Saturday, June 30, 2007

When Is a Beach a GREAT BEACH!!!

When "Dr. Beach" says so, that's when. The good Doctor, aka Professor Stephen Leatherman, has spoken and this year, the top beach is in my home state of North Carolina, and it's Ocracoke Lifeguarded Beach out on the Outer Banks. It is a place so remote, that even the Good Beach Doctor's crew at Florida International University had to look it up.

It is the first-ever non-Florida or Hawaii beach to make the top ranking in his annual top ten ranking of beaches.

Ocracoke is at the southern end of the Outer Banks, and accessible only by boat of private plane. This is also where infamous pirate Blackbeard met his death in 1718.

The article says that Leatherman uses 50 criteria to compile his rankings, and a 1 to 5 scale. No beach has ever gotten a perfect 250, but Ocracoke was in the mid 230s. The sand was lily white, so it lost points there. Other criteria include number of sunny days, frequency of rip currents (real nasty things), and the extent of oil and tar Balls (whatever they are).

In case you're wondering about the 2007 top ten:

1. Ocracoke Beach- Outer Banks of NC
2. Caldwell Island State Park- Clearwater, Fl
3. Coopers Beach- Southampton, NY
4. Hanalei Beach- Kauai, Hawaii
5. Coast Guard Beach- Cape Cod, Massachusetts
6. Hamoa Beach- Maui, Hawaii
7. Main Beach- East Hampton, NY
8. Coronado Beach- San Diego, Ca.
9. Lighthouse Point Park- Daytona Beach, Fl
10. Siesta Beach- Sarasota, Fl

I'd like to nominate Topsail Beach, NC, if there is anything left of it after the Noreasters get through with it. Also, the one at Hollywood Beach, Fl., is a great one.

"Ocra-what? Best Beach is remote" by Martha Waggoner AP.

Real Rough Job to Pick these Beaches, BUT, Somebody's Gotta Do It. Hey, Where Do I Sign Up? --RoadDog

Touring Great Britain by Train

The June 10th Chicago Tribune Travel Section had a trip made by a reporter around the island of Great Britain by rail. He went the opposite way that my mom, cousins Graham and Vickie, and I made last summer. And, we went on a bus tour.

I will mention the places that we both visited. First, he went to York with its winding streets of Tudor buildings. Britain's largest medieval cathedral is there, the Minster, where he spent an hour "marveling at the soaring interiors of this Gothic masterpiece."

Next stop was Edinburgh, where we spent two nights on Princess Street. He also stayed on the same street, I wonder of it was the same place. He headed over to the Royal Mile right away. The next day, he toured the hilltop castle.

On Day 3, he visited Stratford-Upon-Avon, "where local lad Will Shakespeare once walked."  Since it is often overrun by tourists (what was he?), I head early to his birthplace, a handsome timber townhouse."

Day 5 he went to Bristol and had a take-out Cornish pasty. He then went to Salisbury and took a bus out to Stonehenge where "20 minutes later I'm circling the ancient site- along with hundreds of chattering visitors. I scan the horizon to count the age old burial mounds ringing the site."

Back at Salisbury, he went to the cathedral.

Unfortunately, I lost the front page which had the reporter's name.

Brought back some memories of the trip last year. Hope Graham, Vickie, and Mom also got some from these. That sure was some Britain guide book that Vickie had gotten from the local library. That book actually went to where it was describing. Then. of course, we got maps and were plotting our course.

I will continue our trip saga on this blog in the near future.

Sure Had a Great Time in England. --RoadDog

Friday, June 29, 2007

Parking Robbery in Chicago

You've heard of highway robbery. Well, Chicago has its own form of it. After you've battled the traffic, then you get to deal with the bandits, who say "Stand and Deliver" a small fortune for the parking of your vehicle.

The Chicago Tribune surveyed parking costs around Taste Of Chicago. Their findings didn't "surprise me none".

East Monroe Garage- $13 for 1-12 hours
Grant Park North Garage- $16 Early Bird M-F (in by 9 AM, out between 2 and 7) Regular price- $19 for 2-3 hours, $20 for 3-8 hours
Millenium Park Garage- $14 early bird, $17 for 0-8 hours
Navy Pier- $19 all-day rate M-Th, $23 Fri-Sun and all holidays.

Be prepared to fork over a lot of your hard-earned dough. I'll call this the Chicago rip-off,

Again, if you're going to Chicago on the weekend, take the Metra trains. A two day Sat and Sun pass is $5.

And, for gosh sakes, try not to get towed.   A beloved Chicago songwriter and performer, Steve Goodman, once had a song about the "Lincoln Park Pirates" about the antics of one particular car towing outfit whose employees were all recent graduates from the charm school in Joliet (the Joliet Prison).  Maybe we ought to have another one called the "Parking Garage Pirates".

I'm Going Metra, Myself. --RoadDog

Big Time Fun in the Midwest

Yesterday, Milwaukee's Summerfest got underway, and today, the Taste of Chicago opened in Grant Park (by old Route 66). Both festivals feature lots of entertainment and food, food, food!! Then, some more food.

We used to go regularly to Summerfest but haven't the five or so years as it was getting too expensive, crowded, and loud. It seemed that every band wanted you to hear their music, even from several stages away. Plus, neither the wife nor I much like huge crowds these days. But, both are still a great party.

Yesterday, the Chicago Tribune ran a "By the Numbers" where they gave some interesting facts about the Taste: 64 booths, 10 days, 1lb.6 oz-the size of a bbq turkey leg at Booth 30, 3 fireworks displays, the biggest July 3, 24 ovens making pizzas at the Lou Malnatti site, 145,000 turkey legs. 10 "On a Stick" items including a pickle on a stick, and 2000 lbs of Eli's birthday cheesecake served free on Saturday.

Hey get me down there. It only costs $5 round trip on the Metra on weekends and will also get you there and back on Sunday. You get dropped off at the old Union Station, right on Route 66 which was Adams and Jackson streets. It is then about a half mile walk to Grant Park.

Then, the Tribune had a "Let's Talk Turkey About What You'll Find at the Taste":

Meatless 21 % not including fish and desserts, 20% desserts, 12% sandwiches-including hot dogs and hamburgers, 10% chicken items, 8% pizza, 7% Latin American, 7% fish, 4% Indian, Polish, Greek, and Persian 3%, Cajun 3%, African 3%, soul food 2%, ribs 1%, soup less than 1%.

Stomach Don't Fail Me Now. --RoadDog

Great News for Bald Eagles

They're back and in numbers large enough that they soon be removed from the endangered list. The Interior Department is expected to remove them from the Endangered Species Act list as early as Thursday.

The bald eagle became the symbol of the US back in 1782, but was perceived as dangerous for 150 years. In the first half of the 1900s, close to 100,000 were killed in Alaska alone. Populations took another hit and probably worst of all during the time DDT was used to combat mosquitoes. A 1940 law prohibits the shooting, killing or otherwise disturbing of the bird.

According to an article in yesterday's Chicago Tribune, the number of bald eagles in the lower 40 is now at 10,000 from an all-time low of 417 nesting pairs in 1963. Minnesota has 1,312, the highest number in outside of Alaska. Illinois has 51-200 nesting paits as does North Carolina. Wisconsin has 801+ and surprisingly, so does Florida. I always thought of them as more of a cold weather bird.

A fun thing we do every January is go out to the Mississippi River to see them. Sometimes, we only see one, others as many as 200. This has gotten to be a major destination for tourists in the Midwest. They can also be seen on the Illinois and Wisconsin rivers.

Birdie Birdie in the Sky... --RoadDog

What Do You Call a Steamboat on Dry Land?

"Oops, the Captain Missed that Last Turn", "Did You Say Port or Starboard?", or even "How Dry I Am".

In the case of Winnecone, WI, it would be museum. Well, actually, the Winneconne Historical Society's Steamboat House. Not much remains from the years when the best way to get from point A to point B in Wisconsin was by river or lake. Those were the days before roads. This is the single largest relic in the state from those days.

This old steamboat, or possibly the conglomeration of several old steamboats into one structure, now sits high and dry in Winneconne's Marble Park.

It has a vague history. Researchers know it has been on land for a long time, first as a private residence in Butte Des Morts, and then as a summer resort. It was moved at the cost of $150,000 to its present site.

Pride of workmanship is very evident in the oak woodwork in the grand salon. Part of the ship is believed to be from the Levander Choate II, built 1906-1907. There are 60 windows that have been meticulously restored. The current structure is 37 feet wide and 67 feet long and goes to two stories.

From the Oshkosh, Wi.,, June 27th, by Patricia Wolff. A picture accompanied the article.

Winneconne also seceded from the state of Wisconsin back in the 1960s or 70s when the town was inadvertently left off state road maps. The slighted community offered to join Canada and several other countries.

Downtown, along the Wolf River, there is a bar/restaurant called Fin and Feather that is shaped like a steamboat as well.

Now Proudly Back on the Map, Winneconne, Wi. --RoadDog

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Save Those Old Schools

For the last forty years the National Council of Facility Planners has been encouraging school districts to destroy old schools and build bigger, new ones away from the neighborhoods.

This course is changing as they have joined with the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and now urging for the schools to be maintained and renovated.

They gave an example of Carl Schurz High School in Chicago. It was built in 1908 and by the mid-90s the beautiful Prairie-style structure was in such a state of disrepair that plans were made to destroy it. It is still in use.

I taught for 31 years at John T. Magee Middle School in Round Lake, Il. One part of it, the fine arts wing, was the original Round Lake school and constructed in 1908. Other large additions were made in the 50s and 60s. We moved to a new, definitely bland building in 2004 and the building sat vacant ever since. They are now renovating it, but unfortunately, razed the original part. At least the main part is still there.

Some of the old school buildings are definitely beautiful and deserve to remain standing. If not used for schools, they could become a village center, or small stores.

I graduated from Palatine High School in 1969. When the new school was built, part of the old one was knocked down, but part of it is used today as village offices.

Let's Keep Those Old Schools with Significant History or Architecture. RoadDog

Route 66 Updates: China's Route 312, the Mill and Motels

1. National Public Radio ran a news show on Tuesday on Boston's WBUR station where Rob Gifford reported from China. He calls China's Route 312 the Route 66 of that country. He tells of the social and economic revolution that has turned China upside down and that this road clearly exhibits it. You can hear the report, but I wasn't able to get it.

2. LINCOLN, ILLINOIS- Larry Van Bibber donated $15,000 to the restoration of the famous Mill on Route 66

From Route 66 News

3. BARSTOW, CA- may be spending $180,000 to restore nine old neon signs.

4. GRANITE CITY, IL- the old and small Apple Valley Motel, on the Chain of Rocks Road, and close to that famous 66 landmark, gets a lot of patronage from construction workers during the winter, but more and more Rt 66 cruisers during the summer.

