International Travelers Are Getting Their Kicks at Sangamon Watches on Historic Illinois Route 66

Deep in the heart of Springfield, Illinois, sits one of Route 66’s most sought-after local attractions. Sangamon Watches is located in downtown Springfield on 6th street, across from City’s Visitors Center, it is the only locally created and owned watch brand on Route 66. This phenomenal wristwatch shop opened its downtown location in October 2021. Since its opening, Sangamon Watches has found tremendous business success and met countless friendly faces. People from all over the world have stopped to visit this fantastic shop, reveling at their beautiful watches, friendly staff, and historical residence. Travelers along Route 66 have made it essential to stop at Sangamon Watches and have written blogs and filmed YouTube videos to showcase their shop. Local TV and radio media has helped expose the world to this shop’s unique and authentic products and services.

Brian Su and Tyler Mckay, the founders of Sangamon Watches, had the vision to preserve the tradition and history of the wristwatch’s design while also embracing modern technology. Brian moved to America in the 1980s, coming from a background in international business. Tyler transitioned from his farming background into business and entrepreneurship, studying at the Gies College of Business at the University of Illinois. American history was a common interest for the two, which birthed their idea to open their historical shop. Brian and Tyler wanted to create more than just a luxury product. Their love of local and national history can be seen and felt throughout each watch and throughout every layer of their business.

In 2020, while most of the world shut down and business halted, Sangamon Watches overcame these challenges and released three watch collections. Since then, the company has also launched a few other collections. Sangamon Watches’ Mother Road Collection of watches was coined from the shop’s home alongside Route 66. The Mother Road Collection are high-quality, well-made wrist watches with a modern yet classic sports look. You’ll find a color and style that meets your needs throughout the collection. These watches have been sought after by many travelers looking to add a new piece to their collection. These watches are also an excellent souvenir for anyone new to wearing watches and wanting to start with a first-rate piece.

Brian and Tyler have dedicated their business to the history of this country. They value high-quality, intentionally made products with superior craftsmanship. Through their hard work and vision, they successfully overcame this pandemic and launched Sangamon Watches into reality. They’ve proven that even in today’s modern society of fast-made products, superior artistry still reigns supreme. Their mortar and brick shop, located at 206 South 6th Street in downtown Springfield has become a hot spot for Route 66 travelers from across the globe. They’ve met the smiling faces of travelers from Russia, Ireland, the UK, Spain, Canada, China and Japan.

Sangamon Watches still honors local businesses and values investing their success back into their community. Since being in business, they’ve donated to over fifteen local charities and community events including the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival. Stop by the shop and browse their unique collection of wristwatches, locally handcrafted gifts, and route 66 passports. Brian and Tyler have a gift for all route 66 travelers!

Don’t forget to check out and follow them on Instagram at

Sangamon Mother Road: A watch that Defies Categorization

We want to thank Split Second Watch for reviewing our Mother Road Collection watch. Please watch this wonderful review and subscribe the channel! Mother Road Collection is inspired by the iconic Route 66, one of the most famous roads in the world connecting Chicago to Los Angeles. The Mother Road became a symbol of classic Americana throughout the years, paving the way for greater adventure and mobility. The engraved backside of the watch highlights the famous Route 66 road sign in front of a checkered flag. The backside also highlights one of the nicknames of Route 66 with a “Main Street of America” header and the official commissioned dates of 1926-1985 underneath the sign.

Will you get your kicks on Route 66 with the Mother Road? Check it out at

Old Route 66: Get Your Kicks in Springfield Illinois

Historic Old Route 66 is right going through Springfield, the capital city of Illinois, 207 miles south of Chicago. There are so much to do and see in that you need at least two days to really get the most out of the city. Springfield is rich in history, particularly in relation to Abraham Lincoln, who lived here before becoming the 16th President of the USA. We strongly suggest you visit the Lincoln Tomb, Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Lincoln Home, and the historic State Capitol Building.

If you visit Springfield at the end of September, you’ll get to experience the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival. The three-day event is so much fun with live bands, great food and about a thousand hot rods to admire. Don’t forget to check out the Mother Road Collection watches produced by Sangamon Watch Company, and come to pick up a new edition Mother Road Route 66 passport!

What to See

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum (212 N. 6th St., 217/557-4588, 9am-5pm daily, last admission 4pm, $15) is one of the most popular presidential libraries. It’s a 200,000-square-foot complex with 40,000 square feet of galleries, theater presentations, historical artifacts, and interactive exhibits.

