Saturday, May 31, 2008

Endangered California State Parks

Well, that could be any state parks. For some reason, when state governments are cutting budgets, things like state parks are among the first to get the axe.

This is the second of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's 11 Most Endangered places list for 2008. Always a good thing to raise public awareness. When the NTHP speaks, folks tend to listen more.

The danger is not to one park, but to all 278 statewide. Fifty-one are considered to be historical state parks. The threats come from deterioration, neglect and poor public planning.

The governor, whose last name I will not attempt to spell originally proposed a 10% decrease in funding, but under pressure, restored most of the funds.

One park that would have been affected is the 1820s Franciscan La Purisima Mission near Compoc which was restored by the CCC during the Great Depression.

Save Those Parks. --RoadDog

NIU Archiving Its Darkest Hour

The April 12th Chicago Tribune had an article about the archiving of the tragic murders that took place on campus on Valentine's Day.

It primarily focused on Cindy Ditzler, interim archivist, who workd Monday through Friday every week sorting throughthe vast amounts of material from that tragic day and the days following.

I also know that Kay Shelton, Illinois director of the LincolnHighway Association has been working on them as well, but she was not mentioned.

As a true historian/archivist she says she wonders "what was going through the person's mind when they put it at the foot of one of the crosses?"



SPONTANEOUS SHRINES

These days, you see what are called spontaneous shrines in many places. Almost always you see them alongside roads for those who have died in accidents. You also see them by places innoicent people are killed in senseless shootings in inner cities.

Several popped up at Northern's campus in Dekalb, along the Lincoln Highway, Il-38 within hours of the slayings. The most visited and photographed was the one by the student center with the five crosses. There also were several large sheets of paper for people to sign.

My wife and I visited NIU the Tuesday after the event. Quite a moving experience.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Friday, May 30, 2008

Philadelphia's Boyd Theatre

The National Trust for Historic Preservation published their 2008 list of eleven most endangered historic places earlier this month.

One on the list was the Boyd Theatre in Philadelphia. I'd never heard of it, but after reading the article, would say it is definitely worth saving.

It is the last surviving movie palace in downtown Philadelphia and opened on Christmas Day 1928 and operated until 2002. It is regarded as a masterpiece of art deco design.

There is no preservation easement in place and no historical designation and is currently threatened with demolition.

In 2005, Clear Channel bought it and planned a $31 million restoration as a live performance venue, but company plans changed and they sold it to Live Nation, but it is now back on the market. What is frightening is that the theatre is located on a premium shopping district, Chestnut Street.

In 2002, a Friends of the Boyd organization was formed and have since waged a highly visible effort to save it.

Some beautiful interior shots are at http://www.preservationnation.org.

Going to Have to Put it On the List of Things to See if It Doesn't Go Away Before I Can Save Up Enough Gas Money to Visit Philly Again. --RoadDog

New Signage in Lincoln, Illinois

The April 26th Bloomington Pantagraph had an article about the eraction of two signs in Lincol, Illinois, dealing with Route 66.

The Illinois Route 66 Associationa Preservation Committee placed signs at the Mill and the Postville State Historic Site with a small ceremony at each site. Both signs were "christened" with a bottle of Route 66 Root Beer.

The Route 66 Roadside Attractions Campaign began in 1996.

The Postville Courthose is a recreation of Logan County's first seat of governmnet. From 1840-1848 Abraham Lincoln was here while on the 8th Judicial Circuit. The original one is in Greenfield Village in Michigan.

The Mill was a popular Rt. 66 eatery noted for fabntastic schnitzel. It was abandoned in 1996 and in danger of destruction, but now is being converted into a Route 66 photo op. Hopefully, it will also eventually serve food again.

More Signage Never Hurts. --RoadDog

Albuquerque, NM Landmarks

An article from the Feb. 21 Albuqueque Tribune about the slow process preservation projects face in regards to saving.

Currently the El Vado was facing imminent destruction (since saved), but the story examined the DeAnza Motor Lodge on Central Avenue east of Nob Hill. The city bought it in 2003 from a private owner who wanted to replace it with a drug and liquor store. The city planned on revitalizing it and the area around it, but not much had been done on it as of the article's date.

The city needs to get the area around it legislated as a "redevelopment area" in order to get funding.

Well, at least Duke Town is doing something.

Come on Albuquerque, Get Your Ducks in Line. --RoadDog

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Amboy, Ca. Coming Back

The April 24th Riverside (Ca) Press-Enterprise reports that the gas station at Roy's has reopened.

The whole, essentially abandoned town was bought by Albert Okura three years ago with the intention of reopening it as a Route 66 stop. This has been a slkow and arduous process, but Thursday, hundreds of folks on the annual Laughlin River Run stopped in to the station.

Okura owns 35 Juan Pollo restaurants in California bought the 500 acres in 2005 for $700,000. It was a popular stop until the 1970s when I-40 bypassed the town. The station reopened officially at 11:30 am, but by then over 200 vehicles had paid $4.50a gallon for gas.

Next, potable water is needed and it will cost $700,000 to drill a well and have a filtration system.

Always Good to See a 66 Site Resurrected. --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Down Da 66: Rock Cafe-- Santa Monica Pier Wheel-- Berwyn Main Street-- Celebrating 8th Year

Some New News about an Old Road.


1. ROCK CAFE-- Sad to hear last week in the Route 66 News, that the Rock Cafe had burned to the ground late Tuesday night. It is an immensely popular site and has been serving up some great grub to 66 travelers since the 1930s. Dawn Welch has owned it since 1993 and vows to rebuild. Fortunately, the distinctive Ozark-style giraffe stone exterior still stands.


2. SANTA MONICA PIER WHEEL-- The old one is down and en route to OKC, but the new one in Santa Monica, Ca., is set to open tomorrow with a lighting ceremony, fire works, and free RIDEs, popcorn and cotton candy. Such a deal.

The new one stands 130 feet high, has 20 gondolas seating six each and can handle up to 600 riders an hour. It cost $1.5 million and has 1160,000 LED lights for energy savings. These lights will be coordinated by a computer system.


