Get your Kicks on Route 66 ! I have loved living in Springfield Missouri and one really cool part about living here has been seeing all the history and the shops that reside on the good ole “Route 66.” You see, Springfield Missouri is the birthplace of Route 66 and every year, usually the 2nd weekend of August, there is a Route 66 festival with fun games, concerts, tours and of course, the parade of vintage cars. It is a really cool sight to see! So I thought I’d give you a tiny tour of my town and the event!
From the Birthplace of Route 66 Festival Website!
Here’s a little background:
Birth of the Mother Road
Way back in 1926…
“U.S. 66, also known as Route 66, the Mother Road, the Main Street of America, and the Will Rogers Highway, was officially named “U.S. 66,” via telegram at a meeting of highway officials in Springfield, Missouri on April 30, 1926. Calvin Coolidge was President, Prohibition was still in full swing, motion pictures were a year away from becoming “talkies,” and Henry Ford had just lowered the price of the automobile. The stage was set for what would become not only the country’s first cross-country highway, but an enduring piece of Americana that travelers from around the world still yearn to experience. In 1992, on the Mother Road’s 66th anniversary, the Route 66 Association of Missouri designated Springfield as the official Birthplace of Route 66 with a placard, now located on the east side of Park Central Square. ”
The road that once was the main east-west thoroughfare for travelers now offers scenic tour through America’s past. Many traces of the Mother Road are still visible here along Kearney Street, Glenstone Avenue, St. Louis Street, College Street and Chestnut Expressway. So, if you live in Springfield and want to take a tour down Route 66 or you come to visit, begin your tour at 2939 E. Kearney Street at the Lurvey Stone Court Cabins (north side of Kearney) and travel west, you will see the best of what’s left of Route 66 in Springfield.
Bud Perry began his tire and wheel business on Route 66 in 1958 at the Corner of College and Grant at 701 W. College. His business was one of the first in Springfield to distribute custom wheels and continues to provide quality service today. As the 2013 Birthplace of Route 66 Festival, Bud was the recipient of the John T. Woodruff Award, which recognizes Springfieldians’ contributions to Route 66. Bud welcomes visitors to his shop and you are welcome to take photos of the fantastic murals on his building.
About six blocks west of Bud’s Tire & Wheel at 1031 W. College Street is this unique store offering antiques, collectibles, postcards and Route 66 clothing and souvenirs.
College Street Cafe
Continue west on College Street across Kansas Expressway and you’ll get the chance to stop in for an all-American breakfast or lunch at the College Street Café, an unassuming little diner that has served Springfield since the 1970s.
Birthplace of Route 66 Roadside Park
Red’s Giant Hamburg Sign
Across the street from the mosaic wall is the park dedicated to honoring Springfield’s stretch of Route 66. When complete, the park will include a filling station replica with visitor information, a motor court sign replica, restrooms and a history plaza. The first phase of the park was dedicated Aug. 8 2014 with a ribbon cutting, party and cruise-in to the park during the 2014 Birthplace of Route 66 Festival. Included in the ceremony was the dedication of the replica of the Red’s Giant Hamburg sign. Red’s was a burger joint on West Chestnut Expressway in Springfield and was the first drive-through restaurant in the United Stations. It closed in 1984.
Frolicking Mosaic Mural
A couple of blocks west on the south side of College Street attached to the wall is a series of folk-style art mosaics paying homage to Route 66. The idea for the mural came from Stan and Carol Adam. The mosaic was brought to life by local artist Christine Schilling, who worked with dozens of young artists on the pieces. Dedicated in 2001, it was made possible by the support of many generous donors.
Route 66 Car Museum
Come see 67 classic cars owned by Springfield’s Guy Mace, including two Rolls Royces, the 1926 Hudson used in the movie “The Grapes of Wrath,” a 1955 BMW and a 1967 golden-beige Healey. The collection also features eight Jaguars built between 1954 and 1974, the Zombie Protection Truck from “Resident Evil,” a one-cylinder 1907 REO, a Gotham Cruiser and many other unique vehicles.
Well, I hope you learned a little bit more about Route 66 and my awesome town, Springfield Missouri! Dave and I have hopes to one day set out on the Route 66 and drive the whole thing, taking pit stops through history and ending at Santa Monica Pier. Two summers ago we got a chance to go to Santa Monica Pier and stood at the “End of Route 66” and it was a really cool moment realizing we live in the birthplace of Route 66 and we just got to the end of it!
Here’s a great guide I found on Pinterest for taking a trip down Route 66: https://roadtrippers.com/trips/10296177