Saturday, January 31, 2015

Busy Day at Woodstock's Groundhog Days Festival Today-- Part 2

Noon--  Chili cook off at the Woodstock Opera House (Hotel Pennsylvanian in the movie)

1 p.m.--  Rotary Club Bags Tournament at Ortman's Red Iron Tavern.

2 p.m.--  Walking tour of movie sites led by Bob Hudgins who was location manager for the movie and a big reason why it was filmed in Woodstock.

After the tout, there will be "Groundhog Day" movie trivia back at the Opera House.

5:30-11 p.m.--  District 200 Education Fund Benefit at Donley's Banquet Hall in Union, Illinois.


10 a.m.--  Movie shown again.

12:30 p.m.--  Walking tour


7:07 a.m.--  Prognostication by our very own groundhog, Woodstock Willie at the gazebo in Woodstock Square featured in the movie, complete with polka band.

After ceremony--  The "Official" Groundhog Day" breakfast at teh Moose Lodge.  See how much food you can stuff into your mouth like Bill did at the Tip-Top Cafe.  Polka band performs as well.

Sure to Be a Great Time.  --RoadDog

Busy Day at Woodstock's Groundhog Days Festival Today-- Part 1

In a short time I am going to drive the 18 miles to Woodstock, Illinois, and enjoy that fun time.  I missed it last year because of that horrible winter.  Just like in the movie, though, we have a major snow storm headed our way starting tonight and going through most of tomorrow with 6-12 inches predicted and blowing snow.

Of course, a few years back we had the "Groundhog Day Blizzard which dumped about 20 inches on us.

Woodstock was where the famous "Groundhog Day" movie was mostly filmed and every year since the town has had this festival.  I go most years.

Last night they had the Groundhog Day Dance at the Moose Lodge in Woodstock where the movie dance and bachelor auction was filmed.

Today is the main day of activities.  All of these will take place in or around the famed Woodstock Square which was Gobbler's Knob in the movie.

10 a.m.--  The Movie "Groundhog Day" will be shown at the Woodstock Theatre which became the Alpine Theater in the movie.  It's free.

10 a.m.--  Famed storyteller Jim May will present Groundhog Tales at the Home State Bank.


Friday, January 30, 2015

Answers to the Baseball in North Carolina Quiz

From the previous three posts.

1.  A

2.  C

3.  B

4.  A

5.  A

6.  C

7.  B

8.  C

9.  A


Baseball in the Tarheel State-- Part 3

7.  Major league pitcher James Hunter, a Hertford native, played for the Oakland Athletics and the New York Yankees from 1965 to 1979.  Hunter was known by what nickname?

A.  Jimbo
B.  Catfish
C.  Possum

8.  Hickory's minor league team plays its home games at L.P. Frans Stadium.  What is the name of the team's mascot?

A.  Grasshopper
B.  Bull
C.  Crawdad

9.  The Durham Bulls played their first professional baseball game on April 24, 1913.  In 1988, the team played a role in what movie?

A.  Bull Durham
B.  Field of Dreams
C.  The Sandlot

Answers in the next post.

I Was 9 for 9.  --RoadDog

Baseball in the Tarheel State-- Part 2

I actually got them all right although I was doing a lot of guessing except on questions 7 and 9.  Usually, I took other stuff that I knew and applied it to get the answers.

4.  The North Carolina Baseball Museum has hundreds of artifacts exploring the history of baseball in the state.  It is located in historic Fleming in what city?

A.  Wilson
B.  Rockingham
C.  Dunn

5.  A native of Person County, Enos Slaughter played in five World Series during his professional baseball career.  A member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Slaughter was known by what nickname?

A.  Country
B.  Cowboy
C.  Chief

6.  Walter "Buck" Leonard, a Rocky Mount native, was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1972.  Because of segregation, Leonard played in what league?

A.  Black Baseball League
B.  American Athletic League
C.  Negro League

Well, I Also Knew #4.  --RoadDog

Baseball in the Tarheel State-- Part 1

From the July 2013 Our State Magazine "Baseball Season" by Allan Hodge.

Even though the state has no Major League Baseball teams, it has a long history with the sport.  Here is a quiz.  Answers on two blog entries from now:

1.  Captured Union soldiers in North Carolina played baseball as early as 1862.  What town in Rowan County was the site of a large prisoner of war camp where the inmates rounded the bases (but were not allowed to run for home)?

A.  Salisbury
B.  High Point
C.  Concord

2.  In 1867, a baseball team was formed at the University of North Carolina.  In the team's first recorded game, the Tar Heels beat an all-star team from what nearby city?

