Monday, September 30, 2013

Chicago's Old-School MapQuest-- Part 3: A Real Mess By the 1890s

Because of a wildfire of annexations of neighboring towns in the 1890s, Chicago had boomed in land area, population and confusion. There were three different systems of numbering homes and businesses in the city itself: North Side (north of the main branch of the Chicago River and east of the river's north branch, one for the South Side and one for the West Side. And this was not to mention numbering systems existing in the newly annexed towns.

Then there was duplication of street names. Chicago in 1901 had nine Sheridan streets, nine Forest streets, ten Oak streets, 13 Washington streets, 13 Center streets and 14 Park streets.

Delivering mail must have been some accomplishment.

Then there were what Brennan called "Broken Link" streets which were interrupted at various points. They often would have one name on one side of the interruption and then another on the other.

For instance, at various points, the street just west of Halstead was called, Lime Street, Reta Avenue, Craft Street, Newberry Avenue, Florence Avenue, Dayton Street or Green Street.

I Tell You, It's Enough to Make a Letter Carrier Hang Their Head. ---RoadDog

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Hanging Around Town: A Football Sort of Day

Just finished sitting out on the front porch and enjoying the torch and then going out to the gazebo for awhile.

As soon as I finish this entry, I'll watch the Wisconsin-Ohio State game on the TV in the corner of Margaritaville and enjoy the Ultimate Jukebox.

Go Badgers!!

Earlier today, I went into Fox Lake, Illinois, and enjoyed the Grant High School homecoming parade and then went out boating.

Came home and picked up Liz then enjoyed the big NIU victory over the Big Ten's (well 12) Purdue, 55-24. This is the most points scored against Purdue on their home field since 1924 and Northern becomes the first MAC team to beat two Big Ten (well 12) teams in the same season ever.

Northern Illinois is now 4-0!!

Then drove down to Burton's Bridge and went to Riverside Pub for our last Chain Crawl signature and watch some more college football before going back to the Twisted Moose in McHenry where we saw that great UGA victory over LSU and sadly, the Notre Dame loss to Oklahoma.

It Was a Football Kind of Day. --RoadDog

Chicago's Old-School MapQuest-- Part 2" Edward Brennan Way

On Friday, August 30th, a small ceremony was held to officially unveil an honorary street designation at the corner of State and Madison streets which are now Edward Brennan Way. Alderman Brendan Reilly, 42nd War, who sponsored the designation and Brennan's daughter Adelaide were there. She turned 99 that day.

If you know anything about that corner of State and Madison, it is very important to Chicago and is considered the heart of the city thanks to Edward Brennan.

"In the summer of 1901 when he turned 35, Brennan took an armload of maps with him on vacation to Paw Paw, Michigan, and came back, like a prophet from the desert, with a detailed plan for helping people find their way in what was then a very chaotic Chicago."

Makin' Sense of the Chaos. --RoadDog

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Chicago's Old-School MapQuest-- Part 1: Edward Paul Brennan

From the August 25, 2013, Chicago Tribune by Patrick T. Reardon.

"Edward Paul Brennan was a nobody. One of us.

Born in 1866, he made deliveries for his father's grocery store, then worked downtown at the Lyon & Healy Co. music store as a bill collector and later as a building inspector.

Yet, few individuals in Chicago history have had as much impact--for the good-- on the daily lives of Chicagoans, suburbanites and visitors to the city."

And, I bet you have never heard of him. I was only vaguely aware of him until I read this article.

--So, Who Was He? --RoadDog

Ten Most Exciting Cities in America-- Part 2

Here are Movoto's Top Ten:

10. Portland, Oregon
9.  Philadelphia
8. Atlanta

7. Milwaukee
6. New York City
5. Washington, D.C.
4. Seattle

3. San Francisco
2. Boston
1. Oakland, California.

For more information and pictures, go to site.


Ten Most Exciting Cities in America-- Part 1

From the May 8, 2013, Movoto Real Estate by Jennifer Karmon.

