I’ve wanted to stop at the Madonna shrine with her arms outstretched for a long time. The shrine near Waggoner, Illinois is one of the lesser known Route 66 stops. It is called the “Our Lady of the Highway.
This lovely shrine is located on private property, on a farm along Historic Route 66.
I love the story behind this lovely lady. The shrine was built in 1958. The Litchfield Deanery’s Catholic Youth Council raised $900. The statue was then placed on the property of Francis Marten. The shrine was dedicated in 1959.
The Route 66 sign
The “Our Lady of the Highway” stands on stone base in a wooden alcove surrounded by brick. Underneath the Madonna are the words, “”Mary loving Mother of Jesus, Protect us on the Highways”.
There is a Route 66 Roadside Attraction site sign. The sign shares, “Even though it was wonderful to have a paved hard road to travel on, many motor accidents did occur on Route 66. In 1959, this shrine was erected to remind motorists of the potential dangers and offered a place to say a prayer for a safe journey.”
No matter your faith, it is nice to know that there is a place where you can pull over. Say a prayer for safe travels. It is a tenant of their faith that the Martens family has maintained this on their private property all these years. Francis Marten passed away in 2002.
The statue of Virgin Mary is a replica of Our Lady of Lourdes. The marble for the statue is Carrara marble from Italy.
Along the road are signs of the Hail Mary. Continuing south on I-55 are other Route 66 stops that I have profiled. A little Route 66 history is close by!