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Murals on Route 66

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The city of Pontiac is best known for its famous Pontiac Murals, but don't miss its Historic places: Historic Livingston County Courthouse, Historic Illinois State Police District 6 Headquarters and the Historic Raymond Schulz Round Barn.
Route 66 classics include: Cozy Inn Restaurant and the Old Log Cabin Restaurant, Archie’s Standard Service Station, the Da-Jo Motel, the Fiesta Motel and the Palamar Motel.
Plus the "must see" Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum, the old Pontiac Trail and Division Street Bridge.

Pontiac Illinois

The Alignment of Route 66 in Pontiac

< Head West
Lexington ¦ Chenoa ¦ Ocoya

Head East >
Cayuga ¦ Odell ¦ Dwight



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Pontiac IL

Facts, Information and trivia

Elevation: 664 ft (202 m). Population 11,931 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).

Pontiac is the county seat of Livingston County, and a city in Illinois. See this Map of Pontiac.

History of Pontiac

Illinois was initially peopled when the Paleoindians reached the area after the end of the last Ice Age some 11,000 years ago.

The French from Canada and Louisiana explored the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, reaching Illinois in the 1600s, they encountered Illini (Illinois) natives and Kickapoo people.

After wars between France and Britain, the land passed to the British and after 1776, to the U.S.A., it was organized into a Territory and in 1818 admitted into the union as the state of Illinois.

Settlement in the prairies was slow and only after the 1820s did the first Europeans and American pioneers reach the area.

Livingston County was created in 1837, 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).

Henry Weed, Lucius and Seth Young with the backing of Jesse Fell, laid out the town in 1837, with the idea that it would become the seat of the newly created county of Livingston. It was pre-railroad days, so it was laid out around a central square (and not a railway depot as was the case of towns platted in the 1850s).

Fell chose the name and the town became the county seat.During the 1840s an economic depression set in, but with the arrival of the railroad in 1854, economy began to boom.

The Name: Pontiac

Pontiac, was the name of a chief of the Ottawa Indian people. There is no proof that he ever lived in what is now Livingston county. He was born ca. 1720 on the Detroit River, an ally of the French he fought against the British in the 1760s in a great uprising that failed. He died in 1769, killed by another Indian in Illinois.

The township was created in 1858 and soon, mainly due to Scott's efforts, became a flourishing farming community. State Higway 4 was built through Pontiac in the 1910s, following the "Pontiac Trail" which was supposedly a decent road that linked Chicago with St. Louis. When Route 66 was created in 1926 its first alignment followed State Hwy. 4.

In 1943-44 a bypass with 4-lanes was planned and built, west of the business district to make the highway safer and faster, it was finished in 1954, but shortly after, in 1958, the new I-55 bypassed it too. Route 66 was decertified in 1977.

The Pontiac Trail was built as a "hard road" from Chicago to St. Louis in the 1910s, and State Route 4 was built along it, later replaced by US 66 from 1926 to 1977, when it was decertified and bypassed by the Interstate I-55.

Pontiac: Hotels and Motels

Accommodation in Pontiac

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Find More Accommodation near Pontiac along Route 66

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Hotels east of Pontiac

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Hotels to the west, in Missouri

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>> See the RV campground in Pontiac

The Weather

weather in Pontiac, Il

Where is Pontiac?

a map of Pontiac Illinois showing where it is on Route 66
Map with the location of Pontiac, Illinois on Route 66

Pontiac has a continental - humid climate with hot summers with little rainfall but high humidity. Its winters are cold.

The average temperatures in Pontiac are: winter (Jan), high of 30°F (-1 °C) and low a cold 17°F (-8.3 deg;C). Summer (Jul) is 85°F (29.7°C) and the low is 63°F (17.2°C).

Yearly rainfall is 38 inch (965 mm), falling 70 days, on average, every year. The town has 194 sunny days per year.

Expect snow between November and early April, it averages 26 inches (66 cm) yearly.

Tornado risk

The 2016 Tornado

On June 23, 2016 an EF2 tornado hit Pontiac injuring 7 people.

