Cory Jobe, representing Route 66 Illinois at IPW2023 Cory Jobe, representing Route 66 Illinois at IPW2023

100 years of Route 66

Preparations for the 100th year anniversary of Route 66 in 2026 are already adding new attractions to the route in Illinois and beyond, says Cory Jobe of Great Rivers & Routes, southwest Illinois.

Jobe points to the Historic Cannonball Jail Tour in Carlinville, which begins in July this year. The building was constructed using surplus cannonballs after the Civil War.

Also new are a Route 66 Post Card Mural Trail, with 12 postcard-style murals decorating towns along the famous Mother Road, and Route 66 Monuments, large installations designed for photo stops along the way.

Disused buildings are also being renovated – such as an old petrol station, West End Station, being converted into a museum and information centre.

‘Many of these things are open and accessible now and they will also be around long after the centenary,’ says Jobe.

For clients who do want to plan ahead specifically for 2026, agents should watch out for coming details of a significant events calendar.

Jobe emphasises that Route 66 has a number of different dimensions.

‘There is the drive itself, but along the way each town has its own story. Illinois has a different town every 30 or 40 minutes along the route and there is plenty of bookable product along the way. 

‘It is also easy to access the outdoors at places like Pere Marquette State Park or on hiking and biking trails along the Mississippi River.’