Saturday, November 29, 2008

Top Ten Notable Route 66 Stops-- Part 2

Continuing with List Verse's Top Ten. My comments last.


5. Blue Whale-- Catoosa, Ok.-- Hugh Davis' anniversary gift to his wife and a popular Route 66 swimming hole for many years. If I HAD to pick JUST one thing to see on Route 66, this'd probably be it. Talk about your outlandish.

4. Cadillac Ranch-- Amarillo, Tx.-- Eccentric millionaire Stanley Marsh, III's salute to craziness. Ten vintage Caddies buried front end down west of town. This'd be #2 of my list of must-see craziness.

3. Blue Swallow Motel-- Tucumcari, NM,-- believed to be the oldest continually operating motel on 66 with that great neon sign. We were fortunate enough to spend a night there and sat out for hours that night watching the sign blink and listening to the ghosts of the road.

2. Sitgreaves Pass-- between Kingman and Oatman in the Black Mountains. In nine miles, the road climbs 1400 feet with dangerous, hairpin turns and spectacular views. No kidding!!!

1. Santa Monica Pier-- Santa Monica, Ca.,-- Ocean Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard. Not actually the end of the road, but the sentimental one. Love that great sign.

Not a bad list, but it could easily have been hundreds of places.

On the Road Again, I Just Can't Wait to Get on the Road Again. --RoadDog

Friday, November 28, 2008

Top Ten Notable Route 66 Stops

List Verse has just released their top ten Route 66 stops going east to west. That would be a hard job to pick just ten. Glad to say I've been to every one of these. Last comment my own.

10. Gemini Giant-- Wilmington, Illinois-- 20-foot tall green guy holding a rocket at the Launching Pad Restaurant. Great food.

9. Dixie Truckers Home-- McLean, Il-- said to be the oldest truck stop on the route. Bring back the world clocks.

8. Chain of Rocks Bridge-- St. Louis, Mo.-- across the Mississippi River. 24 degree turn in the middle. Been across it several times.

7. Ted Drewe's Frozen Custard-- St. Louis, Mo.-- Love those concretes.

6. Meramec Caverns-- Stanton, Mo.-- Jesse James' hideout. If you haven't been here, you haven't been on the route. The original bumper sticker place, but the first time we went, they didn't have any.

To Be Continued. --RoadDog

Union Terminal-- Cincinnati-- Part 2

Continued from November 25th.

The whole art deco place was filled with people as a Latin Culture festival was taking place. Lots of booths selling Latin American items and even live entertainment.

We took a free guided tour all over the place, including the walkway above the entrance where we found out the historical characters lining the walls were actually made of small ceramic tiles attached to a painted background. One wall showed the whole United States ending in an art deco stylized New York City from the thirties with different forms of transportation as well.

The other side was of the history of Cincinnati from frontiersmen to the Fort Washington to the thirties, with emphasis on the waterfront. I found out that the name was changed to Cincinnati for the Society of Cincinnatus, a group of Revolutionary War officers.

Most interesting was the walk back to the original secretary's office, president's office, and board room which had been renovated to look as they did in all their 30s art deco glory. That would have to be the highlight of the tour.

Before we left, we went up to Tower A which looked as it did in the 30s as well and was the center of all movement in the yard. The old gate section had been torn down for the omnivision theater, but the murals were saved and can now be seen at the Cincinnati Airport.

Well Worth a Trip. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Central Lunch-- Goldsboro, NC

Today, we went to Central Lunch on Goldsboro, NC's Center Street for lunch. This place dates back to around 1906 and, according to Mom looks pretty much the same as it always has. Only now, they bought the adjoining store for a much-needed expansion.

New owners bought the place a few years ago and have put much effort into the place. It has some of the most delicious Christmas decorations I've ever seen.

Plus, the food is something else. You can get a rib eye sandwich and fries for $5. We had the lunch special for $6.75 which was chicken or beef tips over rice along with two sides, many of which are fine southern fare. I had the rutabaga and boiled cabbage. Then, there were those fantastic biscuits.

In warmer weather, you can dine al fresco out on the sidewalk.

Most days they are open for breakfast and lunch, but also Friday and Saturday nights and Sunday until 3 PM.

My family has been eating there for many years.

Mighty Good Eating. --RoadDog

Union Terminal-- Cincinnati

Continued from yesterday.

The next stop was the wonderful old art deco Union Terminal along the Ohio River. Construction started on it in 1931 and continued until 1933, making this year the 75th anniversary. And, it came close to being gone.

After train service stopped, it sat vacant for awhile and then was a shopping center. Definite plans were underway to demolish it which would have been a crying shame.

Parking is $5 (HEAR THAT CHICAGO!!!) adjacent to it. The exterior is striking. Even the flagpoles and columns outside are art deco. There is also a plaque by the fountain marking the site of the home of the first professional baseball team, the Red Stockings, who played ball at the field in 1869. The whole area used to be called Lincoln Park until transformed into Union Terminal in an attempt to bring together the five or so train stations spread around Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Museum of Natural Hstory and Cincinnati History Museum are both also located at theterminal. Talk about your multi-use!!!

More to Come. --RoadDog

The Ford Model A

See Nov. 20th entry.

