A stop in Pontiac Illinois was perfect after the BBQ festival in Dwight. In Dwight I wanted to see the stops I missed when Keith and I traveled to this amazing town in early April. Traveling with my grandkids and my sister-in-law Terri and brother-in-law Kim, we decided we had time for one more Route 66 stop! Both Dwight and Pontiac are along the Mother Road. They offer up Route 66 treasures in museums and murals!
Following the old Route 66, we headed to downtown Pontiac to experience the museum complex. They are housed in the former fire station and city complex. There is also former jail cells!
What did we see?
The huge building has ten museums inside! There is the Livingston County War Museum. This museum was quite touching. My brother and sister in law years ago had met up with our former teacher and Pawnee basketball coach. The late Mr. Jack Murphy had taught in Pawnee for years. He had been a volunteer at the museum and Kim and Terri had met him during an earlier visit. He was a Korean veteran like my late father who was in the Navy.
There was also the Museum of the Gilding Arts which I missed. I also somehow missed the automobile museum which I want to go back and see! We did see the Livingston County History Exhibit, the Walldog Mural Exhibit and the grandkids hands down favorite, Life in the 1940’s Exhibit.
Music of the Civil War Exhibit was fun, but the Bob Waldmire Experience hit home since I did a story not long ago about what has happened with his remaining art with his brother for Senior News & Times for Illinois. This was a cool exhibit. What really made it cool was outside was the bus that Bob Walmire traveled around in for years on display!
Life on the Titanic was also interesting with a focus on the ship that rescued survivors on the Titanic the British passenger liner the Carpathia.
Outside of the museum were the several murals. The largest is the Route 66 Mural that I saw two corvettes parked in front of. The gentleman I spoke to said the car was his wife’s, an anniversary present. I took a family picture for them. It was a wonderful moment. All in all, there are 23 murals in Pontiac. The one I saw has original bricks from Route 66 at its base.
Eighteen of the murals were painted by Walldogs that came to Pontiac in 2009! I need to come back and take the entire tour of the murals. We had a quick stop today and had to get back with just a little over an hour in town, not nearly enough time to do the murals and museums justice! We saw some of the main images, like Daniels Oil which depicts Daniels Oil and gas service station and Roszell’s Soda Shop which actually represents a fictional fountain.
Route 66 Magic
Traveling down the Historic Route 66 was a bit magical with the car filled with family. Sharing stories and everyone picking out their favorite stop of the day made for a magical trek that I think families over the decades generation from generation must have relived just like we did.