 The site rated the 50 biggest cities on 1) park acreage per person, 2) percentage of population 20-34 (They're more fun? Many still living at home.), 3) Bars, movie theaters, museums, theatercompanies and music venues per square mile, 4) racial and ethnic diversity (the smaller a city's majority race,te higher the score.

Two negative factors are how many fast food restaurants they have and how many big box stores like Target and Wal-Mart.

And, the Top Ten on Next Post. ---RoadDog

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Getting WWHPed At Home Right Now

Lately, driving back and forth to North Carolina, I take I-74 from Indianapolis to Il. Highway 47 west of Champagne,Illinois, and then north to Woodstock as part of my drive. I have a favorite radio station to listen to from Danville by the Indiana border, through Champagne and as far north as Forrest.

It is WWHP, 98.3 FM out of Farmer City located between Bloomington/Normal and Champagne/Urbana. They play Americana, Blues, Bluegrass, Rock and Gospel and just about anything else. Plus, coming out of a town called Farmer City, you get Farm Reports (Less Nessman would be so proud).

It streams as well, which is why I am getting here at home.

Give It a Listen. --RoadDog

Inventions: The Mother of Vacations-- Part 6: Alexandria

ALEXANDRIA, VIRGINIA: Whether its a better mousetrap or a computer mouse, inventions require a patent. Hey, you want to make money off your creation. You'd want to visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Odffice in this city,

It also houses the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum which features current exhibits on health and exercising ingenuity highlights such inventions as Gatorade and the Thighmaster.

I mention Alec Foege several times as this is his list of must-see places. He has a new book out "The Tinkerers: The Amateurs, DIYers, and Inventors Who Make America Great" put out by Basic Books. Sounds like a good one to check out.

I knew some of these places he listed, but not all of them. ---RoadDog

Inventions: The Mother of Vacations-- Part 5: Menlo Park and Dayton

MENLO PARK, NEW JERSEY: Thomas Edison, who invented the electric light system and phonograph among many other things, holds his place at the pinnacle of American creative history. You can honor his genius at his lab and home at a National Historical Park in New Jersey.

According to Foege, "Anyone serious about their tinkering travel would want to go there. It was the first research and development site in the modern sense."

I'd like to add the Henry Ford and Thomas Edison homes in Fort Myers, Florida, as a place to visit.

DAYTON, OHIO: From the airplane (which I knew) to the cash register (which I didn't know), Dayton has been responsible for some of the most defining inventions of the last century. In the late 1800s it was a hub of innovation with more patents per capita than any other U.S. city.

Today you can visit the National Aviation Hall of Fame and the Dayton Aviation Heritage Park on the former site of the Wright Brothers Cycle Company. And there is something about an Air Force Museum in the area.  
Get Your Inventing Shoes ON. --RoadDog

Inventions: The Mother of Vacation-- Part 4: Boulder and Detroit

BOULDER, COLORADO: Home to the TechStars business incubator, this pretty Rocky Mountain university town is a center for high-tech, start-ups. You can catch a glimpse of local innovators at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, both of which have public tours. (I'd think the last place, NOAA, would be closer to the ocean considering their name.)

DETROIT, MICHIGAN: For more than a century, Motown (not to mention music) was a town of thinkers. It is the home of the now-rebounding U.S. auto industry and still serves as a crucial manufacturing hub. You can see automaking history at the Ford Rouge Factory Tour.

And the Car Went Beep, Beep. --RoadDog

Inventions: The Mother of Vacation-- Part 3: Huntsville and Austin

Continued from Friday.

HUNTSVILLE, ALABAMA: We wouldn't have reached the moon were it not for Huntsville. Rocket City (Huntsville's nicknamename) is where NASA developed the powerful Saturn Rockets (as a matter of fact, you can see a huge Saturn Rocket at nearby the Alabama Welcome Center on I-55). Alec Foege suggests a visit to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center "with a lot of cool hardware."