My uncle did some more research on Henry Ford's Model A to determine what the cost of a Model A Touring Car like the one presented to the farmer would be.

He discovered that Model As got between 24-29 mpg, not bad for back then or even now. I sure wish my Dodge Dakota got that good of a mileage, and it's a 2005.

A two-seater Model A Roadster cost $350. A fully-tricked out Model A Touring car went for $1400.

Ford often toured to visit dealers and to check out what modifications were being made on his cars. If he liked it, he'd send the specifications back to his factory.

Quite a Guy That Henry Ford. --RoadDog

Monday, November 24, 2008

A Good Day in Cincinnati

This past weekend, I went to Cincinnati and got together with my buddy Denny and two other roadfolk, Pat and Jennifer and took a great tour of the Queen City.  We saw about as much as you can in just one day.


DA ECHO

We met at a 1930s place called the Echo for breakfast and had a great breakfast.  Judging by the crowds, this is quite the popular place.  I had a goetta sausage breakfast.  Goetta is a type of German sausage combination.  Delicious.

Jennifer and Pat drove in from Indianapolis and were a bit late, causing the time on the meter to run out, and wouldn't you know it, parking enforcement got their first and left a little $25 reminder on the windshield.  Curse those one hour parking meters.


DA GAME AND DA EYE IN THE SKY

On our way over to the observatory, we saw that the Michigan Avenue sign had mysteriously sprouted an Ohio State sign on top of it.  Today was the BIG GAME, Wolverines vs. Buckeyes.  Poor Michigan didn't have much of a chance.

The observatory was at the top of a hill lined with some beautiful older homes.  It wasn't the original one which had been on Mt. Adams nearer to downtown, but had been moved as the city got larger.


DOWNTOWN

Once downtown, we stopped at the beardless Lincoln statue near the Howard Taft Home and Museum.  One of my favorite TV shows of all time was WKRP in Cincinnati, and Denny showed me where the station was located in the Flim Building which was actually the Enquirer headquarters.  I'd always thought it was the tall building with pillars on the top, but it wasn't.

A big thanks to Denny for setting up this great itinerary.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A Good Ford Story

My uncle sent me this story From the Corners of Your Mind. It is supposedly a true one.

Henry Ford was traveling in Mississippi in 1930 when his fancy new Model A Touring car became mired in the mud. He and his driver attempted to extricate it, but to no avail.

A 14-year-old boy came by and said to Ford, "I kin go get my Daddy to bring a team of mules to pull you out; but Mister, if you'da had a 'Tin Lizzie' you wouldn't be stuck no how!" Ford, of course, knew that the Model Ts had a higher ground clearance and bigger tires.

The boy's father arrived and pulled him out, but wouldn't accept payment for his services saying he was just doing what any Mississippian would do.

Ford got his name and address and ordered his Detroit factory to build the farmer a special touring car with all available accessories.

Quite a Story. --RoadDog

2008 Pennsylvania at Risk

The Nov. 18th Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ran an article about Preservation Pennsylvania's sites at risk which include the former Schenley High School building, metal truss bridges, and even the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

Schenley High School opened in 1916 and closed this year.

As of this year, steel truss bridges in the state were down to 237 and expected to be down to 184 by 2010. At least, with one of these bridges, you know you're crossing water.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike opened in 1940. It is not in danger of going away, but many of its original bridges, overpasses, and toll plazas are. Specifically, the South Midway is the only remaining example of the turnpike's historical way stations for traveler. One could argue that the Pa. Turnpike was the first of our interstates.

Don't Tear It Down. Try to Save It. --RoadDog

Preservation A Little Closer to Home

Nov. 13th Northwest Herald.

Grace Hall in Woodstock, about 18 miles from where I live, has cleared the first hurdle in an attempt to get Landmark Status. The Woodstock Historic Preservation Committee unanimously voted to recommend it for the "Prairie"-style brick building which was part of the Todd School for Boys. One noted alumnus was filmmaker Orson Welles.

The one acre site is currently owned by the Woodstock Christian Life Service who want to raze it to expand their Hearthstone Senoir Living Community.

Caryl Lemanski and her group have been leading an effort to save and preserve it, perhaps turning it into a museum.

It is an impressive structure and I definitely would like to see it remain. Perhaps even as housing for the seniors. It was a dorm at one time.

Congrats to Caryl and her Group. Without Them, Grace Would Probably Be Gone By Now. --RoadDog

Down Da 66: No More "Chevy on a Stick"?-- Braidwood Train Depot-- Pontiac in New Book

Some New News About an Old Road. This time about the Illinois Stretch. My favorite.

1. NO MORE "CHEVY ON A STICK"?-- Route 66 News says the ownership isn't sure of what will happen to Springfield's great 1955 Chevrolet that has been up on a pole for the last 17 years. The land it is on is for sale. Hope it remains somewhere as it is one of my favorite things to see in town.

2. BRAIDWOOD TRAIN DEPOT=-- Route 66 News also reports that the 126-year-old Braidwood train depot has been donated to the city and will be moved. The present site will be used for parking for a local business.

