Pontiac features historic pride, like Route 66, and glimpses of the future, like renovations to the courthouse, highlight Pontiac. (photo by Anna Harris/flickr)
By Dan Irvin
For a variety of reasons, I spent most of Friday and Saturday on non-interstate highways in Central Illinois. I wonder how many listeners have driven to Peoria on Route 150, or on Route 116. It’s kind of a simple thrill, but nevertheless a neat experience to be in or go through Deer Creek, or Flanagan, or Benson.
Native Bloomingtonians and Normalites visiting Chicago or New York can sometimes be a bit intimidated by the big city. I suggest a trip in the opposite direction. Try on Pontiac for tourist size.
The Pontiac Rotary club entertained some of their colleagues from the clubs down here on Saturday, and I must say my eyes and heart have been opened. What a great community!
I gather Pontiac residents are proud of at least five things, not necessarily in this order: their football team, their new law and justice center, their old courthouse, their museums, and their wall murals.
The courthouse is undergoing renovation. Part of the restoration is necessary because of revisions made to it by Hollywood types to fit the movie idea of small town as embodied in Grandview, USA. I expect the Hollywood-Pontiac connection might be involved in a Trivial Pursuit question, but I don’t know.
The museums are several, including the Route 66 museum, the war museum, and the Oakland/Pontiac auto museum, because where better to see old GM cars than in a town called Pontiac?
International visitors to the community abound, because it’s the perfect stop for day one lunch when you’re touring America from Chicago to Santa Monica on our old mother highway. We actually did run into someone from New Zealand.
And I’ll tell you something these visitors find. We spent several hours there and met nobody that was not outgoing, friendly, and helpful. It was absolutely unanimous and the best thing of all.
You go, Pontiac!!
Dan is Secretary of the Board of the McLean County Chamber of Commerce, Vice-President of the Bloomington Public Library Foundation Board, and a member of the Heartland Community College Foundation Board.
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