All about Madison, Illinois
Trivia, Useful Information & Facts
Elevation: 426 ft (130 m). Population 3,891 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
Madison is a city in Madison County, Illinois, United States both, the 1926-40 and 1940-54 alignment of US-66, (Map of Madison).
History of Madison
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.
First post office opened on May 17, 1841 and the town was platted in 1891. Its population grew with the industry in the county but after peaking at 7,000 in 1970, the loss of jobs, and rust-bucket economic situation led to a loss of population.
Named after the county which in turn was named for James Madison Jr., Founding Father and fourth President of the USA (1809 to 1817 serving two terms). Born 1751, Died 1836.
Madison, its Hotels and Motels
Lodging & accommodation in Madison
> > Book your hotel nearby in Granite City
More Accommodation near Madison on Route 66
See some more hotels & motels nearby
Hotels to the West in Missouri
- 8 mi. St. Louis
- 23 mi. Hotels in Sunset Hills
- 26 mi. Hotels in Fenton
- 25 mi. Kirkwood
- 35 mi. Eureka
- 43 mi. Pacific
- 61 mi. Saint Clair
- 76 mi. Sullivan
- 94 mi. Cuba
- 108 mi. Saint James
- 118 mi. Rolla
- 146 mi. St. Robert
- 147 mi. Waynesville
- 181 mi. Lebanon
- 221 mi. Marshfield
- 222 mi. Strafford
- 233 mi. Springfield MO
- 290 mi. Carthage
- 308 mi. Joplin
Just North on old Bypass US 66
Hotels to the East, Illinois
>> Check out the RV campground in neighboring Granite City
Madison's average temperature can range from a low of 19 °F (−7 °C) in winter (Jan) to a high of 90 °F (32 °C) in summer (Jul).
Extreme values that have been recorded are: a chilly −16 °F (−27 °C) in winter and a suffocating 114 °F (46 °C) in summer.
The average monthly precipitation is 2 inches (51 mm) in January and 4.24 inches (108 mm) in May.
Madison 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 Madison, Illinois
Display Madison Route 66 Map
Click Map will appear below
This is the color key for Madison:
Pale Blue: Historic Route 66 in town.
Red line or gaps mark where I-55 overlaps the original roadbed.
Blue, Green is the 1954 US66 through Madison.
Gray, Pink, Yellow, Violet show different alignments of Route 66
Brown is the BYP US-66.
Orange: the 1926-30s aligment through Madison into St. Louis.
Black: lost segments.
Route 66 in Illinois: Historic Route 66 in Madison
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 Madison.
Madison: its classic Route 66 Sights
Attractions & Landmarks
Drive into Madison 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 is high
Use common sense in this town: just like 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 have made it until the XXIst century. There are many vacant lots, boarded shops, abandoned buildings... but there are three things that we consider worth seeing in Madison:
Entering town from the east (Granite City), to your left is a Amazing Neon Sign:
Dairy Master neon sign
516 Madison Ave, Madison
The "antropomorph" cup with a straw is a great example of Route 66 Kistch!
Dairy Master neon sign in Madison, Illinois
Bulgarian Eastern Orthodox Church in America. The first Bulgarian Orthodox church board in Madison was organised in 1906. It was the first in the US
Ahead, now to your right. Stop and look back at the west facing walls, are two "Ghost Signs":
Ghost Signs, Madison, Il. Click for street view
411 Madison Ave
One is "Brody Bro's", the other "Durham" on the next building
A ghost sign is an advertisment painted on a brick wall from the late 1800s or early 1900s that has managed to make it to our days without being painted over or erased.
However, due to the extension of the city, it actually includes a Historic Site that is located on Bypass 66, to the north, which is actualy closer to Mitchell on BYP 66. But we will describe it here, in detail: the Chain of Rocks Bridge.
Historical Chain of Rocks Bridge
Historic Route 66 & Mississippi River
Chain of Rocks Bridge nowadays in Madison, Illinois
Below is a vintage postcard of the bridge:
Historical Chain of Rocks, vintage postcard in Madison, Illinois
It was one enormous project in its day, and it was a private one. It was supposed to cost $1,250,000 (a fortune at that time, and ended up costing twice the original estimate).
It was suppposed to be straight, but ended up bended due to the complaints of riverboat crews because it was just next to the water intakes for St. Louis, and would have made navigation difficult. Also, the original straight course led it thorough bedrock that couldn't withstand the weight of the bridge. So it was "bent".
It stood 55 feet above the water and had a 40 foot-wide roadway with 10 spans.
Construction began in 1927 on both sides of the Mississippi and it opened in July 1929.
It carried Route 66 across it since then and in the late 1930s the Bypass US 66 was aligned across it to avoid going through downtown St. Louis. The bridge was initially a toll bridge but it was later removed.
In 1967 a brand new bridge, the "New Chain of Rocks Bridge" was built to the north and carried the freeway (I-270), this led to the demise of the Chain of Rocks Bridge that same year.
Access to the bridge from the Missouri side is CLOSED due to severe issues with car vandalism. You can park on the Illinois access. Do not leave any valuables in your car. Park at your own risk. The bridge is open to bikers and pedestrians daily from 9:00am to dusk and is wheelchair accessible.
Bridge entrance is accessible in Missouri at North Riverfront Park, south of the Bridge along the Riverfront Trail.
In 1981, the bridge was used to shoot a scene of the movie "Escape from New York".
It was the site of the 1991 murder of sisters Julie and Robin Kerry (Read more).
Castles in the River
Next to the bridge, on its southern side are two amazing "Castles" which are intake towers that bring water into the St. Louis potable water plant. Back in the 1920s, crews would camp out there inside those four-story buildings to keep water flowing into St. Louis.
Route 66 through Madison
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 1940 USGS map of Madison and as you can see the alignment at that time had changed (it is marked with a Red arrow).
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 1940 with US 66 in Madison, Illinois
Route 66 was realigned later in 1954, through Collinsville (violet in the map).
> > See the previous segment Into Mitchell (east)
> > See the next segment Route 66 in Venice (west)
Banner image: Dead Man's Curve, Laguna New Mexico by Perla Eichenblat.