3. PONTIAC IN NEW BOOK-- The Nov. 19th Pontiac Daily Leader had an article on Jim Hinckley's new book "Your Guide to Scenic Side Trips & Adventures from the Mother Road. This article had major emphasis on the Pontiac area and said there were two pictures: one of the Lincoln statue at that great courthouse, and the other of one of the pedestrian swinging bridges. Mention is also made of the Old Log Cabin restaurant and Odell station.

Hinckley has 50 trips in his 208 book which comes out this month. He has a blog at www.route66chronicles.blogspot.com


So, Now You Know. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Airplane Filling Station Gets Grant

WVLT TV in Knoxville, Tn., reports that the Airplane Filling Station Preservation Association has received $9000 in federal grants from the Tennessee Historical Commission to begin a second phase of restoration work. However, they must raise $6000 to get it.

Two fundraisers are planned, the first Nov. 22nd when they will be selling items at the Mast general Store in downtown Nashville, and a second one at the station itself, located 6829 Clinton Highway in Powell, Tennessee.

The second phase involves the interior stabilization of walls, ceiling, floors, foundation repair and structural work on the nose of the plane.

The station was built in 1930 by the Nickle brothers in the shape of an airplane because of Elmer's interest in aviation. There was the mention of something called the Fantastic architectural style.

It stopped being a gas station in the 1960s, and at various times was a liquor store, bait and tackle shop, produce stand, and used car lot. It is now on the National Register of Historic Places.

Clinton Highway is US-25 which is also known as the Dixie Highway.

For more information: http:/www.powellairplane.org

And I Never Heard of It Before. Interesting Station. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Down Da 66: Patty Ambrose Speaks-- Mo. Blog-- Coleman Theater Honor

Some New News About an Old Road.

1. PATTY AMBROSE SPEAKS-- The Oct. 25th Joliet News reported that Patty Ambrose, executive director of the Route 66 Heritage Project spoke at the Joliet Area Historical Museum about plans in the offing for the route in Illinois.

One thing of interest to the Joliet-folk was that the nation's first Dairy Queen, located on Chicago Street (Rt. 66) is no longer a DQ, but they'd like to at least restore the facade to look as it did when it first opened. I'll have a Mr. Misty.

2. MO. BLOG-- There is now one more Route 66 blog. The Route 66 Association of Missouri has their own now at http://missouri66.wordpress.com. The first entry was about the neon sign at Donut Drive In in St. Louis being lit up for the first time in 25 years.

3. COLEMAN THEATER HONOR-- The Route 66 News Blog reports that Miami, Oklahoma's Coleman Theater has been named the top tourism attraction in northeast Oklahoma. Congrats. I've been by the outside several times, but never inside. Same with Joliet's Rialto Square Theatre.

Now, You Know. --RoadDog

Monday, November 17, 2008

Lincoln Logs: Cafe Lotus-- Brick Road-- Lincoln Highway Radio Show Song

Lincoln Logs-- Some New News About an Old Road.


1. CAFE LOTUS-- The Nov. 14th Fort Morgan Times had an article about a unique place called Cafe Lotus, which has been included in John Fielder's "Best of Colorado" and will be in Brian Butko's upcoming "Lincoln Highway Companion, according to owner Nick Nig. Sounds like this is quite an eclectic place where the local community can use its facilities for free and live local entertainment (always better than dead entertainment) is featured. Sounds like a place to visit to me.

2. BRICK ROAD-- Hoosier Reborn in his Nov. 15th Hoosier Happenings was doing his "Lincoln Highway reconnaissance in Noble County, Indiana," and came across a curved brick section bypassed for a more gradual curve. He had pictures including one of a mailbox with the words "Old US 33 on it, another of a Lincoln Highway sign, and another if you ever wondered how they curve bricks in a road.

3. LINCOLN HIGHWAY RADIO SHOW SONG-- The good folks at American Road Magazine in their forum, have a recording of an old 1940s radio show titled the Lincoln Highway. Well, the theme song to it anyway.

You can hear it at
http://www.pair.com/davepaul/americanroad/ARLH1942.mp3.

Worth a listen. Get your traveling shoes on.

Now, You Know. --RoadDog

Great Maine Road Trips

The September 28th Portland Press Herald had a list of great Maine drives for both color and scenery broken down by areas.

These were compiled by BJ Bangs, a freelance write working on articles about places to visit that are off the beaten path. My idea of an ideal roadtrip exactly.

MIDCOAST MAINE-- Route 123-- Harpswell Neck (Is that a name or what?)
Route 24-- Orr's and Bailey Islands


DOWN EAST-- Route 182-- Franklin to Cherryfield
Route 1-- Perry to Calais (anything along US-1 is good)

INLAND-- Route 113-- North Chatham to Gilead
Route 17 and 16-- Mexico to Wilson's Mills
Routes 4 and 16-- Madrid to Oquossoc
Routes 16 and 27-- Kingfield to Coburn Gore (another great name)

You can reach her at PreservingandCreatingmemories.com

You think there just might be a "touch 'color in Maine? But, I guess now you'll just have to wait till next fall.

Of Course, Then There's Camden and Ba Haba. --RoadDog

Saturday, November 15, 2008

West Wendover, Nevada

From the Boomtown USA blog from Jack Schultz.

