Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Historic Route 66: Atlanta-McLean, IL

My fourth stop on my sightseeing tour of historic Route 66 was Atlanta, IL, followed by a brief pit stop in McLean. (You can read more about my previous stops: Dwight, Springfield and Broadwell.)

Atlanta featured a number of small treasures, including the J.J. Hawes Grain Elevator Museum, which boasts the oldest wood grain elevator in America. The elevator, which was built in 1904, was abandoned in 1977. Today, it is Illinois' only fully restored, wooden grain elevator museum listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The town also features an historic public library, which is also a National Historic Register Site. Built in 1908, the library features a "classic octagonal design" and "original turn of the century book stacks and furniture." Outside the library sits the Library Clock Tower, which was relocated to the library grounds in the 1970s, after serving as the original clock found in the tower of Atlanta High School.

This quaint town also features some great wall murals that reflect Route 66's "heydey" era -- as well as a 19-foot statue of Paul Bunyon, which was relocated from the town of Cicero, IL (at "Bunyons" Restaurant on Route 66) during the past decade. Due to a large gathering of Harley bikers right in front of the statue during my visit, I was unable to get close enough to the statue to snap a photo.

Just a short drive up Route 66 from Atlanta is the small town of McLean, which is home to the historic Dixie Truck Stop. According to the Illinois Route 66 Association, "In 1928, J.P. Walters and John Geske rented part of a mechanic’s garage here to sell sandwiches to Route 66 travelers and truckers. By the 1930s, the operation had grown to a full-fledged restaurant, cabins,and a cattle pen. The Dixie was owned and operated by the Geske family from 1928-2003 and was only closed one day after a fire in 1965."

I feature some quick photos of the Dixie Truck Stop in the photos slideshow below.

As always, you can click on any photo in the slideshow below to view the full photo and a description. Enjoy.

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