Passing Through Lincoln, Illinois
During my ride through Illinois in the fall of 2015, I followed Route 66 north from Springfield and passed through the town of Lincoln, Illinois. Prior to leaving home, I did almost no research about the areas I might ride through. I was just sort of floating on the wind and letting the ride unfold on it’s own in between a few punctation marks. And so, as I passed through Lincoln I wasn’t really looking to see anything in particular.
My knowledge of Route 66 is pretty limited in the grand scheme of things. I think that worked in my favor. When you don’t know what to expect, everything is a surprise and quite often, exciting.
When I pulled in to Lincoln, it felt like the type of America you see on tv. That may sound funny to you if you’re from an area that looks like Lincoln. But to people who exist in the bland, homogenized suburbs of a major city like New York, places like these look special.
In the middle of town there’s a square with green grass and a grand courthouse. Also a firehouse with a telephone booth on the roof. Brick buildings line the streets that spider away from the square. The whole place felt like it was covered in lovely nostalgia dust.
Figuring I may never pass that way again, I took a turn around the town, riding up and down the side streets around the town square. Along Pulaski Street, I spied a lovely ghost ad.
“Smoke Greenback Tobacco – Purest and Best(?)”
The ad is for Greenback Smoking Tobacco, a brand I’d never heard of before. A quick Google turned up this article: ‘Ghost’ turns up in Lincoln alley from The Lincoln Courier discussing the mural. The article from 2009 mentions the hope of findinf out about its history but my Google searches haven’t turned up anything more posted since then.
Greenback Smoking Tobacco Ghost Ad
Side of 414 Pulaski Street
Before continuing on, I snapped a shot in front of the big penny mural. A perfect way to say goodbye to Lincoln.
I strongly support your approach. Not knowing what to expect opens a door to serendipitous delights. On my first big trip to North Dakota, I came back through rural PA and stumbled into Punxsutawney, not realizing where in the world that place was. Seeing ubiquitous groundhog references was an unexpected treat.