College Street / Route 66

  1. Mark your calendar for fifth annual Birthplace of Route 66 Festival Aug. 14-16

    Join us in downtown Springfield Aug. 14-16 for the fifth annual Birthplace of Route 66 Festival. This year's festival promises to be the best yet with an expanded two-day car show and new events such as a parade, a motorcycle show and a cruise-in party. Read on...
  2. You're invited! Press conference for 2015 Birthplace of Route 66 Festival on Monday

    Join the City of Springfield and Birthplace of Route 66 Festival partners as we announce the featured attractions of the 2015 festival. Read on...
  3. Director of Planning Ralph Rognstad announces retirement

    Springfield’s Director of Planning and Development Ralph Rognstad announces he will retire Jan. 23, 2015. Rognstad has worked for the City 27 years. Read on...
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Birthplace of Route 66
Springfield is officially recognized as the birthplace of what became known as the iconic "Mother Road." It was on April 30, 1926 at Park Central Square where officials first proposed U.S. 66 as the name of the new Chicago-to-Los Angeles highway.

Route 66 meandered across the city from Kearney to Glenstone to St. Louis Street, through Park Central Square to Olive and College streets, then headed west along what is now Chestnut Expressway.
Image of the old Route 66 sign.
Join the Cause
You can be part of Springfield’s Route 66 legacy by helping fund the creative components of the Birthplace of Route 66 Roadside Park. The park includes a replica of the Red’s Giant Hamburg sign; future plans include a filling station replica with restrooms, vending machines and visitor information; a relocated motor court cottage and sign replica; a Route 66 sculpture; and a Lily-Tulip / Solo Cup sculpture.

  • Call 417-864-1031 to find out how you can be involved in the Birthplace of Route 66 Roadside Park project.
  • Review project pictures in the photo gallery.
Historically Significant Area
Springfield’s ties to the College Street Corridor date back to the 1830s, when Springfield forefather John Polk Campbell settled with his family near a large spring located in what is now referred to as the West Meadows area of Jordan Valley Park. The spring served as a water source for nearby homesteads, and local congregations often used it for baptisms.

During the Civil War, Union troops built a fort on the south side of College Street with a covered walkway to Fulbright Spring. Long thought obliterated by rail yard construction around the turn of the 19th century, Fulbright Spring resurfaced in October 2012 during remediation of the old rail yard. City planners are interested in incorporating the spring into the design of a water feature for the redeveloped area.