Towanda Route 66 Park & Restoration Project
Towanda, Illinois is a community of 500 people located a little more than 100 miles southwest of Chicago on Old Route 66. Following the construction of Interstate 55 around Towanda in 1977, a 2 1/2 mile section of Route 66 was abandoned and closed off to motorized traffic. Beginning in 1998, students and faculty of Normal Community High School, Illinois State University, along with members of the local community developed this exhibit, and began to convert this portion of road into a linear park. Murals and pamphlets depicting the historical and geographical features of each of the eight states were created and placed at the site. Flower gardens were planted along with many trees and shrubs to create a beautiful walkway. Benches, split-rail fencing, sidewalks, Burma Shave signs, flagpoles, bridges, and entryway signs have been added since 1998. A large outline map of the United States was painted on the roadbed showing Route 66 from Chicago, Illinois to Santa Monica, California. This is the only interactive map you will find along the entire stretch of Route 66. This exhibit originated as a class project for Normal Community High School geography, and history students. Historical placards were placed on Old Route 66 describing the human activity occurring along this piece of the “Mother Road.” This marked the beginning of Towanda’s Historic Route 66: A Geographic Journey. Thousands of volunteer hours have made this portion of Old Route 66 an educational and enjoyable experience for thousands of people who have visited our site. Enjoy our website, and learn how this piece of Route 66 evolved over time. Come visit our scenic walkway and go back in time to experience Route 66. You can still “Get Your Kicks on Route 66.” Follow us on Facebook!