pontiac's history for a description of the early history of Livingston county.
Grain Elevator and old railway depot in Cayuga, Illinois
The Chicago & Alton Railroad reached the area in 1853 which made it suitable for settlement. Cayuga was laid out by Thomas F. Norton in 1855, for Corydon Weed. Farmers arrived gradually over the years shipping out their produce by rail.
By 1898 the village of Cayuga had a population of 160, in the 1910s, The "Pontiac Trail" passed by it, as a road for cars, it was later improved when State Highway 4 was laid along its alignment. In 1926 Route 66 was created, and it incorporated the former State Hwy. 4. The town remained on US 66 until it was decertified in 1977, when I-55 bypassed Cayuga.
The Name: Cayuga
Settlers from Cayuga County in New York state reached the area in the 1850s, the word is the name of an Iroquois tribe. The post office opened in 1857
The word Cayuga = "Guyohkohnyo", meant "People of the Great Swamp" and they lived by Cayuga Lake.
Cayuga: Hotels and Motels nearby
Accommodation near Cayuga
> > Book your hotel in neighboring Pontiac
Find More Accommodation near Cayuga along Route 66
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Hotels east of Cayuga
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More hotels, heading West
- 6 mi. Pontiac
- 17 mi. Chenoa
- 39 mi. Normal
- 46 mi. Bloomington
- 64 mi. Atlanta
- 75 mi. Lincoln
- 107 mi. Springfield
- 143 mi. Raymond
- 156 mi. Litchfield
- 172 mi. Staunton
- 174 mi. Williamson
- 180 mi. Hamel
- 186 mi. Edwardsville
- 193 mi. Troy
- 195 mi. Glen Carbon
- 200 mi. Collinsvile
- 201 mi. Pontoon Beach
- 205 mi. Fairmont City
- 210 mi. Granite City
- 210 mi. East St. Louis
Hotels to the west, in Missouri
>> See the RV campground nearby in Pontiac
Where is Cayuga?
The climate in Cayuga is a "Humid Continental" one, so it has very humid and hot summers and cold winters.
Its average temperatures are the following: during summer (Jul) the hig is 85°F (29.7°C) while the low is 63°F (17.2°C). During winter (Jan) the avg. lows are a freezing 17°F (-8.3 deg;C) while the high is a chilly 30°F (-1 °C).
Rainfall is around 38 in. (965 mm) per year, and the sunny days are, on average 194 days per year.
Snowfall is 26 inches (66 cm) each year and falls from Nov to the first days of Apr.
Livingston county, where Cayuga is located gets around 6 tornado strikes each year.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk on US 66.
How to get to Cayuga?
You can get to Cayuga by driving along Historic Route 66, from I-55 you will have to use Exit 209 in Odell (to the north) or 201 (south).
Map of Route 66 through Cayuga, Illinois
Display Cayuga Route 66 Map
Click Map will appear below
Color key for Cayuga:
Pale Blue: marks the Historic Route 66 alignment (1926 -77),
Red line or gaps in alignment, is I-55, where it overlaps the old alignment.
Orange line: marks the 1926-43 roadbed in Pontiac.
Black are the sections that are missing.
Check each individual city for its specific color key.
Route 66 in Illinois: Historic U.S. 66 in Cayuga
Route 66 across Illinois
Route 66 is a Historic highway and has also been designated as a National Scenic Byway and an All-American Road in the state of Illinois.
Read this detailed description of Route 66 in Illinois.
The Route 66 segment from Cayuga to Chenoa, through Cayuga is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, we describe it below.
Below you will find More information on Route 66 in Cayuga.
Cayuga's Sights and Route 66 Attractions
What to see in Cayuga
US 66 in Cayuga: historic context
After driving from Chicago to Los Angeles, Jack DeVere Rittenhouse published his "A Guide Book to Highway 66" (1946), and describes Route 66 during its golden days. He has an entry for Cayuga: "A grain elevator, a small school, one store and a dozen homes... no gas station or other facilities".
And little has changed since then as we will see below.
Drive US 66 through Cayuga
Drive from north to south, starting just north of Wolf Creek, on Route 66, at the point where the freeway curves in from the west, towards Historic Route 66.
Here the former southbound (or westbound -for an East to West U.S. Highway with an even number like Rute 66) lanes are visible, abandoned and unused but visible. Further north (east) they lie beneath the northbound lanes of I-55.
