Springfield, Missouri - Mother Road Festival City and Low Cost of Living

Classic Chevy
Classic Chevy | Source

A National Treasure

This national treasure fell into disrepair and became impassable in spots during the mid-20th Century, as the new Freeway System spread across America. Towns along the way that were once prosperous lost business, jobs, and visitors as they were bypassed by the new highways. Since that time, local and national groups along the Mother Road have gathered to bring attention to new alignments (roads that road roughly parallel) to Old Route 66 and to the stretches of the road that have been repaired or rebuilt.

Old Route 66 (the Will Rogers Highway) and its newer alignments that are reconnecting the across the country are some of my favorite places to travel. Between Springfield, Illinois and St. Louis, Missouri, travelers are treated to more Route 66 landmarks and memorabilia than in any other state of the union. This makes the State of Illinois, and especially Springfield, an attractor for tourists and conventions.

Illinois's own portion of Route 66 is one of the newest US National Scenic Byways and that makes it nearly unmatched for historic scenic traveling at a more leisurely pace than "making time" on a superhighway to some destination. Route 66 is a road on which to slow down, meet people, and enjoy the history and the sights of bygone years, as well as the new installations and attractions. The Byway is celebrated at the well known website:http://illinoisroute66.org/.

International Route 66 Mother Road Festival, 2008.
International Route 66 Mother Road Festival, 2008. | Source
Source

Low Cost of Living

Springfield is reported to have one of the Top 10 Lowest Cost of Living Indexes in the USA. Sperling's Best Places lists it in late 2011 at 84 overall, much below the US national index of 100, but utilities in Springfield rate just an 80. Low utility costs is a top attraction when considering places to live.

Sperling's also lists the median housing cost at a bit over $110,600, much below the $145,700 for America as a whole. Future job growth to 2022 is predicted to be 33.8+%, under the national average and the majority of the workers in Springfield earn $35,000 - $100,000 per year, with the largest cohort earning $50, 000 - $75,000. many of the jobs available and listed below in the employment section are very well paid.

show route and directions
A markerSpringfield IL -
Springfield, IL, USA
[get directions]

B markerRoute 66 Springfield, Illinois -
S Old Route 66, Springfield, IL 62712, USA
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Historic Route 66

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A markerHistoric U.S. 66, Illinois, USA -
Historic U.S. 66, IL, USA
[get directions]

B markerS. Old Route 66, Springfield Illinois -
S Old Route 66, Springfield, IL 62712, USA
[get directions]

C markerHistoric U.S. 66, St. Louis Missouri -
Historic U.S. 66, St Louis, MO, USA
[get directions]

Murder on Route 66
Murder on Route 66

This collection of murder mysteries edited by Carolyn Wheat provides the flavor and atmosphere of Old Route 66 and the decades along the timeline from its opening to its fall into disrepair. Some editions are valuable collectibles and I've read the book 5 times. It is one of my favorites.

 

International Route 66 Mother Road Festival

This festival is held the third weekend in September each year in Springfield,Illinois to commemorate the historic and entertaining Route 66.The 2-011 installment of the event was its 10th anniversary and brought out many residents and visitors from many places.

Oldies music plays all weekend and Friday night brings out a cruise in to celebrate Route 66. One of the oldest car shows in the country takes place on the Saturday of the festival and includes over 1,000 hot rods and historic autos. Several races and auto related events occur during the weekend and beginning in 2012, several additional new features will entertain guests.

The Monster Truck Nationals was added in 2012 as a popular event in March to lead up to the festival. The O'Reilly Auto Parts Ozark 4-Wheel Jamboree Nationals takes place in May, and several other events happen in nearby in Indiana.

Abraham Lincoln's National Museum of Surveying

This museum is the only surveying museum dedicated to Lincoln in America. It was constructed in Springfield Illinois, because it is the hometown of President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln worked in surveying for a time, as did America's first President, George Washington.

In 2012, the museum is meeting the requirements of qualifying as a counselor site for offering the official Merit Badge in Surveying to the Boy and Girl Scouts of America. In addition, the museum offers learning opportunities about the American Civil War.

A new event at the venue is Experience Lincoln's Election Night. Historical actors recreate election night 1860 with costumes, authentic era foods and entertainment, and dialogue. Visitors can mingle with the people that were present on the big night and even talk to Abraham Lincoln. First held in 2011, the event was a major success in the community.

All kinds of things happen on Old Route 66.

Source

Distances From Springfield, Illinois

Selected Destinations
Intersection or Alignment
Selected Attractions
Miles (approx.)
Chicago IL
Lakeshore and Jackson Drives (most traditional starting point)
Buckingham Fountain (1927), Santa Fe Bldg. , Sears Tower (1973), Union Station, Berghoff Restaurant (since 1898)
211
Cicero
State Route 55 S to Gardner, using some city streets into towns (follow Route 66 Historical Signs)
Henry's Hot Dog Drive In
205
Berwyn
Into town: N on S Laramie, turn left on W. Cermak (Route 22) for 2 miles
Rt. 66 Beverages
203
Lyons
Into town: Route 43 S, right on Amelia
Hoffman Tower and Dam (1941)
200
*Bollingbrook
Into town: Continue on Amelia to Joilet Road and I 55 S
*Number 43 Out of the Best 100 Places to Live in the USA: 2010, CNN Money.
184
Romeoville
Into town: State Route 53 S, right on Independence, right on Belmont
It used to be Romeo and Juliet, now Romeoville and Joliet.
182
Joliet
State Route 53 S to Garner
Illinois Pennitentiary - site of The Blues Brothers.Route 66 Welcome Center: Joliet Area Historical Museum - 204 N. Ottawa St.
173
Elwood
State Route 53 to County Highway 44 to I-55 S to State Route 29
Provided the name for Elwood Blues.
164
Gardner
West on Main Street to I-55 S, to State Route 29
Horsedrawn Streetcar diner frequented by Al Capone: behind the Riviera Roadhouse, for restoration.
125
SPRINGFIELD
--
See above
--
St. Louis MO
I-55 S to I-70 W to I-64W
Chain of Rocks Bridge
91

Sample of Newer Alignments: State Route 53 and I-55

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A markerBollingbrook IL -
Bolingbrook, IL, USA
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B markerRomeoville IL -
Romeoville, IL, USA
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New Increase in Jobs, Upsurge in 2012, 2013

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Over 171,400 jobs available in September 2013. Truck Driving needs 1,000s of workers.Job listings increased several times between January 2008 and January 2011, dipped somewhat, and have remained steady to January 2012.
Over 171,400 jobs available in September 2013. Truck Driving needs 1,000s of workers.
Over 171,400 jobs available in September 2013. Truck Driving needs 1,000s of workers. | Source
Job listings increased several times between January 2008 and January 2011, dipped somewhat, and have remained steady to January 2012.
Job listings increased several times between January 2008 and January 2011, dipped somewhat, and have remained steady to January 2012. | Source

Market Outlook

During February-March 2012, job listings for the Springfield are included approximately 4,000 vacancies listed across the Internet. The highest demand jobs within this group fell into Healthcare and Transportation Industries. At the next level, most of the Healthcare Industry jobs were advertised by the United States Air Force. Additional industries provided job listings as well, but not as many in number as the USAF.

The federal and county labor departments involved with Springfield projected the Top 5 Fast growing Career Fields for the metro area for 2006 - 2016, including:

  1. Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners
  2. Food & Beverage Servers
  3. Computer Specialists- Engineers, Administrators, other
  4. Business Operations Specialists
  5. Registered Nurses (RNs, registered)

Most of these job clusters are well represented in the highest demand jobs for the area, as seen below.

Top Hiring Companies


  1. USAF - Nearly 600 job listings
  2. St. John's Hospital
  3. Memorial Medical System Facilities
  4. Schneider International - Trucking and Freight
  5. Countrywide Therapy
  6. State of Illinois - Government Jobs
  7. Springfield Clinic
  8. Builders Transportation
  9. CVS/pharmacy
  10. McDonald's
  11. Memorial Medical Center
  12. Management Recruiters of Sioux Falls
  13. LRS Consulting Services
  14. Pizza Hut
  15. Edward Jones - Financial Products
  16. Sammons Trucking
  17. Best Buy; Toys R Us, Inc.; and othes

High Demand Jobs

  1. Company and Owner Operator Truck Drivers
  2. Occupational Therapists
  3. Engineers - Largely in IT
  4. RN Nurses
  5. Dentists
  6. Pharmacists
  7. Physicians
  8. Clinical Psychologists
  9. Clinical Social Workers
  10. Optometrists
  11. Merchandisers
  12. Shift Supervisors
  13. Pharmacy Technicians
  14. Managers and Assistant Managers - Retail and Services
  15. Photo Lab Supervisors
  16. Real Estate Sales Professionals
  17. Retail Salespeople
  18. Food and Dining Jobs - Crew workers

Local Higher Education and Training

  • Benedictine University at Springfield (Athletics available) - www1.ben.edu/springfield
  • Lincoln Land Community College www.llcc.edu/ - Home to the most students of any Springfield College.
  • Midwest Technical Institute, Springfield & East Peoria - Medium-length training to certifications. midwesttech.edu/
  • Robert Morris University - RMU, Springfield.www.robertmorris.edu/
  • St. John's College in Springfield, Illinois www.stjohnscollegespringfield.edu/
  • St. John's Hospital - Teaching Hospital & School of Clinical Lab Science (Lab Sciece is a shorter-term certificate). www.hshsmedicalgroup.org
  • Southern Illinois University www.siu.edu/
  • Springfield College in Illinois www.sci.edu
  • University of Illinois Springfield - UIS www.uis.edu/
  • University of Spa & Cosmetology Arts - Medium-length training to related certification. www.uscart.com/

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