5. CLINTON, OK- Ray's Motel looks a lot better now that 66ers put a lot of elbow grease onto the decaying structure. They even had noted Route 66 artist Bob Waldemire, son of Ed, the founder of Cozy Dogs, doing non-art painting. Bob probably comes the closest to being a true hippy of anyone I know. He was the inspiration for Fillmore, the organic fuel VW bus in the movie "Cars".

6. NEW MEXICO will be putting Route 66 shield stencils on the roads in the western part of the state. You always know you're on the right road with those, and they are pretty much impossible to steal, which happens with some signs on poles. Reckon you'd have to dig up a big old chunk of asphalt to get that souvernir.

Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Chicago Tribune's 160th Birthday

My favorite newspaper is the Chicago Tribune and this past June 19th, it celebrated 160 years in business. On June 10, 1847, there were 16,000 people in Chicago and already two newspapers. Four hundred copies were printed in the third floor of a building at Lake and LaSalle streets. It didn't say how many pages it consisted of on that date.

The three founders: James Kelly, John Wheeler, and Joseph Forrest chose the name tribune which dated back to the days of Rome. A tribune was a magistrate who protected the rights of the plebians (regular folks) from the patricians (rich folks).

Unfortunately, none of those copies remain. Info from the June 10th editorial.

In its earliest days, the paper tended to be affiliated with the Whig or Free Soil parties. It wasn't until strongly abolitionist Joseph Medill took over, that it became a major voice for the Republican Party.

Some information from "A Letter from the Publisher" on June 10th. The Tribune and readers had spent 60,000 mornings together. With an exception of about six months, I have been a loyal subscriber since August of 1973: first in Des Plaines, then Vernon Hills, then Round Lake Beach, and now in Spring Grove.

Every week, nearly 3.3 million local residents turn to the print edition.

Three million people use the website every month.

Every week, 685,000 people read the free daily tabloid Redeye.

Every month, 780,000 people read the Chicago magazine.

More than 60,000 businesses advertise in the Tribune, from international and national ones all the way to local.

Mighty impressive stats for an old, but new, paper.

Congratulations to the Chicago Tribune. May you continue for another 160!!!! --RoadDog

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Dead Page: Ralph Stayer, Founder of Johnsonville Sausage Company

Being an account of some recent deaths I believe have had an impact on us, or, who have lived an interesting life.

RALPH F. STAYER- 1915-2007

Founder of Johnsonville Sausage Co.

If you're like me and think a great brat is one of the finest items you can eat, you'll be sad to hear that the founder of the Johnsonville Sausage Co., Ralph Stayer, died yesterday at age 92. In 1945, he bought a struggling butcher shop and turned it into a million dollar business. He started with nothing and the company now does business in 40 countries.

He was born in Ely, MN, and moved to Milwaukee where he dropped out of high school one month before graduation to help support his struggling family during the Great Depression. His son, Ralph C. Stayer, said, "He always had a great sense of responsibility."

The butcher shop was struggling in 1945. One day, he and his wife attended a picnic and noticed the garbage cans were full of partly eaten brats. People must not have liked them. This got them to thinking and they decided to create the perfect brat, and that they did using an old family recipe. They were of Austrian and Slovenian heritage, so that helped.

Under his son's leadership, the company has gone worldwide with sales in most states. Their products are served at 16 NFL stadiums and seasonally at 4000 McDonald's nationwide. I know a Johnsonville brat will quickly get me into a McDonald's. Last year, we had a place on the Chain that sold them for 50 cents as a Wednesday special. I would often get by there for it. Unfortunately, they dropped it for this year.

The company is a main sponsor for Madison, Wisconsin's Memorial Day weekend Brat Festival. Folks consumed 190,000 of them this past year. I'll have to remember to go there in the future.

Hey, pass the brats.

HANK MEDRESS 1939-2007

DooWop singer with the Tokens on "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"

I can hear some of you singing "In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps tonight" right now. I know I am. I'm having problems with the high notes, though.

Hank Medress died at age 68. He was a founding member of the Tokens who had their greatest success with an old Zulu song, that had become a quite popular folk song by the Weavers. They took it to number one on the pop charts for three weeks with their catchy "wimoweh".

He originally formed a group with friends from Lincoln High School in 1955 and called themselves the Link-Tones. One of the members was Neil Sedaka. Once he left to go solo, Medress formed the Tokens and in 1961 had that huge hit. They did have a few smaller hits, but nothing to top "Lion".

He left in 1973 and persuaded record executive Tony Orlando to do the vocals on "Knock Three Times" and also produced "Candida".

Now, Get That Song Out of Your Head!!!!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Dick Tracy Days in Woodstock, Il

The yellow fedoras and raincoats were out in force this past weekend as the 18th annual Dick Tracy Days celebration took place, culminating in Sunday's parade through the town and the historic square dating back to the 1850s.

This was done to honor Chester Gould (1900-1985), who moved to Woodstock about the same time he got a job with the Chicago Tribune in 1931 and created the famous comic strip which still runs today. Chester Gould was born in Oklahoma, went to college at what is now Oklahoma State and graduated from Northwestern.

Today, the city honors him with a Dick Tracy Museum in the old courthouse located right on the square.

Woodstock is a city steeped in history, with the old city hall now serving as the Opera House with plays and performers. This Friday, I will be seeing a favorite group, Asleep at the Wheel there. Other events scheduled for the square this summer are the Folk Festival July 15, the Woodstock Mozart Festival July 28-August 12, Woodstock on the Square Car Show August 18th, Art Walk August 25, Old-Fashioned Harvestfest Fiddler's Contest & Fair September 26th.

Movie fans will note that Woodstock was the setting for the movie "Groundhog Day" starring Bill Murray. If you go to the square, you will see a lot of the sites from the movie. You can even pick up a pamphlet of sites and walking tour or download it. Every Groundhog Day, Woodstock Willie (Woodstock's answer to Punxsutawney Phil) prognosticates and there is a free showing of the movie at the theater where Bill did his Clint Eastwood impersonation.

Love That Woodstock. --RoadDog

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Reuse Those Old Homes--Don't Tear Them Down

The June 15, 2007 Northwest Herald, serving primarily McHenry County in northeast Illinois, had an article titled "Reusing history: Storied homes rescued to provide shelter for public use" by Regan Foster.

An artist had just moved into an old mansion to set up a studio, and the week before, the McHenry City Council voted to spend $14,900 on architectural studies for a historic homestead. McHenry County is experiencing unprecedented population growth as Chicago continues its march outward. Many historic properties have been destroyed in the name of progress. Now is the time to save as much as possible.

Three private houses have been rescued from destruction and the buildings opened to the public: the Dole Mansion, the Petersen farmstead, and the Labahn-Hain House.

Dole Mansion, Crystal Lake- built 1863 by Charles Sydney Dole, Acres: 10.

It is currently used by the Lakeside Legacy Foundation as an art school and studio space. For the history of it, see my blog of June 18th "Crystal Lake, Il Preservation".

THE PETERSEN FARM, McHenry- built 1842 by Page Colby, Acres: about 100.

This was occupied by the Colby family and their descendants, the Petersens, for 160 years. In 1998, the city bought the property, but permitted Bob Petersen to live there until his death in 2002. Bob Petersen had no children, but did have a vision of historic preservation for the property.

Plans call to open the farm as a historic museum. Bob Hobson, McHenry's assistant administrator, said, "The whole property [could] give people an indication of what farm life was like at the turn of the century ...what our county was built on."

The city spent the $14,900 to restore the house's crumbling foundation, and another $30,000 will be spent to restore the wooden silos, the last of their type in the county.

Silos, by the way were invented by Fred Hatch in Spring Grove, Illinois, where I live.

THE LABAIN-HAHN HOUSE- built circa 1872 by Archibald Stewart, Acres 2.02.

The two-story white farmhouse on the shores of Woods Creek Lake is a popular meeting place, dance hall, banquet facility.

It is rented out and has a 50 person capacity. The view is fantastic. It was built by Archibald Stewart who only lived in it for a few years. He sold it to August Labahn in 1884 who then sold it to Robert Hain in 1948. Hain lived in the house until he died in the 1980s. The village condemned it in 1990 and considered offering it to the local fire department as a practice burn site.

Arden Spooner and a group of preservation-minded volunteers worked to save the house. Volunteers donated $250,000 and the village donated $50,000. It opened in 2000 and has been very busy ever since.

Always good to hear of Preservation Anywhere, but Especially when it's in my Own County. --RoadDog

THIS DATE IN AUTOMOTIVE HISTORY- 1900- Oliver Lippincott drove the first car to Yosmite National Park. It was a Locomobile Steamer.

West Wendover, Nevada Celebrates Over 80 Years of Highway History

In a June 22nd press release, the city of West Wendover, Nevada, announced plans to have a big celebration honoring the old Victory Highway and Lincoln Highway.

They plan to preserve part of the old roadbed which took early motorists across the Great Salt Desert and turn it into a pedestrian walk with information signs about the old road along the way. In 1913, a coast-to-coast highway was needed. In Nevada, it was to follow old stagecoach and freight wagon trails. This road was to be called the Lincoln Highway.

At the time, it took 20-30 days to drive its length and two days just to go from Salt Lake City to Ely. In 1927, a routing dispute between Utah and Nevada was settled, and a road from West Wendover to Ely, linking the Victory Highway (primarily following US Route 40) and the Lincoln Highway was created.

One celebration was already held on March 16, 2007, to mark the start of the work back in 1925. New Boy Scout Lincoln Highway markers were set along the way. Korbin Murphy of Boy Scout Troop 141 of Wendover fashioned and set a tep cover one marker, dug the hole, presented the colors, and led the Pledge of Allegiance; all part of his Eagle project.

The City of West Wendover will reenact the June 25, 1925 Victory Highway dedication in 2009, by placing a monument featuring two bronze bald eagles facing each other with the Victory Highway Arch.

The 1925 dedication featured the governors of Utah and Nevada along with the US Secretary of Agriculture. They were dressed in white overalls and clearing away the last pile of salt blocking the new roadway. They did this under the Victory Highway arch.

Thomas Repp of the American Road Magazine (if you're interested in old two lane roads, this is the magazine for you) said, "The city of West Wendover's preservation efforts serve as a model for towns and cities across America. The fact that city schools in West Wendover have signed on to participate in the project means that the youth of West Wendover will gain a new appreciation for area history and their hometown."

There were some good pictures of the original dedication and the Boy Scouts accompanying the release. Looking up information on West Wendover I saw there was a giant Wendover Will statue that welcomes people at the state line. Also, in 1914, this is where AT&T completed the transcontinental telephone line.

