Sky View Drive-In Theatre
1200 N Old Route 66, Litchfield, Illinois
phone: 217-324-4451 web: www.litchfieldskyview.com
A Route 66 Hall of Fame inductee, the SkyView opened in the spring of 1951 and has been in seasonal operation since. It is the last remaining original operating drive-in theatre on Route 66 in Illinois.
Hours: May - October. Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays. One showing per night, starting at dusk.
Rates: $2 per person.
413 Old Route 66 North, Litchfield, Illinois
phone: 217-324-2023 web: www.ariston-cafe.com
Pete Adam started the Ariston Cafe in nearby Carlinville in 1924. When the Mother Road was rerouted in 1929, Pete leased a new building in Litchfield. The Ariston’s great reputation for service, excellent food and unbelievable desserts led Pete to relocate across the street in 1935 to his own building that still stands today. The family still offers the same wonderful food and great service that it has for more than 80 years. It is said to be the oldest cafe on Route 66. The Ariston was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 2006 and is in the Route 66 Hall of Fame.
Hours: Open Sundays & Tuesday - Friday from 11 am. Open Saturdays from 4 pm
Soulsby’s Service Station
In 1926 Henry Soulsby and his son Russell built a Shell gas station. Today it ranks as one of the oldest filling stations still standing on Route 66. The original 1926 station was a mere 13 by 20 feet wide and had just enough room for a desk, cash register, battery charger, and a few supplies. The Soulsbys doubled the size of the station in the 1930s, but it was never big enough to be called a garage. There is a drive up ramp located outside of the station that was used for oil changes and minor repairs—it now has a large tree growing inside it. Russell learned about electronics in the Navy during WWII and started a TV repair business in the 1950s, which allowed him to survive the opening of I-55. After Henry died, Russell and his sister Ola ran the station until 1991, and continued to greet visitors until 1997. The new station owner is working with the Soulsby Station Society and the Illinois Route 66 Association to maintain this classic filling station as a historical and educational attraction.
Cozy Dog Drive-in
Open 8a-8pm Mon-Sat, (Closed Sundays)
In Muskogee, Oklahoma, I saw an unusual sandwich called a corn-dog. This sandwich was a wiener baked in cornbread. The corn-dog was very good, but took too long to prepare. The problem was how to cover a hotdog with batter and cook it in a short time. In the fall of 1941, I told this story to a fellow student at Knox College whose father was in the bakery business, and then gave it no further thought. Five years later while in the Air Force stationed at Amarillo Airfield, I received a letter from my fellow student, Don Strand. To my surprise he had developed a mix that would stick on a weiner while being french-fried. He wondered if he could send some down that I could try in Amarillo. Having plenty of spare time, I said yes. Using cocktail forks for sticks, the U.S.O kitchen in which to experiment, we made a very tasty hotdog on a stick, that we called a crusty cur. They became very popular both at the U.S.O. in town, and at the P.X. on the airfield. My friend continued to send mix and we continued to sell thousands of crusty curs until I was discharged honorably in the spring of 1946. We decided to sell them that spring. My wife did not like the name crusty curs. Through trial and error and discarding dozens of names, we finally decided on the name Cozy Dogs. Cozy Dogs were officially Launched at the Lake Springfield Beach House on June 16th, 1946. This story was told by Ed Waldmire Jr. to his son Bob, during an interview on January 30th, 1959. Bob was in the 8th grade at the time. After the Cozy Dogs were launched at the Lake Springfield Beach House, Cozy Dogs were introduced at the Illinois State Fair the same year. The first Cozy Dog House was located on South Grand between Fifth and Sixth Street in Springfield. A second Cozy Dog House was located at Ash & MacArthur. In 1949, Drive In was born; built on Route 66 South Sixth Street. In 1996 Cozy Dog moved to it's current location, where Sue (Ed's daughter in law) Josh, Eddie, Tony & Nick (Ed's grandsons) continue on with the business right next door to the original location.
Weezy's Route 66 Bar & Grill
108 S. Old Route 66, Hamel, Illinois
phone: 618-633-2228 web: www.scottysroute66.com
This roadhouse at the intersection of old 66 and Ill. 140 has been serving travelers since the late 1930s. In the past, it was named “tourist Haven,” “Village Inn,” and “Earnie’s Roadhouse.” The old signs still decorate the walls along with histroic photographs. The dining room has a Route 66 theme, and the beautiful exterior brickwork connotes its place in the evolution of travel on the old Mother Road.
Hours: Open at 11 am Monday - Saturday.
Brooks Catsup Bottle Water Tower
800 Morrison Avenue, Collinsville, Illinois
Standing proudly next to Route 159, this unique 170-foot water tower is the world’s largest catsup bottle. It was built in 1949 for the bottlers of Brooks old original rich and tangy catsup. In 1995, due to the efforts of the Catsup Bottle Preservation Group, this landmark roadside attraction was saved from demolition and beautifully restored to its original appearance. In August of 2002 it was named to the National Register of Historic Places.
Hours: Year-Round access.
The Great River Road Grafton/Alton, IL
This road follows along the scenic byway area where the Mississippi, Missouri and Illinois Rivers meet. Come ride the Great River Road with nearly 100 miles of magnificent limestone bluffs, forested parks and wildlife areas. Tour through real river towns and take the ferries that ply the rivers. Lots of lodging, wildlife viewing and great food are available to tourists that travel this area year round. Please call the Greater Alton/Twin Rivers Convention & Visitor's Bureau (800)258-6645 for detailed information on a variety of subjects.