Go on a treasure hunt! The stories behind our Unique Sites are intriguing and encourage exploration of all that Illinois South has to offer.
The Ariston Cafe was founded by Pete Adam, a Greek immigrant, in Carlinville, Illinois in 1924. The original cafe was located on Route 4, the predecessor of Historic Route 66. In 1929, the Cafe was relocated to Litchfield, Illinois and moved into its present location on Route 66 in 1935.
We believe the Ariston Cafe to be one of the oldest, if not the oldest restaurant on Route 66. In 1992, The Ariston Cafe and the Adam family were inducted into the Route 66 Hall of Fame. Since 1966, Pete’s son Nick and Nick’s wife, Demi, have continued to offer the traditional service expected of a family-owned and operated restaurant. Paul, eldest son of Demi and Nick, and his wife, Joy, joined the family business in 2004. All involved in bringing great food and service to your table welcome you to Litchfield and invite you to share our history with us.
The legendary entertainer, Burl Ives, is buried in Mound Cemetery in Newton, near where he was born. A beautifully carved granite monument is erected to mark his grave. Ives will always be remembered for voicing Sam the Snowman.
Visit an exact replica of a Civil War Fort complete with a jail, one room home, livery and log cabins. Be sure to see the display of area churches and other buildings all done in miniature. The churches have as many as 10,000 bricks and tiny stained glass windows. By appointment.
The Historic National Road follows Old Hwy. 40 across the state. As it goes through Greenup, the road crosses the Embarras River. In 2000, the one-lane bridge was rebuilt to look old, but don’t be fooled – it has no weight restrictions and can handle a fully loaded semi!
Tours are offered of the Ski and Craft Beer bottling plant. Never heard of Ski? You have a treat in store. This is a great opportunity to see how these favorite drinks are actually made.
The mural is located in the Post Office lobby, and was painted by American Artist Dorothea Mierisch. It commemorates the first official airmail flight that took place in McLeansboro September 26, 1912.
This cemetery was created when graves were moved from Kaskaskia Island to Fort Kaskaskia State Historic Site in the 1890s after a flood. According to one account 3,000 boxes were moved, some containing entire families.
The world’s second tallest fountain is across from the Gateway Arch on the Mississippi riverfront. The 40 foot high Mississippi River Overlook platform provides a scenic view of the Geyser, the Mississippi River, and the Gateway Arch and skyline.
Notably, this is the burial site of the first Governor of Illinois and of U.S. Senator Elias Kent Kane, Illinois’ first Secretary of State and architect of the state constitution.
Harmony Park is a series of outdoor musical instruments, such as chimes and drums, that are each designed to make notes in harmony with each other when played. Harmony Park can be used by boys and girls, children and adults, and is accessible to those who may have disabilities. Harmony Park gives people of all ages the opportunity to work together to create something
On a large natural stone in the Park, you can see the trail reported to have been used by Abraham Lincoln and others as they traveled between Vandalia and Springfield, IL in the early 1800s. The Lincoln Trail is on the National Registry of Historic Places.
Locks 26 and 27 are the largest locks in the inland waterway system. Lock 26 in Alton has a visitor’s center with river displays. Lock 27 located in Granite City is the only lock on the 8.4 mile, man made canal and is the most southerly located.
Ten storyboards depicting Abraham Lincoln’s early years as a legislator are installed around Vandalia. Find out about his early romance with Mary Owens, his first protest against slavery and many other little-known historical facts.
There are 200 beautifully landscaped acres of gardens, devotional areas, an Outdoor Amphitheatre, the Shrine Church, the Lourdes Grotto, Stations of the Cross, the Millennium Spire, Visitors Center with a restaurant & gift shop and the Shrine Hotel.
Niehaus Cycle Sales has been a family run business for over 46 years. Our friendly, knowledgeable sales and service staff and convenient location have helped us maintain a reputation as one of the area’s premier power sports dealers. Our extensive selection of clothing and accessories from top quality manufacturers, ensures that you’ll look as good as you feel when you ride.
This bridge is one of the world’s longest pedestrian/bicycle bridges and offers commanding views of the Mississippi River and a great perch for American Eagle watching. Years ago the bridge became very popular as the Route 66 bridge with a 45 degree right curve in the middle. The Bridge is the site of Eagle Days in January and other events.
See the workhorse of the Air Mobility Command, the C-141 Starlifter, and the KC-135 Stratotanker. Additionally, the C-9 Nightingale, C-130 Hercules, C-140 Jetstar and a C-21 Lear Jet are on display. Scott AFB is one of the oldest, continuous-service Air Force installations in the country.
An actual 35.25 ft. long steel column, weighing 7,100 lbs. from one of the fallen World Trade Center towers is a signature feature of the memorial. A timeline tells of the events of 9/11 including the Twin Towers, Pentagon and Flight 93.
In an area once known as Calvert Hallow, this bridge was built by Army engineers over a century ago as part of the National Road. Each stone was shaped by hand and no mortar or concrete was used. The stones were clamped together with keys to prevent slipping.
Built in 1906 for the Big Four Railroad, the bridge is now a one lane toll bridge ($1). Turn on your headlights to alert oncoming traffic that you’re headed across. Don’t worry if the wooden planks clatter a little, because the view of the Wabash River through the steel framework is totally worth the drive.
The discovery of white squirrels in the Olney area more than 100 years ago spawned local legends and continuing interest. The albino population has flourished with the aid of vigilant individuals and organizations. Search for them in area parks. Be careful, though, they are nurtured and protected by the residents, businesses and city fathers.
‘Strategically placed’ at the Casey Country Club, this wooden golf tee measures more than 30 feet from the ground to the top, with a head diameter of 6.26 feet and a shaft diameter of 2.1 feet. Constructed of yellow pine boards, it is held together by 60 gallons of glue and 120 pounds of screws. The total structure weighs 6,659 pounds.
This horseshoe is 1,144.2 lbs. of solid cast iron. It measures 5’1 1/4″ high by 5′ 8″ wide by 4′ 5/8″ thick. It was featured in a Fruit of the Loom “Lucky Looms” online advertising campaign. It held the Guinness Book of World Records title from June 21, 2013 until September 8, 2015.
The Yarn Studio showcases these big crafting tools made of solid white pine. The knitting needles weigh 50 pounds together and are more than 13 feet high. The crochet hook weights 9 pounds and is 6 feet, 1 1/2 inches tall.
This 60-foot long wood and steel pitchfork weighs 1,940 pounds. It is located outside of Richards Farm Restaurant, where it is beautifully landscaped and positioned at an angle, so as to create a unique photo opportunity from several sides.
Standing 56′ 6″ tall, and 38′ from rocker end to end, is a 46,200 pound rocking chair made from Western Red Cedar, with 20″ and 7″ pipes forming a steel skeleton on the wood base. It is located directly across the street from the World’s Largest Wind Chime.
The beautifully landscaped steel wind chime, in downtown Casey, IL., measures 55 feet in height. The four steel pipe chimes vary in length, each creating its own unique sound. Visitors are welcome to chime the chimes, except on days of inclement weather.
In the 2017 Guinness Book, the World’s Largest Wooden Clogs have been added. They began as a chain saw carving by artist Jim Bolin, and evolved into this pair of shiny, wooden shoes after several people helped finish them. They are on display at Casey’s Candy Depot in Casey, IL.
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