I haven't been able to find much on this Victory Highway, however.

Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Dead Page: Bob Evans, Restaurant Chain Founder

BOB EVANS 1918-2007

Founder of restaurant chain: Ohio entrepreneur began food empire with a single truck stop and a search for the best sausage possible; decades later, 579 Bob Evans eateries are spread across 18 states

Bob Evans died June 21, 2007, in Columbus, Ohio. His search for the perfect sausage to serve the truckers at his twelve stool, 24-hour a day steakhouse in southeast Ohio led to the national restaurant chain that bears his name.

After WWI, he opened a restaurant in Gallipolis, Ohio, but complained that he couldn't get good sausage. Starting with $1,000, a couple hogs, 40 pounds of black pepper, 50 pounds of sage, and other secret ingredients, he made his own. He used just the best parts of the hog as opposed to scraps as was used in most sausage.

This marked the beginning of a restaurant chain with $1.6 billion in revenue last year, 579 Bob Evans restaurants in 18 states, and 115 Mimi's restaurants primarily in the west. The corporation employs 35,000 and it's products are also sold in grocery stores.

He used to appear on early commercials wearing a Stetson hat and a string tie.

This is one great success story.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

More on the Steamship General Anthony Wayne

June 21st I wrote about the finding of the wreck of the 156 foot long steamship General Anthony Wayne under How Deep Can We Go. Yesterday's Chicago Tribune had an article with more info on it. Since I'm very interested in sunken ships, I'll go into more detail.

The ship, which sank April 27, 1850 in Lake Erie, about eight miles north of Vermillion, OH, was rumored to be carrying millions of dollars worth of GOLD!!! Forty million to be exact. As such, it was one of the most sought-after ones in the lake. Tom Kowalczk, who found it, said that isn't true, there is none. Plus, the Great Lakes Historical Society in Vermillion also does not believe there is any truth to the tale.

The wreckage, however, might provide some insight into the old side-wheel technology as well as why exactly the ship sank. Personal effects will give a good cultural history.

It was carrying domestic wine, cattle, and 93 passengers and crew and had left Sanduskey, Ohio, on its way to Cleveland and then Buffalo. It is known that the high-pressure boiler exploded and that preceded the sinking. Within a five year period, four more high-pressure boiler ships had fires or explosions. Shipbuilders liked these boilers because they were small and cheap to make. (Some things just don't change.)

The Federal government created the Steamship Inspection Service because of this. In 1915, the SIS became part of the newly formed US Coast Guard. The Historical Society (which has a great museum in Vermillion) will do a survey of it for the state of Ohio this summer. Once completed, the exact location will be revealed to the public so divers can see it for themselves.

Artifacts have been brought up and will be displayed in the museum.

Kowalczk discovered the ship last September after a lot of research and long-hours of looking. He won't make any money off it and won't even recover the thousands of out-of--pocket expenses he's incurred. "That's not why I go out there. It's just that anticipation of finding that shipwreck that keeps you going-- until you start after the next one." Way to go, Tom. My feelings exactly. I imagine this is how Ballard felt while looking for the Titanic and Bismarck.

The article also had a picture of the ship and a list of 5 other ships "missing" on the Great Lakes. Included were the Griffon which was lost in 1679 on Lake Huron or Lake Michigan. It was built for French explorer LaSalle. Also, there was the Lodner Phillips submarine which was lost in Lake Erie in 1853, one of the earliest working submarines. Now these two would be VERY interesting to find.

Chicago Tribune June 22nd- "No treasure, but the 1850 ship is historical gold" by Sean Hamill.

Congratulations to Tom Kowalczk for a Great Job. --RoadDog

Just When You Think You Get Caught Up with Route 66-- Part 2

Even more Route 66 stuff:

1. SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS' 1898 Union Station received one of the Victorian Society of America's 2007 Preservation Awards for the $12.5 million restoration of the station. A key part of it was the rebuilding of the 150 foot tower looming over the structure. It is located by the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum and is a visitors center.

At times, it was also an upscale shopping mall and had state offices.

The Victorian Society was formed as a reaction to the 1964 demolition of New York City's famous Pennsylvania Station. They are primarily interested in saving sites from the Victoria Era, when Queen Victoria reigned in England, 1837-1901. They chose several preservation projects a year.

Judging from the article comments, there are plenty of people who think the money was wasted. We've watched the progress of it and it is IMPRESSIVE. We particularly like the landscaped grounds.

Stae Journal-Register June 21st- "Union Station earns national recognition" by Pete Sherman.

2. In another Steve Lackmeyer article, this time about the CLINTON ROUTE 66 FESTIVAL in Oklahoma that continues until Sunday. He said that Friday's rain didn't stop volunteers from scraping peeling paint off Ray's Motel in Clinton. Even while having a good time, 66ers still do their part for preservation, a big part of why we get involved with the road.

There are lots of vendors and visitors. It is good for Clinton's business and also raises Route 66 awareness among the people of the town.

He interviewed one of my good friends, Ron Jones, aka "Tattoo Man". This Route 66 fanatic takes his love for the road to another level. In the past seven years, he's had 54 tattoos (53 of Route 66 places) inked. At 5 foot 7 inches, "my canvas is running out of room." I remember sitting at the Alamo at last fall's Springfield, Il. 66 Festival with a bunch of 66 e-mail group members and trying to figure out where else Ron could put tattoos. I won't go into that here.

3. Bobby Troup said you could "Get Your Kicks on Route 66", but if you want to "Get Your News on Route 66", you need to go to Ron Warnick's blog called Route 66 News. This is one amazing site and you can go to it at rwarn17588.wordpress/ .

He reports about the Will Rogers awards presented last night in Clinton. Ron now lives in Tulsa, and was pleased that so many Oklahomans received them.

Michael Wallis- Will Rogers Award
Marian Clark- Person of the Year
Route 66 Harley-Davidson in Tulsa- Business of the Year
Delbert and Ruth Trew- Lifetime Achievement
David and Mary Lou Knudson- Founder's Award
Old Armory Group- Preservation Award
Nora Mansfield- Route 66 Ambassador

You can find out about these people at his site.

4. Ron also reports that R.E. Humbertson came the closest to guessing Tulsa's 2007 population back when the 1957 Plymouth Belvedere was buried back in 1957. He is the proud owner of a VERY rusted 1957 Plymouth Belvedere. He would have been 85 years old today, but early reports are that he died 30 years ago. We learn that he has two sisters still living so they will inherit it.

What Ya Gonna Do with a Very Rusted 1957 Belevedere? --RoadDog

Just When You Think You Get Caught Up with Route 66

I've come to the conclusion that you just CAN'T keep up with goings-on along the Mother Road. That is a real on-going thing, and it is my hope that you (yaw'l for my southern readers) get involved with it. Not much in life is finer than cruising down the Mother Road, or any of our old two-laners.

1. The Irish Independent reports that Irish motorcyclists raised over 400,000 pounds (that's be close to $800,000 US) for orphaned children in Mozambique. It said that 55 cyardai (?) and 15 friends made the 2,600 mile ride fro Chicago to LA. Talk about your having a good time while doing something good.

2. Steve Lackmeyer in the June 21st OKC's Oklahoman newspaper had an article about the Red Fork area of Tulsa, Ok. and current 66 activities, "Tulsa rediscovers its 66 routes."

It started off talking about the loss of the popular retro-styled Metro this past year and how Ollie's Restaurant in Red Fork is now a popular place to eat. This place features lots of train decor from signs, displays, and one going around a track suspended from the ceiling. We visited it on our way from the Tulsa Route 66 Festival several years ago. Great food and atmosphere. And the Metro wasn't even a "real" Rt 66 place.

Red Fork has had a hard go of it in recent years, and there are a lot of run-down and closed buildings. At one time, it vied with Tulsa and Sapulpa to be the big city in the Indian Territory. It got its name from the Cimarron River which is called the "Red Fork" of the Arkansas River. It was annexed by Tulsa in 1927 and did well until it started its slide in the 1970s.

At one time, the Crystal City amusement park (1926-1951) was located in Red Fork and was quite the place to go for fun. However, it was torn down in the 1950s and replaced by a shopping center which today is in sad shape.

A group called Tulsa's View in 2025, in a 121 page report, has a $15 million dollar proposed budget for signage, monuments, and attractions along the city's 26 mile stretch of 66. This will include a new interactive exhibit called "The Route 66 Experience".

They also call for the cosmetic restoration of the historic 11th Street Bridge which has been called the "Birthplace of Route 66" because "The Father of Route 66", Cyrus Avery, while attempting to get Route 66 and especially have it aligned through Tulsa, where he had business interests, was able to point out that this bridge was the only one crossing the Arkansas River. It has been closed for 25 years and is unsafe for even pedestrians to use it.

We've seen the bridge, but it is easy to miss with the new one beside it. Beautiful structure though.

3. Speaking of STEVE LACKMEYER- I have come across his name several times recently. He is a business writer for OKC's Oklahoman and had done a lot of articles on Route 66. He even has a Route 66 blog. Check him out.

Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Friday, June 22, 2007

Meet Mr. Van Buren, Mr. President

I just came across this in the Daily Gazette (it didn't say from where, might have been Rochester, IL's paper) for an event that happened last weekend. Definitely not the stuff you'd consider for a celebration, but interesting nonetheless.

Rochester, IL, had a two day festival to commemorate the June 16, 1842 meeting between former President Martin Van Buren and Abraham Lincoln. Rochester is a town close to Springfield.

The townsfolk dedicated a mural, sign, and opened at the Lincoln-Van Buren Trail. They also had music, art, antique, and quilt shows as well as visits from people related to former presidents.

One of the biggest problems was finding someone to portray a clean-shaven Lincoln (there were plenty of bearded ones around) and, of course, someone to be Martin Van Buren (not a big call to do him). Lincoln was portrayed by Joseph Woodard. Retired Springfield lawyer Gene Vernon was almost a deadringer for our 8th president and perhaps may have found a second career in retirement.

This was organized by R.L. and Carolyn Moore of Rochester. Last fall, while doing research, they found out that Van Buren and a group had been forced by mud and inclement weather to spend the night in Rochester while on their way to Springfield. They were touring southern and midwestern states.

In an effort to be good hosts, local Democrats invited Whig Abraham Lincoln out from Springfield to join them. "Lincoln was known as a wonderful storyteller, R.L. said. "Van Buren later said he laughed so much that night his sides hurt." If you've ever heard some of Lincoln's stories, you know he was hilarious.