I'd like to add TOPSAIL BEACH, NC, where the early U.S. rocket program was begun right after World War II. The rocket towers still stand, some made into beach homes. Plus, there is a great museum there with the history of rockets developed there.

AUSTIN, TEXAS: The Texas capital is probably better known for its music scene and their huge South By Southwest Festival, a celebration of music, film and interactive technology. (Well, I knew about the music aspect of it.) Foege says Austin's rich music tradition attracts innovative thinkers.

10, 9, 8, 7.... ---RoadDog

Monday, September 23, 2013

Last Span of Madison, Indiana's Bridge Comes Down-- Part 3

The old bridge was built by the J.G. White Engineering Corporation and construction started in 1928 and was completed the following year. It was opened to traffic December 20, 1929. Cost of the bridge was $1,365,101.84. It was a toll bridge until November 1, 1947. I didn't think it was possible for anything charging a toll to ever become free. That never happens here in the Chicago area, even when they promise it. Instead of becoming free, what normally happens is that tolls go up.

For years, it was known that something would have to be done about the bridge, but no one could come up with a satisfactory plan so the bridge underwent a $10 million refurbishing in 1997.

All the piers of the original remain, but will be widened to carry a wider deck and I'm happy to see a steel-truss superstructure will be put in place. I hate those bridges you cross that don't look like a bridge; st a bunch of construction barriers.

There will also be a pedestrian walkway. Looking forward to seeing the new bridge.

Over the River and Through the Woods.  --RoadDog

Last Span of Madison's, Indiana's Bridge Comes Down-- Part 2

And, I drove over this bridge back when I drove US-421 from one end to the other: Michigan City, Indiana, at US-20 to Kure Beach, NC by the "Rocks" (Built to close New Inlet) just south of Fort Fisher. Kure Beach is south of Wilmington.

The old bridge was two lanes, 3,184.2 feet long and just 20 feet wide. And, believe me, driving across it, that width seemed even less. You didn't even want to think of encountering a truck of any size. It kind of reminded me of the old Chain of Rocks Brisge that carried US-66 over the Mississippi River by St. Louis, only there wasn't that curve in it.

I had lunch at Madison's riverside park with that great view of the towering old bridge and river. That was impressive.


Last Span of Madison, Indiana's Bridge Comes Down-- Part 1

From Wikipedia.

Referred to as the Milton-Madison Bridge (also Harrison Street bridge), it connects Madison, Indiana, and Milton, Kentucky, and carries UD-421 across the Ohio River at that point.

I had known that the bridge was to be demolished and saw in Friday's USA Today a small picture and caption: "The last section of the old U.S. 421 Madison-Milton Bridge is brought down with explosives Thursday in Madison, Ind."

Some 10,000 cars a day use it as it is the only bridge over the Ohio River for 26 miles upstream and 46 miles downstream at Louisville.

Reason for its demolition were that the old bridge was considered "functionally obsolete" and "structurally deficient."

More to Come. --RoadDog

Friday, September 20, 2013

Inventions: The Mother of Vacation-- Part 2: Cambridgeand Pittsburgh

CAMBRIDGE, MASSACHUSETTS: Home of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Celebrities have been tinkering on stuff here for 150 years. You can tour the museum and campus. If I've heard MIT once, I've heard in a hundred times.

PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA: Much of America's industrial might once centered here Some of the country's most creative minds also operated here. But Foege also says that the Andy Warhol Museum is there: "He re-thought the whole notion of art. That in my mind is what tinkerers do."


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Inventions: The Mother of Vacation-- Part 1: San Jose

From the April 19, 2013, USA Today "10 Great Places: Invention is the mother of vacation" by Larry Bleiberg.

From author Alec Foege who wrote the book "The Tinkerers: The Amateurs, DIYers, and Inventors Who make America Great." So, for your next roadtrip, check these places out.

1. SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA-- That would be Silicon Valley. All the big names of the era come out of here like Facebook and Google.

You can learn more at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, the Intel Museum in Santa Clara and the Tech Museum of Innovation in San Jose.


Monday, September 16, 2013

Goodbye Southern Belle in Mt. Olive, NC-- Part 2

I picked up a copy of the September 11th Mount Olive (N.C.) Messenger on the way in and found that the Southern Belle had front page headlines "Belle keepsakes offered for auction" by Josh Ellerbrock.

Evidently, the Southern Belle's owner had been Gaynell Brock and there will be an auction this Thursday, September 19th at the old restaurant building. Persons who ate there over its 51 year history are invited to come and buy a memory.

Proceeds from the auction will benefit the David Aaron Historical Museum in Mrs. Brock's name. Chairs, salt shakers, plates, cups and many other items are up for auction.

Some of the more unique items like the old wooden painted sign depicting a 19th-century Southern belle are being given directly to the museum.

During the auction, community members are encouraged to write down memories of the place, which will be collected by the Mount Olive Historical Society.

The building will be torn down.

Always Sad to Lose Something That Has Been Around That Long. --RoadDog

Goodbye Southern Belle in Mt. Olive, NC-- Part 1

This past Friday, I had wanted to stop by and eat lunch at the venerable Southern Belle restaurant located in Mt. Olive, NC, right off US-117 at the overpass. We were on our way to visit with my cousin and wife in Warsaw. This restaurant had been serving some really great food ever since the 1960s and, at one time, had been affiliated with the Southern Belle Motor Motel, a Mom and Pop operation that was torn down several years back and replaced with a modern two-story motel.

However, Mom said she thought the restaurant had closed down and, from the overpass we saw the place with an empty parking lot. Mom suggested eating at the Lighthouse Family Ligthouse on 314 S. Breazeale Avenue in Mt. Olive so we went there.

Breazeale Avenue is the old US-117 and the restaurant is located just down from where my uncle's gas station/bus stop used to be. It is a rather nondescript building with a little sign. I'd heard about it on WNCT-AM 1070 out of Greenville, NC, a station I listen to Beach Music many mornings while researching and entering blogs.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

No Bears, Just Panthers

Sitting here in Goldsboro, NC, watching the 3-0 Buffalo-Carolina game (Bills winning, but Panthers just scored so now 6-3). I'd rather be watching Da Bears-Vikings game, but I'm deep in Carolina territory, so guess that's not to be. Back home in Illinois, Fox would have the Bear game on. I also missed the first Bear game last Sunday as I was on the road here.

Oh well, at least I get to listen to Beach Music. Right now, it's Luke Vail and his Sunday on the Beach on WNCT-FM, 107.9 FM. The Mighty Saints of Soul just played. Only problem with WNCT's Sunday Beach Music Shows is that it's two songs and ten minutes of commercials. Drives me crazy.

Half Time with Da Bears is 21-21.

No Bears for Me Today. ---RoadDog

Friday, September 13, 2013

Harvest Days in Dwight, Illinois

For some real small-town America celebrating, and on good old Route 66, get yourself to Dwight September19-22, Thursday to Sunday.

There will be plenty of entertainment with a 50s-60s instrumental band and Beatles Tribute band on Friday (I've never heard of a 50s-60s instrumental band). Two more bands take the stage Saturday.

Plus, there is a carnival on all days, food booths, a tractor and car show, the 16th Annual Bassett (dogs) Waddle, parade and band field show competition.

Sounds Like a Great Time. Thinking About It. --RoadDog

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

9-11 Not Forgotten Here

Earlier today, I watched the ceremonies held in Washington, DC, and New York City at Ground Zero. Then, Discovery Channel has several different specials on the event.

I saw the Footprint Memorial which is impressive, and, of course, the new building. I still would have liked to see some of the WTC's exterior saved as a very fitting memorial as well.

