Route 66 News

Route 66 tourist center opens in Edwardsville

Afterwords Books, Edwardsville, IL

Route 66 information center in Edwardsville, Illinois, has opened in the Afterwords Books store, which was a tourist inn for Route 66 travelers many years ago.

The Edwardsville Intelligencer reports the city’s Historic Preservation Commission forged a partnership with the bookstore to offer brochures and information about restaurants, museums, hotels, entertainment and other visitor information about Edwardsville.

Cindy Reinhardt of the commission said the bookstore’s owner also has placed a book on a coffee table so visitors can sit and read about the history of the former Victorian house, built in 1897.

Reinhardt says many municipalities along the highway have visitors’ centers and she hopes this will help travelers feel more compelled to stop and explore Edwardsville as they make their way across the country.

“We know there are hundreds of foreign travelers that pass through Edwardsville every year because of the credit card receipts at local gas stations,” she said. “Route 66 is in the top three of tourist attractions in Illinois. We should be capitalizing on the visitors while they are in town.”

More about Afterwords Books’ former history as a Route 66 tourist inn:

This historic building, although built as a single family home by a wealthy resident of Edwardsville, became a tourist inn in the early 1920s. A decade later, tourist cabins were added on the grounds to accommodate additional travelers on America’s Mother Road.

Several of the tourist cabins still exist behind the home. The owner, George Cathcart, opened a popular restaurant next door, which no longer exists.

Afterwords Books is at 454 E. Vandalia St. (aka Route 66) in Edwardsville (map here). Its hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. It is closed Sunday and Monday.

The Miles of Possibility Conference in Edwardsville in October probably spurred the city to do something about the dearth of Route 66 information for visitors. And Reinhardt probably stung city officials weeks later when she told the local newspaper that Edwardsville was missing the Route 66 tourism boat.

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