Facts, Information and trivia
Elevation: 700 ft (213 m). Population n⁄a (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
Ocoya is an unincorporated community in Central Illinois, in southern Livingston County; see this Map of Ocoya.
History of Ocoya
Livingston County was created in 1837 and its seat is Pontiac, it was named for Edward Livingston (1874-1836), lawyer and politician who had been mayor of New York City and helped write the Louisiana Civil Code. He was also congressman for Louisiana and New York and US Secretary of State (1831-33).
The small community of Ocoya was born as a station on the Chicago & Alton Railroad in 1854. Duff and Cowan, from Pointiac platted it. Its post office opened in 1860 (now closed). Overshadowed by Chenoa and Pontiac, it remained tiny: it has some grain elevators and a few scattered homes and perhaps 30 residents.
The Name: Ocoya
Maybe an Miami-Illinois word ("whippoorwill") but could also be an Illinois word "apacoya" which were the reed mats used to cover the wood frames of native houses.
In the early 1910s the "Pontiac Trail" was created as a safe highway from St.Louis to Chicago. The Illinois State Higway 4 was built along it in the early 1920s and Route 66's 1926 alingment incorporated the state highway.
During World War II, route 66 was improved, repaved and widened. Then in the early 1950s, a second set of lanes were built making it a 4-lane divided highway. The freeway bypassed it in 1958 and US 66 was decertified in 1977.
Ocoya: Hotels and Motels
Accommodation close Ocoya
>> See the RV campground in neighboring Pontiac
Where is Ocoya?
The weather in Ocoya 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 Ocoya is located) is hit by some 6 tornados each year.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk on US 66.
How to get to Ocoya?
Get to Ocoya driving along Historic Route 66 or get off I-55 in Pontiac and drive south along US66 (Or in Chenoa and drive north). US 24 passes south of Ocoya, through Chenoa
Map of Route 66 through Ocoya, Illinois
Display Ocoya Route 66 Map
Click Map will appear below
Color key for Ocoya:
Pale Blue: marks the Historic Route 66 alignment (1943 -77),
Red line or gaps in alignment, is I-55, where it overlaps the old alignment.
Orange line: marks the 1926-43 roadbed in Chenoa and 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 Ocoya
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 is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, we describe it below.
Below you will find More information on Route 66 in Ocoya.
Sights and Route 66 Landmarks in Ocoya
What to see in Ocoya
US 66 in Ocoya: historic context
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse drove from Chicago to Los Angeles in 1946 and wrote his "A Guide Book to Highway 66" describing his itinerary. In it he also mentions Ocoya.
Rittenhouse wrote: "...another dwindling community with the ever present grain elevator, a score of homes, two small stores, and a gas station...". It is clear by his description that he drove down the new 1940's bypass alignment.
Very little of this remains, the gas station and stores have vanished, but the grain elevators survived.
Silos and Historic Route 66 in Ocoya, Illinois
The Red arrow in the image above marks the abandoned lanes of the old four lane US 66 Freeway.
Drive US 66 by Ocoya
As you drive by Ocoya, you wil notice a set of abandoned lanes to your right (if you are heading south) on the west side of Historic Route 66, these lanes are the former southbound lanes of US 66 when it was a four-lane freeway, back in 1954. This is now a Historic Place:
Historic Route 66, Cayuga to Ocoya (1943-44 ⁄ 1954-55)
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places
The original 1920s road had only two lanes 9 feet wide and 6-inches thick. The heavy wartime truck traffic broke the paving in the early 1940s.
In 1943-44 it was improved: two brand nwe lanes of 10 inch deep concrete and with a total widht of 24 feet were built on top of the old 1920s highway (these would later become the southbound lanes of the freeway).
After the war, a second pair of lanes, now northbound were built, and completed in 1954-55. Route 66 was now safer and wider, it became a four-lane divided freeway running past Ocoya.
As mentioned above, (red arrow) you can see the former southbound lanes in Ocoya just west of the modern highway.
Route 66 was in turn completely bypassed by the I-55 interstate built further west, which bypassed Ocoya too.
This alignment is marked in Pale Blue in the google map above.
Drive from Ocoya to Chenoa along Route 66
It is a 4.9 mile drive to Chenoa, see this Map with directions.
> > See the previous segment Pontiac to Ocoya (east)
> > See the next segment Chenoa to Lexington (west)
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66.
Banner image: Dead Man's Curve, Laguna New Mexico by Perla Eichenblat.