Livingston county, where Pontiac is located is hit by some 6 tornados every year.

Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk on US 66.

How to get to Pontiac?

You can reach Pontiac driving along Historic Route 66 or use Exit 197 on I-55. US 24 passes through Chenoa, south of Pontiac.

Map of Route 66 in Pontiac, IL

Check out Pontiac on our Route 66 Map of Illinois, with the complete alignment and all the towns along it.

Color key for Pontiac in the map mentioned above:

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, later City 66.
Black are the sections that are missing.

Pontiac Map

Map with the alignment of Route 66 through Pontiac

Click on this link > > Classic US 66 alignment in Pontiac

Click on this link > > First US 66 alignment in Pontiac

Route 66 in Illinois: Historic U.S. 66 in Pontiac

Route 66 logo

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 Pontiac is listed in the National Register of Historic Places, we describe it below.

Below you will find More information on Route 66 in Pontiac.

Pontiac's Sights and Route 66 Attractions

What to see in Pontiac

US 66 in Pontiac: historic context

In 1946, Jack DeVere Rittenhouse drove the whole of Route 66 from Chicago to Los Angeles publishing his memorable "A Guide Book to Highway 66" which gives us a description of Route 66 during its heyday. He wrote the following about Pontiac:

"Pontiac is a half-mile east of US 66... gas; stores; no cabins; hotels: Phoenix, Maple Rest, Imperial, Illinois; Jones Co garage", he added that is an agricultural community with some industry. He mentions the State Penitentiary south of town, for younger male criminals.

Drive US 66 through Pontiac

From North to South, begin the tour at the point where the Bypass freeway alignment which was built in 1943 split from the original 1926 Route 66 alignment, and head south along it. Here to your left is a classic Route 66 attraction:

Old Log Cabin Restaurant

18700 Historic US 66, Pontiac

This restaurant was built in 1926 by Joe and Victor Seloti as an eating spot and a gas station on the original US 66 alignment. When the bypass was built in the mid 1940s, it met the older road here, so it is said that the owners moved the building 180° to face the new four-lane freeway.

It got its name from the cedar telephone poles with which it was built, and which are still there in the walls.

As you can see in the "Then and Now" series of images below, the premises have been expanded. You can eat here Mon. through Sat. 5 am to 8 pm. Closed Sun.

Visit their website:

Old Log Cabin Restaurant today in Pontiac, Illinois

Old Log Cabin Restaurant today in Pontiac Route 66
Old Log Cabin Restaurant today in Pontiac, Illinois. TripAdvisor, This photo of Old Log Cabin Inn is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Vintage 1950s view of the Log Cabin Inn, Pontiac, Illinois

Vintage 1950s view of the Log Cabin Inn, Pontiac Route 66
Vintage 1950s view of the Log Cabin Inn, Pontiac, Illinois. Digital Research Library of Illinois History Journal

The image above shows the 1926-43 Route 66 alignment passing in front of the buildings, behind is the railroad. Now continue southwards along Pontiac Rd. which runs close to the railroad tracks and then shifts away to curve into N Division St. head south along it, and just ahead is the State Hwy 4 Division St Bridge:

Pontiac Trail sign

The Pontiac Trail symbol shield,

History: State Highway 4 and the Pontiac Trail

In 1915 the Pontiac Trail became 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, it even had its own shield sign (image).

But the state had to take responsibility for its highways so, in 1918 a bond was issued to build decent surfaced roads in the state of Illinois, and the Pontiac Trail was to become the SBI 4 (State Bond Issue) highway number 4.

Federal funds were also provided and the road was paved along its whole length by 1923. It had a winding course, following the railroad and county lanes but it provided a good road between both cities.

Division Street Bridge

66 Roadside Attraction

The bridge spans North Creek along the 1926 Alignment of Route 66 (previously it was the State Route 4), it was built in 1926 shortly before the state highway became Route 66. This is a Location map.

