Route 66 in Madison County

A couple weeks ago, I gave my "Route 66 in Madison County" program based on my book of the same name for the Marine Historical Society in Marine, Illinois. There was a nice-sized and very attentive audience, made up for the most part of Marine Historical Society members. I appreciated the invitation from this dedicated group of local historians and preservationists. I meant to post about it in a more timely fashion, but in my excitement over and preparation for the New Mexico trip, it temporarily slipped my mind. Thanks to Troy Times-Tribune editor Steve Rensberry for allowing me to use photos he took that evening.

Giving my Route 66 in Madison County program in Marine IL. (Photo by Steve Rensberry.)
These two lovely and accomplished young women came to the program to hear about Route 66 in the county they represent! On the left is Madison County Fair Queen Kristen McDowell, and on the right Junior Miss Madison County Queen Anna Nichols. (Photo by Steve Rensberry.)


Route 66 in Madison County, although not my first book, was my first Route 66 book, and It was great to share the program again on May 12 in Marine. Parts of Madison County, Illinois, and particularly Edwardsville, have just never gotten on the larger Route 66 awareness map. To change all that, I've been writing numerous articles on our hidden treasures, and, along with fellow author and Edwardsville historian Cindy Reinhardt, we've been working to get more of our Madison County Route 66 sites on the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame.

Madison County's approximately 40 miles of Route 66 stretched southwest across the county on a number of different alignments and used a half-dozen different bridges over the decades to get across the Mississippi River. Illinois highway maps show how Route 66 as well as other highways evolved. I've scanned and cropped several maps to the approximate shape and size of Madison County to show some of the changes.

1917 Illinois highway map showing Madison County section.

 
1920s Illinois highway map showing Madison County section.

 
1956 Illinois highway map showing Madison County section.