3. BERWYN MAIN STREET-- Staff members from the Illinois Historical Preservation Commission visited Berwyn, Illinois May 21st to discuss with businessmen the creation of a Main Street organization along the Cermak Road Corridor. These Main Street programs are a great thing aiming to help businesses and increase tourism in decaying small town business districts.

This will be a great thing for Berwyn, but you have to wonder why they would have allowed the Spindle to be taken down without more of a fight. This was a MAJOR tourist draw for the town.


4. CELEBRATING 8TH YEAR-- the May 26th Desert Dispatch of Barstow, Ca., reports that the Route 66 Mother Road Museum is celebrating its 8th year this June 14th. Excellent museum in the old Casa Del Desierto Harvey House from 1910.

Just Some Items from the Mother Road. --RoadDog

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Trip to the Wisconsin State Fair-Aug. 9, 2007 Part 2

A great place advertising 40 reptiles on display with a $2 admission harkening back to the side shows of fairs past.

One of our favorite bands, Hat Trick, was playing at the Miler Pavilion and, as usual, didn't know where the stage was and walking all around. They play a zydeco/Cajun mix of songs along with Jimmy Buffet and are great entertainers.

Probably at any given time, there are about five or six bands and performers playing around the grounds.

One thing that the fair should do is put in more places to sit where you don't have to buy something. The old feet get mighty sore.


SOME HISTORY

The site of the Wisconsin State Fairgrounds is not actually in Milwaukee, but a close-in suburb of West Allis. During the Spanish-American War, it was Camp Harvey and was originally established by the Wisconsin National Guard in 1879.

During the Spanish-American War, 5,469 men in four regiments trained here. Two of the regiments served in Puerto Rico.


THE COMMERCIAL BUILDING

Several old buildings were razed to build this gleaming new structure and it is huge. But very tiring to walk through with the masses. You have to watch the people almost as much as the stuff offered for sale. Especially bad are the people with the baby strollers. I have some sore shins to show for stroller encounters.

And then there are some on mechanized wheel chairs who will run you down if you don't get out of the way fast enough.


SOME MORE FOOD

Any trip to the fair is going to result in a few extra pounds. Just was too much good food, but unfortunately, prices are going up fast these recent years.

Goulsby's has some great sweet potato chips for $4.

Beer is generally from $4 to $6 which has definitely cut down my imbibing. I can remember it at 50 cents and a buck. You can't avoid the beer price much by drinking pop. That staple runs you between $2.50 and $3.75.

Good Expensive Times at the Fair. --RoadDog

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Best Places to Live

For the second year in a row, a North carolina city tops RelocateAmerica.com's list of one hundred best places to live. Last year, it was Asheville, this year Charlotte.

They use a varity of factors to rank the towns, including: home appreciation, growth, education, and employment. I would imagine places of interest would also be on the list.

ROUTE 66 had TWO in the TOP TEN and TWO OTHERS in the Top Hundred.

1. Charlotte
2. San Antonio
3. Chattanooga
4. Greenville, SC
5. Tulsa-- ROUTE 66
6. Stevens Point, Wi
7. Asheville
8. Albuquerque-- ROUTE 66
9. Huntsville, Al
10. Seattle

The other two Route 66 towns were Kingman, Az, and Oklahoma City.

I've been to all of the top ten towns except Huntsville.

Things Go Better on 66. --RoadDog

Trip to the Wisconsin State Fair-- Aug. 9, 2007

OK, so it was a while ago, but I just found my notes.

Liz and I went out to the fair again and walked our legs off.


IT's A CREAM PUFF THING YOU WOULDN"T UNDERSTAND

Famous cream puffs-- still $3-- suggest you split it though. Way too much to eat one yourself, especially with all the other good stuff to eat at the fair.

$1 brat shot at Major Goulsby's-- piece of brat in a special sauce in a small cup-- mighty good.

Slim McGun's Irish Pub had a bagpiper playing.


PARKING

Used to be $5, but now up to $9 on the racetrack. Lots of neighbors offering to let you opark in their yards for $10 closer to $5 farther away.

However, you can park east of the park for FREE iof you don't mind walking. We have always been able to find spots within a few blocks.


BEST FOOD DEALS

Definitely at the Wisconsin products Pavillion.

$1.25 ostrich snack
$2 raspberry sundaes
$1 buffalo meat buritto sampler
$2 hot dogs and brats

Got Milk? 25 cent chocolate, white, mocha, and strawberry cups at Senator Herb Kohl's Milkhouse, but expect lines. As I was walking to the end, more and more people were getting into line. Probably twenty got in line during the short time I was walking to the end. However, they are fast and keep the lines moving.

More to come.

Take Me Out to the Fairgrounds. --RoadDog

Eleven Most-Endangered Historical Places

May 20, 2008

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, of which I am a member, just released their list of the eleven most-endangered sities in the US.

I will go into greater detail in the weeks to come, but for now will list them and tell what is endangering them.

Abbreviations-- D= Develoment, PPP= Poor Public Policy, DET= Deterioration, N-Neglect.

BOYD THEATER-- Philadelphia-- D, N

California State Parks-- DET, N, PPP

Charity Hospital and Adjacent Neighborhood-- New Orleans-- DET, D, PPP

Great Falls Portage-- Great Falls, Montana-- D

Hanger One- Moffett Field-- Santa Clara County, California-- Det, N

Lower East Side-- NYC-- D

Michigan Avenue Streetwall-- Chicago-- D

Peace Bridge Neighborhood-- Buffalo-- D. PPP, Road Construction

Statler Hilton-- Dallas-- D

Sumner Elementary School-- Topeka, Kansas-- D, N

Vizcaya and Bonnet House-- Miamia and Ft. Lauderdale-- D

The Big Eleven. Save 'Em, Save 'Em All. --RoadDog

A Trip to Round Lake-- Part 3

When we moved out to Round Lake Beach in 1975, Rollins Road was just a two lane with one stoplight at Cedar Lake Road.

For many years, McMahon's Repair was a head shop/record store. By the way, they have a great collection of Coca Cola memorabilia. Kristoff's was there, but much smaller and just a bowling alley. I understand at one time it was a dairy farm. Pizza Hut was there as well.