He recently visited West Wendover, a town along 3rd generation Lincoln Highway, and was greeted by the famous 90 foot high Wendover Will, reputed to be the tallest mechanical cowboy in the world in all his quarter mile of neon. Jack was sorry he was not able to see Will at night.

West Wendover is a gambling town, and...a bit of a communication history of note. On June 17, 1914, AT&T erected the last of 130,000 telephone poles here for transcontinental service.

The first call was from Alexander Graham Bell in New York City, who called his one-time assistant, Thomas Watson, in San Francisco. He repeated his famous first words, "Mr. Watson, come here. I need you." To which, Watson replied, "It would take me a week now." Good story.

Also, during World War II, more than 1000 bomber crews trained at West Wendover, including the crews of the Enola Gay and Bock's Car which dropped the two atom bombs.

http://boomtownusa.blogspot.com

I Definitely Liked the Story About Bell and Watson. --RoadDog

Friday, November 14, 2008

As Long As I Was on the Subject...

After reading Mitch Harper's comment on the Hoosier Courts motel in New Haven, I looked it up on Yahoo search and came across a nice postcard of it and other old motels in the New Haven, Indiana, area along the old Lincoln Highway.

It was by the Indiana Chapter of the Lincoln Highway Association on their website under City-by-City--East to West.

The Hoosier City Tourist Court (which I imagine was the one Mr. Harper was referring to, was three miles east of Fort Wayne, Indiana on Us Routes30 and 24. It offered 19 units with private showers, a restaurant, and garages. Proprietors were Mr. and Mrs. A. L. Rinard. Telephone number was New Haven 4423.

Two nearby motels were Long's A.B.C. Auto Court on US-30 and Motel Wayne which had 40 units at US Routes 24 and 30.

For postcards of these and other Fort Wayne motels, go to www.indianalincolnhighway.com/page8.html/

Good Site. --RoadDog

Another Vestige of the Lincoln Highway Destroyed

The Fort Wayne Observed blog by Mitch Harper wrote that an impressive old home in New Haven was to be destroyed. "It's demolition will mean a little more of the historic record of the Lincoln Highway will be lost. In recent years, the demolition of the old Hoosier Courts Motel and the Jefferson Consolidated School means that the structures which were familiar sights--and sites-- to motorists traveling the Lincoln Highway are gone forever.

For a picture and text, see: http://indiana.typepad.com/fwob/

Beautiful old home and a shame it was torn down. Too bad another use couldn't have been found.

Oh. Well. Save What We Can. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Missouri 2008 Most Endangered Properties

The Missouri Alliance for Historic Preservation has released its most endangered list. Being a road person, it is always sad to lose interesting places to visit. These had best be visited soon unless preservation occurs.

Mullanphy Emigrant Home-- St. Louis
Fairfax-Rock Hill-- St. Louis County
Deville Motor Hotel-- St. Louis
Harry S. Truman National Historic Landmark District-- Independence
Janssen Place Entry gates-- Kansas City
African-American Schools across the whole state
Wheatley-Provident Hospital-- Kansas City
The MKT Railroad Bridge-- Cooper and Howard counties
Courthouses across the state, especially the Clark County Courthouse in Kahoka

You can view all of them at www.preservemo.org. I like that, preserve mo. Preserve more Missouri, Right!!


DEVILLE MOTOR HOTEL

All of these sites have information and pictures, but I only chose one, the Deville Motor Hotel on Lindell Blvd, in St. Louis.

It is an example of the mid-century modern High Rise which also blends in West Coast Googie architecture. It is owned by the St. Louis Archdiocese of the Catholic Church which plans to demolish it to construct a surface parking lot.

Yeah, Sure, Tear Down a Unique Old Building to "Put Up A Parking Lot!!"

Route 66 News from Illinois-- Part 5

WEDDING AT THE STATION

Two pages by Lenore Weis were devoted to the wedding of Tom Kowaczek and Jenny O'Dowd at the restored Standard station in Odell.

A few years ago, while on a Route 66, Tom asked Jenny if she'd travel through life with him. They decided to get married at the station and spend their honeymoon on the Mother Road.

The Pontiac, Illinois, Jolly Trolley brought the wedding party to the station on, on June 8th, they became man and wife. Then, the couple went to nearby Gardner where they were "arrested" and "imprisoned" in the famous little jail until the Mayor Tom Wise pronounced them "cellmates for life", gave them the key to the city and released them.

The reception was held at the Country mansion in Dwight.


OVERNIGHT TRIP

Ed Kozak wrote of taking his brother, niece and nephew on a short 66 trip to acquaint them with the old road. Most of it was spent on the Red Carpet Corridor with a start at the Route 66 Family Restaurant in Dwight. Then a look at the tunnel and station in Odell, followed by the the Meramec Caverns barn, SB-4 bridge, Hall of Fame Museum, and pedestrian swing bridges in Pontiac.

They walked memory lane in Lexington and the Route 66 walk in Towanda. Then, beer Nuts in Bloomington, "sirup" and the Dixie. In Atlanta, it was Paul Bunyan and the Palms. Lincoln featured the 10 foot strip and Ghost Bridge.

Good Way to Get Newby 66ers.