Martin Van Buren was a one-term president 1837-1841, following Andrew Jackson. He was from New York and known as "The Sly Fox of Kinderhook". He lost big in 1840, and the winner was the first-Whig President, William Henry Harrison, who died after just a month in office.

We'll Party for Anything in Illinois. --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN HISTORY- 1944- FDR signed into law the GI Bill as a way to compensate servicemen for their efforts. Many used benefits from the GI Bill to go to college and buy homes.

On A. Lincoln, Drive-Ins, Road Parties, and the Simpsons

Some stuff I've come across recently:

1. SPRINGFIELD, IL- The Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum has purchased the Louise Taper's huge private collection of Lincoln memorabilia. It consists of hundreds of letters, documents, and items used by the Lincolns. Parts of it will be displayed in the museum during July.

2. THE SHAPE OF DRIVE-INS- Although only around 400 drive-ins around the US are still open, down from a high of over 4000, those still open are reporting great business. Evidently, Americans are discovering retro, thanks in part to the movie "Cars", a return to simpler times, and generally it costs less than an inside theater.

I know that I like to do a Retro Night several times each summer. I first go to the local Dog n Suds for a Coney Dog and that great root beer. Then, I get a large size plastic cup of the drink to go. While eating off the tray, the root beer needs to be in a frosted glass mug. We are fortunate to have two within five miles of us.

Then, I drive over to the McHenry Outdoor Theater (also about 5 miles) to see the double feature, if I can stay awake that long. It costs $6 a person. This is where I saw "Cars" for the first time. Now, this is a great place to first see that movie. Remember Rascal Flats' video of "Life is a Highway" was shot at a drive-in.

3. Lots of fun out west (and I didn't go thanks to Big Oil's excessive gas prices). The LINCOLN HIGHWAY CONFERENCE is winding down today out in Fort Morgan, CO. It started last Sunday.

The annual ROUTE 66 FESTIVAL kicked off yesterday in Clinton, OK, and will continue to Sunday. Next year, it will be in Litchfield, Illinois; a lot closer so we will probably make it even if Big Oil does their annual gouge. However, they might not as next year will be the presidential election.

4. Back to SPRINGFIELD, IL- There are 13 Springfields across the US competing to be "THE" Springfield where the Simpsons live. They will submit a video and readers of US Today will vote for their favorites next month. The winner gets to host the world premier. We'll be voting early and often for out fav...Springfield, Illinois!!!

Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Thursday, June 21, 2007

How Deep Can We Go?

Two other stories I came across of interest:

1. This June 23-24 will mark the 75th anniversary of the opening of the LINCOLN CAVERNS in Pennsylvania. They were discovered during the construction of US Highway 22 and purchased by Myron Dunlavy in 1932 and been in his family ever since.

In honor of the event, tickets this weekend will be reduced 75%, to $2.65. The caverns are located about three miles west of Huntington, PA, and on, of course, US-22.

2. 157 YEAR OLD SHIPWRECK FOUND- The remains of the steamship General Anthony Wayne, named after the Revolutionary War hero, have been discovered in Lake Erie, about 8 miles north of Vermillion under 50 feet of water.

It was discovered by amateur shipwreck prospector Thomas Kowalczk, using sonar.

The Wayne sank when its boilers exploded enroute from somewhere near Toledo to Buffalo. Thirty-eight of the ninety-three passengers and crew died.

The wreck belongs to the state of Ohio and salvaging is illegal. But divers can visit after it is surveyed.

Down, Down, Down I Go. --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN AUTOMOTIVE HISTORY- 1947- A Ford Marries a Firestone. Marie Firestone married William Clay Ford. Her father's company was greatly helped when Ford gave Firestone exclusive right to provide the tires for the Model Ts.

Illinois Preservation.... Win One -- Lose One

1. $370,000 TOO MUCH FOR SMALL TOWN- The town of Middleton, IL, near Lincoln determined that $370,000 was just too much to put out to save the 1898 Glenn Building on its town square. There are only 450 residents.

The Glenn Building was constructed after the railroad arrived. At times, the first floor was occupied by a grocery, a dry goods and notions store, a shoe store, and a bank. The second floor had the Glenn Opera House which opened Nov. 2, 1898.

The small town has, however, saved Logan County's oldest brick building and turned it into a library and museum. The big wooden Stage Coach Inn has also been saved and plans are for turning it into a B & B.

2. WILLIAMSON COUNTY JAIL placed on the National Register of Historic Places by the National Park Service. It is located in Marion in the southern part of the state.

It was built in 1913 and in use until 1971. It and the adjacent home are now part of the Williamson County Museum.

Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

On Da 66: Miami, Pontiac and Carthage

A few items of interest I've come across regarding The Mother Road:

1. Miami, Oklahoma, appears to be getting involved more with its Route 66 heritage, By the way, if you pronounced it like that place in Florida, you were wrong. It's pronounced My-ah-muh. So, now you know.

Of course, they have that beautiful Coleman Theater which was built in 1929 with Spanish Mission-style architecture. Then there is Waylan's Ku Ku Burgers from 1960, the last remaining of a 200 unit chain. Great food in a unique building and sign.

Miami was one of the very first Route 66 towns to be bypassed by the Will Rodgers Turnpike. Plans are underway to do a lot of stuff that will once again bring back the 66 ties.

One thing they are planning is to recreate a gateway that tourists passed through in the 1920s. Also, there will be a mile marker for the old Ozark Trail, which predated 66. Close to $1.8 million will be spent on Main Street's streetscape. A sign will be erected by the famous one lane "Ribbon Road" where Route 66 was just one lane wide to make funds stretch in the attempt to continously pave the road the whole way.

Grants have been received to renovate an old Marathon station which is described as looking like a Greek temple. I've never seen it, though, in the several times I've passed through the town.

2. Pontiac, Illinois, one of my favorite 66 towns, and home of that magnificent courthouse, the Old Log Cabin Restaurant as well as the Route 66 Association of Illinois' Hall of Fame and Museum, is considering more to promote Route 66.

Two Route 66 murals and a $3000 road turnout are on the docket. The bridge is significant because it was an original Illinois Hwy 4 one. This is the road Route 66 replaced. It was rebuilt in 2006, but the original ends were kept. One has a faded, but still discernable old Illinois hwy sign with a 4 inside a map of the state. I wish we'd go back to that design. The one we use today is very generic. The rest of the bridge was built to look the same as the old one. There will be a bench or several benches as well as a kiosk that will describe the place of the bridge in history.

One of the murals will be seven by twenty-five feet and will show a 1950s era car on Route 66 with the words "Enjoy Pontiac, Illinois on Route 66."

3. The June 20th Carthage Press reports that the owner of the art deco 1939 Boots Motel would sure like someone to come and buy it.

Vince Scott bought it about four years ago as an investment. He had hoped to sell it to WALGREENS which planned on tearing it down to build a corner store. Imagine that, a Walgreens tearing down a historic building to construct a new store. Has that ever happened before? Fortunately for us, the deal fell through.

Now, he's "stuck" with it. "I bought it to turn around and make some fast money and now I still have it. Now, I've gotten a lot of advice from people, but not many people stepping up with any money to back up that advice." Somehow, I feel sorry for him, don't you?

The article said it was built in the 1920s by Arthur Boots, and, according to Scott, the rooms still look pretty much the same.

"Local icon could be tourist attraction" by John Hacker.

Forward the 66. --RoadDog

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Hey, That was My 100th Post!!!

Well, 101st now, but that's still a lot in just over two months, including that stretch I couldn't figure out how to get it up.

I don't know whether to thank my niece Andrea or be mad at her for showing me how to get into this here bloggin' stuff.

Spending Too Much Time on This. --RoadDog

The Dixie Highway and Illinois Hwy 1

This past weekend, towns along Illinois' eastern border celebrated both the Dixie Highway and Illinois' Highway 1.

Over the years, it has been a buffalo trail, native American trade route, fur trading path, pioneer livestock drive, and Illinois Hwy 1. Other names have been the Vincennes Trail and the Hubbard Trail.

In 1914, it became part of the Dixie Highway that connected Sault Ste Marie and Florida. This was the brainchild of Indiana auto industrialist Carl G. Fisher, who also started the Lincoln-Highway, America's very first tanscontinental highway, and the Indianapolis 500. He figured these would be good for investors and business.

The 7th annual "Driving the Dixie" was held this past weekend from Blue Island to Danville.

These days, Elaine Egdoff has assumed Fisher's mantle as biggest promoter of the Dixie. She is a member of Homewood, Illinois' Heritage Committe and the Dixie was the city's main street.

Last year 135 cars started the drive and others joined along the way.

The town of Momenee is getting involved and had "Dixie Daze" from 10 AM to midnight Saturday with live music, an art fair, and trolley tours to historic sites. The city of Rossville had a three day festival. Others that had their own celebrations in conjunction were Beecher, Grant Park, Milford, and Hoopestown.

There is a drive to establish a Dixie Highway Association (like the already reformed Lincoln Highway Association to which I belong). Once that is accomplished, the next object will be to get a National Dixie Highway Historic Road designation.

This past April, I got together with a group of road folk from the American Road Magazine and we drove a stretch of the Dixie from Cave City (where we stayed at the famous Wigwam Village) to Elizabethtown, Ky. It was during this trip that I started this blog.


There is now a Triangle Tour in northeast Illinois. It covers 110 miles and includes three of the best-known old roads: Lincoln Highway, Dixie Highway, and Route 66. Noted Illinois Route 66 author, John Weiss has a new book out about it titled "Traveling the Historic Three".

Information from the June 14th Kankakee Daily Journal. "Dixie Highway festival celebrates Ill. Route 1" by Robert Themer.

Hey, I'm From NC, So Like the Term Dixie Anyway. --RoadDog

Dead Page: Producer of "Laught-In" and "Little House on the Prairie"

The "Dead Page" is so-called because while I was teaching 7th grade, I had the kids write down the names of some people who died who I felt had really been involved in history, had contributed something, or who had led interesting lives. There were so many, that they began to refer to it as "The Dead Page."

ED FRIENDLY 1922-2007

TV Producer behind "Laugh-In" and "Little House"

Ed Friendly died June 17, 2007.

He brokered the deal that brought "Laugh-In" (1968-1973) to network TV and created "Little House on the Prairie" (1974-1983) after seeing his teenage daughter reading the books.

Both were favorite shows of mine. "You can bet your sweet bippy." Many of my friends didn't like "Little House" but I really enjoyed it, along with the "Waltons". Both were great TV.

"Is that a chicken joke?"

"Verry iinteresting."

What would Nellie say?


Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Lincoln, Illinois/ Route 66 Stuff: The Mill

The Lincoln Courier reports that the 1874 Hoblit House will be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It was owned by the same family for a hundred years and is in the Italianate style of architecture.