We had our garage built by Turtle Garage Builders who had a couple garages for sales offices at the corner of Rollins and Hainesville Road.

The first library was at a small building on Cedar Lake Road on the same side as A-1. The second one is where the Round Lake police station is. It had been an Illinois Bell office before that. Then the library moved to its current location.


THE CORNER STATION

This was Daimler's Autohaus for many years at the corner of Cedar Lake and Washington. I am a big fan of WTTW's (Channel 11 Public Radio) Geoffrey Baer and his shows on Chicago and environs. On his most recent episode, "Hidden Chicago", he featured the Corner Station because it is one of the few places in the Chicagoland area that still pumps your gas for you, plus, for us old-timers, it has the cord that makes the bell sounds when you drive over it to alert the attendant. That's a trip back in time.

I used to use their services a lot when I worked at Magee Middle School. Anytime I needed work, I would drop the car off there and then walk the block to the building (and freak out my kids who didn't think "teachers" walked out in public like regular folk. After school, I would walk over and drive home. Now, that was convenience.

Great Times Living and Working in the Round Lake Area. --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Trip to Round Lake, Illinois-- Part 2

My wife and I lived in Round Lake Beach from 1975 to 1992 and both taught in Round Lake Schools. She taught 1st and 3rd grade at Beach School and later was transferred to Ellis School where she taught 3rd grade until 2005.

We had a home at the corner of Beverly and Morningside in Round Lake Beach, about two blocks east of Fairfield Road. 1103 Morningside.

It was a Fairfield Builders home and they had models on Fairfield just north of the White Hen (probably a 7-11 now). Bought it for $33,000, which was a lot of money back then. It was our first house after two years of living in apartments, first in Des Plaines and then in Vernon Hills.

We have lots of fond memories of Round Lake.


MAGEE MIDDLE SCHOOL

Located on Cedar Lake Road and Hart Road. This was the site of the first Round Lake School built about the turn of the 20th Century and since torn down with the rennovation of Magee. I taught here from 1973 to 2004, 31 years.

I wasn't too happy when they closed it after opening Round Lake Middle School in Round Lake Heights, but it did give me the opportunity to clear out 31 years of accumulated school stuff. I would have liked to haveremained for my last two years, but had no choice but to go.

I got together with my old team of teachers this past Friday and they are moving back to Magee (and they're KEEPING the name, but now will be called the Cougars after the recent cougar sighting in the area. I'll definitely come back for a visit.

Good Times in Round Lake. --RoadDog

Monday, May 19, 2008

86 Cent Gasoline!!!

That's right. There was a time when a gallon of gas would cost you a cool 86 cents here in northeast Illinois.

I was going through my journal from May 1988, twenty years ago, and came across a passage about the cost of a gallon of regular in Fox Lake being 90 cents during the previous winter, but had dropped down to 86 cents in May.

Prices for gas at the marinas (for your boat) were a high of $1.45 at Harmony and $1.09 at Inland Harbor, both on the Chain of Lakes.

And I THOUGHT $1.45 was a rip-off. Just wait twenty years.

Looking Pretty Good to Me. --RoadDog

Keeping It Closer to Home

With gas prices soaring to new highs almost on a daily basis, it is becoming a good idea to perhaps examine places closer to home.

The May 11th Southtown Star, serving Chicago's southern suburbs had an article called "Roadtrips don't have to empty your pockets" by Tom Houlihan.

He gave a list of historic roads in the area and some places to check out.

DIXIE HIGHWAY-- from Blue Island. Once a part of a historic 1914 road system between Chicago and Miami. It goes through the towns of Harvey, Markham, and Homewood before joining the Lincoln Highway in Chicago Heights. Suggests HiWay Bakery in South Chicago Heights which has been in business for over 70 years and has a great old art deco sign.


US ROUTES 12 and 20-- US-20 goes coast-to-coast. US-12 goes from Detroit to Washington state. Suggest the Sabre Room in Hickory Hills, Wold Bakery in Evergreen Park, Oak Lawn's Palermo's pizza, and Top Notch Beefburgers in Chicago's Beverly neighborhood, especiall for their milk shakes.


US-30, the LINCOLN HIGHWAY-- from the Indiana line to Joliet. Looks much the same as it did 50 years ago, but with 50 times more traffic. I can personally attest to this!! Suggests Carla's Restaurant in Chicago Heights, an old-time Italian eatery where the waitresses still call you "Hun."


US-6-- Also a coast-to-coast road.


Sounds Like Some Places to Check Out. --RoadDog

Thursday, May 15, 2008

On Da Road-- National Road Drive Featured-- Cuts in Ohio

On Da Road-- News from the Highways and Byways.


1. NATIONAL ROAD DRIVE FEATURED-- The latest National Geographic Traveler Magazine featured 24 tours through the Appalachia area. One was a 400+ mile, 3 day drive along the National Road.

It said you'd, "Travel the same route that thousands of settlers took across the Allegheny Mountains and Eastern Continental Divide near Grantsville as part of our country's westward expansion."

It starts at the 18th century Boonesboro/Cumberland and extends into Ohio. www.visitappalachia.com.


2. CUTS IN OHIO-- The Ohio Historical Society is facing a $2 million budget deficit and is cutting hours and employees around the state.

Along the National Road, the National Road/Zane Grey Museum in Norwich, Flint Ridge near Brownsville, and the Newark Earthworks are affected.

I know about the museum, although I wasn't able to find it last month.

The NEWARK EARTHWORKS are the largest geometric earthern enclosures in the world. They were built by the Hopewell people between 100 BC and AD 500 and originally covered four square miles, but now only three major segments remain that have been maintained by the OHS since the 1930s.

FLINT RIDGE are the quarry pits where ancient Ohioans came to get flint for tools and weapons.

Carry Me Down the Old NatRoad. --RoadDog

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Lincoln Logs-- Dutch Days Festival-- Route 30 Comedy-- Cozad, Ne-- LH Falls on US-30

It's a Lincoln Thing.


1. DUTCH DAYS FESTIVAL-- in Fulton, Illinois, right on the Mississippi River, has come and gone. They honor their Dutch heritage and this is held every first weekend in May, held the 2nd and 3rd this year. Hope to get out to this one of these days, IF I CAN AFFORD THE GAS!!!


