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Route 66


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Route 66's First bridge across the Mississippi River

Venice, faces St. Louis and has the first bridge to carry Route 66 across the Mississippi: the McKinley Bridge, see the Cut off section of US 66 and a Former Gas Station.

Venice Illinois

City Route 66 in Illinois

< West     Venice ¦ Madison ¦ Granite City ¦ Mitchell     East >

Bypass Route 66 Around St. Louis MO
< Southwest     Kirkwood ¦ Creve Coeur ¦ Maryland Heights ¦ Bridgeton ¦ Hazelwood ¦ Mitchell ¦ Edwardsville ¦ Hamel     Northeast >

The Main Alignment of Route 66 (after 1954) at Venice

< Head West
Sunset Hills ¦ Marlborough ¦ St. Louis


All about Venice, Illinois

Trivia, Useful Information & Facts

Elevation: 420 ft (128 m). Population 1,890 (2010).
Time zone: Central (CST): UTC minus 6 hours. Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5).

Venice is a city in Madison County, Illinois, United States on the 1926-40 alignment of US-66, (Map of Venice).

History of Venice

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.

The city dates back to 1873 and was chartered in 1897 but it was named back in the 1840s by a Dr. Cornelius Campbell who lived across the Mississippi River in St. Louis and was a shareholder in the River ferry.

The first post office opened in 1838 and was named "Six Mile" and renamed Venice in 1843.

The Name:Venice

It was very likely named after Venice, in Italy. It is said that the first settlers called it "Venice" because when the river flooded every spring, the water rose and covered everything.

Venice (Venezia in Italian, from Latin Venetia) derives from the name of a Celtic tribe, the Veneti who were conquered by the Romans and lived in that part of Italy.

Venice, its Hotels and Motels

Lodging & accommodation in Venice

> > Book your hotel nearby in Granite City

More Accommodation near Venice on Route 66

See some more hotels & motels nearby

Hotels to the West in Missouri

Just North on old Bypass US 66

Hotels to the East, Illinois

Book your Route 66 hotel
Book your Hotel along Route 66

>> Check out the RV campground in neighboring Granite City

Venice's weather

weather in Venice, Il
Venice map on US Highway 66
Here is Venice, on U.S. Hwy 66 in Illinois

Average temperatures ranged from a low of 19 °F (−7 °C) in winter (Jan) to a high of 90 °F (32 °C) in summer (Jul). But record lows of −16 °F (−27 °C) and high of 114 °F (46 °C) have been recorded.

The average monthly rainfall ranged from 1.99 inches (51 mm) in January to 4.24 inches (108 mm) in May.

Tornado risk

Venice is in an area that is hit by about 7 tornados per year.

Tornado Risk: learn more about the Tornado Risk on US 66.

Map of Route 66 through Venice 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 Venice

Route 66 logo

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 Venice.

Venice: its classic Route 66 Sights

Attractions & Landmarks

Reaching Venice

Get to Venice using Historic U.S. 66 or take any of the freeways that lead to St. Louis: I-55, I-64, I-70, and also US 40.

Safety Tip - Crime rate

As in East St. Louis and St. Louis, See 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 some neighboring towns have a very high crime rate and travelers don't feel safe to spend the night here.

Drug abuse and crime rates are high. Keep off the streets at night. Know exactly where you are going. Don't get lost or end up in a bad neighborhood.

Where Route 66 First Crossed the Mississippi River

We will drive through Venice along the 1926 to 1940 US 66 alignment, the first to Cross the Mississippi River (This is shown in Orange in the map above). The journey begins at western Madison where Madison St. Becomes Broadway.

It is a short 1.8 mile drive and not many landmarks have survived the ravages of time, economic downturn and urban renovation.

John's Drive In

John’ Drive In,Venice US66

John’ Drive In, Venice, Il. Click for street view

417 Broadway

This is not Route 66 at all because the fast food burger & shake place opened in 1977, but it is a good example of American Culture so we included it in our drive through Venice.

Ahead, the next building is a Gas station (last chance before you left Illinois?):

Former Gas Station

401 Broadway, Venice

To your right, on the north side of the road, it has a flat roofed canopy over the pumps island -pumps gone- and the garage area has been enclosed and doors removed. Maybe a 1930s station.

Former Gas Station in Venice, Illinois

Former Gas Station in Venice Route 66
Former Gas Station in Venice, Illinois. Click to enlarge image

At the next corner there is a crossing: Broadway curves north and its continuation is named 2nd St. This wasn't the case when Route 66 was aligned through town. Actually there is a cut-off segment of the Old Route 66 just beyond the junction:

Cut Off Section of US66

It is shown in Blue in the map below, the Red lines mark the road that can still be driven and the Dashed Black line are now vanished sections:

Map showing access to McKinley Bridge from Venice, Illinois

Map showing access to McKinley Bridge from Venice Route 66
Map showing access to McKinley Bridge from Venice, Illinois

This is a Street View along the old highway segment.

And this is a Map with directions showing how to get there.

The original Road alingment can be seen in the following USGS map published in 1935 (red arrow). By 1940, the USGS maps show US 66 running east through Madison south to East St. Louis. The alignment had moved (Green in the Google map further up).

USGS map from 1935 with US 66 in Venice, Illinois

USGS map from 1935 with US 66 in Venice Route 66
USGS map from 1935 with US 66 in Venice, Illinois

The road was changed to improve access to McKinley Bridge:

McKinley Bridge

Mississippi River & cont. of Cedar St. Venice

McKinley Bridge in Venice, Illinois

McKinley Bridge  in Venice Route 66
McKinley Bridge in Venice, Illinois. Click to enlarge image

The McKinley Bridge was the first alignment of U.S. Route 66 across the Mississippi.

And NO, it was not named for President William McKinley; instead it was named after William B. McKinley who was the CEO of the Illinois Traction System, an inter-city electric railway which reached St. Louis along this bridge.

It opened in 1910 and was closed in 2011, rehabilitated and reopened again in 2007. The new bridge has the three original river truss spans whidh are 519 ft (158 m) long each. It also has 33 steel plate girder spans.

Its total length is 6,313 feet (1,924 m) and has a clearance below of90 feet (27 m).

Until 1978 it also carried a railroad line, new lanes were added when it closed.

Venice: alignment of Historic Route 66

It is a 1.8 mile ride from the Missouri State Line on Mc Kinley Bridge to just past Market St. where Madison Ave. Becomes Broadway, and you enter Madison. This is Map with directions.

The MO DOT 1926 map of Route 66 (shown as Route 60) through St. Louis gives the following alignment, (from east to west) starting in Granite City, Illinois: the original US 66 headed southwest along Madison Ave. through Granite City and then along Broadway, it crossed what today is McKinley Bridge into St. Louis, Missouri. The old road link with the bridge has been modified and cut by a realignment of 4th St. and the grade crossing was replaced by an underpass to the north, this non-driveable segment of the old road is shown in Blue in the map above.

Route 66 was realigned in 1940 to the east, shown in Green in the map above, and later in 1954, through Collinsville (violet in the map).

> > See the previous segment In Madison (east)

> > See the next segment Route 66 in St. Louis (west)


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