About a year ago, a Springfield newspaper reported that the Route 66 town of Atlanta, Ill., was reviving an old boarding house that housed overnight Route 66 travelers until the 1940s.
Here’s the excerpt:
The community also has purchased an 1891 residence that served as a rooming house for Route 66 travelers in the 1940s, before motels were readily available. The city plans to offer the same service to modern travelers, although the Atlanta Route 66 Rooming House isn’t expected to open until 2013.
Recently, Bill Thomas of the Atlanta Betterment Fund emailed photos of the old boarding house and more details about the town’s plans for it … and other things:
Our intent is to expand upon the idea of giving visitors recreated experiences as they travel Rt. 66; an idea that is the main underpinning of most of what we are trying to do in Atlanta. Currently, folks visiting town get to experience what it would have been like to eat at a small town, Rt. 66 cafe circa 1935 by stopping at the Palms Grill Cafe. We now want to let them experience what it would have been like to spend the night along Rt. 66 before there were lots of motels established along the Mother Road. We are about 1/3rd of the way through this project. We are currently projecting that we’ll open “Neva’s Rooming House” in time for the 2014 tourist season. [Neva is the name of the woman who ran the rooming house back in the 1940s.] …
FYI, next on the list after the rooming house project is completed is the renovation of the “Palace”, Atlanta’s movie theater that opened in October 1947, just half a block off Rt. 66. The building still stands and is currently houses apartments, but the owner likes the idea of converting it back to a movie theater.
Thomas said renovations on the boarding house would resume in the spring.
(Photos courtesy of Bill Thomas)