2. ROUTE 30 COMEDY-- The movie "Route 30", a comedy that was filmed along the Lincoln Highway in Gettysburg between Chambersburg and Gettysburg, using many locals, will be shown in September at the Majestic Theater in Gettysburg.

Writer-director John Putch is a native of the area and directed some episodes of "Grounded for Life" and "Scrubs." The world premier will be in July.


3. COZAD, NEBRASKA-- The Nov. 12th CattleNetwork.com had an article on this cattle town. It is located on the Lincoln Highway and its replacement, US-30.

Things to see are the 100th Meridian Museum which features the Concord Touring Coach used by President Taft when he toured Yellowstone. The Robert Henry Museum and Historic Walkway is dedicated to the famous artist (although I've never heard of him). The Walkway has an original Pony Express station, old church and pioneer schoolhouse. The Pony Express station was built in 1849 and originally sat on the south bank of the Platte River.


4. LH FALLS ON US-30-- The Lincoln Highway News reports that heavy rains or possibly a broken waterline caused a section of the old LH to slide down onto the four lane US-30 in Pennsylvania. US-30 has reopened, but LH will remain closed for a couple weeks.

The Lincoln Gets Revenge on 30. --RoadDog

Down Da 66-- Tattoo Man-- Wheel Comes Down-- Tornadoes on the Route-- Country Side, Illinois

Down Da 66-- New News About an Old Road.


1. TATTOO MAN-- Ron Jones is going to soon run out of places on his body to put tattoos of sites along Route 66. This can't go on forever. Any of you folk out there want toget inked, here's a place to view some ofthe tats on Ron.

www.legendsofamerica.com/66-TattoMan.html.


2. WHEEL COMES DOWN-- Workers began dismantling the Pacific Wheel at the Santa Monica Pier Last Monday. People enjoyed it for the past 12 years. The new Ferris wheel will be bigger and brighter as well as easier on electricity. Itcosts $1.5 million and will have four times as many lights. Should be up by the end of the month.


3. TORNADOES ON THE ROUTE-- This past weekend tornadoes struck along 66, hitting the nearby town of Pilcher particularly hard, destroying most of the downtown and killing six.

It seems that the past several years, Route 66 has become a pipeline for severe storms comong across the middle of the US. They've had floods, tornadoes, ice and snow storms on many occasions. Global Warming or El Nino?


4. COUNTRYSIDE, ILLINOIS-- "Road to Route 66" will be the name of a series of 17 community events over the next 7 months. These will include concerts and movies in the park as well as an Antique Car and Motorcycle Show. Rt 66 goes through this town and is the home of the lamented Wishing Well Motel which was torn down within the last twelve months.

And the Road Goes On. --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Down Da 66-- Red Carpet Hurt by Weather-- Sprague Super Service-- Real Villains at the Spindle-- How to Read Route 66 News

Down Da 66-- New News About an Old Road.


1. RED CARPET HURT BY WEATHER-- The Route 66 News reports that the Morris (Il) Daily Herald said that the Rt. 66 Red Carper Corridor from Joliet to Towanda (north of Bloomington-Normal) had poor turnout May 3rd because of inclement weather, but that it picked up Sunday, which was much nicer. There is some discussion about scheduling it more into summer.

Of course, I can tell you why the weather was so rotten on the 2nd and 3rd. That was the weekend that the spring carnival opened up north in Round Lake, Illinois. This is ALWAYS the harbinger of bad weather and has been for the last thirty years. They need to find out when it opens and have the celebration on a different weekend.


2. SPRAGUE SUPER SERVICE-- station located at 305 Pine Street in Normal, Illinois, has been placed on the National register of Historic Places according to Route 66 News. Route 66 enthusiast and owner Terri Ryburn plans on converting part of it into a bed & breakfast.

Glad to hear Normal and its sister city of Bloomington, starting to do something more with its Route 66 heritage. Of all the cities on the old road, they probably do the least. Perhaps the powers that be in the cities should take a ride down to Atlanta and see what a town can do with Route 66.


3. REAL VILLAINS AT THE SPINDLE-- There has been some discussion about Berwyn's Spindle coming down on the Route 66 E-Mail Yahoo group, always a good place to find out information on the road. Member and author Dave Clark pointed out that the real "villains" are the owners of the shopping center and not Walgreen's. Many of the comments were directed against Walgreen's which has the reputation of tearing down anything on a corner in their quest for "corner domination."


4. HOW TO READ ROUTE 66 NEWS-- I've said it before, but a great way to read the Route 66 News, the online blog for any and all things 66, is to punch in one of the great videos and then listen to it while doing your reading. Thanks Ron.

Down Da Old Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Lincoln Highway Association Meeting in Ohio

The May 1st Bucyruss Telegraph-Forum reported on the 14th annual meeting of Ohio's LHA. Ohio League President Mike Buettner presented special guest LHA President Jan Shupert-Arick.

An Exemplary Friend of the Lincoln Highway Award was presented to Kirk Slusher of ODOT's District 1 who went above and beyond in his efforts to coordinate federal transportation enhancement monies to create a SR 696 (and LH) bridge over I-75 at Beaverdam, Ohio. This beautiful bridge also prominantly displays the LH logo.

A presentation on the Battles of Sanduskey and Olentangy was given. American forces were under the command of Col. William Crawford, and these battles took places laong stretches that would eventually become the Lincoln Highway. I've never heard of these two battles, so will have to look then up.

Keep on Down Those Two Lane Highways. --RoadDog

A Trip to Round Lake, Illinois

We lived for 17 years in Round Lake Beach, Illinois. This is one of the four villages that make up the area: Round Lake, Round Lake Heights, and Round Lake Park.

This last week, we went back for a dentist appointment and ride around the old stomping grounds.


EAGLE GROCERY STORE

I went to the two sites of the old Eagle Grocery store which was the main place for food for many years. The first place was at the intersection of Washington and Cedar Lake Road. The second was out on the major SHS (Standard Homogenized Stuff) Rollins Road. The Eagle store was near the intersection of Cedar Lake and Rollins roads and is now Big Lots.


