Pontiac is a small town just 30 minutes North of Bloomington on I-55. With a population of 12,000 people, it has a surprising amount of attractions. It also has an adequate amount of restaurants, local businesses, and places for shopping. One of the first things you may notice about Pontiac on arrival is its historic theme. The courthouse was built in the late 1800's, and much of downtown has very similar architecture. A visit to downtown Pontiac almost feels like a step back in time. You may also notice the number of historic museums located in or near downtown, reinforcing this theme.
Once 'n Again, conveniently located at 123 West Madison Street, is a fabulous place to look for used clothes. They have something for everyone, and it's quite common for them to be running a sale that makes their already-affordable clothes even more affordable! Open Mon-Sat from 10:00 am - 7:00 pm. Call them during business hours at (815)844-4194, or stop by the store and see what they have!
Visit their website at http://www.oncenagain.com
The store's name fits it well, as it is themed around Route 66 and the Historic aspects of Pontiac. However, rather than selling the basics of life essentials, as you may guess by the name, The General Store is mostly known for the clothes they sell and the fact that they are one of only a few places in town that has a screen printer. Located at 319 N Mill Street, they are open from 9 am - 5 pm, Mon-Fri, and from 9 am - noon on Saturdays. You can also call them at (815)844-3983.
Visit their website at http://www.tgs-art.com
"The goal for most successful businesses is to stand out in a positive way, and we can help you do that by building professional, eye catching designs and signs that leave memorable impressions." This quote from Diaz Sign Art's website is a perfect description of what they do best. Located at 628 West Lincoln Avenue, Diaz Sign Art is open for business from 8:15 am - noon and 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm, Monday-Friday, or available by phone during the same hours at (815)844-7024.
Visit their website at http://www.diazsignart.com
Wright's Furniture is a very highly-respected furniture store located at 115 East Madison Street. Open from 9:00 am - 6:00 pm, Monday-Friday, 9:00 am - 5:00 pm on Saturdays, and 1:00 - 4:00 pm on Sundays, you can be sure that a salesperson will greet you with a smile, ready to help you find any type of furniture you could dream of. Feel free to call them at (815)844-7177.
Visit their website at http://www.wrights-furniture.com
Big R is the largest farm store in the area. With products ranging from animal feed to hardware, and houseware to clothes, they are essential to the local people. Their store is located at 1027 West Reynolds Street, and is open from 8:00 am - 8:00 pm Monday-Saturday and 9:00 am - 6:00 pm Sundays, or available by phone at (815)844-7000.
Visit their website at http://www.bigr.com
Bernardi's II, located at 123 North Mill Street, is known for their moderately priced Italian food. They are open for business from 4:00 - 9:00 pm Tuesday-Thursday, 4:00 - 10:00 pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and 11:00 am - 9:00 pm on Sundays. Call at (815)842-1198 to make reservations.
Visit their website at http://www.bernardirestaurants.com
Delongs Casual Dining
Delong's Casual Dining can be found at 201 North Mill Street. They serve classic, low-priced foods. They are open for business from 10:00 am - 9:00 pm Monday - Saturday. Feel free to call them at (815)844-1983 to make reservations.
Visit their website at http://www.delongscasualdining.com
Baby Bull's Family Restaurant
Serving home style food, Baby Bull's Family Restaurant has something for everyone. Located at 1025 West Reynolds Street, they are open from 5:00 am - 10:00 pm everyday. They can be called at (815)844-5757.
Visit their website at http://www.babybullsfamilyrestaurant.com
The Apple Tree Cafe and Coffee Bar
The Apple Tree, located at 107 East Madison Street, serves classic and home style food, but is most known for their delicious pies. They are open from 7:00 am - 2:00 pm on Monday - Friday, and 7:00 - 11:30 am on Saturdays. Feel free to either drop in, or call and make a reservation at (815)842-3303.
Visit their Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/The-Apple-Tree-Cafe-and-Coffee-Bar
Edinger's FIlling Station
Edinger's Filling Station is located at 423 West Madison Street where they have classics such as chicken pot pie and macaroni and cheese. Don't forget to grab a slice of homemade pie! They are open from 5:30 am - 4:00 pm on Monday - Friday. Give them a call to find out the daily specials at (815)419-2255.
Visit their website at http://www,edingersfillingstation.com
Hungry Boys Chicago Style
Hungry Boys Chicago Style is located at 811 North Ladd Street. Inside you can find burgers, chicken wings, Chicago style hot dogs, and more. They are open from 10:00 am - 9:00 pm on Monday - Saturday and from 10:00 am - 8:00 pm on Sunday. Stop in or give them a call at (815)844-1022 or (815)844-1043.
