Route History in Springfield, IL reopens after the pandemic on July 9

Route History in Springfield, IL reopens after the pandemic on July 9

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Gina Lathan and Stacy Grundy, two of the owners of Route History at 737 E. Cook St. in Springfield, joked recently that in the past few months they have become painters, construction workers and furniture movers.

That’s all been in an effort to get the museum and visitors center, which was shuttered by the COVID-19 pandemic, open by July 9.

It wasn’t simply a matter of flinging the doors open again.

More: Grant a boost to city’s Route History

Visitors to Route History, which in part highlights stories around the Black experience on historic Route 66, will be greeted by a new mural on the building’s east wall, updated exhibits and more outdoor amenities.

Included is a tribute to four important Black entrepreneurs in Springfield, two of whom were killed in the 1908 Springfield Race Riot.

Gina Lathan, left, and Stacy Grundy, are two of the owners, along with Kenneth Lockhart, of Route History at 737 E. Cook St. Route History reopens July 9 with a new mural, more outside amenities and updated exhibits.

Like in the past, Route History is hoping to get foot traffic from other nearby attractions, including the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, the Elijah Iles Home and the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Museum. Route History is also positioning itself with the centennial of Route 66 being marked in 2026.

“(The reopening) means a new way of doing the work that we do,” Lathan said.



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