The June 18th Lincoln Courier reports that one part of The Mill restaurant was taken down over the weekend.

Brian Huffman, grandson of the owners said, "This is the end of an era."

The original 1929 structure that is shaped like a Dutch windmill and the post WWII addition that was originally an army barracks remain. This business dates back to the earliest days of Route 66 and was famous for its schnitzel. It closed in 1996.

Since then, it has been allowed to slowly disintegrate and become an "intriguing eyesore". I know the place is a definite stop whenever we pass through Lincoln. Primarily, I wanted to see if it was still standing. There is something about an old, barely standing, structure that really gets me. I think of the history we're about to lose.

It is definitely a unique building, one that we came close to losing, but thanks to a group of involved and concerned citizens, it will be around for a long time. Plans presently call for the refurbished place to be used primarily as a tourist photo op.

Just More Stuff to See in Lincoln. --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN AUTOMOTIVE HISTORY- 1949- NASCAR- the first Grand National was held at the Charlotte, NC, Fairgrounds- considered to be the birth of NASCAR racing as we know it today.

The Great Chicago Fire- October 8, 1871

The June 17, 2007 Chicago Tribune Magazine printed a brief "5 Essential Things about The Great Chicago Fire. " I found them to be interesting; some of them I didn't know.

1. Began about 9 PM, Oct. 8th and continued to early Oct. 10. Ground zero was the O'Leary barn at 137 DeKoven St. (I wonder if their place is still there). Killed around 300 people, destroyed much of Chicago, left 100,000 homeless. The O'Leary house and front of the barn were not damaged. (Who'd have figured that!)

2. Thousands of people fled the fire carry what possessions they could. Many went to the city's borders at Fullerton Ave. That is no longer the outskirts of the city.

3. No one has found a photograph of the fire in progress. However, there are 31 pencil, chalk, and white paint illustrations by famed Civil War artist Alfred Waud. He was in St. Louis, and jumped on a train to Chicago right away.

4. This was not the worst loss of life due to fire in Chicago history. That was the 1903 Iroquois Theater fire in which 602 perished.

5. The first load of lumber to rebuild the city was delivered the day the flames were extinguished. Just 22 years later, Chicago hosted the Columbian Exposition which was also intended to show the phoenix arising of the city. Twenty-two years is about how long it has been since the Bears last WON a Super Bowl. And we're not even going to talk about the CUBS.

Other stuff I might add at this point.

1. A lot of the debris from the fire was dumped along the lakefront, some creating what is today Grant Park.

2. Architects and planners were given clean slates to rebuild Chicago, whose unbelievably rapid growth from 1840 had created a real mish-mosh of streets and buildings.

3. The old Chicago Museum of History had one exhibit where they showed about twelve spoons that were fused together by the heat. I always thought that was neat. I don't know if the newly reopened facility still has them on display.

4. The famous Watertower on Michigan Avenue is one of the few surviving downtown buildings.

5. It is now the belief that the fire was started in the barn, but Not By the Cow, but by a drunk trying to sleep one off.

6. Most people don't know that there was a much worse fire in Wisconsin on the same date that killed about 4000 people. It was overshadowed by the event in Chicago.

7. The whole Midwest had been in an extended drought all summer and fall at the time, and there were very strong winds on Oct. 8th. That and all those wooden buildings were not a good combination.

8. They actually raised the streets, which because Chicago was built on a marshy area, caused a lot of mud and mess during rains.

9. Quite a few possessions of Abraham Lincoln were destroyed in the fire, including an original copy of the Gettysburg Address. They were being stored by Lincoln's son while he was trying to figure out what to do with his mentally-challenged (how's that for pc?) mother.

Things You Didn't Know about the Great Chicago Fire. --RoadDog

Monday, June 18, 2007

Crystal Lake, Il. Preservation


I went to the website and found out some more information. A place gets a plaque and is landmarked if it is a "public asset that enriches the community of Crystal Lake by virtue of its architecture and by people and events associated with it."

The Col. Palmer House-1858- is a very impressive combination of Greek Revival and Federal architecture. Col. Gustavus A. Palmer and wife Henrietta were two of the earliest McHenry County settlers, arriving in 1839 after a three-week covered wagon trip from New York state. He had taken part in the The Patriot's War of 1837-1838 (never heard of it) where he received 80 acres of land in Illinois in return for his service.

I looked up the Patriot's War, which essentially was an attempt by various militias in eastern Michigan to take over the southern part of Ontario from Detroit to the Niagara River. They were defeated at the Battle of Windsor and were either jailed or hanged. Col. Palmer was with the US troops sent to put it down.

I have been to a celebration by this small, but intriguing structure.

The Raue House- 1901- was built for $2000 and occupied by the Raue family for 93 years. The family became wealthy by doing business in Crystal Lake, and recently donated over $2 million to purchase and renovate the old El Tovar Theater in the downtown. Today, it is called the Raue Center for the Arts. Two years ago, Liz and I saw Bob Newhart there. This is a great place to see a show. All seats are great.

The Dole Mansion- In the 1860s, Charles S. Dole purchased over 1000 acres overlooking Crystal Lake. He was a successful Chicago businessman and early member of the Chicago Board of Trade.

He had a three story mansion with gardens and stables built and imported European craftsmen to make sure it was a showplace. He spent $100,000 on it, a princely sum at the time.

For his daughter's wedding in 1883, he had a spur line built from the local railroad. Guests coming could go directly to the house, where they found a 750 feet long canopy and carpet walkway.

Later, he built a half-mile racecourse on the property and eventually had quite a stable of racehorses.

This guy really knew how to make and spend money.

During the early 1900s, it was owned and operated by a several ice companies who would ship the ice to Chicago during the summers. The arrival of refrigeration ended that era.

Again, Great Job Crystal Lake. --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN AUTOMOTIVE HISTORY- 1923- the first Checker Cab produced.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Crystal Lake Is Getting into Preservation

June 10th, the Crystal Lake, Il, Historical Preservation Commission had its 10th Annual Heritage Tour. About 300 people plunked down $10 apiece to board a trolley and had a guided tour of the various historic sites. Proceeds will go to the historic grant program where the commission will match up to $500 worth of an owner's approved improvements.

The commission had recommended that the Dole Mansion be landmarked by the city council on June 7th. This will be the city's 11th landmarked site. In 2002, the Lakeside Legacy Foundation raised $1.6 milion to buy and preserve it. Once landmarked, this protects a structure from demolition, inappropriate changes or neglect. This would be the first step towards a listing on the National Register of Historic Places which presently consists of more than 80,000 sites.

Crystal Lake is about 15 miles from my house.

I did some research on the landmarked places and will report on it tomorrow.

"History at every turn" by Emily Previti--June 11, 2007 Northwest Herald

Keep on Preserving All that You Can...Before It's Gone. --RoadDog

Saturday, June 16, 2007

America's Eleven--No It's Not a New Movie

Kind of sounds like a new movie, you know, like Ocean's 13, but these are the Big Eleven. These are the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of eleven most endangered sites which was just released this past Thursday.

1. Brooklyn's Industrial Waterfront- New York City

2. El Camino Real Historic Trail- New Mexico- The earliest Euro-American trade route and considered to be the largest and most important artifacts from the Spanish Colonial era in the US- threatened by the $225 million Spaceport.

3. H. H. Richardson House- Brookline, Mass- last home and studio of this significant 19th century architect- credited with designing Boston's Trinity Church.

4. Hialeah Park Race Course- Hialeah, Fl- "drop dead" gorgeous 1925 race track with stunning Mediterranean architecture and the famous pink flamingoes- threatened by development.

5. Historic Places Along Transmission Line Corridor- mostly Mid-Atlantic states- preservationist are battling these 150 feet tall, 75 feet wide towers that will destroy historic sites once constructed.

6. Historic Route 66 Motels- from Illinois to California- I have been discussing this a lot in previous postings, including another one for today.

7. Historic Structures in Missouri's Mark Twain National Forest- Established by FDR in 1939- 1.5 million acres. Intact 19th century frontier homesteads all the way to New Deal sites.

8. Mindoka Internment Camp- Idaho-from 1942-1945 thousands of Nikei, Japanese-Americans, imprisoned here. At one time consisted of over 600 buildings. This site gets few visitors and is threatened by the development of a massive animal operation nearby.

9. Phillip Sims Workshop and Home- Charleston, SC- master blacksmith who created much of the fancy and beautiful ironwork you see on Charleston's old homes.

10. Pinon Canyon- Southeast Co.- archeological site spanning 11,500 years- the US army wants to expand its Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site.

11. Stewart Point Rancheria- Sonoma Co., Ca- an Indian site

You can get more informationat

Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

It's On Route 66: That Old Belvedere, 11 Most Endangered, Motels

Some Stuff Happening Along the "Mother Road".

1. Yesterday, there were a lot of pictures of the 1957 PLYMOUTH BELVEDERE in Tulsa, Ok, on the the Yahoo Most-Viewed Photos site. Today, there are a lot of the car as it now looks, covered with rust and dirt. I don't think they'll be getting a full $75,000 out of it. It looked as if it was covered with a tarp and that water had gotten in. Folks are mighty disappointed. Oh, well, that was a neat idea.

2. There will be a new series of novels set along Route 66 during the Depression, The author is Dorothy Garlock. Of course, this is where Route 66 got its name "Mother Road" from John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath."

3. NEW MEXICO places a five mile segment of the original 1926 alignment and the Santa Fe Armory on the State Register of Cultural Properties. The segment is between Bernalillo and Algodones. It was replaced a short time after 1926 by an east-west route through Moriarty and Albuquerque which went through the Tijeres Canyon.

The Santa Fe Armory was also added. During WWII, every New Mexico soldier was inducted into service at this facility.

4. MORE ON MOTELS- this time from Glasgow, Scotland, UK- People all over the world know about our Route 66. Sometimes I think they're more into it than Americans. I know far too many friends who would rather go to a Chucky Cheese (even those without kids) than get off the superslab (what we call interstates).

Of course, all of Route 66 was recently placed on a world preservation group's most endangered list and this past week, the US National Trust for Historic Preservation listed 11 endangered places in the US, and Route 66 motels was on that.

A quote from the Reuters article. Motels "are endangered species which evoke the glory days of a route that once symbolized America's embrace of the auto age and travel across its vast expanse." I couldn't have put it better.

The article talked about the Motel Reno which caught fire about 20 years ago and, today, is abandoned and dilapidated with smashed windows and a very tough-looking bunch of people hanging around it. A very common line from townspeople is that these places used to be very busy as well as other town businesses until the interstates came and the people didn't. This was one of the points that the animated film "Cars" was trying to make last summer.

