Tourist camps to motels
Tourist camps provided accommodation for more adventurous and less well-heeled travelers on early Rt. 66. As highway travel became more popular, cabins were added to these camps.
the 1930 Illinois Tourist Guide review reported, "The camp is known as Forest Park and is located in southwestern Bloomington. Municipal camp with water, wood, shade, tables, toilets, furnaces for cooking, electric lights. Adjacent to City Park with bathing beach, zoo, playground, pavilion, and adjacent to municipal golf course. Located on Illinois Route No 4, U.S. No. 66 just southwest of city limits."
Early motor lodges or motels improved the cabin court in a very comfortable way. The Streids built this Art Moderne-style motel with turquoise interiors in 1948. It was designed and built by Francis Streid, brother of the owner, E. M. Streid. The motel was in operation until 1980.
On Rt. 66 places like Pure Truck Stop offered parking, bunks, and showers. The cafe was enjoyed by truckers who were honored with reserved seating.
With more people traveling on the highway, name brand business flourished, competing with homegrown businesses. The local businesses used local architectural designers to "brand" their business. Prairie Traveler Motel opened in 1953 on Rt. 66. This Frank Lloyd Wright-styled motel was a mainstay for business travelers coming to the new GE plant as well as for tourists. It was designed by the local architectural firm Lundeen and Hilfinger.
Howard Johnson's, an orange roof- branded restaurant and motel chain, was located in southwestern Bloomington on Rt. 66. It opened in 1963.