PIZZA HUT

We had the great pizza and salad buffett at Pizza Hut, which has been there at least since 1975, one of the oldest places still doing business on Rollins Road. It is across from the the original McDonald's, which is now a video rental place.


ACE HARDWARE

The huge Ace Hardware store out on Il-134 is still open and doing business even with Home Depot and Menard's located about five miles west of it on US-12. It still is the largest Ace Hardware in the US, but its business has declined greatly from the competition. This was a major place for home and yard stuff while we were living in RLB.

More Later. --RoadDog

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Dave Clark's Route 66 Talk

May 8th, noted Route 66 expert and author Dave Clark gave a talk before an overflow crowd of almost 100 people at the Fremont Library in Mundelein, Illinois. It is one of many presentations he has and will be making in the Chicagoland area to introduce the road and his new book "Route 66 in Chicago."

This guy has to know more about the old road in Chicago than anyone.

He started with a power point presentation slide show to Bobby Troup's "Get Your Kicks on Route 66" and then went into a brief history of highways starting with the word coming from the olde English word "helweg" which is the main road taken from one town to another. A "low road", as in the song, is a shortcut across someone's land.

The US highways were never federal ones, each owned by individual states and connected together to enable a trip a distance away to be made on the same road number.


ROUTE 66

Route 66 used the High Plains Trail from Chicago to Plainfield. This trail connected Chicago with Ottawa, Illinois, the closest navigable town on the Illinois River. The route became important because of the number of transcontinental highways it crossed, plus connecting the railroad capital of the country, Chicago, with the oil production capital of Los Angeles.

Plus, it was an important route from the Great Depression and Dust Bowl, John Steinbeck's "Grapes of Wrath", a Defense Highway in WW II, and route of migration and vacationing in the 40s and 50s.

Dave ended with a mini tour across all 8 states where he spotlighted some of 66's little treasures.

I am sure we got some Route 66 converts from this presentation. Nice job, Dave. I found out later that Route 66 has become his full-time occupation.

I Tried to Warn Folks of the Addictive Powers of 66, But Doubt Anyone Listened. Well, There are WORSE Things to Get Addicted To. --RoadDog

Our Place in Vernon Hills, Illinois

As I said earlier, took a ride around Mundelein and out past the apartment where we lived in Vernon Hills. I'm pretty sure I located it at the Villas By the Lake complex. These all feature the mansard roods which were popular in the 70s, but to my way of thinking, look kind of stupid.

We moved here from a one room apartment in Des Plaines to be closer to my work in Round Lake. This was a two room, second floor apartment we rented for $230 a month. They're still keeping the place up nicely.

I see that Vernon Hills is celebrating its 50th year of existence.

A major thing that happened around the time we moved there was the opening of a major shopping mall called Hawthorne. The area has since been over run by SHS-- Standard Homegenized Stuff. And, we don't even want to talk about the traffic.

Good Old Home Sweet Home. --RoadDog

Friday, May 9, 2008

Model T's on the Road

Buddy Denny Gibson sent me the intinerary of the Model T Club of Southern California's tour, which I had been unable to find. Sure would have liked to see them, but gas prices say a resounding no.

But, perhaps if you're closer, here's the dates and where they'll be. They will be staying at Best Westerns in most towns they visit.

May 10- Vandalia, Il
11th and 12th-- St. Louis
13th-- Springfield, Mo
14th-- Tulsa
15th-- OKC
16th-- Elk City, Ok
17th-- Amarillo, Tx
18th-- Tucumcari, NM
19th and 20th-- Santa Fe
21st-- Albuquerque
22nd-- Gallup, NM-- at the El Rancho
23rd-- Holbrook, As
24th and 25th-- Williams, Az-- Grand Canyon Railroad Hotel
26th-- Laughlin, Az
27th-- Barstow, Ca
28th-- LA

Definitely Something to See. --RoadDog

"Dirty Deeds Are Done in the Dark"-- The End of "The Spindle"

That's what "The Spindle's" creator Dustin Shuler had to say about the destruction of his creation. He also added that he figures he will have a few drinks over it. The Chicago Sun-Times said "Put a Spike in It: The Spindle comes down." The Chicago Tribune headlines "Paying respects to 'Spindle' laid low."

The Sun-Times opened with, "The road ran out for Berwyn's Spindle on Friday night..." The Tribune opened with, "They drove slowly through the parking lot Saturday. Some took photographs. Others just stared in apparent disbelief, lamenting the loss of Berwyn's most famous pop icon. Under cover of darkness Friday, demolition crews dismantled the 'Spindle' in less than two hours, crushing any hopes of saving the towering stack of eight cars impaled on a silver spike."

On Saturday, all that was left was the cement base on which someone had spray-painted the words "Gone Baby Gone."


MAYBE THERE'S HOPE

However, it should be pointed out that the top two cars, including the red Volkswagen Beetle (the cherry on top) and the one beneath it were removed intact and carted away. They are regarded as the sentimental cars.

Perhaps there is hope that the Spindle may once again rise like the mythic Phoenix of yore.

May 4th Chicago Tribune article by Gerry Smith.
May 3rd Sun-Times article by Andrew Herrmann

And I Never Even Got a Chance to See It. --RoadDog

Have You Ever Heard of Marfa, Texas?

Well, Hollywood certainly has. Even more important, Mr. Oscar has heard of it as well. "When Hollywood needs western desolation, it comes to Marfa."

More than 50 years ago, director George Stevens chose this town to film "Giant" with Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor, and James Dean. The film was nominated ten times, but won an Oscar only for best director.

"The stark, gorgeous landscape outside the town shows up" in this film as well as two more recent ones, "There Will Be Blood" and "No Country for Old Men."

Local rancher David Williams escorted scouts here four years ago and the site was perfect for the films.

MARFA

The population in town is 2,100 and was founded as a West Texas railroad stop in 1883. It is believed the town got its name from the wife of a railroad executive who was reading Dostoevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov" at the time.

There is no movie theater in the town, but it plays a big part in 16 nominations for this year. It would also appear it is becoming a micro Santa Fe with artists opening studios.

EL PAISANO HOTEL

Built in 1930 in the Spanish Colonial style. Has 60 rooms and was a backdrop for many of the scenes in Giant. Beautifully restored in 2001.