A.  Greensboro
B.  Tarboro
C.  Raleigh

3.  What famous professional baseball player hit his first home run during an exhibition game in Fayetteville in 1914?

A.  Jackie Robinson
B.  Babe Ruth
C.  Chipper Jones

How Ya Doin'?  --RoadDog

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Groundhog Day 2015 Kicks Off in Woodstock, Illinois

This has been a yearly event here at where the famous movie "Groundhog Day" was filmed as it stepped in for the more famous Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  Always a great time without the crowds in Pennsylvania.

It kicks off today with the annual Awakening of the Groundhog at the Woodstock Opera House (Hotel Pennsylvanian in the movie where the other two stayed and where the slapping scene was filmed and where Bill Murray jumped out of the belfry.

Afterwards, Woodstock Willie will pose for pictures and then there will be a "Groundhog Day" movie trivia activity next door in the Stage Left Canteen.

Always a Good Time.  --RoadDog

Seeing Japanese Gardens-- Part 4: Arkansas and Chicago

GARDEN OF THE PINE WIND:  Part of the University of Arkansas' Garvan Woodland Gardens in Hot Springs, Arkansas, it is a 4-acre garden designed by David Slawson, who used regional landscapes and the ravines on the site as his inspiration.

Among the highlights are three cascades, a waterfall, two springs, four pools and a half-acre koi pond.

CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN:  Glencoe (suburb):  The Elizabeth Hubert Malott Japanese Garden is a 17-acre garden that was dedicated in 1982 and is designed in the kaiyu-shiki-teien (or stroll) style, intended to be viewed while walking.  The garden was designed by Koichi  Kawana.

Let's get Peaceful.  --RoadDog

Seeing Japanese Gardens-- Part 3" Portland and Philadelphia

PORTLAND JAPANESE GARDEN:  Portland, Oregon: The 5.5 acre formal garden features five garden styles: The Flat Garden, Strolling Pond Garden, Tea Garden, Natural Garden and Sand and Stone Garden.  It was designed by Takuma Tono.

SHOFUSO JAPANESE HOUSE AND GARDEN:  Philadelphia: Shofuso, a traditional-style Japanese house was built in 1953 and brought to Philadelphia in 1958.  There are three types of gardens on the 1.2-acre site.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Seeing Japanese Gardens-- Part 2: Top One in U.S. in Rockford, Illinois

If you're thinking of having your own Japanese garden, you probably would be best to visit some first.

Here are some top Japanese gardens in the United States:

1.  ANDERSON JAPANESE GARDENS, Rockford: Ranked No. 1 in the U.S. by Sukiya Living magazine in 2014, the gardens on 12 acres were started in 1978.  Their development has been under the guidance of noted designer Hoichi Kurisu.

Rockford is only about an hour from my house and yet I have never been there.  Guess I'll have to fix that this summer.


Seeing Japanese Gardens-- Part 1: Asymmetrical, Not Symmetrical

From the Dec. 21, 2014, Chicago Tribune "re-creating the Japanese garden" by William Hageman.

Japanese gardens have been here for nearly 150 years, yet many Americans know very little about them.  The first one was introduced in the United States in 1876 at the Centennial International Exhibition in Philadelphia.

A Japanese garden follows the dictates of nature  "The Japanese garden is based on natural patterns, rock formations, the way plants grow naturally, the way water moves naturally through a stream valley, the shape of the land," according to Tim Gruner of the Anderson Japanese Gardens in Rockford.

They tend to be asymmetrical, whereas Western ones are often symmetrical and geometrical.


Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Eagle Watching 2015: 13 Bald Eagles Seen

We returned from a four day trip out to Iowa and Wisconsin to see bald eagles on Saturday.  We stopped at Galena, Illinois, to eat at The Log Cabin steakhouse on Main Street (we've been going there since our honeymoon in 1973) and spent Wednesday night, Jan. 21st, in Dubuque, Iowa.

The 22nd was our best day for seeing eagles: three at the Dubuque Lock and Dam, two at the Guttenberg, Iowa, Lock and Dam, two in a field and the two Decorah bald eagles (featured on the eagle cam over the internet) in Iowa.

We saw another four bald eagles in a field in Wisconsin near Monroe on our way back home on Saturday.

Total for the Trip, 13 bald eagles.

Saw Ya!!  --RoadDog

Monday, January 26, 2015

Why Restauration?

The name of the restaurant in Decorak, Iowa's Hotel Winneshieg is Restauration.  That is kind of a strange name for a restaurant, but there are three reasons why it is named that:

1.  Restauration is an archaic French word for restoration (which certainly has been done at the hotel).

2.  Restauration was the name of the sloop which carried the first Norwegian immigrants across the Atlantic to America in 1823.  Many went on to settle in Decorah.  A replica of this sloop is in the Vesterheim Museum, right down the street from the hotel.  Decorah is extremely proud of its Norwegian heritage.