Now, This is THE Way to Get Hitched. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Lincoln Logs: Colo, Iowa-- Ames, Iowa-- Heritage Byway

Some New news About An Old Road.


1. COLO, IOWA-- The historic Reed/Niland Corner in Colo is named for the original owners. In 2001, the city purchased the old canopy gas station, motel, and cafe at the intersection of the old Lincoln Highway and US-65.

This originally belonged to John Niland who lived across the street.

I see that Brian Butko in his Lincoln Highway News reports that it is temporarily closed due to illness of the woman running it.

Hope it is open by next summer. I'd sure like to get a bite to eat there and perhaps spend a night at the motel.


2. AMES, IOWA-- The Lincoln Highway goes west into town on Sheldon Avenue, then heads north on Ontario Street.


3. HERITAGE BYWAY-- Two years ago, the Iowa Department of Transportation designated the entire length of the Lincoln Highway in the state as a Heritage Byway and it is now eligible for National Scenic Byway status.

Imagine That, The Lincoln Going National. As If It Isn't Already. --RoadDog

Route 66 News from Illinois-- Part 4

Continuing with the Route 66 Association of Illinois' Route 66 News, Fall Quarterly.


ARISTON CAFE

The Ariston Cafe in Litchfield was honored as the 2008 Business of the Year at the Route 66 Festival in June. It is still owned by the same family with Nick and Demi Adams accepting the plaque.

It opened in Carlinville in 1924, but moved to Litchfield with the opening of Route 66. They hosted the welcome dinner and a couple from Britain wandered in asking if anyone knew anything about Route 66, and there sat Michael Wallis and other noted 66ers. Talk about walking into it.

The Route 66 Yahoo e-mail group also had our gathering there on the last day.

Love their reasonable and good food as well as the salad bar. Another thing I like is the "cheater" glasses they have sitting out for those of us who find it harder every year to read in less-than bright light and small print.



CAR HOPS

John Weis also had an article on the Ace Drive-In in Joliet which has been operating since 1949. It and its car hops are found on Lincoln Highway/US-30, a short distance from Ottawa Street which is Route 66. I'll have to check this one out since I am both a 66 and Lincoln Highway fan.


MONTANA'S DEATH

On June 26th, this well-known Route 66 rabbit at Henry's Rabbit Ranch died. This wascally wabbit would "autograph" your postcards and was not a shirking violet around strangers. And, we were getting ready to vote for Montana for President.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Old US-70 Reborn in North Carolina

The October 27th McDowell News reports that old 70 has become a hiking and biking trail between McDowell and Buncombe.

This section formerly known as Old 70 is now the Point Lookout Trail. The NCDOT, McDowell County government, town of Old Fort, US Forest Service , and some private landowners have combined to bring it to the public.

POINT LOOKOUT

Point Lookout was a popular stopping point and overlook on old US-70. Founded in the 1920s, it has an observation platform and restaurant overlooking Royal Gorge. One popular attraction there was Sally the brown bear who was kept on the grounds and a large flagpole.

To get there, take I-40 across Old Fort Mountain. Get off at exit 66 (HEY 66!!!) and turn right.

For three photos of Point Lookout, go to www.gribblenation/ncpics/old10/lookout2.html

Also, an old postcard of Point Lookout is for sale on e-Bay. The scenery reminds me some of the Lincoln Highway's Ship in Pennsylvania.

An Old Road Saved. --RoadDog

The Lincoln Highway in Ohio

From the October 29th Canton (Ohio) Press-News.

Today, Jim Cassler from the Ohio Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor will be talking about the road at the Werner Inn at 131 E. Nassau Street in East Canton.

Jim is very involved in all things Lincoln and says Ohio has some of the best LH sites in the country with several brick-paved sections, many brick pillars, 1928 concrete markers, and historic buildings.

Most of today's road is not a part of the original LH. The original was very narrow and twisting and built along farm lanes. By 1917, the Lincoln Highway in Ohio had 72miles of brick, 166 of other surfaces and 18 miles of dirt. Three of those dirt miles were between Minerva and East Canton.

This original leg was used from 1913 to about 1940, but bigger and faster cars brought about road construction away from this section, which became residential and still exists close to its original form.

A Road is a Road is a Road. --RoadDog

Route 66 News from Illinois-- Part 3

Continued from the Rt 66 Association of Illinois' News.

JOHN WEIS reported on Ike Widner's efforts to get a Route 66 stamp from the postal service. And, we will have one sometime in the next 3-5 years.

He sent copies of his request to many different members of Congress and even president Bush. Nice job Mr. Widner!!


ANOTHER AUTHOR (name not given) wrote about the renovation of Springfield's South Town Theater Marque which they call "a dynamite neon restoration for the Mother Road." It is located on South Grand Avenue, about a block east of 9th Street (Route 66).

The actual theater's interior has not been restored and is occupied by the Walch Studio of Stained Glass (probably an interesting story in itself).

The author said that the theater opened around 1915 as the Empress Theater in the developing area known as South Town and was known as "The House of better Pictures."

In 1937, it was bought and renamed the South Town theater.

In 2007, the City of Springfield purchased the facade of the building and restored it to its original condition. Each evening, the lights go on from dusk to 1 AM.

