Friday, January 29, 2016

N.C. for T-Giving 2015-- Part 18: Home Finally

December 4, 2015.  Friday

Finally got home after driving 379.4 miles today.  Overall, I drove 2073 miles on the trip.

I got gas 9 times and spent $122.77, a lot less than pent in recent years.


N.C. for T-Giving 2015-- Part 17: WJEZ FM, 98.9 in Pontiac, Illinois

December 4, 2015.

As I said, I had fog all the way through Indiana and into Illinois, but, for the most part it wasn't too bad.  That fog finally broke south of Forest, Illinois, driving north on Il-Highway 47.

Tuned into WJEZ 98.9 FM  out of Pontiac, Illinois and greatly enjoyed the Friday Oldies Get-Together Show.  It is classic rock otherwise, but this show plays the oldies and lots of them.  He also has a theme.  Today's was "Sweet."

Some of the songs:  Sweet Soul Music, Sweet City Woman, Sweet Inspiration, Sweet Nothings, Sweet William by Millie Small, Sweet Hitchhiker, Sweeter Than Sugar by Ohio Express.  Sure enjoyed listening to these songs.

(I'm listening to it right now over the internet  Starts at noon on Friday.)

On my drive to N.C., there was snow on the ground all the way through Illinois, although in decreasing amounts.  Coming back, there was none, but a lot of puddles.

I was happy not to get stopped at the Il-72, US-20, Il-47 bottleneck by Stark's Corner.  Went right through.

In Morris, I remembered that the Burger King there still sells tacos, two for $1.49.  We liked the Burger King tacos as they are pretty close to the Jack-In-the-Box tacos.  But, unfortunately, this is the only Burger King I know that still sells them.  I had to get my taco fix.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

The Automobile Arriveth in 1916

From the Jan. 21, 2016, MidWeek Looking Back.

From Jan. 1916, 100 Years Ago.

"Most of us are now beginning to realize the revolution made by automobiles.  Only a half dozen years ago an automobile passing on the streets of Sycamore was an object of special interest and many people were able to recognize the manufacturer, and many knew the name of the owner.

"At present time a passing automobile attracts hardly a glance.  A horse is an object of more interest."

How Things Can Change.  --RoadDog

N.C. for T-Giving 2015-- Part 16: Road Music and Hawkeye Fans


I picked up another Christmas music radio station 98.5 FM out of Terre Haute, Indiana and then 95.3 Sunny WJEK FM, Champaign-Urbana also with that music.  I need my Christmas shot this time of year.  It seems that soft rock/mix stations are most prone to switch to the Christmas format.

Stopped for gas in Mahomet, Illinois, near the southern terminus of Il. Highway 47.  While filling up, a car from Iowa pulled in next to me and a whole bunch of people got out, all clad in Iowa Hawkeye attire.  I sure knew where they were headed, Indianapolis for the Big 10, 11,12,13,14 Championship game.I wished them luck as I am pulling for them.  I saw Iowa thoroughly trounce Northwestern earlier this year.

Made good time as usual on Il-47 heading north and home.  But once you get to Yorkville, you start hitting lots more traffic and stop lights.

Of course, nearing Gibson City, I had to tune into their local station, 106.3 FM, Beautiful Music.  Now, had you told me back in my college days that I would actually like listening to a "Beautiful Music" station I'd have told you that someone was out of their mind.

But, Not No More.  --RoadDog

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

N.C. for T-Giving 2015-- Part 15: Homeward Bound

Friday, December 4, 2015.

Weather reports have heavy fog here in Richmond and in Indianapolis as well as 29 degree temps so there will be ice in spots.

People are still in shock over the 14 murders in California this past Wednesday.

Picked up a Christmas station at 92.9 FM out of Dayton, Ohio.  I like to get occasional shots of Christmas music this time of year and actively seek out such stations.

A really foggy drive through all of Indiana  Clear sailing through Indianapolis.  Drove by the Lucas Oil Stadium where they will be having the Big Ten Championship game tomorrow between Michigan State and Iowa.  I like both teams, but the Hawkeyes a bit more so will be pulling for them.  I imagine they will be having a lot more fans than we will in the MAC Championship game in Detroit.