3.  The name is a tribute to Helen Busler who spearheaded the massive restoration project which was completed in 2000.

--Good Reasons.  --RoadDog

Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Blue Plate Special at the Hotel Winneshiek's Restauration in Decorah, Iowa

JANUARY 23, 2015, Friday:  We woke up today at the fabulous old 1905 Hotel Winneshiek in Decorah, Iowa, and went downstairs to the hotel's restaurant, called Restauration.

Last night we had met Bob Anderson, Mr. Decorah Eagles, at Your Place Bar and talked eagles and he had strongly recommended the hotel's Blue Plate Special for breakfast.  He said it was a big meal and very reasonably priced, especially for a fancy hotel like we were at for the night.

He was right on the mark.  The price was $5.50 and included two eggs, hash browns, toast and your choice of housemade Italian sausage or Polashenk's bacon.

I, however, was much tempted to order the French toast made with lingonberries topped with lingonberry butter.  Maybe next time.  I'd never heard of lingonberries before.

Good Eating Right by the huge window fronting Main Street across from a downtown J.C. Penney's store, something you don't see much any more.

If You're Ever in the Area.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Ten Best Route 66 Road Songs

From the May 6, 2012, American Profile Magazine.  These songs capture the essence of the famous road.

1.  CHICAGO--  Written bu Sufjan Stevens, from album "Illinoise."
2.  I LOVE L.A.--  Written and performed by Randy Newman from album "Trouble in Paradise."
3.  KING OF THE ROAD--  Roger Miller.  You know, down and out on 66.

4.  USED TO BE--  written by Bobby Wiles and Tom Skinner and performed by Red Dirt Rangers.  From the cassette Songs of Route 66.
5.  NO PARTICULAR PLACE TO GO--  Chuck Berry.  Up until a few months ago, too expensive to just be driving around.
6.  THE BAD ROADS OF OKLAHOMA--  written by Susan Herndon from album "All Fall Down."
7.  THE FIELDS, THE SKY--  written by Pat Metheny and Lyle Mays from the Pat Metheny Group's album "Travels."

8.  TAKE IT EASY--  Eagles, written by Glenn Frey and Jackson Browne.
9.  GET YOUR KICKS ON ROUTE 66--  written by Bobby Troup.  No surprise here.
10.  THEME FROM ROUTE 66--TV show theme by Nelson Riddle.

Cruisin' All the Way--RoadDog

Big Article on Boy Scout Bernie Queneau

Brian Butko's The Lincoln Highway News on Dec. 8, 2014, published a long article about Bernie Queneau who died last month.  He was the last surviving member of the four Boy Scouts who made the drive along the Lincoln Highway back in 1928.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Sallisaw, Ok, On "Grapes of Wrath" Trail

From LASR home--  Sallisaw, Oklahoma.

Sallisaw is the county seat of Sequoyah County at the edge of the famed Cookson Hills to the north and the navigation channel of the Arkansas River to the south.  Its name comes from the French "salaisiau" meaning "salt provision."  Indians, explorers, early settlers and trappers were very familiar with the natural salt deposits found on many nearby streams.

"Grapes of Wrath" author John Steinbeck used Sallisaw as the starting point of the Okie Joad family fleeing to California to escape the Dust Bowl drought days.  Actually eastern Oklahoma has always been wooded and picturesque.  The Oklahoma Steinbeck that was his hard by the Dust Bowl was in western part of the state.

Whereas the Joads were not from Sallisaw, Charles "Pretty Boy" Floyd and other notorious outlaws from the 1930s did make Cookson Hills their hideouts.


On the "Grapes of Wrath" Trail-- Part 2

The western U.S. is currently in the midst of a worse multi-year drought than the one that triggered the 1930s Great Migration where some 250,000 fled the Great Plains for a hoped-for better life in California.

Barbara Paulson drove I-40 west of Oklahoma City and got a huge taste of Big-Box America. (what I call SHS= Standardized Homogenized Stuff)..

In Steinbeck's book, the Joad family started their trip in Sallisaw, Oklahoma, two and a half hours east of OKC.  This is where the Joads worked as tenant farmers until the tractors rolled in and took their land.  Paulson says, though, that Sallisaw was too far east to be affected badly by the Dust Bowl and there is doubt that Steinbeck ever even set foot there..As such, she didn't go there.

Steinbeck wrote about the Joads trip using a map he'd used while driving it with his first wife, Carol, years before he wrote the book.

It was wife Carol who suggested the name of the book, lifting the line from "The Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Even though the Joads didn't go through it, Paulson drove to the Oklahoma Panhandle which is getting hit hard by the current drought, hence the names from that area in the post from yesterday.