Greart Job Springfield. I'll Look for It Next Time Through. --RoadDog

Friday, November 7, 2008

Route 66 News from Illinois-- Part 2

More artciles from the Route 66 Association of Illinois' quarterly magazine.

Our 66-trotters, Marty and Geri Bilecki, were out and about as usual. They welcomed a group from the Czeck Republic in Joliet and escorted them along the Red Carpet Corridor.

In May, they spoke before the Morris Kiwanis about our favorite road. In February and March, they spent 41 days in the road and then went on another trip to Missouri in May. In June, it was the Illinois Motor Tour and the big to-do in Litchfield.

That's putting lots of miles on for the cause.


PRESERVATION REPORT by Joe Gniadek-- landscaping on the old Pig Hip grounds. Fran Edwards said she and Ernie had found a dead, charred squirrel with wires hanging out of its mouth. Was that the culprit for the fire?


JOHN WEIS reported on the August 30th "Hanging of the sails" on the Mill in Lincoln. That would be the wind mill sails and the picture of the place looks great with all the work that's been done on it. The Mill was famous for its schnitzel sandwiches and the grandson of the family who owned it provided these great sandwiches from his restaurant, Hallies, on the square across from the courthouse. These use the same recipe.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Lincoln Logs: Iowa LHA-- LH Celebration-- Lincoln Way West HS

Some Really Old News About the Lincoln Highway.


1. IOWA LHA-- The August 10th Mid-Iowa News reported about the Iowa Lincoln Highway Association's River=to-River motor tour across the state. I definitely hope to go on it next year.

The article mentioned an area called the Iron Cross, east of Nevada where the road goes through picturesque countryside which hasn't changed much since the original LH was built.

Director Jeff LaFollette said that 55 cars and 110 people registered for it.


2. LH CELEBRATION-- The October 9th Michigan City (In) News-Dispatch reported that antique cars and car clubs were invited to cruise along the original Lincoln Highway through New Carlisle.

A kiosk was to be dedicated at 2 PM at 124 E. Michigan Street. The original LH follows US-20 from South Bend to New Carlisle, then takes Ind-2 into LaPorte.


3. LINCOLN WAY WEST HIGH SCHOOL-- Back in May, freshman and sophomores at the new schools were to get the chance to decide on the school colors and mascot. Eleven mascots and 10 color options were ok'd at the school board meeting.

Black will be part of the color scheme as it is the common color at the three existing Lincoln Way high schools. Students will vote twice: once to narrow the field to three and then for the final choice.

Lincoln Way North (which opened this August-- black and gold Phoenix
Lincoln Way East-- black and blue Griffins
Lincoln Way Central-- black and red Knights

These Lincoln Way schools are named after the Lincoln Highway and in a very fast-growing part of Chicagoland.

Cruising the Old Lincoln. --RoadDog

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Route 66 News From Illinois

The Rt 66 Association of Illinois' Fall 2008 News is hot off the press.

Pictures on the front are of the June Motor Tour, Pig Hip Memorial, August work at the Mill in Lincoln, and September Thresherman's Parade.

Our president, Cathie Stevonovich wrote about the association's participation in the October 4th Route 66 festival on the Chain of Rocks Bridge with its classic car show, vendors, sock hop and walk-in showing of the movie "American Graffiti."

The October 12th Preservation workday at the Meremac Cavern advertising on the barn in Cayuga and October 19th quarterly meeting and election at our Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac. The new elevator was shown off.


Plus, 2009 will mark the 20th Anniversary Motor Tour. Photos of previous tours are being collected to be used in two quilts.

I'll be Writing About Other Articles. We're One Busy Group of 66ers. --RoadDog

Former Bank Building in Dekalb, Illinois Demolished

It stood along today's Lincoln Highway through downtown Dekalb for 113 years, but is gone now.

Its demise came about to enlarge and improve a dangerous intersection at 4th Street and the Lincoln Highway. Numerous accidents have occurred at it over the years and trucks especially find it hard to navigate.

demolition started Monday and is expected to continue for three weeks for clearing of debris and reseeding.

Built in 1895, it primarily housed banks since the Dekalb Trust and Savings commenced operations in 1909 according to Dekalb historian Steve Bigolin. It has been vacant for the past seven years.

IDOT purchased the site and will use some of it to enlarge the intersection. The city has purchased 12,100 square feet for $122,000 and intends to redevelop it as a gateway to the old downtown "core" shopping district.

The city has also purchased the adjacent building at 345 East Lincoln Highway and it is being demolished as well.

I'm thinking park for the area. I've seen the building many times and it is nondescript, nothing as impressive as the old post office at the LH and 1st Street where a Walgreens now sits. That was an impressive building.

This has stirred a lot of comments from residents. Thirty-seven so far.

From the November 4th Dekalb Daily Chronicle by Elena Grimm.


THE BUILDING'S HISTORY-- source Steve Bigolin

### 1895-- J.J. Ronen constructed a three-story office building at the northwest corner of 4th Street and Lincoln. Most of the building was occupied by his undertaking business.

### 1909-- Dekalb Trust and Savings Bank opened in a small part of the building. It was the fourth bank in Dekalb at the time.

