Jail tour held as part of Route 66 tour

Jail tour held as part of Route 66

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U.S. Congressman Rodney Davis  and State Representative Avery Bourne went to jail on Tuesday afternoon.

They toured the Macoupin County Historic Jailhouse at 203 First South St. in Carlinville, across from the Macoupin County Courthouse.

It was part of the two-day Route 66 tour which concluded on Wednesday.

Davis and Boune started the day visiting Edwardsville’s Wildey Thater, then went to the Pink Elephant Antique Mall in Livingston before coming to the Litchfield History Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center and Jubelt’s Bakery.

Following the stop in Carlinville, they headed to Doc’s Soda Fountain in Girard.

They were greeted by Carlinville Mayor Deanna Demuzio, Macoupin County Sheriff Shawn Kahl, Macoupin County Board Chair Mark Dragovich, Harry Starr, vice-chair of the econoomic development committee of the Macoupin County Board, and Todd Armour, chairman of the Macoupin County Board Economic Development Committee.

Both Davis and Bourne commented on the importantancc of maintaining Route 66’s historic landmarks.

“The interesting thing is, those of us who grew up around Route 66, they take it for granted,” Davis said. “What it means for our nation’s history. What it means for tourism and people coming to see what we have here in Illinois.”

Bourne is the sponsor of state House Bill 66 to establish a state Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission.

Davis and U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood introduced legislation (H.R. 66 and H.R. 801) last February to establish a commission to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Route 66 and establish the route as a National Historic Tour.

“It’s been a privledge to join congressman Davis on the first ever congressional Route 66 tour,” Bourne said.“I’ve never been through the jail so I’m excited to do this.”

The Macoupin County Historic Jail was built in 1867 as part of the Macoupin County Courthouse project. It was made out of stone blocks and embeddled cannon balls to prevent escape. It also served as the jailer’s home.

The jail closed in 1989. Money is currently being raised to help restore the jail and make it a tourist attraction for those visiting the area.

Route 66 was established in 1926, encompassing 2400 miles from Chicago to Santa Monica, Calif., passing through seven states. It was officially decommissioned in 1985 and named a National Scenic Byway in 2005.

The economic impact in Illinois includes $34 billion in expenditures, 292 million jobs, $1.6 billion in state taxes and $815 million in local taxes. In Macoupin County, it has $45.25 million in tourism expenditures, 210 jobs and $1.85 million in local taxes.