Hooker, Oklahoma, is in the heart of the affected area.

An interesting article.  I'm looking forward to reading the next two entries.  This is just a short synopsis the article with items of particular interest to 66ers.


Monday, January 19, 2015

On the "Grapes of Wrath" Route 66 Trail-- Part 1

From the Dec. 29, 2014, National Geographic Online "On the 'Grapes of Wrath' Trail, the Dust Bowl Still Resonates" by Barbara Paulson.

The author of the article is retracing Steinbeck's route he described in his famous book from 75 years ago.  This is the first of three parts.

A map accompanies the article which features towns not on Route 66: Sallisaw (on the east border of Oklahoma); Hooker, Guyman and Boise City (in the Oklahoma panhandle and Liberal, Kansas, right by the Oklahoma panhandle.  This made me want to know what these towns had to do with the book.

The book is a depiction "of industrial agriculture squeezing out small farmers, climate-driven environmental woes, and migrant workers at the mercy of big landowners."

Sums It Up pretty Well.  --RoadDog

What's Going On Along Route 66, December 2014

From Route 66 News site.  Read more about the stories there.

DEC. 18--  The Route 66 Gateway was finished in Tulsa.

DEC. 19--  The Albuquerque Mountain Lodge Motel was destroyed by fire.  It had been used for apartments.

DEC. 23--  Devil's Elbow bridge was decorated for the season.

DEC. 30--  Gasconade Bridge near Hazelgreen, Mo. was closed Dec. 18 by the state due to deterioration.  Route 66ers want the 90-year-old bridge repaired and not replaced.  Rallies are planned.


Saturday, January 17, 2015

Illinois' Fort Sheridan-- Part 3

Fort Sheridan became the main center for cavalry training and later was used as the first training facility for Reserve Officer Training.Center (ROTC).

During World War I it was the main induction center for recruits from Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.  When the soldiers returned after the war, the Great Influenza Epidemic broke out in 1918 and some 60,000 patients were treated there.

Between wars many changes occurred to the fort to accommodate the new autos, tanks and trucks.  Structures previously devoted to horses were converted to the new technology.

During World War II, Fort Sheridan was one of the four Recruit reception Centers in the United States and processed huge numbers of troops.  The fort also served as the administrative control headquarters for German POW camps in Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.  Some 15,000 POWs were incarcerated in those states and quite a few at the fort itself.


Friday, January 16, 2015

Illinois' Fort Sheridan-- Part 2

The fort was designed by architects Holabird and Roche who designed the grounds and 64 masonry buildings.  The center of the fort has a 54-acre parade ground and a 228-foot tower, barracks and officers' quarters.

The fort's first military action cam,e after the 1890 Battle of Wounded Knee, South Dakota when a group of defeated Lakota Indians were impounded at the fort.

During the 1894 Pullman Strike, troops from Fort Sheridan went to Chicago to curb union activity.  They occupied the Union Stockyards and restored order.  (Labor unrest in Chicago was a main reason for the location of Fort Sheridan.)

In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, the fort served as a temporary transit center for troops heading to Cuba.

During the Mexican Revolution, Fort Sheridan troops were sent to the U.S. border with that country.

More to Come.  --RoadDog

Thursday, January 15, 2015

U.S. 421 Construction Helped Doom Fort Fisher

There is a definite road connection to Fort Fisher.  U.S. Highway 421 runs right through the fort on its way down Federal Point to "The Rocks" at its eastern terminus, about two miles southward.  Several of the huge sand traverses had to be taken down to accommodate the road back in the 1920s.

Even worse, though, was the removal of a coquina ledge out in the ocean to use as a base for the roadway.  That coquina acted as a breakwater to slow the ocean wave pounding.  After its removal, the ocean came in a huge amount and demolished almost half of the fort's sea face and northeast bastion.

A huge Army Corps of Engineers revetment seems to have slowed the ocean for now.


People Heading to Fort Fisher, N.C. for This Weekend's Sesquicentennial Commemoration

Between 10,000 and 20,000 people and 700 re-enactors are expected to converge on Fort Fisher, North Carolina, this Saturday and Sunday for the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the fall of the fort which effectively sealed the Confederacy's attempt for independence.

In addition, noted authors and Fort Fisher experts will be on hand and much effort has been made to gather as many descendants of battle veterans as possible.  I have been writing a lot about it in my Running the Blockade Blog.

I sure wish I lived closer as I would really love to be there.

Oh, Well.  --RoadFortFisherDog

Illinois' Fort Sheridan-- Part 1

From the Fort Sheridan site.

Two major Philip Sheridan sites remain in the Chicago area, honoring this famous general.

A big reason for the construction of the fort was because of Sheridan's actions during the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 (which I have written about in earlier posts this past week).  It was also built to maintain order among the immigrants working in the many Chicago factories and workshops during the age of labor unrest in the 1870s to 1880s.  In short, it was established to protect Chicago's commercial interests.  Protect the millionaires as it were.

With most Army units on the Great Plains dealing with Indian Removal, units needed to be closer to Chicago if labor unrest led their need.

In 1886, department store magnate Marshall Field petitioned the Secretary of War to set aside land for a military installation.  A 632 acre site was selected, high on the bluffs above Lake Michigan north of town.


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Illinois' Sheridan Road

From Wikipedia.

Sheridan Road is a major north-south thoroughfare running from Diversey Parkway in Chicago north to the Wisconsin/Illinois border and beyond to Racine.  Throughout most of its path, it is the biggest north-south artery running closest to Lake Michigan.

From Chicago, it runs north through the wealthy suburbs referred to as the North Shore (including Lake Forest) and then through North Chicago, Waukegan, Zion and Winthrop Harbor.  Once in Wisconsin, it goes through Pleasant Prairie, Kenosha and Racine.

It is the suburban extension of Chicago's famed Lake Shore Drive.

It was first promoted by the North Shore Improvement Association in the late 1880s.  In 1889, it was named Sheridan Road to honor Union General Philip Henry Sheridan, hero of the Civil War and commander of the U.S. Army during the Indian Wars.  He also coordinated  efforts to stop tye Great Chicago Fire and its aftermath.

Most of the route had been laid out by 1893 and in 1894 it was extended to Milwaukee.  Progress on construction was delayed by battles with some of the communities along the way.


Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Why It's Called Sheridan Road in Chicago-- Part 6

Later, both Sheridan Road and the new fort, Fort Sheridan, were named for him.

No doubt about it, Philip Sheridan had won the hearts of Chicagoans.

On his death in 1888, he was front page news in the Chicago Tribune.  An editorial put into words the scene depicted in that statue at Sheridan and Belmont:

"History will record none more brilliant, no fame more permanent, than those of the trooper who rode from Winchester and turned defeat into victory."


Why Its Called Sheridan Road in Chicago-- Part 5

Before and during his heroics  during the Great Chicago Fire, Philip Sheridan was officer in charge of the removal of Native Americans from the Great Plains to reservations  In 1867, he warned an assembly of tribes at Fort Laramie that they could not stop the white homesteaders moving west and, "If you don't chose your homes now it will be too late next year.  We will build iron roads, and you cannot stop the locomotives any more than you can stop the sun or the moon."

He also championed a brutally effective way of "persuading" the Indians to move.  he deprived tribes of food, women and children included, to get them to move.  Sheridan was a man of his times, having to fight a brutal Civil War and bringing his tactics (and Sherman's) from it to this new war.

He was a firm believer in Manifest Destiny and determined to destroy anyone standing in his way.

Even so, the people of Chicago greatly admired the man.  When he and his wife left for Washington to  be commanding general of the Army, friends gave him an imposing home in Washington, D.C., as a going-away gift.


Monday, January 12, 2015

Why It's Called Sheridan Road in Chicago-- Part 4: Galloping to Danger

General Philp H. Sheridan always had the penchant to gallop toward the scene of danger and disaster and snatch victory from it.  The statue at Sheridan and Belmont, designed by noted artist Gutzon Borglum, who also designed Mount Rushmore and Georgia's Stone Mountain, shows him at the Civil War Battle of Cedar Creek, in Virginia, where he rallied panicked soldiers and turned a defeat into a major victory.

Sheridan was a popular person among Chicago's elite and even enrolled in the Bournique School of Dance, where he learned to waltz and polka with the likes of George Pullman, Marshall Field and Robert Todd Lincoln, son of Abraham.

He was considered one of Chicago's most eligible bachelors before marrying Irene Rucker, the much-younger daughter of a fellow officer in 1975.

His wife, Irene Sheridan was present at the statue's dedication in 1924.    Philip Sheridan had died in 1888, the year his namesake Fort Sheridan was dedicated.

Why It's Called Sheridan Road in Chicago-- Part 3: Great Chicago Fire

As military commander of the Great Plains, General Philip Sheridan was headquartered in Chicago at the time of the Great Fire, and it was at that time that he "saved" the city.  He is credited with "Saving" Chicago three times.

FIRST, on that Oct. day, as the Great Chicago Fire spread, the flames initially stayed away from Sheridan's home on South Michigan Avenue, consuming the city's center and the North Side.  But as the massive inferno grew, it began to threaten the South Side.  That is when Sheridan began racing around blowing up buildings in the fire's path, denying it fuel.  He also had to battle for the necessary dynamite from others who didn't concede that the general probably had a better idea of what to do with it.