### 1910-1920-- Remodeled into a two-story building.

### 1965-- Another major remodeling

### 1985-- Dekalb Trust and Savings ceases operations. Other banks occupied it, the last being the National City Bank.

Thanks to Kay Sheldon for alerting me of this.

Life Goes On. --RoadDog

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Lincoln Highway in Warsaw, Indiana

The August 8th Warsaw Times-Union was reporting about the annual Lincoln Highway Buy Way and said that much was going on in downtown Warsaw. Merchants were having sidewalk sales, specials, and promotions. The library was having a book sale.The Lincoln Highway was the vision of Carl Fisher who also built the Indianapolis Speedway.

Warsaw was not originally on the Lincoln, but became a part in the 1920s when it was realigned for a more direct route across Indiana..

The Kosciusko County Highway Committee is beginning to take steps to replace some of the aging Lincoln Highway signs in the county.

Great Little Town, that Warsaw. --RoadDog

Price of Gas on Rt 66 and Elsewhere

The Route 66 e-mail group on Yahoo has been carrying on quite a conversation on gas prices. Some of the people are writing from Route 66, and others from elsewhere. Here are some of the prices as of yesterday:

Chicago-- $3.16, San Bernardino-- $2.70, Vernon, Texas-- $1.80,
Lockwood, Mo.-- $1.89, Bartlesville, Ok.-- $1.85.

Wow, gas under $2. Who's have thought we'd ever see that again.

Yesterday, I saw gas mostly around $2.50 in McHenry County, Illinois. It was $2.40 at a station on Grasslake Road and Il-83 in Antich.

One person said that it would go up now that the election is over.

Come On $2. Come On #2. --RoadDog

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Another Great Local Drive in McHenry County, Illinois

Driving through Lake and McHenry counties on US-12 on your way to Lake Geneva or the Wisconsin Dells, here's another great side trip. You can even reverse the trip I described on October 25th and 27th and November 1st and return to US-12.

START at US-12 and Spring Grove Road at the traffic light (one farther west than the Johnsburg/Wilmot Road light). Go south, left.

You'll go up a steep hill and pass a quarry on your left near the top. There are lots of quarries in the area.

McHenry is a major agricultural area and you'll be passing fields and farms as well as the subdivisions that are growing up so fast these days.

After 2 and a half miles, you'll be at Ringwood Road. Continue past it into Johnsburg. Another 1.6 miles and you'll be at Johnsburg Road. For such a small town, Johnsburg Road is one of the busiest in McHenry County.

Turn right onto it, and take it a half mile to Riverside Drive and turn left. On this you'll pass lots of trees, farms, and subdivisions and enter the town of McHenry with its 24,000 population.

There is a beautiful old Victorian farmhouse at McCullom Lake Road. If you turn right here, it will take you out to all the shopping on Il-31.

Continue straight on Riverside to downtown McHenry. Looking to your left, you can see the Fox River between the homes. Another great river view at Broad Street where you'll find Weber Park.

There is the Town Club bar which dates to the 1850s and has tables for ladies. To the left is a bridge over the Fox River and the Water Tower Marina across it, so named for the old water tower located on its property. Across from it is Vickie's, a popular Chain of Lakes stop with dining along the river.

Continue to Il-120, where there is another bridge over the river to your left. You will have driven 7.2 miles at this point. There is an old 1880s hotel, now apartments and the popular Fox Hole Pizza in the building. Across the street is the Windhill Pancake Parlor, home to some of the best and most unique omelets around.

Cross the river and go to Joey T's on the River Walk Very impressive grounds and Italian food. A beautiful walkway connects the condos and this side of the channel at this place.

Your total mileage at his point is 7.3 miles.

Again, Lots of Scenery and History in a Short Distance. --RoadDog

Monday, November 3, 2008

Another Kind of Old Guidebook

Saturday, I was in our local Borders store looking at the books of local interest and came across an interesting one. It was titled "Chicago to Lake Geneva: a 100-Year Road Trip: Retracing the Route of H. Sargent Michaels' 1905 Photographic Guide for Tourists." It is put out by the Chicago Map Society and Robert W. Karrow, Wilbert Stroeve, and James Acherman worked on it. It is published by the Newberry Library.

I looked at it very closely and it came down to that and an Arcadia book on McHenry, Illinois. I went the latter. My 40% off coupon was good for only one book and you had to spend $20. This one lists for $17.95. But, I'll have to get a copy as a lot of the area they went through was right in my area. What I really liked were the before and after pictures. I ALWAYS like before and after pictures.

The blurb for the book reads that in 1905, Homer Sargent Michaels, a Chicago automobile agent developed an unusual solution for the problems early motorists faced along the poorly marked roads of the era. Other guidebooks had written directions. Why not have written directions and photographs of every major intersection along the way.

The new book has every single page of the 1905 original as well as pictures of the same spots today (well, 2005). There are brief explanations as well.

Amazon had it listed for $12.21.

Definitely Worth Looking Into. When's My Next Borders' Coupon? --RoadDog

Zero Mile Marking

In the early days of roads after the advent of the automobile, motorists would often set the odometer to zero to follow directions in guidebooks. These were often from what were called control stations. They were usually a hotel or some other significant structure.