Lincoln Home National Historic Site (426 S. 7th St., 217/492-4241, 8:30am-5pm daily, free) is the two-story Greek Revival home that Lincoln lived in from 1844 to 1861. Built in 1839, the property has been restored to look as it did when Lincoln lived here, and several pieces of furniture on display are originals. Summer is the busy season, so it’s best to arrive as early as possible.

Lincoln’s Tomb is north of downtown at the Oak Ridge Cemetery (1500 Monument Ave., 217/782-2717, 9am-5pm daily Apr.-Aug., 9am-4:30pm Wed. Sept.-Mar.), the second-most popular cemetery in America after Arlington National Cemetery in Washington DC. After Lincoln was assassinated, his body was interred here in 1874. His three youngest sons and Mrs. Lincoln are also buried here. The granite tomb sits on a rectangular base located on a 12.5-acre plot in a semicircular entranceway with a 117-foot tall obelisk. A bronze reproduction of Lincoln’s head sits on a pedestal at the entrance.

Old State Capitol (1 Old State Capitol Plaza, 217/785-9363, 9am-5pm Wed.-Sat., free) is where Lincoln’s body lay in state after his assassination in 1865. It is also where Lincoln delivered his famous “House Divided” speech. In the speech Lincoln said he believed “A house divided against itself cannot stand. I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free.” The speech was a major turning point in Lincoln’s career and inspired senatorial debates regarding the moral issue of slavery, whether slavery should be legal in the North, and if slaves are human beings.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s Dana-Thomas House (301 E. Lawrence Ave., 217/782-6776, 9am-4pm Thurs.-Sun., suggested donation $10). Take a one-hour tour to explore one of the best examples of Wright’s famed Prairie architecture. The Dana-Thomas House was built in 1902; the home is 12,000-square feet with 35 rooms, 100 pieces of furniture, 250 art-glass windows, 3 main levels, and 16 varying levels.

For a fun night out retro-style, check out the Route 66 Twin Drive-In (1700 Recreation Dr., 217/698-0066, movies start at dusk Apr.-Oct., $8), a restored drive-in that screens double features.

Where to Eat and Drink

Cozy Dog Drive In (2935 S. 6th St., 217/525-1922, 8am-8pm daily, $5-10) lies south of Springfield, after Route 66 merges with 6th Street. Ed and Virginia Waldmire (parents of Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire) opened the Cozy Dog in 1949. It’s still run by the Waldmire family and the place is packed with souvenirs, Route 66 memorabilia, and throngs of travelers eating cornbread-coated wieners on a stick. The drive in is located on a busy highway, but you can’t miss it. Just keep an eye out for a huge yellow sign with two giant red hotdogs in a sweet, warm embrace

Route 66 Motorheads Bar, Grill and Museum is one of the coolest restaurants & bars you have ever seen, it is also home to a Route 66 museum showcasing some of Springfield’s historic past. A great place for lovers of Route 66, Old Cars and Vintage Signs.

Obed & Isaac’s Microbrewery and Eatery is a local favorite for great food, fun and friends. Make sure to try the delicious flatbread pizzas made from grains left over from the brewing process. If it’s a warm, sunny day, stay and enjoy an afternoon in the Bocce Ball court. Try a flight of microbrewed beers, brewed on-site, then stay for lunch or dinner at this Italianate mansion in downtown SpringfieldThis is a treat you won’t want to miss!

Hunan Restaurant is the home of the area’s best Chinese and sushi for last 40 years! Awarded Readers’ Choice Chinese and Sushi by the State Journal Register in Springfield, the local family-owned restaurant offers a full bar when you dine in and delivery is available. The newly remodeled restaurant offers very relaxing and comfortable dining experience.

Where to Shop Souvenirs & Rt 66 Passports

Sangamon Watch Company is a locally owned wristwatch company that designs and produces history inspired American heritage watches. Visit their showroom at 206 S 6th Street historic downtown Springfield (right across from Visitors Center), and watch collections such as “Mother Road Collection” and Mother Road Rt 66 Passports are available.

Lincoln’s Souvenir and Gift Shop (1407 Monument Ave, 217/523-1106) is the largest and oldest Lincoln, Springfield and Route 66 souvenir shop. The shop is local family owned & run since 1938! Bus groups are welcome.

Where to Stay

Route 66 Hotel and Conference Center is Route 66-themed hotel with largest Route 66 museum on site. Mother Road Diner is open now serving breakfast and Lunch.It has a full service restaurant and bar on site serve daily lunch and dinner. Cozy Dog Drive In is only one black away.