SECOND, he summoned Army troops to protect the city from looters and some criticized him as a would-be dictator.  But, Sheridan was always proud that little violence took place.  He did likewise during a second fire three years later.  (I didn't know about this one.)

THIRD, In 1877, when Communist riots threatened Chicago, Sheridan made a rapid journey of a thousand miles and "By appearance quickly upon the scene, and by wise and decisive action, rescued us for a third time from what might have been a public misfortune of no ordinary kind."

Chicago's Savior?  --RoadDog

Civil War Springfield Mass. Had Main Street Macadamized

From the Nov. 19, 1864, Springfield (Mass) Republican.

The Civil War was going on, but the city's Main Street was being "Macadamized."  The old muddy road was being paved by a process using stones that pave the street.

 These stones were being quarried and crushed in an area near the Westfield and West Springfield line that to this day is still being used for trap rock.


Saturday, January 10, 2015

Why It's Called Sheridan Road in Chicago-- Part 2

General Philip Sheridan only lived in Chicago for ten years.  Even with that short of a stay, many consider that he saved Chicago not only once, but three times.

Illinois had plenty of home-grown Civil War heroes, including Gen. John Logan who had served with distinction and gone on to be a U.S. Congressman and Senator from the state.  When the Army wanted to name a new fort north of Chicago, he seemed to be a perfect choice.

Even the Chicago Tribune wrote on Feb. 19, 1888, that it was surprised that the fort was named for Sheridan.

Perhaps the naming had something to do with the land that was donated to build the fort.  It had come from the Commercial Club, a group of Chicago businessmen who not only admired Sheridan for his military exploits, but also considered the city indebted to him for his efforts during the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and the politically stormy decades that followed.

When the Commercial Club sponsored a farewell banquet for Sheridan in 1883, one speaker remarked, "Chicago can never forget Gem. Sheridan."


Friday, January 9, 2015

Why It's Called Sheridan Road in Chicago-- Part 1

From the Dec. 14, 2014, Chicago Tribune by Ron Grossman.

(Or How the General Saved Chicago)

Most Chicagoans ignore the statue of the man on the horse at Belmont Avenue and Sheridan Road.  They don't take time to read the name "Sheridan" on the statue and even if they did, probably don't think about the name's relationship to the nearby road.

That Sheridan Road runs 20 miles north to the former site of Fort Sheridan in the tony North Shore suburbs.  The base closed in 1993.

General Philip Sheridan was a favorite of Chicago movers and shakers.  Not only that, but he was a hero of the Civil War (not so much to the South who likened him to the much-despised General William T. Sherman).  After the war, he led the Army in the Indian Wars to open the Great Plains to white settlers.

Perhaps he did not coin the phrase, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian" but it does reflect the way he approached his task.

But, he also appreciated the West's natural beauty and made the establishment of Yellowstone National Park a personal crusade.  (Two Chicago U.S. Highways, 12 and 14, go from that city to Yellowstone.)

Sheridan Road, A Really Pretty Drive and Home of Rich Folk.  --RoadDog

So, What About All Those Classic American Cars in Cuba?

From the January 2, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Vintage Quest" by Daniel Trotta.

American vintage car buffs are salivating over the possibilities as U.S.-Cuban relations loosen up.  Luis Abel Bango had been looking for his dream car, a 1957 Chevy Bel Air for seven years and has found one in Cuba which he is purchasing for $7,000.  His black-and-white four-door has been kept in excellent shape.

There are some 60,000 vintage cars in Cuba, left over from the pre-Castro days in 1959.  But, for every hidden gem, there are many beaten-up clunkers which have been run down or stripped for parts.

Just One Aspect of Long-Overdue Improved Relations.  --RoadDog

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Chicago Loses Its Iconic "Z" Frank Chevrolet Sign

From the Jan. 4, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Iconic 'Z' Frank sign is demolished."

The sign was well-known and towered 50-feet above Western Avenue on Chicago's North Side, but it is no more.

Former property owner Chuck Frank, of the family, had offered the sign to anyone willing to take it for free, but no one came forward so it was razed Wednesday morning, Dec. 31st.

The former Chevrolet dealership at 6016-60 N. Western Avenue was razed in early December.

Frank's father, Zollie Frank, the "Z" founded the dealership in 1936.  At the time it was one of the largest Chevy dealers in the United States.  The business was sold in 2008.  Bob Loquercio, owner of Chicago Northside Toyota in Edgewater bought the property and plans to move his business to the location.