One of them is the Marsh Hotel in Van Wert, Ohio, which served as a control station for the Lincoln Highway. Owner George Marsh spent $28,759 when he opened the 50-room place in 1915. In 1931, it was remodeled for $160,000. Unfortunately, it is no longer open for business today.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Historic Highway 101 in San Diego

Don't drive I-5. It's "like one huge back alley" with only occasional glimpses of the Pacific Ocean. Take the old road. That would be old US-101 which became erased by I-5 in 1966. "Today, the monotony is out on the 5."

In the June 1st Orange County Register, Gary A. Warner, said his favorite stretch was Oceanside to Solano Beach. There are all sorts of folks and ancient bars like the Daily Double and the Office that "still smell like smoke years after smoking was banned."

In Oceanside, the 101 Cafe is the unofficial headquarters of the historic highway movement in north San Diego County. Owner John Daley has lots of stories about 101 and says that reviving interest in an officially deceased highway is not an easy task.

Also in Oceanside are the neon-lit Star Theater and classic Sun Bowl Alley and the Dolphin Hotel that has been open since 1927.

CARLSBAD-- most of the US-101 stuff is gone, but Ocean House Restaurant is on the ground floor of the 1880s Twin Inns.

LEUCADIA-- described as having "a coastal funkiness, some of it endangered." The 100-year-old eucalyptus trees are being taken down. Leucadia Beach Inn, a 1920s Spanish-style court hotel that has been restored. Bamboos 2 U and the Tikis Too sells hand-carved tikis.

Pannikin Coffee and Tea is in the 1880s Santa Fe Railroad Depot.

ENCINITIS-- entering you pass under a replica steel arch. The La Paloma Theater dates to 1928. In the 700 block of Third Street, two homes look like ships that have run aground. It's Swami's for surfing and the Beach Boys sang about it in their 1963 hit "Surfin' USA."

Sounds Like a Great Drive with Just Enough Oddball and Old Stuff for Me. --RoadDog

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Another Great Local Drive--and Fall Color, Too-- Part 3

Continued from October 25th and 27th.

Leaving the Drive-In, it's a short drive to the intersection of Chapel Hill Road and Illinois Hwy-120. You will have driven 7.3 miles. You will see the striking old Riverside Chocolate Factory at this intersection. Careful of this place. Do not go in HUNGRY!!!

Go west on 120 to McHenry. You will pass an old Dog 'N Suds, now a used car lot and a pair of large lion statues by the Jeep dealership. There is Don's Restaurant dating back to 1952.

You'll cross over the Fox River Bridge to downtown.

Turn left on Green Street and go past the McHenry Indoor Theater which was closed for many years, but now open again with $3 matinees Friday to Sunday. Otherwise, its $6. They have matinees seven days a week during the summer.

Right next to it is a channel to the Fox River and McHenry's new River Walk. Park your car and enjoy the gazebo, landscaping, ducks, and you can walk the several blocks to the river.

You will have driven 8.8 miles from start to finish. That's a LOT of scenery and history for your gas buck.

Now, That's a Good Drive. --RoadDog

A Trip Back to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, for That gorgeous Fall Color-- Part 2

Continued from October 30th.

Driving around the east end of Geneva Lake was when we realized that the color was even better than last Thursday. It was brilliant!!!

Again, went by the lake shore once past the school and by the old Majestic Ski Hill. The Owl Bar was again closed. Sure like to go to that old place again. Maybe it's only open on the weekends.

The yellows and golds were just stunning on those trees. Then, South Lake Shore Drive was beautiful as well.

They're doing a lot of construction across from the Abbey in Fontana. Get this, I got gas at the Fontana BP was $2.38!!! It was actually just a cap off of three gallons, but I never thought I'd see it that low again. Gas from Richmond, Illinois, to Lake Geneva was $2.60.

This time, we drove along North Lake Shore Drive to Williams Bay and visited the George Williams/Aurora University grounds. We'd never been in this area before and I really recommend it.

Got off Hwy-50 at the Geneva Lodge, Old Interlaken, and drove the whole south shore of Lake Como.

Drove Snake Road and all I can say is WOW!! Just doesn't get any better than this.

There was still a lot of color in the residential area west of downtown Lake Geneva and off Wi-50.

Sure Glad We Went Back. --RoadDog

Springfield, Illinois' Union Station

The Nov/Dec Preservation Magazine of the National Trust for Historic Preservation had a short blurb with a picture of the station with that great old tower standing tall and proud.

It said that the 1898 terminal closed in 1971 and just sat until the 80s when it was used for retail operations.

In 2005, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency and Downtown Springfield, Inc, and other groups got together for the eventual $12.5 million project to restore the Romanesque Revival structure to its 1898 appearance.

One of the biggest cost was the 110-foot tower which had been torn down in 1946.

The structure is now a visitors center for the Abraham Lincoln Library and Museum which is across the street. The people working at it are very friendly and informative, including the one woman who could move anywhere after she retired, and chose Springfield for all the amenities the town offers.

I have heard some people say that way too much was spent on restoration, but it would be hard to look at this restored structure and not feel proud.

It also serves at a visitors center for Springfield and Illinois.

Definitely a stop for anyone on the old Route 66 as well.

Standing Tall and Proud...Again. --RoadDog