The article came accompanied by pictures of the brilliant neon signs of the Western Motel west of Oklahoma City and the Carlyle Motel which is nearby.

"Old motels evoke past glory of the 'Mother Road'" by Ed Stoddard, June 14.

Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Friday, June 15, 2007

Even More KCBS Team Names

I dove into the Kansas City Barbecue Society's website again and found some more great team names.

Midnite Smoker
The BBQ Guru
The Big Name in Smoking
Jumping Dog BBQ
Widespread Pork
Pig Pen BBQ
Bad Bones BBQ Crew
Casual Smokers
I Que
I Smell Smoke
Smoke 'N' Dudes
Central Pork West
Full Pull BBQ
Pigs on the Run
Dixie Bones
Carcass Cookers
It Ain't Prime
Butts & Suds
Hog Pound

Where do they come up with these? Must have been a lot of thinkin' and drinkin'.

Just Lovin' Those Names. --RoadDog

Talking About an Old Building and Old Roads in Indiana

The May 20th Merrillville, In, Post Tribune ran an article about the Merrillville/Ross Township Historical Museum at 13 West 73rd Avenue. It is "a historical building on a historical street in a historical part of town. 73rd Avenue was a human epic in the continent's settlement."

The building was originally a school, then, in 1977, when the town incorporated, it was city hall for 20 years. Today, it is a museum.

The street originally was a dirt path, then the Sauk Trail, the main road to Detroit. Spain owned it after its 1781 capture of British Fort Joseph at what is now Niles, Mi.

US troops took the Sauk Trail on their way to build Fort Dearborn at present-day Chicago. By 1876, it was known as the Joliet Wagon Road, a main route for farm produce to get to market.

The towns of Merrillville and Schererville grew up along it. In the 20th century, it became a part of the Lincoln Highway.

That Is Some Historic Road. --RoadDog

Teepees and Pyramids in Tempe

The May 31st AZ had an interesting article on the some unique architecture in Tempe, Az.

The city hall evidently is an inverted pyramid. I looked for a picture, but couldn't find one.

Most of the article was on a motel that no longer exists called known as the Tempe Teepees. They were originally the Wigwam Auto Court and later the Wigwam Lodge. I found this of interest because of a two night stay I had in Wigwam Village #2 in Cave City, Ky, right by Mammoth Cave.

The article continued that the wigwams never looked like teepees and Arizona's indigenous population never built anything like it. This didn't bother Frank Redford who patented the Wigwam design in 1936. Nor did it matter to Maurice Barth (1896-1973) who built the Tempe one.

As more and more folks were driving America's highway system in the 20s and 30s, new roadside architecture evolved to attract them. Neon lights and signs competed with each other to out-garish the next guy down the road.

In 1926, the new Federal Highway System was created. Four US highways and Az-93 came together in downtown Tempe on Mill Avenue and then went west on Mesa Highway along East 13th Street. It was renamed Apache Blvd. in 1950.

Some relics of the 1930s to 1960s remain in Tempe, but unfortunately, not the Wigwam Auto Court.

It was built in 1945-46 and predates the existing one in Holbrook, Az by 4 or 5 years. Interesting enough, it had six 35 foot tall, two-story wigwams, the only ones ever built that high. They and the rest of the 23 foot diameter units had concrete branches at the top to resemble lodge poles.

In the mid-60s, they were converted to apartments and half demolished in 1972. Arizona State University acquired the property in 1982 and had it bulldozed in 1983 for a new dormitory. The paper is looking for recollections of it. I also could not find any pictures of the place. I would have liked to have seen one of those two-story teepees.


The same university also just recently demolished the old Valley National Bank on Rural Road and Apache Blvd. in February. Preservationist fought the good fight, but lost in the end. However, they did save the unique gold-domed roof. It was one of the valley's first and most unique drive thrus.

The roof was disassembled and put in temporary storage and will be reinstalled somewhere on the campus.

Win Some, Lose Some. --RoadDog

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Who's That Picture on the Wall?

The June 12th Rockford, Illinois Register Star ran an article about the new murals and interpretive centers opening up along the 179 mile stretch of the old Lincoln Highway passing through the state.

The newest one is of etiquette guru Emily Post and is in the "Hub City" of Rochelle where she spent several days on her trip along the Lincoln Highway in 1915. She described the city as a "charming community" on what then was America's only coast to coast highway.

Illinois' stretch is part of the Lincoln Highway National Scenic Byway. The old road went 3,300 miles across 12 states from New York City to San Francisco.

There are now 3 murals along the Illinois route with another 40 planned. Also, there are plans for 20 interpretive gazebos.

Bonnie Heimbach, executive director of the Northern Illinois Tourism Development Office, said: "It's a unique way to bring the story of Illinois' role to the people. With high gas prices, families are looking for unique day trips." People are getting off I-88 and I-90 "and travel into these little communities and discover the history and heritage of these places."

I should mention that signage along Illinois' Lincoln Highway is excellent. You could drive the whole thing without using a map, just follow the signs.


The murals are painted on aluminum-backed foam boards and mounted on the walls of buildings. Artists like Jay Allen of Shawcraft Sign Co. are making them. Trips are made out to proposed building sites where measurements are made. Some will be more expensive and larger than others..

Jay Allen played a big role in the many murals around Belvidere, Illinois on US Highway 20, so he knows what he's talking about.


Rochelle, called the "Hub City" because of the one hundred or so trains that pass through there every day (they even have a Railroad Park where you can watch them), has plans to put up six more. There is also a restored 1919 Standard Station.

The article also had a complete list of all towns which will have murals and those that will have the interpretive centers.

June 12, 2007 Rockford Register Star "Lincoln Highway gets 'Post" marked" by Bob Barker.

Keepin' on Down that Old Lincoln Highway. --RoadDog

Vandalia's Grand Levee

Illinois is fortunate to have some of the biggest names in historical roads, including Route 66, the Lincoln Highway, and the National Road. All have excellent signage, so you don't even really need a map to drive them.

This weekend, the former state capital in Vandalia will be hosting its 39th annual Grand Levee (so-named after the parties and festvities which were held back in the 1830s when dignitaries visited).

This year's will also be in conjuction with the Illinois National Road Festival, in which many of the towns along the Illinois stretch will be hosting activities. We went to this festival a few years ago after the Route 66 Association of Illinois' Motor Tour, and had a good time at several of the towns. Old Abe was walking the grounds of the state capitol in Vandalia. You can also see one of the famous Madonna of the Trails.

Vandalia was the seat on Illinois government from 1836-1838 until Abraham Lincoln and others had it moved to Springfield.

Good Times in an Old Town. --RoadDog

Lotsa Folks Coming to Illinois

Record numbers of people are visiting Illinois which is good for state businesses and monies. In 2006, 71.8 million leisure visitors came to the state, up by 9% over 2005. The state has really stepped up its marketing campaign. Chicago saw a 15.5% increase while downstate was 5.5%.

US visitors either staying a night, or coming from at least 50 miles away accounted for 91.1 million. As a result, $1.9 billion in state and local taxes were collected (just stay in a motel and look at the taxes that are added).

This shows quite a recovery from 9-11, despite Big Oil's price gouging.

However, SPRINGFIELD, ILLINOIS' tourism is down after two very strong years. Reasons are cold weather, high gas prices, and a leveling off of the surge of visitors to the Lincoln Museum which opened in 2005. It is expected to surge again in 2009 as interest in Abraham Lincoln's bicentennial of his birth kicks in.

Attendance at the Abraham Lincoln Museum is down 13% the last several months. Of course, like with any new thing, once the newness wears off, it should be expected to level off.

Illinois, A Great Place to Cruise. --RoadDog

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Possible Lincoln Note Found at Flea Market

Collector Bruce Steiner paid $50 for a stack of old documents at a flea market last October and was greatly surprised when he found a note on the outside of an envelope signed "A. Lincoln" and dated April 14, 1865, the day that Abraham Lincoln was shot at Ford's Theater by John Wilkes Booth.

He was at Jamie's Flea Market in South Amhurst, Ohio. On the outside of the envelope were the words "Let this man enter with this note," and it was signed A. Lincoln.

The Illinois Historic Preservation Society and the Abraham Lincoln Museum and Library have examined it and report that it looks genuine.

No one has any idea how much it's worth, but Steiner is keeping it in a bank's safety box. Nor does anyone know how the note came to be in that group of old papers. That would probably be an interesting story in itself. Could this have been the very last thing Lincoln wrote? Plus, why didn't the previous owner know what he had?

Ya Just Never Know What You'll Find at a Garage Sale or Flea Market, or In Your Attic. --RoadDog

Route 66 Stuff: Mule Trading Post and the Buried Car

Ron Warnick's Route 66 News Blog said that the Mule Trading Post, outside Rolla, Missouri, is the new home of the giant moving hillbilly sign which used to grace the now-closed Hillbilly Store. The Mule Trading Post is a classic tourist trap, and well worth a stop.

WOULD YOU BUY A CAR THAT HAD BEEN BURIED FOR 50 YEARS? WOULD YOU PAY $75,000 FOR IT? There is a bit of excitement in Tulsa, Ok, in regards to a Plymouth Belvedere that was buried as a brand new car back in 1957 during the Tulsarama Celebration of Oklahoma's 50 anniversary as a state.

It was buried in a container, but no one knows what kind of shape it will be in. It could be worth as much as $75,000.

It will be dug up at the corner of Sixth Street and Denver Avenue on Friday, and will be opened at the Convention Center on Saturday. Quite a few people have bought tickets and it will be shown live on the internet and TV.

I Wonder if Someone Had the Foresight to Fill It Up Back Then? Let's See, 20 gallons at 30 cents- 6 Bucks!!--RoadDog

Why I-80 in Nebraska is Boring

The McCook Daily Gazette in Nebraska ran a story saying that people cruising down I-80 through the state often complain that it is boring. The reason for that is that the interstate's planners made sure the road was always several miles from towns and the old Lincoln Highway, which it replaced. This drive is a lot more interesting. Straight and fast replaced curving and interesting.

Shortly after people on I-80 leave Omaha, they will be surprised by a vintage F-105 fighter jet on a pillar just a few yards off the highway. It is there to lure tourist to the Strategic Air and Space Museum in Ashland.

This town is also very proud that a hometown boy, Clayton C. Anderson, is on his way for a long stay at the International Space Station.

Way to Go, Clayton Anderson. --RoadDog

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Some More KCBS Teams: Soggy Bottom Swine Smoke

At the "Red, White & BBQ" contest May 27, in Westmont, Illinois:

Dr. Porkenstein
Burnt Food Dude
Chi-Town Smokers
Uncle Bub's

At the Bloomin' Barbeque & Bluegrass at Sevierville, Tn.:

Lotta Bull BBQ
Bill & the Dixie Chucks
Wild Bunch Butt Burners
Cool Smoke
Late Night Whiskey Smoke
Grillin' Gangsters
Soggy Bottom Swine Smoke- I really liked this one
Smoke 'Em if You Got 'Em
Rub Masters

I'll have to go back to and find some more names.