"Z" Me Someplace Else.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

White Castle Debuts Slider for Veggie Lovers-- Part 2

Regular beef sliders range from 140 to 220 calories depending on toppings.

The Veggie Slider did well during testing in New York and New Jersey.  And, the company claims it is unlike anything else on the menu, which includes sandwiches made with beef, chicken, fish, cheese and bacon.  (Even occasionally pork.)

White Castle says they are committed to keeping up with customer tastes..

A petition on is going on around Chicago to bring the Veggie Sliders here.  So far it has more than 107,000 supporters.

Of course, I like my Sliders covered with onions, the more the better.  And, on top of those, there needs to be wall-to-wall pickles and, of course, Dusseldorf Mustard.  Would that be considered a veggie slider?

Still Wondering Why the Indiana White Castles Do Not Have Regular Diet Coke and Duusseldorf Mustard.  --RoadDog

White Castle Debuts Slider for Veggie Lovers-- Part 1

From the Jan. 2, 2015, Chicago Tribune by Tim Barker of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

White Castle restaurants, the long-time home of the proverbial Slider with all its meat, grease and onions (and pickle) is about to have a Veggie Slider.

The Ohio-based fast-food chain is now offering just that at its 400 restaurants around the country.

This new tint sandwich sells for 99 cents and features a Dr. Praeger's veggie patty, chock full of carrots, zucchini, peas, spinach, broccoli and more.  They have between 150 and 270 calories and are topped by your choice of three sauces: honey mustard, ranch and sweet Thai (What! No Dusselforf Mustard??).

Said the Slider-Lover.  --RoadDog

Saving Lincoln Highway's Chief Black Hawk-- Part 4

Donations can be sent to the Illinois Conservation Foundation and should be earmarked for the statue's restoration.  The address is 1 Natural Resources Way, Springfield, Illinois, 62702.

Eternal Indian conservator Andreej Dajnowski also managed the restoration of Lorado Taft's Fountain of Time on Chicago's South Side and the Alma Mater sculpture at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said the initial stripping of those deteriorated areas is a "Pandora's box.  When you start, it's going to be difficult to know when to stop."

Let's hope no major new problems are found and that Charron Rausa lives long enough to see the "new" statue dedicated.

Quite a Woman and Man, Those Rausas.  --RoadDog

Saving the Lincoln Highways's Chief Black Hawk-- Part 3

The Rausas immediately got to work on saving their statue.  Frank Rausas wrote a grant for money that was rejected.  They then established a group, The friends of the Black Hawk Statue Committee and were able to have it placed on the National register of Historic Places.

They then began speaking at various organizations like the Rotary, alumni associations and historical societies.  They came up with a "Pennies for Black Hawk" which encouraged school children to contribute coins.  A computer graphics class at Sterling High School produced a 13-minute DVD on the Eternal Indian.

Their efforts did not go for naught and caught the attention of bigger benefactors.  The state came up with a $350,000 grant.  The Jeffris Family Foundation of Janesville, Wisconsin contributed a $150,000 matching grant.  The annual Oregon Trail Days celebration in Oregon raised about $50,000 over five years.  Other organizations also contributed.

The restoration fund rose to $740,000.  The total, however, may come to more after crews begin tearing off deteriorating sections and better understand what is needed.  The Rausas have set a final goal of $825,000 to cover it and start an ongoing maintenance fund.

Some Really Great People.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Saving the Lincoln Highway's Chief Black Hawk-- Part 2: How It Became Chief Black Hawk

Their quest to save the statue began in 2008 at their home in Sterling, Illinois, after they read a newspaper story about the loss of state funding for Black Hawk.  She turned to her husband Frank, 72, and said, ""Frank, the American people fixed the Statue of Liberty.  Now, doggone it, we need to fix the Black Hawk statue."

The 103-year-old statue, actually named the Eternal Indian, was designed by acclaimed sculptor Lorado Taft, and acquired the Black Hawk name as a reference to the martyred Native American who led his people during what is called the Black Hawk War in 1832.  It looks nothing like the man, however.

The face actually is considered to be either a composite of American Indian men or perhaps that of one of Taft's close friends, writer Hamlin Garland who lived in an art colony that occupied the area before it became a state park.


Saving the Lincoln Highway's Chief Black Hawk-- Part 1: Meet the Rausas

From the Jan. 2, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Activist Undaunted by diagnosis" by Ted Gregory.

Most folks driving along the old Lincoln Highway make a side trip in western Illinois out to see the 103-year-old Eternal Indian statue (referred to most as Chief Black Hawk) located in Lowden State Park in Oregon, Illinois.  Those seeing it right now would hardly recognize it as it is now shrouded in a green nylon material and scaffolding as it awaits restoration slated to start this spring.

