Sometimes called The Mother Road or Main Street America, Route 66 entered Springfield from the east on what is now Kearney Street and cut its way through the heart of the city, including a portion of Glenstone Avenue, St. Louis Street, College Street, and West Chestnut Expressway.
With the advent of interstates, Route 66 became obsolete and was decommissioned in 1985.
John Sellars, executive director of the History Museum on the Square, said Route 66 made Springfield a point along a well-traveled highway.
“It’s such an integral part of our history,” Sellars said, adding that as time went on, the historic highway kind of became old hat. But local efforts are bringing more attention to the highway’s importance again.
Sellars said people from more than 20 countries have visited downtown Springfield since the history museum opened its Route 66 exhibit in April.