On July 31, Gov. Rauner signed legislation creating the Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission to develop plans for celebrating the famous road’s 100th anniversary in 2026.
Also known as The Mother Road, Route 66 put Illinois on the national numbered highway network map in the late 1920s as the state became the first to pave the entirety of its share. The route took travelers between Illinois and California.
“Illinois has a distinct place of honor in this famous road’s history. Not only is Chicago its starting point, our people were the first to pave it from end to end as it wound southwest toward St. Louis and on to the Missouri border,” Rauner said after signing House Bill 66. “This made it easier for motorists to travel and sparked a golden era of fun family road trips, with plenty of places to stop and enjoy along the way.”
The Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission will consist of 20 members who reflect the interests, history and importance of the communities along Historic Route 66 in Illinois.
Route 66 originally ran 2,448 miles from Michigan Avenue and East Adams Street in Chicago through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona en route to Santa Monica, California.