The photo gallery in this section is just a sampling of the astonishing swath of Americana awaiting travelers along US36.

All photos are by Allan Ferguson unless otherwise noted. Many more attractions are featured in Route 36: Ohio to Colorado—America’s Heartland Highway.

Illinois – Map 1

Arthur, Illinois—just 5 miles south of Route 36—is surrounded by one of the largest Amish-Mennonite populations in the country.

This is the old Hotel Orlando (now condos) in my hometown, Decatur, Illinois. It’s a classic— typical of fine hotels once found in the centers of most American cities of some size.

Illinois – Map 2

Springfield, Illinois, is “Lincoln Land.” The Lincoln Home, managed by the US Park Service, is visited by tens of thousands annually.

The Lincoln Presidential Museum is the second most-visited site in Springfield. That’s the museum on the left and the Lincoln Presidential Library on the right.

New Salem, about 20 miles northwest of Springfield, was Lincoln’s original stomping ground in central Illinois and is now a living museum and recreation area. Photo courtesy of Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Rather than following I-72/US36 between Springfield and Hannibal, Missouri, I recommend driving “Old 36” through Winchester and Pittsfield, Illinois. It’s a far more interesting and peaceful track. This is the onion-domed county building at Winchester.

The broad Mississippi River separates the old “Ohio Country” states from those of the Trans-Mississippi West.

Route 36: Ohio to Colorado—America’s Heartland Highway