And it has that material because of the efforts of Charron and Frank Rausa who have pulled off an improbable campaign to save the 48-foot, 270-ton statue.  They have raised some 90% of the money needed to renovate it at its site on the bluffs above the Rock River, some 100 miles from Chicago.

Sadly, Charron, 79, has been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer which has spread throughout her body.  She had decided not to find out how long she has to live as she is determined to be around for the statue's unveiling sometime late in 2015.


Monday, January 5, 2015

Historic Route 66 Marquee to Be Changing in Joliet

From the December 18, 2014, Chicago Tribune "It's curtains for historic theater's marquee" by Alicua Fabbre.

Of course, Route 66ers know this would be the famous Rialto Square Theatre in Joliet, Illinois.

Despite public outcry, the old marquee is going to change...a little.  It will now allow for digital display and video of upcoming acts where there is now just lettering for the same.

Opponents say this is not in keeping with the character of the building which dates back to 1926 and is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Theater officials say plans for this have been underway for seven years and a recent $350,000 donation had made it all possible.  Local businessman Edward Czerkies donated the money and the names of his parents will appear on all three sides.  The large vertical sign with the theater's name that is attached to the building will get a fresh coat of paint but will remain the same.

To me, that is the main thing about the building's exterior.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Cold Ahead-- Part 26: Athens, Ohio

November 21st, 2014, Friday.

There was a Wal-Mart next door to the Burger King and after breakfast I drove over to it to see what kind of Ohio University stuff they had for sale, figuring I might buy a Bobcats hat or something.  The Wal-Mart in DeKalb, Illinois, has all sorts of NIU Huskies stuff and always costs me a lot when I go in there.  I walked all over the store and found nothing except a small section of Ohio State stuff.  (Hey, it's Ohio, after all.)  Come on Wal-Mart, time to support your local team.

I continued driving out on State Street, figuring I must be heading into campus.  State Street soon ended and became a four lane limited access US-50, Ohio 32 and I drove about six miles before seeing a sign with upcoming signs and none of them sounded familiar, so I turned around and headed back.

I  eventually got to US-33 and knew I was found.  Drove by downtown Athens and the campus on my way out.  One of these days I will figure out my way around Athens.

US-33 becomes a very wide two lane road before going across the Ohio River on the William S. Richie Bridge to West Virginia.  The Ohio River is mighty wide through here, and ice free, but I did not see any barge traffic.

Don't ask me what happened to that super long title up above.  No idea.


Friday, January 2, 2015

Cold Ahead-- Part 25: "State of Confusion"

As I continue to build up my collection of Kinks CDs as my local mom and pop record store bought a person's Kinks collection, I am really enjoying their post 60s music more and more.

The song "definite Maybe" sure reminds me a lot of "Over, Under, Sideways Down" by the Yardbirds at its beginning.  "Labour of Love" has a wedding march and refers to marriage as "a two-headed dragon."

This was the Kinks' 19th studio album and peaked at #12 on the British charts and there are at least seven different versions of this album around in CD form and with four bonus tracks.  All songs are written and composed by Ray Davies.

Other big hits from it include "Don't Forget to Dance," "State of Confusion" and, of course, the real biggie, "Come Dancing."

The song "Young Conservatives" harkens back to "Well-Respected Man."

Enjoying My Kinks.  --RoadDog

Cold Ahead-- Part 24: "Don't Shoot Me..."-- Part 2

The title to the album came from when Elton John's friend Groucho Marx jokingly pointed a finder at him like a six-shooter gun and John put up his hands and said, "Don't Shoot Me, I'm Only the Piano Player."  "I'm Gonna Be a Teenage Idol" is supposedly inspired by T. Rex frontman Marc Bolan.  "Crocodile Rock" is inspired by a 1950s song and sure sounds like it.

There are ten songs and 4 bonus tracks on the CD.  I found a heavy country influence on "Texan Love Song" and "High Flying Bird."
Of the four bonus tracks, "Screw You (Young Man's Blues)" was the most interesting.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Cold Ahead-- Part 23 "Don't Shoot Me..".-- Part 1

Continuing with the second CD I listened to on  the latest trip, Don't Shoot Me I'm Only the Piano Player by Elton John.  This is a part of the 5-CD set I bought at Wal-Mart covering Elton John's first five hit albums.

The big hits "Daniel" and "Crocodile Rock" are on it, but there were a lot of others that could also have been big hits.  It was a pleasure to hear all the songs you usually won't hear on radio.  Being a teacher, I liked "Teacher, I Need You" about a school boy crush.  Definitely a "Don't Stand So Close to Me" kind of a song.  "Elderberry Wine" is always a favorite.

This was John's 6th studio album and his first to hit #1 in the United States and Canada.