Really Likin' These Names. --RoadDog

Good 'Cue on 66 /What is KCBS Anyway? Boars Night Out

Came across an entry in the "You Gonna Eat That?" blog about a barbecue contest in Victorville, Ca., this past weekend. As you know, I am somewhat of a fan of this cuisine. It seems that the "Four Q BBQ" team competed against 20 other teams in a KCBS-sanctioned contest called the "Go for the Gold Route 66 BBQ Championship".

They had to compete in four categories: chicken, pork ribs, pulled pork (my own personal favorite, but HEY, I'm originally from NC, the home of pulled pork!!), and beef brisket. Evidently, they are a fairly new team, but were happy with an 8th place finish. The Grand Champion was "All Hogs Go to Heaven" and Reserve Champion was "Otis and the Brisket". I liked those names.

I was wondering, could KCBS be the call letters of a radio or TV station, since I know that west of the Mississippi they begin with the letter K, east of it with the letter W? Looked it up and it stands for Kansas City Barbeque Society. The organization claims 6500 members, 260 sanctioned events, and ten million fans. Their goal is the "celebrating, teaching, preserving, and promoting barbeque as a culinary technique, sport, and art form. Our goal is to have barbeque recognized as America's cuisine." Well...they get my vote!!!

At their website, they had, under Contests, a list of the top tens at recent contests. I figured that there might be some more interesting team names, and there were. At the Mississippi Springfest competition in Ashland, Ms., on May 5, some teams:

Smokey Mt. Smokers
Snail Slow Smokin'
Big Green Eggs and Ham
Bad to the Bone
Mason-Dixon Swine
Boars Night Out
Kinney's Kountry Kookers
South Wind BBQ

'Cue Guy & the Ribs. --RoadDog

When is a Sword Worth $6.4 Million?

It's worth that when the previous owner had the initials NB, as in Napoleon Bonaparte.

It was a gold-encrusted sword that Napoleon won at the Battle of Marengo, Italy in 1800. It sold at auction for far more than the estimated $1.6 million to $2 million expected. It went for $6,400,000. Shoot, I could live nicely off just the commission!!

The Osenat auction house held it Sunday across the street from one of Napoleon's imperial palaces in Fontainbleau. south of Paris.

It's Always Funny until Someone Loses an Eye. Don't run around with a sword in your hand (probably Worse than Scissors)!!!!! --RoadDog

Monday, June 11, 2007

Where O'Hare Airport Got Its Name

And why luggage checked to O'Hare is tagged "ORD" instead "CO" -ChicagoO'Hare.

While doing Edward Corboy's obituary, I looked up Edward "Butch" O'Hare's life, and it was definitely an interesting one. He was a war hero of WWII, winning the Medal of Honor for his actions in 1942, and lost his life in 1943.

He was born in St. Louis. His parents divorced and his father worked for Al Capone as a lawyer before turning against him. It was largely his testimony that got Capone put into Alcatraz for income tax evasion. He was killed in his car one week before Capone got out of prison. Strange coincidence indeed.

Edward O'Hare attended the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. On February 20, 1942, while protecting the aircraft carrier USS Lexington, by himself, he engaged a squadron of Japanese bombers out to sink the ship. He shot down five of the nine in furious action and forced them to turn back, unaware that O'Hare had run out of ammunition. At one point, observers noted three bombers crashing at the same time. He was awarded the Navy's first Medal of Honor in WWII for this action. He also became the Navy's first Ace.

He was killed on November 26, 1943 during the Marianas Turkey Shoot while leading the first-ever night sortie from an aircraft carrier.

In 1945, the Navy commissioned the destroyer USS O'Hare in his honor. Four years later, due to action by Edward Corboy and Tribune Publisher Robert McCormick, Chicago's Orchard Depot Airport (ORD call letters) was renamed O'Hare International Airport on September 19, 1949.

Today, there is a display in one of the terminals featuring a full-size Grumman FYF-3, the type of plane O'Hare was flying that day in 1942, that was recovered from the bottom of Lake Michigan where it ended up on a training mishap attempting to land on the training aircraft carrier USS Wolverine during WWII.

So next time you come to or pass through O'Hare Airport, you know the rest of the story.

Very Impressed with Edward "Butch" O'Hare. --RoadDog

Sunday, June 10, 2007

The Midwest, A to Z: lakes, Route 66 and Stay-Home Vacations

The February Midwest Living Magazine, in honor of its 20th anniversary, compiled a list of what makes the Midwest so special and did it alphabetically. Here is their list with their and my comments:

a- for the American Gothic painting by Grant Wood of the couple with a pitchfork in front of the home in Eldon, Iowa.
b- blue jeans for an honest day's work. I would have said Chicago Blues. The World Capital of the Blues.
c- corn on the cob- mighty fine here in Illinois

d- Diner- good food for cheap
e- education- great schools like Northern Illinois University in Dekalb and Magee Middle School in Round Lake, Il.
f- fair- like the great Illinois State Fair in Springfield right on Route 66.

g- Gateway Arch in St. Louis and right by Route 66
h- horizon with wide open spaces, great sunsets, endless seas of sky and earth.
i- Indy racing- nothing beats fun at the Old Brickyard.

j- jazz from Kansas City. Also blues in Chicago and Motown in Detroit.
k- kitchen table where families, friends gather at home
l- lakes and lots of them from Minnesota, the "Land of a Thousand Lakes", the Great Lakes, and Illinois' Chain of Lakes.

m- Main Street the heart of our small towns to congregate, work, and play. Then there's the annual Corn Festival on DeKalb, Illinois' main street, the Lincoln Highway.
n- Neighbors helping hands, more than just the people next door.
o- oaks tall and mighty and digging those acorns. But don't stand under one when the acorns are dropping.

p- prairie style - Frank Lloyd Wright's simple design inspired by long expanses.
q- quilts- ozy, colorful fabrics hearken to the pioneer past.
r- ROUTE 66- getting your kicks in Illinois, Missouri, and 13.2 miles in Kansas.

s- seasons- nothing like the change of seasons, especially magnificent fall.
t- thunderstorms lighting up the landscape
u- U-pick fresh produce and a hands-on connection to the land.

v- vacations- close-to-home beaches, mountains, forests, prairies, museums, parks,small-town charm, and big-city culture.
w- walleye- "What the Hell You Got Against Fish?" Thanks to Pat Dailey, the voice of the Great Lakes.
x-roads- the crossroads of the country

y- yards- freedom and space for living. I cut mine about once a week, more when it rains a lot.
z- zany- our sense of humor and sites that show it, like big balls of twine, Nebraska's Carhenge, and the Oz museum in Liberal, Kansas. Liberal got its name when free water was given to travelers in covered wagons. The people would say, "Mighty liberal of you."

Loving This Great Midwest. --RoadDog

Dead Page: Robert DeForrest and Edward Corboy


Led Efforts to Rename Chicago's Orchard Airport to O'Hare

Edward Corboy died April 30, 2007 at age 88. As a Chicago Tribune Advertising executive, he and Publisher Robert McCormick led the efforts to rename Chicago's Orchard Depot Airfield in honor of WWII Medal of Honor winner Edward "Butch" O'Hare, who single-handedly shot down five Japanese bombers attacking the aircraft carrier USS Lexington.

So that is why any luggage going to O'Hare has the three letters ORD on it, and not OHA.


Preservationist located Black American Landmarks

Robert DeForrest died February 23, 2007, at the age of 72. He cofounded the Afro-American Institute for Historic Preservation and Community Development which headquartered in Washington, DC, in a three story mansion filled with photographs, maps, and other documents that would help identify and classify sites associated with African Americans in the US.

Their efforts over an 18 year period l;ed to the more than 60 sites in 22 states and the District of Columbia being designated as national historic landmarks.

In 1978, DeForrest completed a study that led to the home of Maggie Walker (1867-1934) in Richmond, Va., being named a national landmark. She was a pioneering black banker and civic leader. She was the first woman of any race to charter a bank in the US. Later in life, she became paralyzed and became an example for persons with disabilities.

In 1989, he said, "The history we were taught in school always came from a Eurocentric perspective. But the presence of blacks in American history is very significant from the Revolutionary War to Vietnam."

From the Washington Post.

They're Back- Automakers Wise Up!!

For many years I've been saying that US car makers could make a killing if they brought back some of the classic 60s cars, only put the good new stuff inside them, but keep the design or mimic it.

Looks like someone heard me. Ford has done a great job with the redesigned Mustangs and sales are great. GM is coming back with a new Camaro in 2009. However, I was always more of a Firebird guy, but I can live with its sister. Now Dodge is coming out with a 2008 Challenger. Dodge already has the Charger in the showrooms.

John Fitzpatrick, marketing manager for Camaro and Impala says, "I'm not sure it's a return of muscle cars or a return to a sports car niche." He expects them to attract a wide range of buyers.

The original Muscle Car Era kicked off in 1964 when John DeLorean put a big V-8 in a Pontiac Tempest and created the GTO. I once drove a '67 Tempest (the poor man's GTO) and even that was fast.

Comparisons- 1963.5 Mustang: 170 cid, 6, base price $2,368= 2007 Mustang: 4.6 liter, 300 hp, V8, base price $19,250.

1967 Camaro: 230 cid, 140 hp, 6, base price $2,400= 2009 Camaro: 6-liter, 400 hp, V-8, base price est. $20,000.

1970 Challenger: 340 cid, 275 hp, V-8, base price $2,851= 2008 Challenger: 6.1 liter, 425 hp, V8, base price est. $20,000.

Chicago Tribune April 29- "Muscle Cars They're Baaack" by Jim Mateja- Tribune Auto reporter

Salivating Just Thinking About Them. --RoadDog

THIS DAY IN AUTOMOTIVE HISTORY- 1947- Sweden's Saab company introduced their first vehicle. The 1950 version looked a lot like a VW Beetle.

When in Chicago, Eat the Dogs and Pizza

The April 11th Chicago Tribune Good Eating Section ran a special for the 2000 people attending the International Association of Culinary Professionals. The guide just wasn't for them, but readers as well, regular folk like you and me. It covered restaurants, chefs, chocolate, food markets, ethnic dining, kitchenware, RIBS/BBQ, wine and wine bars, gourmet food, tea, hotter-than-hot chefs, and Chicago icons.

Here were some of their suggestions for good eatin':

Pizzeria Uno and Pizzeria Due- 619 N. Wabash

Superdawg Drive-In- with giant winking wienies on roof. Suggest the all-beef Superdawg Chicago-style- 6363 N. Milwaukee Ave.

Billy Goat- "cheeseborger-cheeseborger-no Pepsi--------Coke" sketch from SNL. Original location 430 N. Michigan Ave.- lower level

Mr. Beef- "Rinky dink was never so charming. This River North eatery is known for two things. First, Italian beef sandwiches with a copious amount of thin beef in a doughy-yet-tasty French roll, and second, Jay Leno's on-air visit in 1996." 666 N. Orleans St.

Al's #1 Italian Beef- "an unpretentous red-and-white stand with tons of greasy spoon items. Go for the Italian beef sandwiches." 169 W. Ontario St.

Portillo's- it's a chain with 31 locations in the Chicagoland area, all serving the classic Italian beefs and Chicago-style hot dogs. One is at 100 W. Ontario.

Hot Doug's- "Owner Doug Sohn calls his restaurant an 'encased meat emporium' but habitues call it heaven. Way more than a hotdog stand, Hot Doug's is probably the only place in the city to get duck-fat fries (Sat. and Sun. only). Grab a dog-of-you-choice, from Chicago--style to a wild game sausage." 3324 N. California.

Space Napoli- Chicago is known for deep-dish pizza, but here you can get thin-crust, Neopolitan-style from a wood-burning oven. 1769 W. Sunnyside Ave.

Bella Bachino's- Pizza here is stuffed with an extra layer of dough. 75 E. Wacker.

Honey 1- the place for ribs, rib tips, and links. 2241 N. Western Ave.

Smoque- One of the newest bbq joints. Has several styles, including a Memphis dry rub, St. Louis babyback ribs, Carolina pulled pork, beef brisket and chicken. 3800 N. Pulaski Rd.

See "Insiders Food Guide to Chicago".

Makes Me Hungry Just Writing This!!! Cheeseborger, BBQ and Deep Dish, Please!!! --RoadDog

Saturday, June 9, 2007

A Parade Across a Whole State, Ernie's 90th, Hamel and Edwardsville, Horseradish, and Vettes

What do these all have to do with each other? ROUTE 66 THAT IS!!!!

It seems that there is WHOLE Lot Going on along the old road this weekend.

KANSAS- there will be a parade across all of Route 66, all 13.2 miles of it!!! Michael Wallis, author of "The Mother Road" and voice of the Sheriff on Cars, will be the grand marshal.

BROADWELL, IL.- Will honor its 151st birthday and old Coot's, Ernie Edwards' , 90th.

HAMEL and EDWARDSVILLE, IL.- are both having Route 66 celebrations.

COLLINSVILLE, IL.- Will be having their annual Horseradish Festival. Have you ever wondered what horseradish is and where it comes from as you're eating your prime rib or drinking that most excellent Bloody Mary? It is a root and southern Illinois produces 80-85% of the world's crop. And about 60% of that comes from Collinsville.

The climate is perfect and the Mississippi River bottoms are rich in potash which is nirvana for horseradish. Some 24 million pounds are ground annually in the US to produce 6 million gallons of prepared horseradish, some hotter than others. I wonder what causes the difference in HOT!!!

Some of the highlights as the festivities are root toss, root sacking, horseradish root golf, and a Bloody Mary recipe contest. Sounds like fun to me. By the way, Collinsville is the home of the world's largest ketchup bottle. They usually hace a festival for it, but this year it was canceled for some reason.

WILLIAMS, AZ.- Corvette 'N America Road Trip.

All 66ed Out. --RoadDog

Taking Shelter on the Lincoln Highway

The Illinois Lincoln Highway National Scenic Byway website, under Recent News, said that an original LH shelter on Hill Avenue in Aurora has been completely restored and will serve as a regional interpretive center.

It was originally constructed around 1923 by the Aurora Automobile Club, to provide tourists with a place to camp. In the Official 1924 Lincoln Highway Guide, it was described as having "two fireplaces, two ovens, a sink, and a good well of pure drinking water."

This was before the advent of motels, when motorists would camp out alongside the road more often than not. In order to attract business and keep an eye on the type of people passing through, some municipalities started establishing these tourist camps and by the mid-1920s over 5000 had been built.

The last-known people to use it were gypsies in the early 1940s. In World War II, it was enclosed and used as a Civil Defense Shelter. It came close to being demolished, but now has been restored to its 1924 appearance. Photographs accompany the article.

Looks like WE won this One!! --RoadDog

Route 66 on Jeopardy

Que Sera Sera's blog said that Jeopardy had a category dealing with Route 66 during the Double Jeopardy round.

The questions:

$400- Car lovers go to San Bernadino, home of the Route 66 Rendezvous, in this state.

$800- Read by Neil Patrick Harris "If you get your kicks on Route 66, come visit this city, my hometown, also home to minor league baseball."

$1200- Take a detour to Meteor Crater and "Don't forget Winona" in this state.

$1600- Well, "It winds from Chicago to LA" but you're at the end of the road at this beach city on the Pacific.

$2000- "Go down to Missouri" and see this largest city between Chicago and LA.

Well, Alex, let's see:

$400- What is California?

$800- What is Albuqueque? I probably would have missed this one. Who cares where Doogie was born.

$1200- What is Arizona? Is there really a Winona? We didn't see it last fall when we rolled through.

$1600- What is Santa Monica? Que Sera Sera missed this one. "Welcome to the Hotel California."

$2000- What is St. Louis? "Meet Me in St. Louie, ______"

Humming the Jeopardy Final Question Tune, How 'Bout You? --RoadDog

Friday, June 8, 2007

An Honor for Illinois Highways

Governor Bladgojevich has announced that the Illinois Alliance of Byways has been cited by the American Association of Highway Transportation Officials (the folks who drew up the original 1926 numbering and routing system for the nation's highway system) for serving as a model for cooperation among byways.

"Receiving this national honor for our seven scenic highways is a great reminder of the wonderful vacation opportunities available right here in Illinois." said the governor.

The Illinois Bureau of Tourism has given each of them $40,000 for markings, websites promotions, advertising, and etc.

The seven are:

National Road- 140 miles from Marshall to East St. Louis

Illinois River Road- Known as "The Road of the Voyageurs" after the early French explorers. 272 miles mostly along Illinois Routes 26 and 29.

Route 66- 420 miles from Chicago to East. St. Louis- counting alternate alignments

Meeting of the Great Rivers

Lincoln Highway- the first transcontinental highway in 1913.

Ohio River Scenic Byway

Great River Road- along the Mississippi

I have been from end- to-end on the National Road, Route 66, and Lincoln Highway, and all are excellently signed and great drives. I've also been on parts of the other roads.

Keepin' on Down Those Illinois Scenic Byways. RoadDog

California's "Mother Road"

The LA Tribune had an article by Hugo Martin where he took a cruise along US-395 in California for several days. He said that if Route 66 had "Get Your Kicks" then the song for US-395 would have to be " A Mandolin Driven ode to the west that evokes images of cowboy boots and roadside diners." I like that analogy.

The road runs along the eastern Sierras and is known as the gateway to the state's prime fishing areas.

In his several days exploration he briefly noticed objects of interest along the way. Most were lakes and rivers, but I will briefly recount some things I found of interest.

Mount Whitney- at 14,465 feet, the highest mountain in the lower 48.

Alabama Hills- lots of strange rock formations. More than 400 movies and TV series have been filmed here.

Dow Hotel- in Lone Pine. The stars of those movies and series have to have a place to stay, and it is here. Such notables as John Wayne, Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Errol Flynn, and Robert Mitchum have put their names on the ledger in this 1920s hotel.

Manzamar National Historic Site- Not much remains where 10,000 Japanese and Japanese-Americans were held during WWII on this 814 acre memorial. A sad part of US history with these internment camps.

Jack's Restaurant- Bishop- a 60 year old fishing tradition with lots of record fish mounted on the walls. "If this place doesn't get you in the mood to fish, nothing will."

Tom's Place Resort- consistimg of a general store/restaurant, a small hotel, and adjacent bar.

Bodie Ghost Town- 170 buildings in "arrested decay."

Sounds like a great road to drive the next time I'm out in California, if I can afford the gas.

To read the whole article: "California's 'mother road': US 395 leads to treasures of Eastern Sierra" by Hugo Martin.

Keep on Down that US-395. --RoadDog

Thursday, June 7, 2007

D-oh!! Everybody knows Homer lives in SPRINGFIELD...Illinois That Is

One of the "Simpsons" TV shows' biggest mysteries is the location in which Bart, Lisa, Maggie, Marge, and Homer live. More than 30 US cities have the name Springfield and more than a few claim it.

Now, 20th Century Fox is letting them compete to be the location. The new feature length "Simpsons" movie comes out in July and the Springfield that wins gets the right to host the premier. Fox says they will ship a couch like the one at the show's opening and the towns have to make a short video "that boasts of their Simpson-like credentials. However, winning the contest still will not make it so.

One of my favorites cities to visit is Springfield, Illinois, the home of the state government, Route 66, the gastromic delight called the horseshoe, the world-famous Cozy Dog, and, of course, old Abe. Could this be one more honor?

The mayor,Tim Davlin, hopes so, and has vowed to prove, "we are indeed THE city that best represents the community on television."

There are some that claim that that just might not be such a great honor, because Homer's Springfield is not exactly perfect. There are a lot of characters with less than stellar reputations.

Springfield's website: even has a place where you can give suggestions.

So far, here are the things Springfield, Illinois has that point to it as "The Springfield":

Doughnuts play an important role and there is the delicious Mel-o-Cream doughnuts that are made right in town with about six stores.

Homer and the gang thrive on junk food and there is the horseshoe, not to mention the Cozy Dog.

Homer's father is named Abe.

Shelbyville is Homer's town's nemesis and there is a Shelbyville near Springfield

Todd Renfrow, the general manager of the local power company is a deadringer for C. Montgomery Burns, owner of and where Homer works, Springfield's fictional nuclear power plant.

Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer, is a native of Illinois (and alumnae of my college, Northern Illinois University).

The middle name of disgraced Illinois Governor George Ryan is Homer.

I'd add the power plant's huge smokestacks, which can be seen from miles away, reminds you of the huge nuclear tower in Homer's town.

Springfield, Illinois, will have some competition from Springfield, Oregon, where the show's creator, Matt Groening is from. Springfield, Mass has also thrown its hat in the ring.

Taken from the Chicago Tribune "Home, Sweet Homer! Springfield says it's land of Simpsons" by Bob Secter and Rick Pearson.

WWHS- What Would Homer Say? --RoadDog