A Route 66 exhibit titled “Woodruff’s Dream: The Mother Road Through Springfield” is on display at The History Museum on the Square, 155 Park Central Square, in Springfield.
The museum is open 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday; the exhibit runs through Aug. 31. Admission is $5 for adults; $3 for children; and free for ages 2 and younger and museum members.
Officially recognized as the birthplace of Route 66, it was in Springfield on April 30, 1926, that officials first proposed the name of the new Chicago-to-Los Angeles highway. In 1938, Route 66 became the first completely paved transcontinental highway in America — the “Mother Road” — stretching from the Great Lakes to the Pacific Coast.
Traces of the Mother Road still are visible in downtown Springfield along Kearney Street, Glenstone Avenue, College and St. Louis streets and on Missouri 266 to Halltown. The red booths and gleaming chrome in mom-and-pop diners, the stone cottages of tourist courts and the many service stations along this route saw America fall in love with the automobile.
Springfield mixes its past with the future as historic Route 66 borders the downtown Jordan Valley Park. The road that once was to be the east/west thoroughfare for travelers in a hurry to get to their destinations now serves sightseers who take a more relaxed pace and savor every detail.
Explorers coming through Springfield can choose from two original routes: the colorful downtown area, site of the city’s square and several historic events; or bypass the city on the north side.
Learn more about the History Museum on the Square or call 417-832-1200 or 417-864-1976.
To learn more about this and other things to do in Springfield, call the Convention & Visitors Bureau at 417-881-5300 or 800-678-8767 or visit SpringfieldAdventures.com. The CVB is a nonprofit organization dedicated to boosting the local economy by promoting travel and tourism to Springfield.
Written by Susan Wade, public relations manager at the Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau.