The Village is a little known location of a small unused portion of the original Illinois portion of Route 66. This segment underscores the fast paced evolution of Route 66 in Illinois. Designated as a part of the Mother Road in 1926, it was quickly replaced in 1930 with a major realignment to the east.
The original Route 66 road’s cross section included two eight-foot wide lanes with four to seven foot wide gravel shoulders. The Portland cement slab was generally six inches thick. Although cracked in places, its current concrete pavement is original and sits on Sherman's northern edge of town. The road is in two segments as seen in the photographs below. The northern segment is 335 feet in length and the southern segment is 440 feet in length and has a small portion of an entry onto the northbound lane. Plans to revitalize the area call for the two sections to be connected with a pedestrian bridge over a drainage channel which separates the two sections of the roadway. Parking for 20 vehicles and 23 motorcycles will be available for visitors to the park.
In 2007, Mayor Trevor J. Clatfelter pursued acquisition of the property from the Illinois Department of Transportation and was successful in obtaining a jurisdictional transfer of the property. The Village of Sherman now officially ownes the property. In 2009, Mayor Clatfelter established a Planning Team consisting of a Village Trustee who served as Chairman of the Committee and five local residents who developed an initial “concept plan” for the area. The Mayor and the Committee then formally presented a conceptual design to the full Village Board showing plans for the Historic Route 66 and Veteran’s Memorial Park.
In 2010, the Architectural firm retained by the Village prepared the final Park Plan based upon the original “concept plan” of which is detailed below.
This unique section of the road through the park along with a Veteran’s Memorial will serve as a Gateway Park into the Village for those traveling on Interstate 55 and Business 55 through Sherman. The park is expected to draw Route 66 enthusiasts to the area, helping local businesses and Village sales tax revenues. The Village is pursuing state and federal grant assistance for the development of the park and is working with the Illinois Route 66 Association http://il66assoc.org/ for both marketing and signage assistance. A date for construction is pending receipt of funding.