Route 66's Dwight, Illinois

From August 2013 to April 2014, I was unable to do paragraphs on my blogs (all seven of them).  But right now, October 29, 2018, I have been going back and putting those paragraphs back into the posts.  But, I am leaving this one as it is to show what my blogs looked like back then.

From the Dwight, Illinois, pamphlet. Unlike some Illinois towns (Bloomington and Normal) on Route 66, Dwight does all it can to push its 66 heritage, including restoring the 1930s Ambler-Becker gas station and turning it into a visitors center. /// They also push historic aspects of the town and points of interest. This pamphlet comes with a map and sites located for traveler ease. /// Among them: The Country Mansion Restaurant in the 1891 boarding house, the Windmill, built in 1896 and next to the restaurant, 1857 Pioneer Gothic Church and First National Bank of Dwight, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. There are also many more places. /// One of these days I will get to the restaurant to eat, since my old favorite eating place, Fedderson's, is no longer there. But, of course, there is still Pete's and the Route 66 Family Restaurant. /// Well Worth a Visit. --RoadDog

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Speaking of Wisconsin-- Part 5-- Out to the Abbey

We are always taken aback by how pretty the Abbey and its marina are as we come down the hill by it. Of course, just to the right, you have that blue Geneva Lake.

Boats and water everywhere.

We found a parking place fairly near the main entrance of the Abbey (which is usually booked every weekend during the summer) and enjoyed the flowers and landscaping as we walked into the lobby with its huge log A-frame and pool off to the side.

Walked outside into the grounds out back and there were quite a few people enjoying the place. (Rates on summer weekends are around $200 a night.)

Found where the music and bbq was by the Waterfront Cafe outside under some trees. Beer came in cans and was $3, even for Leinie's and Leinie's Summer Shandy. Plus, there was several different $5 offerings in the bbq, including. 1/4 rack of ribs, two pulled pork sandwiches and seven huge wings. Mighty good eating.

Then, they have weekly bands playing from 12:30 to 4:30. Today's was a very talented duo calling themselves No Bozos.

Too bad we didn't find out about this earlier in the summer. We'll definitely be back there next summer on a few Sundays.

'Que, Beer 'N Music Outside. How Ya Beat That? --RoadDog

In Case You'd Like to See That Yucca Motel Sign in Vegas

After writing about the Yucca Motel yesterday, I looked it up on Yahoo!

I found out it was built sometime in the 1950s and had been demolished in 2010. The sign, however, was saved. There were even a few not-so-wonderful reviews of the place in the 2000s as it declined.

You can see pictures of the motel and sign as well as other old mom-pop motels at these sites:

Las Vegas Motels: Then and Now, 10 Neon Museum Signs We Love in the Vegas Blogs site and Roadside Peek: The Strip Motels in Las Vegas.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Neon Museum Spotlights Bygone Era of Las Vegas-- Part 3

Assembling the collection also takes a lot of luck. Danielle Kelly relates the story of the Yucca Motel sign. Two years ago, she got the tip that the motel was about to be torn down. So, she went to try to get it.

The owner's son didn't want to pay to move the sign, though. Kelly began a series of negotitations with him saying they wanted to share the sign with people and tell the story of his family and business.

Finaly, the museum received money and the Yucca Motel sign is now in the Boneyard.

Just imagine how great of an attraction it would be to have a huge park of all the old signs (well, and new ones since Las Vegas seems so intent on tearing down anything over twenty years of age.


Neon Museum Spotlights Bygone Era of Las Vegas-- Part 2

In the 1980s a committee was formed to help rescue neon art from the rubble of the demolished hotels and casinos. Now, parts of 150 signs are displayed on a patch of land once known as Neon Gulch.

Included in it is the original clam-shaped lobby of the historic La Concha Motel which has been renovated to serves as a greeting center. I remember this building and walked by it many times. If I recall, there was a tacky souvenir place attached to it.

