EDWARDSVILLE, Mo. – A bit of Route 66 history is coming back to life in the Metro East.

The former West End Service Station in Edwardsville has been rebranded as a Route 66-inspired site known as the new Mother Road Museum and Welcome Center.

The venue celebrated its grand opening Friday. It will be open Fridays through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 620 St. Louis Street.

Originally slated for demolition, the historic building gained new life when the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau received a grant worth nearly $1 million last year.

“There are so many great stories along the Last 100 Miles of Route 66 in Illinois and we want to bring those stories back to life in time for the 100th anniversary of this iconic roadway,” Cory Jobe, President/CEO of the Great Rivers & Routes Tourism Bureau noted. “The grant funds enabled the City of Edwardsville to save this historic building and give new life to the West End Service Station.  We are happy to be a part of this initiative.”

“Preserving interesting and historic buildings like the West End Service Station allows us to maintain an importation connection to Edwardsville’s past,” said SJ Morrison, Edwardsville’s Ward 4 Alderman. “I’m also encouraged that the rich heritage of Route 66 continues to serve as a catalyst for present-day culture-making in our community.”

Guests can see several pieces of memorabilia and attend a series of Route 66-themed events throughout the year. On Saturday, the 25th annual Route 66 Festival is being held in Edwardsville until 11 p.m.

In 1926, the U.S. Highway System commissioned Route 66 as the first all-paved U.S. highway. The route connected local and state roads from Chicago to Los Angeles and included a path through the St. Louis metro. While Route 66 was decommissioned in 1985, many cities preserve work to preserve sections of it for travelers.