The original bridge was rebuilt in 2005 and is only 33 feet long. It's bridge end had the highway marking stencilled on it as was the practice in those days to mark highways. And the original image survived; it was restored in 1927 and you can see it on the brige end, an outline of the state of Illinois with a number 4 inside of it. The original bridge ends were kept and attached to the new bridge which was built with a railing that is identical to that of the original bridge.

On the NW side of the bridge is a Route 66 shield, and two interpretative signs, explaining the bridge's history.

The road curves west onto W. Lincoln Ave. and then again south along N. Ladd St. entering the town itself, along its western edge. Ahead to your right there was a "subway":

Ladd School Subway

N Ladd St. and W. Livingston St.

The old Ladd School (razed in 1960, was originally in the place of the current First Baptist Church) faced some difficulties with its pupils, and they signed a petition requesting that a "subway" or pedestrian underpass be built under Route 66 so that the students could cross safely.

It was built around 1934 (when another one in Odell was built)and used until Route 66 bypassed Pontiac in 1945. Now it has been filled in and its traces have vanished.

Here you will leave the path of Route 66 through Pontiac, to visit the murals. You will return to Route 66 one block south of this point. So, on Howard turn left and head into the downtown district to see the Murals and other landmarks:

Pontiac's Murals

A drive through Pontiac, exploring and enjoying the town's famous "Route 66" Murals:

As you drive into the downtown business district along Howard St. on the fourth block after the railroad grade crossing, stop just past North Oak Street and look left:

Humiston Heritage

305 W Howard St.

By Gary Anderson. It celebrates the Bennet Humiston Trust, created after Mrs. Harriet Humiston passed away in 1920. The Camp-Humiston pool in Chautauqua Park and Humiston Woods Nature Center are the work of the Trust. It is pictured below.

Humiston Heritage mural in Pontiac US66

Humiston Heritage mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

A Tradition of Farming mural in Pontiac US66

A Tradition of Farming mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Cross N Plum St., and to your right is another mural:

A Tradition of Farming

218 W Howard St.

By Michael Clark, the mural pictured above depicts a steam powered tractor from the early 1900s which helped develop farming in the region. Farming is important for the city of Pontiac, who has celebrated since 1949, every Labor Day week, the Central States Threshermen's Reunion.

On the eastern side of the same building you will see the replica of an oldie:

RCA Victor

218 W Howard St.

It is a vintage advertising design, from the early 1900s, like those often found on "Ghost Signs" along Route 66. Created by Bernie Gietl, Bernie Lohmeyer and Bernie Poff. See it below:

RCA Victor mural in Pontiac US66

RCA Victor mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Pontiac Fire Department mural in Pontiac US66

Pontiac Fire Department mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Ahead, to your left, across the street is the Fire Department:

Pontiac Fire Department

201 W Howard St.

This mural by Stephan Connor honors the city's Fire Dept., which dates back to 1865 with the chimney inspection program and 1877 when the Department was created. It is pictured above.

At N Mill St. there is a parking lot. Park and walk the downtown mural and museums tour. The historic red-brick building facing the parking lot is a "must see site", visit it now or at the end of your walk through town.

Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum

Pontiac City Hall and Fire Station

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

110 W Howard St.

This historic building now is the home of the Hall of Fame museum, you will learn all about the places and people inducted into the hall of fame plus many articles, artifacts and Route 66 memorabilia.

Open Mon. though Sun. from 9 to 5 in summer and 10 to 4 in winter. Admission: Donation only.

Mural tour continued

From the parking lot cross Howard and head south along N Mill St. to your left, on an alley is another mural:

Scatterday Soda

312 N. Mill St

Designed by Carole Bersin it remembers a local bottling company opened by H.H. Scatterday in 1881 (bottled carbonated water, club soda). See it below:

Scatterday Soda mural in Pontiac US66

Scatterday Soda mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Jesse Fell & Chief Pontiac mural in Pontiac US66

Jesse Fell & Chief Pontiac mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

See another mural, just ahead, across the street almost at the corner with W. Madison St:

Jesse Fell & Chief Pontiac

303 N. Mill St.

By Judy Grossman. Jesse Fell founded Pontiac in 1837, and he named it after the famous Ottawa Indian chief who rebelled against the British in the mid 1760s. See the image above.

