While most of the roadside attractions that we visit are extra big or extra weird, not all roadside attractions fit into that mold. Take this for example: the Our Lady of the Highway shrine on Route 66 in Raymond, Illinois.
The Our Lady of the Highway shrine consists of an intricate 12-foot tall Carrara marble statue of the Virgin Mary (Our Lady of Lourdes) resting on top of a stone slab and encased in a wooden structure. On the base a plaque reads, “Mary, Loving Mother of Jesus, protect us on the highway.” The religious sculpture serves as an icon that watches over travelers, provides guidance, and protects those traveling on the Mother Road.
The shrine was built in 1958 and dedicated in 1959. The Litchfield Deanery’s Catholic Youth Council raised the $900 necessary to obtain the statue. It was installed on the property of Francis Marten who maintained the attraction until she died in 2002. Her family now maintains the shrine.
An official Route 66 Roadside Attraction sign on site states:
Even though it was wonderful to have a paved, hard road to travel on, many motor accidents did occur on Route 66. In 1959, this shrine was erected to remind motorists of the potential dangers and offered a place to say a prayer for a safe journey. This site is lovingly maintained by the Maten Family.
On your Route 66 road trip through Illinois be sure to pull over to see the Our Lady of the Highway Shrine, say a little prayer, and have a safe journey ahead.
While traveling the mother road, look for these other Illinois Route 66 attractions: Soulsby Service Station, the Standard Oil Filling Station, Sprague’s Super Service Station, and Ambler’s Texaco Gas Station.
Our Lady of the Highway Shrine
Address: 22353 W Frontage Rd, Raymond, IL 62560
Cost: Free to See
Hours: Always visible, but on private property so be mindful