Chicago Tribune March 26th "Desolate town finds favor in Hollywood" by Michael Graczyk AP.

Also, town website www.marfatx.com.

Looks Like They Will Now be Able to Add Movie Site Tours to Their Things to Do. --RoadDog

Gas Gouge Hits Again Wednesday

All these HIGH gas prices are certainly causing me to re-evaluate any and all trips this summer. I even plan to do multi-stops anytime I just drive around home.

Wednesday, when I went to see Dave Clark in Mundelein, about 20 miles away, I also did a cruise to a former residence, the historic downtown Mundelein, much of it located right on US-45, and, of course, the stop at Bill's Pub. I also went to a favorite pet store and played with a kitten. Not many things more fun than playing with a kitten.

GAS PRICES

I took note of gas prices along the way. Wednesday seemed to be the INCREASE day.
Gas had been at $3.70 in Fox Lake, Illinois. It was still $3.60 at the Citgo, but was up to $3.80 at the 66 and Marathon. Fred's, a full-service pump your gas place, was at $3.83.

The BP at Il-120 and US-12 was $3.90 regular, $4 mid, and $4.12!!! for premium.

The Citgo and Shell stations at Il-60 and Il-176 were $3.90. Once in Mundelein, most were the "bargain" price of $3.87!!! Such a deal!!!!

Many of the cowards were only showing the regular price. Hey, if you're going to rip off people, at least do it proudly. Of course, when I call it at $3.90, it shows at $3.89.9, but that's really $3.90. Some Mundelein stations had it at $3.70 but in small print, with car wash.

In Vernon Hills, at Il-60 and US-45, you had the choice of $3.89 and $3.90.

I got gas at the Fox Lake Citgo on my way home and it was still at $3.70. Thursday, I noticed it too was at $3.80.

AND, I can remember back in the 60s, when I first started driving, of angrily pulling out os a station saying I'll never pay the outrageous price of 35 cents. How DARE they!!!

Something Really Has to be DONE with Big Oil. --RoadDog

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Chicago to Extend Riverwalk

Something else for Route 66 visitors to do in Chicago.

The April 28th Chicago Tribune had an article about the expansion of the wonderful existing Riverwalk to use "under-bridges" walks at Wabash and Michigan avenues. Construction is scheduled to begin in July.

About five outdoor cafes open along it last summer and are planning to be back this year. Mayor Daley's long-tern plans are to turn the area into something like the famous River Walk in San Antonio.

The under bridges walk will enable a straight through walk without having to climb stairs, cross the avenues and then descend stairs on the other side. They will jut out 17 feet and have canopies above them to deflect any trash that might fall through the grates. They don't want what happened to the tour boat a few summers ago when Dave Matthews' tour bus opened the toilet and dumped human waste on the passengers.

A water taxi is also planned.

Sounds Like a Great Idea. One More Thing to Do in Chicago if You Can Afford the Parking. --RoadDog

Bill's Pub in Mundelein, Illinois-- A Drive Through the Countryside-- Found the Library

BILL'S PUB

Last night, I attended Dave Clark's Route 66 presentation to an overflow crowd at the Fremont Library in Mundelein.

I met with some friends first at Bill's Pub in Mundelein. They've been serving up some great pizza since the 1950s and were one of the first places to serve up free peanuts to patrons while they wait and double pizzas. Bill's is located right on historic US Highway 45 which dates back to the same time as Route 66.

The back parking lot overlooks Diamond Lake and the decor is definitely North Woods Resort with heavy beams and lots of stuffed animals around, including the moose who has its antlers decorated every Christmas time.

I hadn't been here for years, but it was crowded as-ever. Definitely a unique place to check out if you ever come through town. Bill's is also the father of at least two other popular pizza places in Lake County. The owners of JJ Twigg's in Wauconda and Tammy's in Spring Grove got their pizza-making knowledge from Bill's.


A DRIVE IN THE COUNTRY

I couldn't exactly remember where the library was, but my buddy Kip said he knew exactly where it was, so I followed him out of the parking lot. As it turns out, he didn't know where it was. He thought it was in Fremont Center, a small town about ten miles away. When he finally stopped, I took the lead, then went the wrong way on Il-176, almost to Wauconda when we came to Fairfield Road, one of the nicest rides in the Chicagoland area. This was right by the Lake County Discovery Museum which is the home of the fantastic Curt Teich Postcard Collection.

Backtracked 176 to Mundelein and found the library. It is named the Fremont Library because it serves the whole of Fremont Township in which Mundelein is located. We finally got to the room with the overflow crowd just as Dave was starting his presentation.

Fun and Games in Mundeleim, or, as My Kids in Class Used to Spell It, Mundalion. --RoadDog

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

"Model T" Century

This years marks the 100 birthday of the Model T, the car that deserves the credit for putting America on the road.

To commemorate it,close to 1000 Model Ts are expected to descend upon the the city of Richmond, Indiana, right on the Ohio border for six days this July. The celebration will be held on the Wayne County Fairgrounds with lots of activities and 22 seminars July 21st-26th.

For more info www.tparty2008.com

Thanks, Denny, for bringing this to my attention.

As They Said "The Party of the Century for the Car of the Century." --RoadDog

National Road Blog

I came across a really good blog on the National Road by Christopher Bustapeck. It has photographs, maps, narrative text of the road from Baltimore to Cumberland, Maryland and then west to Vandalia, Illinois.

He is also an editor at the Historical Marker Database, another excellent site.

Check it out at http://nationalpike.blogspot.com .

I've already put it on my favorites.

Right Up There with the Lincoln and 66. --RoadDog

Geo-Tourism

The March 23rd Knoxville News-Sentinel had an article about the increasing numbers of tourists who opt for culturally or socially-related travel.

They are looking for trails or themes when they travel. This might be lighthouses, covered bridges, or in NC, there's a barbecue trail.

Alabama has a Hallelujah Trail with 16 historic churches in the northern part of the state. SC has a a Revolutionary War Trail which includes four national parks. There are also many Civil War trails.

There are also linear roads like the National, Route 66, and Lincoln Highway.