Turn left along Madison. Across the street is the historic county courthouse:

Historic Livingston County Courthouse

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

112 W Madison St, Pontiac

Construction began in 1874, it is a Second Empire Styled building, with a central clock tower, 70-feet high, topping the building.

Historic Livingston County Courthouse in Pontiac, Illinois

Historic Livingston County Courthouse in Pontiac Route 66
Historic Livingston County Courthouse in Pontiac, Illinois. Ivo Shandor. Click image to enlarge

On the south side of the lawn is a statue of Abraham Lincoln who visited Pontiac many times between 1840 and 1860. Facing the historic building, is a sidewalk mural:

Sidewalk Shark

107 W Madison St.

By Tang Dongbai, a sidewalk painting depicting sharks and a dolphin as a hole in the sidewalk! Shown below.

Sidewalk Shark painting in Pontiac US66

Sidewalk Shark painting, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Chautauqua Assembly mural in Pontiac US66

Chautauqua Assembly mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Keep going, cross Main Street and to your right, on the south east corner is a great mural:

Chautauqua Assembly

100 E Madison St.

The work of David and Susie Butler and Dan Sawatzky

It began in Lake Chautaqua in New York in 1874, an assembly of teachers, preachers, entertainers that brought a touch of culture and fun to the community. It was adopted by Pontiac in 1898, and was repeated over the next 30 years, in Riverside Park. Image above.

Return to Main Street and turn right, heading north. There are two murals here, one to your right and one across the street:

Waldmire Memorial

300 N Main St.

By Bob Waldmire. To your right. It is a 66-foot long map of Route 66, Waldmire's posthumous design from 2009, and painted by family, and some 500 friends (each of whom left a handprint on the mural).

Bob was the owner of the US 66 Hackberry General Store, and one of Route 66 best known artists.

Waldmire Memorial mural in Pontiac US66

Waldmire Memorial mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Drink Coca Cola mural in Pontiac US66

Drink Coca Cola mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Across the street on is the "Coke" mural:

Drink Coca Cola

303 N Main St.

There was a 1920s Coca-Cola advertisement here, at this exact spot. The Corsairs are WWII figher planes and are a homage to the US veterans. Painted by Sonny Franks.

A few feet ahead, to your left you will find several murals, one on Main, the others in the Pontiac Museum's Parking Lot:

Rodino Square

310 N Main St.

A Servie stop with gas station, restaurant, garage, grocery store and a hotel opened in 1927 by Carme Rodino on Route 66. By Dale Manor. The store closed in the late 1970s.

Rodino Square mural in Pontiac US66

Rodino Square mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Palace of Sweets mural in Pontiac US66

Palace of Sweets mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Palace of Sweets

The first mural on the southern facade that faces the parking lot. By Cam Bortz. It was a candy store and soda fountain on Madison and Mill streets.

As you walk into the parking lot, the next two murals along the alley are:

Roszell's Soda Shop

By Joe Diaz, it celebrates the American small town soda fountain. There was a diary in Pontiac with this name in the early 1900s.

Roszells Soda Fountain mural in Pontiac US66

Roszells Soda Fountain mural, Pontiac, Il. Click image to enlarge.
This photo of International Wall Dog Mural and Sign Art Museum is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Daniels Oil mural in Pontiac US66

Daniels Oil mural, Pontiac, Il. Click image to enlarge.
This photo of International Wall Dog Mural and Sign Art Museum is courtesy of TripAdvisor

Daniels Oil

Daniels was a gas station in downtown Pontiac on Mill and Water Streets. By Diaz Sign Art.

Now turn around and on the south wall of the museum building is the best known Route 66 Mural:

Route 66 Shield Mural

By Diaz Sign Art. It is the oldest mural in town, painted in 2006 it decorates the exterior wall of the Route 66 Hall of Fame Museum.

The bricks on the floor, are original Route 66 paving bricks. Drive along it and take a photo of your vehicle on the original bricks!

