• LOCATION 41 | Interstate 55: St. Louis, MO to Springfield, IL


    Less than 100 yards to our right, where the interstate offramp begins, we can see the abrupt end of the railroad tracks that once doomed Hardinsburg but gave life to Litchfield. As soon as the Railroad announced where these tracks would be laid, the town of Huntsville was plotted, but its name was quickly changed to Litchfield after learning there was already a Huntsville in Illinois. Eventually, 5 different railroads came through Litchfield, and Litchfield became known as the “Hub of Central Illinois.” Only two of those tracks still carry trains through Litchfield today.

    In 1881, Litchfield was home to the largest steam flour mill in the world. More than 2,000 barrels of flour was produced at the mill each day, until it burned to the ground in 1893.

    Route 66 injected another boom into Litchfield when it was rerouted through Litchfield in 1930. The road is currently to our right midway between here and those giant grain silos, and just on the other side of the Walmart, is the Sky View Drive-In, the oldest continually operating Drive-In on Route 66.

    Litchfield is also home to the oldest continually operating restaurant on Route 66, the Ariston Café, which has been serving great food at its current Litchfield location since 1935.

    Remains of the Mother Road can periodically be seen to our right as it inches closer to us during the next couple of miles, eventually crossing the Interstate and becoming the frontage road where it remains for the remainder of our tour to Springfield.

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Interstate 55: St. Louis, MO to Springfield, IL