For Immediate Release
Hy-Vee fundraiser for Route 66 project
Officially recognized as the birthplace of what became known as the iconic "Mother Road," it was in Springfield on April 30, 1926 that officials first proposed U.S. 66 as name of the new Chicago-to-Los Angeles highway.
Traces of Route 66 are still visible in downtown Springfield, along Kearney Street, Glenstone Avenue, College and St. Louis streets, and Chestnut Expressway.
An upcoming City project will celebrate Springfield's history as the birthplace of the iconic "Mother Road."
Plans are in the works to revitalize the College Street corridor, where Route 66 cut through the center of the city. The City-owned West Meadows area (on College just east of Fort) will include a Route 66 roadside park, including a plaza, sculptures, a picnic area, a gateway and more.
One feature at the park would be a replica of the Red's Giant Hamburg sign. Red's, owned and operated by Sheldon "Red" Chaney and his wife Julia, was a roadside café located on West Chestnut Expressway recognized for opening the world's first drive-through window. The café's name was supposed to be Red's Giant Hamburger, but Chaney measured the sign incorrectly and dropped the "er." Red's opened in 1947 and closed in 1984. The building was torn down in 1997.
Springfield's Hy-Vee store is raising money to fund the sign replica May 6-12. Customers can look over the plans for the park, browse Route 66 displays in the store and purchase T-shirts.
Want to learn more about Route 66 in Springfield? Take a "road trip" down to the History Museum on the Square's exhibit celebrating Springfield as the birthplace of Route 66.
Museum hours are 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday. Admission fees are $5 for adults and $3 for children. The exhibit will be on display through Aug. 31. Visit springfieldhistorymuseum.org or call 832-1200 for more information.
Remember Springfield rockabilly band The Morells? Check out this fun music video they shot at Red's in 1982: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfs-TFt96T0
For more information, contact: Luke Rogers at Hy-Vee, 881-1950 or Vern Morgan, City of Springfield Planning Department, at 417-864-1844.