Visit their website at http://www.hungryboys.org.
For college students, Heartland Community College is available just a few minutes from downtown. The college offers a GED High School Equivalency Program, as well as certain degree and certificate options.
Pontiac is also known for its high school. Pontiac Township High School is an excellent school, and does a great service to its local community. The high school offers both AP and dual-credit class options, as well as several extra curricular activities. Pontiac Township High School is home to several different sports teams including Football, Basketball, Softball and Baseball.
Pontiac Correctional Center
Pontiac Correctional Center is a maximum security prison (level 1), which as the name suggests, is located in Pontiac. Being one of the largest employers in Livingston County, it currently provides between 500 and 600 jobs to local citizens. Also, it currently houses around 2,050 adult male inmates, with a capacity of 2,172.
In May of 2008, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich proposed that the prison be closed by February of 2009. Naturally, at the mention of this, thousands of people protested. They argued that eliminating that many jobs would be devastating to the community. However, Blagojevich argued that the inmates should be transferred to the Thomson facility, a newly built maximum security prison. These plans were cancelled by Governor Pat Quinn on March 12, 2009, and the prison remains in operation today.
Casey Kohlmeier and Draco
On October 30, 2013, 29 year old Pontiac Police Officer Casey Kohlmeier and his K-9 partner Draco were struck and killed while on duty by a drunk driver. Jason Collins, the drunk driver, was Northbound from Bloomington after spending 5 hours in a bar when he struck the police unit just outside of Pontiac on I-55. Kohlmeier was a very respected officer who had graduated from Pontiac Township High School in 2002 before joining the United States Air Force. He served for 4 years in the Air Force where he received several medals and awards. In 2005 he was named Airman of the Year. He then went on to receive a Bachelor's Degree from DeVry University in the technical management program. Then, in 2012, he received his pilot's license.
Since the accident, Pontiac has put for several memorials for Casey and Draco. These include the Casey Kohlmeier Memorial Highway, Draco park, and several 5k runs. Also, blue lights can be seen at various locations in the area, put in place in remembrance of Casey and Draco.
Local Events and Organizations
The Central States Thresherman's Reunion
The Central States Thresherman's Reunion is an annual antique tractor show that takes place every Labor Day weekend. It is held from Thursday-Monday just North of Pontiac on Route 23. The show consists of flea markets, antique tractor displays, truck and tractor pulls, corn shelling using steam engines, and much more. There are also activities for younger people, such as the pedal tractor pull.
Boys and Girls Club of Livingston County
Boys and Girls Club of Livingston County is a youth development program specifically designed to help keep kids ages 5-18 occupied after school. Some of their programs include: Power Hour, where staff members help students with their homework; Gym Recreation, where kids play physically active games, both to encourage fitness and teamwork; Arts and crafts, where students can take part in art-related projects to inspire creativity, as well as have fun; Also, there is Messipes, where students can practice their cooking skills and learn new recipes. These are just a few of their programs, but as you can see, they have something that everyone can enjoy.
Pontiac also has a 4-H club, where kids ages 8-18 are taught about things such as agriculture, cooking, technology, and art projects. Every year, students may take pick projects to learn about. The number they take isn't limited, but a common number is anywhere from 1 to 10 projects. Then, the students receive booklets containing information about their projects, as well as activities related to that subject to help them learn more about it. At the end of the 4-H year, in late July, a fair is held where the students can then display a project either from their booklet, or one of their own that fits the certain requirements. Awards are then rewarded, and the very best projects can be selected to go to the State Fair, where they are judged more strictly in hopes of winning state-level awards.
- International Walldog Mural and Sign Art Museum
- Livingston County War Museum
- Museum of the Gilding Arts
- Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum and Resource Center
- Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Museum
Livingston County Historic Courthouse
This is the county's third courthouse. Construction was completed on the building in 1875. The architect, J.C. Cochrane of Chicago, also designed the Iowa State Capital. The design of the courthouse was chosen from a list of pre-designed plans. There were less expensive options, but the town opted to chose this one due to its fireproof qualities.
- Boating and Canoeing - There is a boat ramp located in Play Park for any who which to enjoy.
- Disc Golf - Pontiac has two 18-hole disc golf courses. One in Chautauqua Park, and the other inPlay Park.
- Skate, rollerblade, and bike facility - Fell Park has a skateboard site, free for the public to use.
- Fishing - The Vermilion River, which runs through Pontiac, has fish that are free for anyone to catch.
- Golf - Pontiac offers two excellent golf courses for those who love to golf. See Course Information.
"Welcome to an Engaged Community." Pontiac, IL. Web. 24 Sept. 2015.