If you love Route 66 think about stopping by the Litchfield Route 66 Museum and Visitor’s Center. Route 66 stretches from Chicago to California and portions of Route 66 come through the western edge of Litchfield and are still intact today. There are a number of stops still today like the amazing Ariston Café that remains from the glory days of the Mother Road.
Route 66 enthusiasts travel this iconic road from all over the country and around the world. Efforts by Litchfield residents have paid off and now visitors can stop by the Route 66 museum and see the collectibles on display. Keep in mind that this museum holds Litchfield history as well as Route 66 items.
Rumblings of the museum began in April of 2011, when a few Litchfield citizens gathered to discuss putting together a post card book, similar to one that Anne Jackson had seen in Jacksonville, IL. Anne’s father, the late David A. Jackson, had an extensive collection of postcards depicting Litchfield’s rich history and at the completion of the meeting the idea had expanded from just creating a postcard book to creating a museum.
Information about the history of the museum is offered on the website http://litchfieldmuseum.org/about “The idea of a museum was not a new one. Many have wished for some time to have a museum to document and archive items from Litchfield’s past. David A, Jackson, a lifelong resident of Litchfield was an avid collector of Litchfield items. After his death, his family put together a sample of his collection. On the second floor of Litchfield’s Carnegie Library, two cases have been filled: one case holds historical pictures of Litchfield, while another has memorabilia from past Litchfield businesses.”
The post card book was the first fund raiser for the museum. The book is in its second printing.
The museum and visitor’s center building was designed by John Fletche. Carol Hampton Berry came up with a floor plan for the building. United Builders (Larry Pence) was hired as the builder. The museum group received non-profit status in April of 2012 and just a little over a year from the first meeting the crew broke ground for this historic museum and visitors center in the heart of the old Route 66.
Since the opening, the museum has sported visitors from Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil , Brussels, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Holland, Hungary, India, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Scotland, Slovakia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tasmania, United Kingdom, Vietnam, and Wales. Besides overseas visitors, the museum has welcomed visitors from every state in the US except Alaska. The highest visitor count has come from Australia, France, Germany, Spain, and the United Kingdom.
The museum is located at 334 Historic Old Route 66 North Litchfield, IL 62056. The museum hours are: Mon – Sat 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM and Sun 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM, they are closed most holidays. Call (217) 324-3510 for details. You can also connect with the museum on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LitchfieldMuseum.