Thayer, Illinois: all about it
Trivia, Facts and Useful Information
Elevation: 645 ft (197 m). Population 693 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).
The village of Thayer hayer is located in Sangamon county. This is a Map of Thayer.
The History of Thayer
People have been living in what nowadays is the state of Illinois for over 11,000 years, since the last Ice Age ended. Later, when the first European explorers (French, coming from Canada) reached the area, they encountered the Illinoisian Indians. This took place in the 1600s.
The territory was ceded by France to England after the Seven Year War in 1763, and after the American Independence it became a Territory of the U.S.A, it was admitted into the union as the state of Illinois in 1818.
Sangamon County was established in 1821 and named after the Sangamon River, which runs through it. "Sangamon" is probably a native American word (Pottawatomie), meaning "Sain-guee-mon" = "where there is plenty to eat", or maybe the name of a French saint (St. Gamo) given by the French explorers.
It was a farming area, starting in 1828 when the Dunkards of the German Batist Bretheren settled the area. But it only grew when the Wilmington & Vermilion Coal Co. opened a mine and platted a town in 1901. Its miners lived here, and the coal was shipped out by railroad, using the depot of the Chicago and Alton RR. The mine closed in 1914 and population fell as miners moved out.
Route 66 (1926 alignment) in Thayer, Illinois
The name Thayer
Named for one of the mine's shareholders, the surname Thayer is of French origin, derive from Thierry or Thierre which mean "the son of Theodorie".
Route 66 was aligned through the city following the frist State Highway, SBI 4, in 1926, but it was short lived as in 1930 it was shortened and made straighter, realigned to the east through Litchfield, bypassing Thayer.
Thayer, its Hotels and Motels
Lodging & accommodation in Thayer
> > Book your hotel nearby, in Springfield IL
More Accommodation near Thayer on Route 66
See some more hotels & motels nearby
Hotels further East, in Illinois
On Main US 66 IL, more accommodation
Hotels, Westwards in Missouri
>> Check out the RV campground nearby, Springfield
Thayer has a "humid continental" climate with wet and hot summers (which are quite long) and short but very cold winters -with plenty of snow and bitter wind.
The average temperature is 52.4 °F (11.3°C). The average winter temperatures (Jan) are: low 21°F (-6°C) and high 35°F (1.7°C). The summer averages (Jul) are: high 86°F (30°C), and low: 68°F (20°C).
In Thayer snow may fall for over four months with an average 22 inches (56 cm) of snowfall yearly. Rainfall averages some 35.2 in. (893 mm) yearly.
The countryside near Thayer is hit by some 7 tornados per year.
Tornado Risk: learn more about the Tornado Risk on US 66.
Map of Route 66 through Thayer 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 Thayer
Route 66 across Illinois
Read this detailed description of Route 66 in Illinois.
Below we provide More information on US 66 in Thayer (the 1926-30 alignment).
Route 66 is listed in the National Register of Historic Places on two segments of the 1926 alignment: in Auburn and from Girard to Nilwood.
Thayer: classic US 66 Sights
Landmarks and Attractions
Getting to Thayer
Reach Thayer driving along Historic U.S. 66 or from the freeway I-55 (via Divernon Rd.) State Hwy 4 lies on the original Route 66 alignment and goes by Thayer..
Enjoy the countryside and the tranquil setting of the tiny village. The main restaurant and watering spot in town has been open since 1926:
Maggie’s, now Mick and Mary’s
310 E Ebony St, Thayer
When it opened back in 1926 next to the brand new Route 66, it was known as Maggie's, it was owned by Dominick and Maggie Enrietta.
A Roadhouse and tavern it later became a restaurant. And is still open as a family restaurant "Mick and Mary’s".
Historic Route 66 in Thayer
Historic background: Pontiac Trail
The Pontiac Trail symbol shield
The predecessor of Route 66 was the "Pontiac Trail". The use of automobiles grew in during the early 1900s and this led to a public demand for better roads, suitable for cars.
Dirt trails used by carts with deep ruts, which became muddy traps during the rainy periods were not suitable.
A private association was formed in 1915 to promote the Pontiac Trail which became a "solid surface road" that linked Chicago with St. Louis. It was named for the famous Ottawa Indians chief. The B.F. Goodrich tire company marked its milage posts with its custom shield sign (see image).
In 1918 Illiois issued a bond creating the State Bond Issue highway No. 4 (SBI-4) along the former Pontiac Trail.
This highway was paved between 1923 and 1926, and that same year, 1926 when U.S. Highway 66 was created, it was aligned along the new IL-4 roadbed.
1926-1930 US 66
This first alignment of Route 66 south of Springfield all the way to Staunton had a winding course following the former county lanes and lot demarcation trails. It had many sharp 90° curves. This made it unsafe and also longer.
Route 66 after 1930
Marked in Pale Blue in the map above.
Seeking a straighter alignment the Illinois Division of Highways led by Thomas Sheets moved Route 66 eastwards through Mt. Olive and Litchfield and Divernon.
This new alignment branched from the 1936 one in Springfield in the north and met the 1926 one again, just to the south of Staunton. Thayer was bypassed.
Original 1926-1930 alignment Auburn to Thayer
It is a 4.4 mile drive (mostly along IL-4) from Auburn to Thayer (Map with directions). Shown in Orange in the Google map above.
The 1926 alignment went along Ackerman and Tiller and then at Thayer, along Harrison Ave. and W Sycamore St. Later in 1932 -IL-4 was made straighter, bypassing both the downtown of Thayer and the "Z" at Ackerman.
> > See the previous segment From Chatham to Auburn (east)
> > See the next segment Thayer to Virden (west)
Banner image: Dead Man's Curve, Laguna New Mexico by Perla Eichenblat.