Route 66 Shield Mural in Pontiac, Illinois

Route 66 Shield Mural in Pontiac Route 66
Route 66 Shield Mural in Pontiac, Illinois. Ivo Shandor Click for street view.

The last mural in this alley is on the upper right corner of the museum:

Bloomington, Pontiac, & Joliet Interurban Railroad

This railroad (the BP&J) ran streetcars from Pontiac to Odell and Dwight (never reached Bloomington or Joliet) between 1905 and 1925, its initials gave it the affectionate name of "Bump, Push and Jerk". By Rob Estes.

BP &J streetcar mural in Pontiac US66

BP &J streetcar mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

original Wishing Well motel neon sign in Pontiac US66

original Wishing Well motel neon sign, Pontiac, Il

Wishing Well Motel Sign

66 Roadside Attraction

The original Wishing Well motel was located on Brainard Ave. and Route 66 in Countryside, near Chicago. It opened in 1941 with 10 cabins later unified into one building with 19 units. It closed in 2006 and was razed. The stone well from its front yard and its classic neon sign have been preserved here at the museum.

Above is a view of the old sign at its original location.

Return to Main, and turn right along E. Howard St., this is the local newspaper's building (the Daily Leader), at its eastern tip is another mural:

Weekly Sentinel

120 E Howard St.

By Mancy Benett, it depicts a paperboy delivering the newspaper on his bicycle. The Pontiac Sentinel opened in 1857 and kept operating until the early 1900s.

Weekly Sentinel Mural in Pontiac US66

Weekly Sentinel Mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Abe Lincoln and Strevell House Mural in Pontiac US66

Abe Lincoln and Strevell House Mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Turn around and head back to your car. Drive west and turn right along Main St. heading south. On the NE corner of Main and Washington you will see another mural:

Abe Lincoln & Strevell House Mural

101 E Washington St.

By Mike Meyer and Adam May. Abraham Lincoln visited Pontiac in January 1860. Local lawyer Jason Strevell measured Lincoln because he couldn't believe that he was taller than he was. He measured the future President and found him to be 6 feet 4.

Continue along Main and take a right at the next street (Water St.) just two blocks ahead park at Mill Street. To your left, next to the bridge across Vermilion River is a billboard with murals on both its faces:

Vermilion River and Mill

Mill St. and Vermilion River bridge

By Francisco Vargas. It is designed as a 5 cent stamp and shows the River and Williams' Mill (1860s-1957) The Vermilion River flows in a northerly direction from its origin in Livingston and Ford Counties in north central Illinois, eventually emptying it also shows one of the town's swinging bridges.

Vermilion River and Mill mural in Pontiac US66

Vermilion River and Mill mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Welcome to Pontiac Mural in Pontiac US66

Welcome to Pontiac Mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

The rear side has a mural too:

Welcome to Downtown

A mural by Diaz Sign Art, in a 1950s sytle, welcoming travelers to Pontiac.

Turn back along Mill St. towards the downtown area and take a left on Washington, on the NW corner is another classic:

Pontiac Route 66

201 W Washington St.

A stylized representation of Route 66, Pontiac, roadtrips and the journey from Illinois to Los Angeles. By Tom and Kathy Durham.

Pontiac Route 66 Mural in Pontiac US66

Pontiac Route 66 Mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Allen Candy Co. Mural in Pontiac US66

Allen Candy Co. Mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Turn left on W Madison and to your left in the middle of the block is the Candy Co. mural:

Allen Candy Co.

220 W Madison St.

Founded by Harry Allen in the late 1800s it sold the best candies like the Allen Nougat Bar and the Lotta Bar. It also made ice cream. Mural by Jay Allen.

Drive west until N Oak St.

Cottage Style Gas Station?

To your left on the corner is a cottage-style building that may have been a gas station. Ahead, across N. Oak, to your right is the final mural:

Cottage Style gas station in Pontiac US66

Cottage Style gas station, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Route 66 and the Pontiac Auto Mural in Pontiac US66

Route 66 and the Pontiac Auto Mural, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

1926 - Route 66 & the Pontiac Auto

309 N Oak St.

By Tang Dongbai it shows the 1926 Route 66 with its red brick paving and the 1926 Pontiac made by General Motors. And this is the End of your Murals Tour, you can visit some of the city's museums (see below) or drive straight west along Madison back to N Ladd St.