Some restored pieces are in the downtown streets, but at the Boneyard, the pieces remain rough and untouched. The tall pool-playing figure that was once at the Treasure Island Casino and the gold lamp that was at the Aladdin Casino are there as well.


Friday, September 6, 2013

Neon Museum Spotlights Bygone Era of Las Vegas-- Part 1

From the November 11, 2012, Chicago Tribune by John M. Glionna.

There is a place in Vegas known as the Neon Boneyard where the remnants of once brilliant neon signs reside today that had once graced the Moulin Rouge, Desert Inn, Golden Nugget and Stardust casinos as well as many lesser-known Vegas buildings.

"But time moves on, especially here. In a city addicted to reinventing itself, the wrecking ball rules." I always hate to see those old (say 30+ years old) buildings imploded and signs destroyed. You always need to save some of your past.

But now, you can see some of Las Vegas' past as the Neon Museum, located in the city's downtown, officially opened October 27, 2012. Tours are offered through the museum as well.


Thursday, September 5, 2013

Ten Gems of the Heartland

From Midwest Living.

1. Michigan's resort towns
2. Macaroni and cheese to perfection at Prima Kase cheese factory in Monticello, Wisconsin
3. Illinois' Starved Rock State Park

4. Hocking Hills, Ohio
5. Farmhouses
6. South Dakota's Black Hills

7. Shade Loving hostas
8. Fish Creek, Wisconsin
9. Taste of Kansas City
10. Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.

They Have Their Reasons. --RoadDog

Speaking of Wisconsin-- Part 4: Out to the Abbey

The Abbey is one of our favorite places and we even scraped up enough money to stay there one night. It is EXPENSIVE!!! But, it is one of the most beautiful buildings anywhere and manicured grounds. I think it was built in the 1930s and kept up to the nth degree.

Our buddy Randy at the Fox Lake American Legion had told us about this great bbq and music they have ever Sunday during the summer. Wish we'd talked to him earlier.

Where they had it at was outside the Waterfront Cafe by the marina.

Even though the Abbey is so expensive, this little function is very reasonable. They have a band playing. This Sunday it was No Bozos who did a fine job. Beer cans are $3, including Leinenkugel brands and one offering was Summer Shandy.

Then, they have all sorts of $5 bbq selections, including 1/4 slab of ribs, 2 pulled pork sandwiches and 7 really big wings.

We'll Be Back Next Summer.


Tuesday, September 3, 2013

It Was Dogs for Our 20th (Or Was It 25th) Wedding Anniversary

And, I still get kidded about it. Liz let all our friends know all about it.

But, for our 20th or 25th wedding anniversary (I'd ask Liz who would remember, but I don't need the laughter this early in the morning), we out cruising by car just over the border in Wisconsin and came across a small place called Lily Lake Inn, east of Twin Lakes and went inside.

They were having a party with a band and specials. We got FREE HOT DOGS and 25 cent Leinenkugel, back before it became a craft beer and more expensive; much, much more expensive. AND, you got to put your own fixins on the dog.

Well, I was in heaven. You're talking prime time for me. I don't know, but perhaps Liz was expecting something a little more upscale.

The day before our 40th, we stopped at Fratello's in Volo for their famous hot dogs as a commemoration of the 20th (25th) anniversary.

Oh Well! I Love My Hotdogs  --RoadDog

Veggie Dogs? Get Serious

From the July 25-31, 2013, Lake County Journal "Veggie Dogs? Really" by Cassandra Dowell.

As a vegetarian, she went looking in Lake County to find a veggie dog. "I found zilch." She did find some recipes online made of tofu, lentils, sweet potatoes and peanut butter.

She did say she liked the other components of a hot dog like the bun and fixins.

I myself have sometimes been accused of putting so many items on my hot dog that I might just as well not had a piece of meat in there. I believe in the junk hot dog if I get the chance to load stuff on, just not hot peppers, sport peppers or ketchup.

The Case of the More the Better. --RoadHotDog