Route 66 in Cayuga, timeline
The Pontiac Trail symbol shield, www.ebay.com
The Pontiac Trail and State Highway 4
Promoted by local automobile enthusiasts seeking a decent road across the state, the Pontiac Trail became in 1915 the main road linking Chicago and St. Louis. It had been named after the famous Ottawa Indians chief and B.F. Goodrich marked the milage posts. The trail even had its own shield sign (see image).
The state then took over from these enterprising citizens and issued a bond in 1918 to build hard surfaced roads in across Illinois. The Pontiac Trail became part of the SBI 4 (State Bond Issue) highway number 4, which was improved with new bridges and paving its surface.
Federal funds were also provided at that time so that the road was paved along its entire length by 1923. Even though it had a winding course running close to the railroad and pre-existing county lanes it provided a decent road between the two cities.
Created in 1927 it initially ran along the State Hwy 4 roadbed. In the 1930s it was straightened out, shortening it and realigned (especialy between Springfield and Hamel). Wartime traffic in the early 1940s destroyed the old road and it was decided to upgrade it into a "super highway" with four lanes.
Historic Route 66, Cayuga to Chenoa (1943-44 ⁄ 1954-55)
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
The original 1920s road had lanes 9 feet wide and was 6-inches thick.
The first step was to widen (to 24 feet) and repave the original road (with 10 inch-deep concrete), which was done in 1942-44, they would become the southbound lanes of the new freeway (they are the now abandoned lanes). Then in 1954-55 a new double lane road was built next to it as the northbound lanes. They are the present highway.
Route 66 had become a four-lane divided freeway. It still ran along its original corridor next to the railroad passing through Cayuga.
You can see the now abandoned southbound lanes both north and south of Cayuga, to the west of the current highway. Further north and south, these lanes are buried beneath the northbound lanes of I-55.
This is all shown in Pale Blue in the map above.
Wolf Creek Bridge
Just ahead is the 1955 bridge which was rebuilt in 1998. The other bridge on the original road is gone.
As you pass the bridge, there is a parking spot on the "old" lanes, to your right. Stop and see the Meramec Caverns Barn:
Meramec Caverns Barn in Cayuga
66 Roadside Attraction
North side of Cayuga between I-55 and US 66
The Meramec Caverns Barn also known as the Cayuga Barn is a survivor from bygone days. It is a barn painted with an 1930's advertising of the famous "Meramec Caverns" located on Route 66 in Stanton Missouri.
It was restored and repainted by the Route 66 Association of Illinois Preservation Committee, and you can see it safely from the pull-off area located on the old highway.
This is the Exact location of the barn.
Meramec Cavern Barn in Cayuga, Illinois
There was a Barn with a Meramec Caverns advertisement (see Site of Meramec Barn) on Route 66 in Hamel, but it was hit by a tornado in 2011. There are three more that survive on Route 66: in Conway MO, St. Clair MO and Chandler OK.
Meramec Caverns are also located on on Route 66, in Stanton, Missuour, and are also known as "Missouri's Buried Treasure" is the largest cave West of the Mississippi. The caverns system was discovered in 1720 by French explorer Philipp Renault and used for many purposes over time.
In the 1890s it was a dance venue, but it became famous when Lester Dill (1898 - 1980) bought it in 1933 and turned it into a tourist attraction. Dill already operated Fisher's Cave in Meramec State Park, so Dill renamed the caverns as the "Meramec Caverns".
Dill promoted his tourist attraction using bumper stickers and also by paying farmers so that they painted the words "Meramec Caverns" on barn roofs all across the region. His painted barns covered 14 states. Few have made it into the twenty first century, this is one of them.
Drive on and just ahead, to your left is the town's grain elevator, on the eastern side of the railroad. At its foot is the Old Railway Depot
Old Railway Depot
E 2160 N Rd. and railroad tracks
The old railway station, which you can see below in a photograph from ca. 1905 has been moved from its original position next to the tracks, and placed under the grain elevators.
Present view of the old Depot in Cayuga, Illinois
The old railroad depot, in 1905:
Old Depot in a 1905 photo in Cayuga, Illinois
Historic Route 66 in Cayuga, Illinois
Drive from Cayuga to Pontiac along US66
It is a short 6 mile drive from Cayuga to Pontiac, this is a Map with directions.
> > See the previous segment Odell to Cayuga (east)
> > See the next segment Pontiac to Chenoa (west)
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66.
Banner image: Dead Man's Curve, Laguna New Mexico by Perla Eichenblat.