Museums in Pontiac

Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum

205 North Mill St.

Maybe the world's greatest collection of Pontiac and Oakland brand car artifacts, library and more!. Free admission.

The International Walldog Mural and Sign Art Museum

In the Pontiac Museum Complex

110 West Howard

Collection with images, videos and objects of outdoor wall advertising. Gallery and modern artworks for sale.

At Ladd St (it is the first street after the railway tracks), turn left along the 1926-43 US 66. As you turn, to your left is a Classic restaurant:

Cozy Inn Restaurant

748 W Madison St. Pontiac

Now it is an Italian Cuisine Restaurant but at one time it was a Restaurant on the 1926-40s Route 66 alignment through Pontiac. The "Then and Now" series below shows us that it has changed but not too much:

Vintage view of Cozy Inn in Pontiac, Illinois

Vintage view of Cozy Inn in Pontiac Route 66
Vintage view of Cozy Inn in Pontiac, Illinois. Click to enlarge image

Now Mario’s Pizza in Pontiac, Illinois

Now Mario’s Pizza in Pontiac Route 66
Now Mario’s Pizza in Pontiac, Illinois. Click to enlarge image

Ladd crosses the Vermilion River, and to your right is a Route 66 Motel:

Palamar Motel

213 S Ladd St, Pontiac

You can Book a Room in the Palamar Motel

Built in the early 1940s on the "old" alignment, it was damaged by a fire in 1967 and rebuilt with a late 60's look (see the sign with its name on its facade). It was popular as a dance hall in the 1960s too.

Vintage Postcard Palamar Motel in Pontiac, Illinois

Palamar Motel in a vintage postcard; in Pontiac Route 66
Palamar Motel in a vintage postcard; in Pontiac, Illinois.

Palamar Motel now in Pontiac, Illinois

Palamar Motel now in Pontiac Route 66
Palamar Motel now in Pontiac, Illinois. Click to enlarge image

Ahead at the junction of Ladd and Reynolds (IL-116) to your left is the Fiesta Motel, and ahead, to your right is a 1930s gas station:

Fiesta Motel

951 W Reynolds St, Pontiac

You can Book a Room in the Fiesta Motel

Listed by the National Park Service as one of the 1938-58 "Motel Buildings Remaining on Route 66 in Illinois" stating that it has a "Brick, L-shaped, 2 storu building with end gable roofs. 60 units. ca. 1950s".

The motel's postcard stated "Motel-Restaurant, Lounge and Bowling. Air-conditioned - Room Phones - free TV"

Vintage Postcard Fiesta Motel in Pontiac, Illinois

Fiesta Motel in a vintage postcard; in Pontiac Route 66
Fiesta Motel in a vintage postcard; in Pontiac, Illinois.

Fiesta Motel now in Pontiac, Illinois

Fiesta Motel now in Pontiac Route 66
Fiesta Motel now in Pontiac, Illinois. Click to enlarge image

To your right, crossing Reynolds:

Archie’s Standard Service

1026 W Reynolds St. Pontiac

This building was originally Archie and Joy Henderson's Standard Service at the "second stoplight south of Chicago", now it is the S & R Rt 66 Auto Center. The building has changed but it kept its two door garage:

Archie’s Standard Service in Pontiac US66

Archie’s Standard Service, Pontiac, Il.
Route 66 in Illinois By Joe Sonderman, Cheryl Eichar Jett

S & R Rt 66 Auto Center in Pontiac US66

S & R Rt 66 Auto Center, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Ladd St. continues south, but ends in a dead end a few hundred yards ahead (The old alignment was cut off from the later 4-lane Route 66), see this Street View of this now overgrown and abandoned section.

