Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway - The Mother Road Rambler Newsletter - November, 2014
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Shea’s Gas Station Museum in Springfield, IL is the Latest Illinois Route 66 Iconic Attraction to Go on Sale

WICS-TV News Channel 20 in Springfield officially broke the story on 11/23/14 that Bill Shea’s Gas Station Museum on Route 66 in Springfield is up for sale. Speculation of this fact has been swirling since the death of Bill Shea Sr. last year at the age of 91.

Yesterday, Bill Shea Jr. made it official in a story broadcast by reporter Evan Peterson. Shea’s plans for selling the world-famous museum at this time are through “word of mouth”. In the interview, Shea Jr and his daughter explained they don’t have the resources within the family to keep the museum open. It is unclear if the museum will be sold as a whole or parceled out in portions and whether it will remain in its original location.

Also unclear is the price tag for the iconic gas station museum, which has been visited by “hundreds of thousands” of people over the years. The WICS story ( also mentioned how important the museum has become for people living in the neighborhood.

The Illinois Route 66 attraction is not the only highly visible part of the Mother Road that is up for sale. Back in July, it was announced that the giant Brooks Catsup Bottle in Collinsville, IL is now for sale. Southern Illinois news outlets reported a price tag of $500,000 for this attraction, with some reports indicating that Oscar Mayer may be interested in buying it (Riverfront Times, 7/31/14).

The phenomenon is not a new one for Illinois Route 66, with several attractions going on the chopping block over the years, some of which have been sold and some not, including The World’s Largest Covered Wagon (Divernon), The Mill Restaurant (Lincoln), The Tropics Restaurant (Lincoln), and the Bunyan’s Statue (Cicero).

“At best, if these major attractions go up for sale, we hope they stay where they are on Route 66, or at least remain in a Route 66 Illinois community,” said Bill Kelly, executive director of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway. “These attractions are an important reason why people from all over the world are visiting Route 66 in the state,” he said. The World’s Largest Covered Wagon was sold in 2007 and moved from Divernon to the Route 66 community of Lincoln and Bunyan’s Statue was reportedly rescued from eBay and relocated to the vibrant Illinois Route 66 community of Atlanta. The fate of other attractions remains unclear.

December Holiday Events Along Illinois Route 66!

Christmas with the Lincolns
12/3/14 - 1/2/15
Discover how the Lincolns celebrated the holidays by taking a tour through the Lincoln Home in downtown Springfield. The home will be decorated in period decor for the Christmas holiday season.
Learn More

Carlinville Christmas Market
12/5/14 - 12/6/14
The Carlinville Christmas Market takes place on the first full weekend in December - Friday & Saturday. The Market has retained its earlier romance by presenting bright, white tents lined with the arts and crafts of talented artisans, food vendors, trolley tours, horse-drawn carriage rides, costumed carolers and street performers, children's activities, and other holiday attractions.
Light the Veltway
Roosevelt Road will light the way to the holiday season with merriment including live music, food and libations. Berwyn's entertainment row will offer festivities for the whole family. Call 708-788-8100.
Learn More

Berwyn's Deck the Depot
Saunter over to Berwyn's Depot District for Deck the Depot, a brisk holiday walk through Berwyn's downtown Winter Wonderland complete with lights, live reindeer and a petting zoo at the Municipal Parking Facility. Let Santa know what's on your wish list and then get a complimentary photo with the Big Man in Red at Bounce Sports. Snuggle up on a horse-drawn sleigh ride or a hayride (Windsor & Grove Ave.). Relax to the sounds of Carolers.
White Christmas at the Wildey Theatre
The Friends of Edwardsville Wildey Theatre & Hudson Jewelers present the classic  Bing Crosby holiday film, White Christmas. All audience members receive a free goodie bag filled with special props to use during the movie. Before the show, a Wildey Christmas Party will help you get in the spirit with holiday inspired drinks and hors d'oeuvres! Enjoy Irving Berlin's classic tale with a theater full of your closest friends. Join in the fun!
Learn More
Pontiac Holiday Tournament
12/29/14 - 12/31/14
The Pontiac Holiday tournament, founded in 1926 by Don “Cash” Seaton, physical education teacher and head basketball coach, has the distinction of being the original and oldest high school Christmas tournament in the nation.  Seaton envisioned an event that would bring teams from different parts of the state to Central Illinois for three days during the week between Christmas and New Year's Day.  Fans have a great experience watching some of the best teams, players, and coaches in Illinois participate in the 84nd tournament.


Learn more about what Illinois Route 66 has to offer for your next vacation plans! Be sure to also visit our website at
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Our mailing address is:
Illinois Route 66 Heritage Project
700 E. Adams
Springfield, IL 62701

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