Originally known as Huntsville, Litchfield lies between Springfield and St. Louis in south-central Illinois. It was renamed in 1855 after Electus Bachus Litchfield and is the home of the Milnot Company, which has been manufacturing sweetened, condensed and evaporated milk products since World War I.
Things to do in Litchfield
In the heart of the city is the Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center, which showcases Litchfield’s relationship to the legendary driving route. It is located on the former site of the Vic Suhling gas station, complete with its retro building and neon sign. Opposite the museum is one of the oldest restaurants on Route 66, the Ariston Cafe.
Coincide your visit with the Litchfield Pickers Market, which takes place on select Sundays during the warmer months. It’s packed with stalls selling antiques, collectibles and vintage treasures, as well as upcycled and refurbished goods. You can grab a bite to eat at one of the food vans before settling in to watch live music in Library Park.
A short drive north-east of Litchfield is Lake Lou Yaeger, a large reservoir that was created with the damming of Shoal Creek. It’s a popular destination for swimming in the summer months and boasts an inflatable floating “playground” at Milnot Beach. Anglers can try their luck luring bass, bluegill and catfish, while both walkers and cyclists can explore along the Route 66 Hike & Bike Trail. On the lake’s southeastern shore is the Shoal Creek Nature Conservation Area, which encompasses oak-hickory woodland and prairie.
Getting around Litchfield
Litchfield is around 45 minutes’ drive south of Springfield and an hour from Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport, which has flights to destinations across the United States. The much larger St. Louis Lambert International Airport is also an hour away. Regular buses connect to Litchfield and travel throughout the city.