College Street / Route 66

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 the Colonial Hotel via telegram that Springfield businessman John T. Woodruff and Oklahoma businessman Cy Avery 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.
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 restrooms, visitor information and sculptures. 

  • 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.