Geotourists go on vacation not just to go somewhere, but to do something along the way. "They learn and absorb."

Other trails:

Virginia-- Crooked Road Music Trail-- bluegrass and mountain music
Mississippi-- Blues Heritage Trail
Alabama-- 180 mile Hank Williams Trail
Kentucky-- Country Music Trail from Paintsville to Ashland-- stars like Patty Loveless, Ricky Skaggs, Loretta Lynn, Crystal Gayle and Judds
Many states have wine trails, including a, Ct,Ohio, and NY.
Tennessee has the Appalachian Quilt Trail in the eastern part.

I see that most states have different trails featured in their state travel guides these days along with individual and more-detailed tour pamphlets.

My wife and I already stop at lighthouses and are quite involved with Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway.

Dallying Along the Way is Half the Fun of Going. --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Model Ts on the National Road and Route 66

The Springfield, (Mo) News-Leader reports that Models Ts will be visiting the city in honor of the T's 100th anniversary, May 13th. They will stop at the Best Western Rail Haven. They will meet members of the Ozark Chapter Model T Club in Conway and they will escort them to Halltown on May 14th.

This is the Model T Club of Southern California. From May 5th to May 25th, they are on a trip across the US from Baltimore to Los Angeles. The first part of the trip is along America's first federally funded highway, the National Road. From St. Louis to LA, they will follow Route 66.

I see that they will be in Plainfield, Indiana, May 9th and will be going to Terre Haute.

Sure wish gas prices weren't so high or I'd like to see this convoy.

Unfortunately, the Model T Club of Southern California's website has nothing on the trip. Too bad someone is not blogging along the way.

The cars that put America on the road driving the roads that helped make America.

Great Old Cars on Great Old Highways. --RoadDog

Monday, May 5, 2008

Restoration of the Devil's Elbow Bridge

Glad to hear this story. This is along one of my absolute favorite stretches of Route 66 which also include Hooker's Cut.

This was from the May 2nd Waynesville Daily Guide.

Pulaski County Commissioner Bil Farnham has made the retsoration of the Devil's Elbow Bridge a highest profile project and is directing grant writers to get busy with efforts to raise another $400,000. The cost of the whole project is estimated at $1.6 million with $1.1 million already raised.

This is a high cost, but scraping and painting the structure will cost at least $580,000 because the paint contains lead and can not be allowed to fall into the Big Piney River.

The bridge was built in 1923 and carried Route 66 traffic across the river into the small settlement of Devil's Elbow until the four lane bypass was built through Hooker's Cut.

The bridge has gotten into bad repair and even driving a car across it is a little frightening. Tourist busses are no longer allowed to drive over it.

Save that Old Bridge. --RoadDog

The Night "The Spindle" Died

The May 3rd Chicago Tribune had that as the caption on a picture of a large dumpster filled with crushed cars from Berwyn's famous Spindle. Nice play on Paperlace's song, "The Night Chicago Died."

After several years of effort, the owners of the shopping center, with no warning, moved quickly in and destroyed the 1989 landmark that has been at the center of debate in the community since it was constructed in 1989.

It was at the Cermak Plaza, near Cermak Road and Harlem Avenue and was featured in the movie "Wayne's World." Two weeks ago, it was offered on e-Bay for $50,000, but there were no takers.

Berwyn Alderman Michelle Skryd said, "I regret that we didn't have some kind of warning. It just seems really a shame that it was handled in this manner."

It was located on private property and a Walgreens will be built on the site.

One less neat thing to see in Illinois. This was quite a tourist attraction and a lot of people got off nearby Route 66 to view it.

Another Walgreens!! --RoadDog

Illinois' Oldest Round Barn May Be Too Far Gone

While on the subject of McHenry barns, this out of the March 1st Chicago Tribune had an article by Carolyn Stark.

The rough winter we had this past season may have claimed something else besides people's nerves.

There had been plans to restore the 1897 round barn on the 20 acre farm on River Road in unincorporated Marengo. A snowfall so severely damaged the roof that here is now not much hope that it will be repaired.

In the 1890s, farmers believed that the shape was more efficient for milking and feeding the cattle.

The roof was last repaired in 1970.

Sad News. -- RoadDog

McHenry County, Illinois, Barns

Until the last several decades, McHenry County has been a major agricultural area in the state. But now, with the the spread of Chicago's urban sprawl , the farms and fields are fast sprouting subdivisions and shopping centers. Along with this has come a drop in the number of wooden barns.

Fortunately, a group has been organized to preserve these representatives of times past. It is called the McHenry County Historical Barn Preservation Association and was formed in January, 1999. There are also barn preservation associations in Kane County, Illinois, and King County, State of Washington.

In the 15 years I've lived in McHenry County, I have personally seen the destruction of about seven of them.

They even have a website: www.mchenrycountybarns.org

Glad to See Someone Fighting for Them. --RoadDog

Saturday, May 3, 2008

North Dakota Names 3 Most-Endangered

The May 2nd Grand Forks Herald reports that Preservation North Dakota has named its Three Most-endangered Historic Properties at it's 15th annual conference held at the International Peace Garden.

They are the"

FLAT IRON BUILDING-- In Minot. Built in the early 20th century and noted for its strange shape. The city has maked it for demolition.

CRYING HILL CEMETERY-- In Mandan. The highest point in the original Mandan village and a sacred spot for several Native American tribes. Threatened by urban expansion.

GRAIN ELEVATORS STATEWIDE-- at one time they were the economic pillars of communities but are now deteriorating because of lack of use.

HONORABLE MENTION--- CAN PILE IN CASSELTON-- Max Taubet opened his Brick House gas station in 1935 and added a small restaurant in 1936. Business was good and he started stacking his used oil cans until it became a big pile. It served as a landmark on the old US-10.

The Brick House special was two burger patties with a large slice of onion and garnished with pickles and mustard.

The new oiwners of the property have given the city until May to move it or they will tear it down. As of yet, the city has not done so.

Save the Can Pile!!! --RoadDog

Friday, May 2, 2008

NIU Shootings-- Follow Up

The Chicago Tribune reports that Northern Illinois University President John Peters said that Cole Hall, the site of the killings, will be renovated and not be torn down. He said the majority of the campus family wanted it to stay, however, they would be uncomfortable if its lecture status continued.

