All about Granite City, Illinois
Trivia, Useful Information & Facts
Elevation: 420 ft (130 m). Population 29,849 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
Granite City is a city in Madison County, Illinois, United States both, the 1926-40 and 1940-54 alignment of US-66, (Map of Granite City).
History of Granite City
Humans have lived in Illinois since the retreat of the glaciers at the end of th last Ice Age some 12,000 years ago.
For the early history of Madison County, read this.
A farming area in the early 1800s, it was the Six Mile Settlement -as that was its distance from St. Louis. The railroad reached it in 1854 and two years later it was renamed as Kinder.
Two German brothers, Frederick and William Niedringhaus founded it in 1896 as a seat for their "Granite ware", a kitchen supplies factory. They had began business in St. Louis in 1866 and discovered and patented an enamel coating that protected the steel ware from rusting and that allowed patterns to be embedded in them. The pattern resembled granite, hence their name. They became very popular.
They opened a steel mill on the land they bought in Illinois, platted a town in which their employees were required to live in. The plant employed 4,000 workers.
In the 1950s stainless steel, pyrex and aluminum replaced enamel in kitchen ware.
The Name:Granite City
The area was originally known as Kinder (hook) and changed to Granite City in honor of the Graniteware that had made it great.
Two different alignments of US 66 run through Granite City, one, marked in orange in the map below is the original 1926 alignment and the other, in green is the later US 66 City alignment established after 1940.
Granite City, its Hotels and Motels
Lodging & accommodation in Granite City
> > Book your hotel in Granite City
More Accommodation near Granite City on Route 66
See some more hotels & motels nearby
Hotels to the West in Missouri
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Just North on old Bypass US 66
Hotels to the East, Illinois
>> Check out the RV campground in Granite City
Granite City's weather
The town has clearly defined seasons. Set in the area where humid continental climate shifts towards a humid subtropical climate, its summers are hot and wet and winters are cold. It receives cold Arctic air and hot humid tropical air from the Gulf of Mexico. Spring is wet and may also experience extreme weather (tornados, thunderstorms and even winter storms). Fall is sunny, mild and less humid.
The average high in winter (Jan) is a cool 39.9°F (4.4°C) while the average low is a chilly 23.7°F (-4.6°C). The summer (Jul) average high is 89.1°F (31.7°C) and the average low is 71°F (21.7°C).
Rain averages 41 in. (1.041 mm) yearly. The rainiest months are May through July with more than 4.1 in. per month (104 mm). Snow falls between Nov. and Apr., with a total snowfall of 17.8 in. (45 cm). Relative humitiy ranges averages 69.7% and is fairly stable year round.
Granite City is in an area that is struck by some 7 tornados every year.
Tornado Risk: learn more about the Tornado Risk on US 66.
Map of Route 66 through Granite City in Illinois
See the alignment of US 66 in this town, on our Illinois Route 66 Map, it has the complete alignment across the state with all the towns along it.
Route 66 in Illinois: Historic Route 66 in Granite City
Route 66 across Illinois
Historic Route 66 has been designated as an All-American Road and a National Scenic Byway in the state of Illinois.
Click on the following link for a Full description of Route 66 across the state of Illinois.
Below we provide More information on US 66 in Granite City.
Granite City: its classic Route 66 Sights
Attractions & Landmarks
Reaching Granite City
Drive into Granite City along Historic U.S. 66. You can also use the freeways that lead to St. Louis: I-55, I-64, I-70, and also Historic US-40.
Safety Tip - Crime rate in Metropolitan St. Louis
The city's crime rate is 309.2 vs a national average of 287.6. (Read more: www.city-data.com/crime/crime-Granite-City-Illinois.html#ixzz51XnBs3KI).
Use common sense in the metro area, especially in East St. Louis and St. Louis: ONLY VISIT the Route 66 sights during daytime and then move on to stay in accommodation outside the city. Both East St. Louis and St. Louis and the shabby districts around them, have a very high crime rate. It is not adviseable to spend the night there.
Drug abuse and crime rates are high. Keep off the streets at night don't leave valuables in your car, and know exactly where you are going because you don't want to get lost or end up in a nasty neighborhood.
Not many Route 66 attractions and landmarks have managed to survive. Most have been lost to development or torn down, especially on the eastern side of town.
Drive along Madison Ave. and see an old gas station:
Old Gas Station
2301 Madison Ave.
It has an odd gabled roof over the pumps -now gone- but their concrete island remains. The place has a two door garage with glass panes.
Old Gas Station in Granite City, Illinois
Turn into the downtown area along Niedringhaus Ave., many of the red-brick buildings are gone, and the urban scenery has changed significantly, but some traces of the past remain.
Neon Sign gone
Don't look for the Hudson's Jewelry Neon sign, their downtown shop and sign are gone. Levy & Co. Hudson's is still in business at another site.
See on State St. and 19th St. the past and the present in this "Then and Now" set of photos:
Street scene nowadays in Granite City, Illinois
Same place in the 1950s. The Granite City to St. Louis street car service was discontinued in 1958.
Street scene 1950s postcard in Granite City, Illinois
Visit some of the original Granite City blue collar workers' homes, built in the 1890s by the company that employed them on Benton St. between 21st and 22nd Streets. This is a Street view).
Head west into Madison, or go north to visit a Historic Site:
Lewis & Clark State Historic Site
1 Lewis and Clark Trail
This Interpretive Center (more at their website campdubois.com) is located at the site of the Lewis and Clark expedition's winter camp. Here their trip was planned and organized.
There is a replica of the expedition's boat and the camp. Open Wed. through Sun. 9 am to 5 pm.
This is the Location map.
Meriwether Lewis and William Clark with 45 men of Corps of Discovery departed from Camp Dubois on May 14, 1804, and following President Jefferson's orders Lewis and Clark opened a transcontinental route.
They went up the Missouri River, crossed the Rocky Mountains, and from the Columbia River, reached the Pacific Ocean by November 1805. They reached St. Louis again in September 1806.
Route 66 through Granite City
1926 to 1940
This is the Map with directions of the 1926-1940 alignment throug Granite City (4.9 miles long).
The original alignment of Route 66 came from Mitchell and then headed south along MO-203 (Nameoki Rd.), turning south along the western side of Granite City via Edwardsville Rd.
At Madison Avenue it turned southwest going through Granite City proper and then continuing along Madison Ave., it entered Madison this alignment is shown with the Blue arrow in the map below.
From Madison it continued into Venice along Broadway and then across the Mckinley Bridge into St. Louis.
See it marked in Orange in the Google Map further up.
Below is a 1935 USGS map of Granite City and as you can see the alignment at that time hadn't yet changed.
However the 1940 USGS map of town shows a change in alginment (it is marked with a Red arrow in the map).
The new alignment had moved (Green in the Google map further up) to the east and south of the city. Because instead of turning into Granite City along Madison Ave, it continued south and turned along the southern flank of that city along Edwardsville Rd.
Entering Madison it turned south with Alt US 67 along Mc Cambridge Ave. (MO-203) and then on Madison Rd., all the way to Collinsville Rd. to go through East St. Louis and cross the Mississippi River there, into St. Louis.
USGS map from 1935 with US 66 in Granite City, Illinois
Map with the 1940-54 alignment, which is 5.2 miles long.
in 1954, Route 66 was realigned through Collinsville (violet in the Google map).
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66.
Banner image: Hackberry General Store, Hackberry, Arizona by Perla Eichenblat.