The Inn at 835 in downtown area is Springfield’s only nationally land-marked boutique hotel. The property offers 13 guest rooms plus six extended stay suites, all with attached private baths, internet, voicemail, and individual thermostat controls. The Inn offers many amenities to enjoy during your stay: a full Midwestern breakfast, local and national newspapers and free off-street parking. During your visit you will be within walking distance to most historic sites, all of the downtown area and the city’s public transportation system.

Things to Do

Route 66 Twin Drive-In (1700 Recreation Dr., 217/698-0066, movies start at dusk Apr.-Oct., $8), a restored drive-in that screens double features. Originally opened March 8, 1974 as the Green Meadows Drive-In, when many drive-ins were starting to go out of business, this twin screener had a brief first life, closing on August 16, 1980. After sitting vacant for almost two decades, the Knight family, who own and operate a nearby theme park, renovated and reopened the theater, as the Route 66 Drive-In. The Route 66 screens first-run features from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

The Annual Springfield Oyster and Beer Festival (S.O.B. Fest) is held at the Inn at 835 in Downtown Springfield on the Saturday of Labor Day Weekend from 12-5pm. Over 40 brands of craft beers will be represented from across the Midwest and nationally. Musical acts will keep you moving as you enjoy new and unique fine craft libations. Gourmet oyster dishes as well as food trucks to keep your belly happy while your taste buds are entertained by delicious brews.

The Annual International Route 66 Mother Road Festival takes place in September on the street of downtown Springfield, IL. A logical place for a car show, but this is no ordinary street, as it comes to life with Hot Rods celebrating the Historic Route 66 and the culture of show cars. Featuring a night car cruise, vendors, live music, pro-judged car shows – there is plenty to get your kicks on Route 66!

If you are traveling through Springfield IL on old Route 66, please contact us at Sangamon Watch Company and we’d like to show you around or answer any questions about Springfield! Email:

Route History Shares the Incredible Contributions of Blacks on Route 66

Without a doubt, Route 66 is one of the most famous roads in the United States of America. The historic road is a tourism attraction for many and is often visited by lovers of history. Many are not aware, but there is rich black history on Route 66. Route History is a museum and shop that offers visitors a window into the tragedy, resilience, and excellence of Black people along the Historic Route 66 and in Springfield, Illinois. After returning from a Route 66 driving tour early this month, I was introduced to Dr. Gina Lathan and Dr. Stacy Grundy, two of three co-founders of Route History. Thanks to Dr. Grundy’s detailed explanation and sharing, I have learned a lot about African American history and and the migration on Route 66 in 1930s-1940s. I also want to thank Frank McNeil for the introduction and meeting arrangement.

This educational business seeks to educate visitors and those generally interested in Route 66 about the untold stories of local African American history. They focus on such things as the major role that Black people played in the Underground Railroad, the 1908 Springfield Race Riot and how Springfield served as a safe haven for Black travelers during the terrible Jim Crow era.

Route History also seeks to highlight and celebrate Eva Carroll Monroe’s role in founding the first black orphanage in Springfield and in all of Illinois, the Lincoln Colored Home. When you visit Route History, you will be exposed to the appreciation of subject areas such as math and science in the black community during the ‘90s. They also keep the story of the Ambidexter Institute alive. This was an industrial school that was built based on Booker T. Washington’s Tuskegee Institute.


The ultimate goal of this organization is to educate people about the incredible contributions of African Americans to the city of Springfield and the state of Illinois.

In celebrating, recognizing, and highlighting the experiences of African Americans on Route 66, the team at Route History use methods such as exhibits, digital media, events, educational material collectable items. These are used in the process of educating, training and engaging people of all ages and classes.

The store is located at 737 E. Cook Street, Springfield, Illinois. You will enjoy every moment of your trip there. This oasis of the history of African Americans on Route 66 is housed in a reseeds gas station from the 1930s era. The selection of this location was strategic as they sought to be in close proximity to other locations and structures that carry heavy historic significance to the black community in Springfield, Illinois.

Organizations like Route History must be commended and supported for the efforts in keeping black history on Route 66 alive. To learn more about this edifying and uplifting entity, visit their website, give them a call at 215-503-4129, email them at or find them on Facebook or Instagram.

The sufferings, journey, and stories of African Americans need to be told to the young generations and Route 66 travelers from all the world. Route History is one of the mighty forces in America who are rallying to this call. 

Address: Route History, 737 E Cook St, Springfield, IL 62703
Phone: (217) 503-4129

Note: Route History is temporarily closed due to COVID-19. If you have any questions please email them at