This is a change of heart because two weeks after the February 14th Valentine's Day incident, he said the hall would be torn down.

They are now looking for feedback on three possible plans for Cole Hall.

Personally, I would like to still have it used for lectures. I'd like to have a section roped off with bullet holes still in the seats to remind students of the event and the fact that education is such a great opportunity.

Regardless, I am happy that the building will remain. We can not let the actions of one idiot cause their destruction.

KAY SHELTON

Illinois Lincoln Highway Association Director Kay Shelton works for the university in the library and has been quite heavily involved with the archiving of items related to the incident. She took 400 of her own photos including the many signs put up by local businesses in the the aftermath.

I imagine parts of these archives will be on a revolving display at some time in the future.

Today is also the last day to give ideas as to what should be done in the way of a memorial. I volunteered the idea of permanent crosses on the berm by the university center where the original wooden ones were placed. These should have the names of the slain and there should be another marker for the wounded.

NIU is located in Dekalb. The Lincoln Highway is the town's main street and part of the Northern campus borders the road.

A Sad Time for the Northern Illinois Family. --RoadDog

And, Speaking of Fried Onion Burgers

The 20th Fried Onion Burger Festival will be held in El Reno, Oklahoma, this weekend. It is always held the first Saturday in May. Last year, it featured an 850 pounder billed as the world's largest onion burger. El Reno is also located right on the world famous Route 66.

They have a great looking poster for the event with the words "Get Ready to Start Eatin'", but, unfortunately no Route 66 sign on it.

Some facts:

900 pounds of meat used between Big Burger and burger tent
550 pounds of onions
350 pound burger bun
cooked in a 12 by 12 foot convection oven
25,000 average attendance
Big Burger cut with a two man saw
a special machine raises the patty up and flips it

Lots of pictures and a video at
www.elrenoburgerday.com

HISTORY

Onion burgers have been cooked in El Reno since the early 1900s. Ross Davis owned and operated the Hamburger Inn on Route 66. He began making onion burgers in the 1920s as onions were cheap and meat expensive.

Wish I Could Be There. --RoadDog

"The Burger Guy"

Eating the specialties of different places is one of the extra rewards you get when hitting those great two-lane roads across the US.

George Motz of Brooklyn, NY, is really hung up on the All-American burger. So much so, that he has earned the name "Burger Guy." He has even written a book called "Hamburger America" where he lists the top 100 burger places in the US. Why, he has even taught a course on the subject at New York University. His wife, by the way, is a vegetarian.

Only two Chicago eateries made the list.

Billy Goat Tavern at 430 N. Michigan and Top Notch Beefburgers at2116 W. 95th Street. He says Chicago is too "hotdog crazy" that it really doesn't have a burger identity. He may be right, you never hear of Chicago burgers.

Motz does say that regions of the US are noted for their burgers.

OKLAHOMA-- onion-fried burger. The patty is covered with a thinly-sliced onion, flipped, and squashed together. We've been through Oklahoma several times on Route 66 now, but have never stopped for one. Reckon the time has come to imbibe one.

NEW MEXICO-- cheeseburgers are really green chile cheeseburgers.

CENTRAL CONNECTICUT-- burgers are steamed.

PACIFIC NORTHWEST-- put goop on the burgers, a mix of sour cream, mayo, mustard, and secret ingredients.

Mott says the "Burger Belt" stretches from Houston to Wisconsin.

Getting Hungry Just Typing This. --RoadDog

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Some More on the Santa Monica Pier

As mentioned earlier, someone bought the Santa Monica Pier Ferris Wheel on e-Bay.

Grant Humphreys bought it for $132,400, the high-bid among five competing for it and a total of 35 offers. He is the CEO of Humphreys Real Estate Investments in Oklahoma City which specializes in walkable communities (whatever that is). At this time, he has no immediate plans for it. Perhaps, he will put it at one of his communities, or, I'd like to see it remain somewhare on Route 66.

May 4th will be the last day of operation for this Ferris Wheel and all rides will be FREE that day. The pier hopes to have the new $1.5 million one up and running by May 22nd.

Round and Round I Go. --RoadDog

Route 66 Trip in Illinois

After leaving Smaterjax in Dwight, we took the original alignment to Odell to visit the Standard station. I would like to mention that Dwight should really have the Rt 66 shields on the pavement at the north and south ends of town, repainted. You can hardly seethem anymore.

Signed the guest book at the station and saw that in the past several days they had had at least ten people from overseas visit.

With our dollar in the toilet these days, I expect that quite a few English and Europeans will be on Rt 66. We may be complaining about high gas prices, but, to Europeans, this is mighty cheap gas as they're paying $6 to $8 a gallon. Plus, with the Euro worth $1.50 and pound worth $2, they are getting more BANG for their Buck.

Newest acquisition is an an old washer-dryer. It us quite rusty and I didn't even know what it was when the person there showed it to me. It looked like no washing machine I've ever seen. The dryer consisted of a pair of rollers at the top.

The people in the house with all the gas pumps a little north of the station were out and doing what looked like spring training. A few years ago, Odell was having a city-wide garage sale and the man had his garage open and there are lots of gas-related items in there as well.

Cruisin' the Old 66. --RoadDog

1970 Time Magazine Article-- Route 66

There was an article about truckers on the old Route 66, Dixie Truckers Home, other truckstops in Illinois such as Tiny's, Route 66 Terminal Cafe, El Roy's, the Mill, and the Fleetwood.

"They are the sort of place that serves Ann Page cherry pies with Sealtest ice cream heaped on plastic plates. With the porkchops or cube steak or fried chicken comes piles of mashed potatoes and canned creamed corn or cut green beans."

The Dixie is especially famous for its fried chicken and also has its own barbershop and two gift shops. John Geske, 65 in 1970, had run the place for 22 years. He said that even though truckers were a really big part of his business, he though at $18,000 to $20,000 a year, they were overpaid. "Here you have men, many without a high school education, who are making more money than the average college professor. Seems intelligence and compensation should move together."

Sure Hope No Trucker Read the Article. --RoadDog