Turn left along W Reynolds St. and drive up to the four-lane divided highway US 66 built between 1943 and 1954. You can turn right and drive 1 mile north to see an old motel, the Da-Jo (this is the Map with directions).

Da-Jo Motel

Interlake Dr south of W Custer Ave. Pontiac

Da-Jo Motel nowadays in Pontiac US66

Da-Jo Motel nowadays, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

The vintage postcard below tells us on its back about the "DA-JO MOTEL U. S. Routes 66 & 23 Pontiac, Illinois Air conditioned - TV - Wall to wall carpeting - Tub and showers. Excellent restaurants close by. Quiet, modern motel. Family units. Charles & Celia Gleason, Owners...".

The building is still standing but no longer a motel, perhaps it is an apartment complex.

Da-Jo Motel postcard 1950s in Pontiac, Illinois

Da-Jo Motel postcard 1950s in Pontiac Route 66
Da-Jo Motel postcard 1950s in Pontiac, Illinois. James R. Powell Route 66 Collection

Or head south (turn left) along Historic Route 66 to visit two Historic Places:

Gun shaped state police HQ in Pontiac US66

Gun shaped state police HQ, Pontiac, Il. Click for street view

Illinois State Police District 6 Headquarters

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places - Route 66 Hall of Fame

Route 66 South of Pontiac, just 1.7 miles from W Reynolds St., see this Map with directions.

The now empty "Old" State Police District 6 HQ were built in 1941 and were in use until 2003.

The building was built in the Shape of a pistol (see image with a satellite view) in Art Moderne style, with rounded streamlined lines which was very popular in those days.

Old State Police HQ in Pontiac, Illinois

Old State Police HQ in Pontiac Route 66
Old State Police HQ in Pontiac, Illinois. Ivo Shandor. Click to enlarge image
Police Shadow Statue Silhouette in Pontiac US66

Steel silhouette of a state trooper on his motorcycle, Pontiac, Il.

The State Police were created in 1922. And the patrol made sure that trucks weren't overloaded and therefore damaging the paving (speed limits were imposed much later, during the 1950s).

Don't miss the steel silhouette or "Shadow Statue" of a highway patrol police on his motorcycle and a Route 66 Wayside Exhibit, an interpretive display.

Now drive another 1.6 miles (Map with directions) to visit the Historic Round Barn:

Historic Raymond Schulz Round Barn

Historic Raymond Schulz Round Barn in Pontiac US66

Historic Raymond Schulz Round Barn, Pontiac, Il. Ramccoy55

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

15221 N 1500 E Rd, Pontiac

The Raymond Schultz (or Schulz) Round Barn was built in 1918 and is still standing. It is a "round" or cylindrical shaped barn. It is only 1.1 miles east of Route 66 along E 1500 N Road from US 66.

It is similar to the more famous Round Barn in Arcadia, Oklahoma, also on Route 66.

This ends your drive through Pontiac Drive south to visit Chenoa or north to visit Odell and Dwight.

Historic Route 66 in Pontiac, Illinois

The original 1926 alignment shown in Orange line in the map and we have described its origin, as the 1915 Pontiac Trail, and its path through Pontiac.

Historic Route 66, Cayuga to Chenoa, through Pontiac (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. It was deteriorated by the trucks during WWII so it had to be urgently improved.

Map from 1935 of Pontiac by the USGS

USGS map (See the winding path of Route 66 in red diagonally across the map), Pontiac, Il.

In 1943-44 it was improved: two lanes of 10 inch deep concrete, 24 feet wide were built on top of the old roadbed (southbound lanes) and the second set of lanes, northbound were completed in 1954-55.

Route 66 had become a four-lane divided freeway. It skirted round the western side of Pontiac.

You can see the now abandoned southbound lanes both north and south of Pontiac, 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.

Drive from Pontiac to Chenoa along US66

The distance is 12 miles; see this Map with directions.

> > See the previous segment Cayuga to Pontiac (east)

> > See the next segment Chenoa to Lexington (west)

Accommodation Search box:


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Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66.

Banner image: Dead Man's Curve, Laguna New Mexico by Perla Eichenblat.