Passed the Beef House at Exit 4 in Indiana on I-70.  I really want to stop there to eat sometime.  They claim to be the best beef in the state as well as rolls to rival those at Lambert's Cafe according to them, but not "throwed."

Gas prices around $1.90 through Indiana, so decided to drive on through to Mahomet, Illinois, near Champaign.

Fog continued into Illinois.  Visibility all day was generally ok, except for a few stretches.


N.C. for T-Giving 2015-- Part 14: Sliding Into Richmond

December 3, 2015.

There was roadwork going on at I-77 MM 3 in West Virginia.  This is where they had a big landslide several years back.  There always seems to be roadwork going on there.  The right shoulder is closed.

There was a whole lot less traffic on the West Virginia Turnpike today than there was coming down.  Paid my three $2 tolls going on the turnpike, then no problems through Charleston, W. Va., and on I-77 to U.S. 33 into Ohio.

Stopped as usual for gas at Dogpatch Crossing near Logan and filled up with gas at $1.95.  This is a regular stop for me.  I also stocked up with two more bags of Grippo's caramel corn, real good stuff.  The clerk told me that this is one of the few places in the area to sell it and that it is out of Cincinnati.

It was dark by now and I still had to go through or around Columbus and we were getting into rush hour.  I had the choice of taking US-33 right to downtown then I-70 or take I-270 around it.  And, I don't drive well at night anymore.

I decided to take I-270 and was glad I did as there were long backups of cars at the US-40 exit and I-71 one.  We had no backups.

I-70 going west of Columbus had heavy traffic, but no slow-downs.

Drove to Richmond, Indiana, on the border and got a room at Motel 6, where I have stayed several times before.  Nice room and $57 with tax.  Finished off the rest of my Snappy Lunch porkchop sandwich.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Road Bits: Wisconsin Events

TheJan. 17, 2016, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel listed events scheduled for Wisconsin in 2016:


STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL--  Cedarburg--  June

EAA AIRVENTURE--  Oshkosh last week in July

TALL SHIPS FESTIVAL--  Green Bay August 5-8

WARRENS CRANBERRY FESTIVAL--  Marsh  Sept. 23-25  Wisconsin's state fruit

OKTOBERFEST--   La Crosse  Sept. 29-Oct. 2



HMS Bounty Is Back

Just some bits of travel news.


Good News!  The HMS Bounty will be making an appearance at the Tall Ships festival in Green Bay August 5-8.  The last I knew of it was that it was sunk during Super Storm Sandy.  The one that sank was the the one that was made and used in the 1960 movie "Mutiny On the Bounty."  Evidently the one in Green Bay is the one built in New Zealand in 1979.


Monday, January 25, 2016

News From Along Route 66: December 2015: Flooding in Missouri

DECEMBER 20--  The Milk Bottle Building in Oklahoma City will soon have a new tenant.  Prairie Gothic was in it and closed.  LAUD Studios will be moving into it.

The place was built in 1930 and the neat 11-foot milk bottle placed on top in 1948.  I'm glad the milk bottle remains.  It sure give=s the building its look.

DECEMBER 29--  There is high water all over central Missouri.

DECEMBER 30--  Much of the city of Pacific, Missouri, is under water.


Ten Don't Miss Stops on Route 66

From the Jan. 22, 2016, Parade Magazine by M.B. Roberts.

I  always enjoy these lists.

Cadillac Ranch  (Amarillo, Texas)
Painted Desert (Arizona)
Roy's Motel Cafe  (Amboy, California)

Cars on the Route  (Galena, Kansas)
Lou Mitchell's Restaurant  (Chicago)
Oklahoma Route 66 Museum  (Clinton, Oklahoma)

Chain of Rocks Bridge  (St. Louis)
Wigwam Motels  (Holbrook, Arizona and San Bernardino, California)
Santa Monica Pier  (Santa Monica, California)

Seen 'Em All.  --RoadDog

Friday, January 22, 2016

Woodstock's Groundhog Days Festival Slated for Next Weekend-- Part 2

SUNDAY, JANUARY 31--  8-11:30 am  Pancake breakfast at Moose Lodge  Afterwards, the movie will be shown again and the walking tour.

FEBRUARY 1, MONDAY--  5-8 pm.  The Making of the Movie "Groundhog Day" display at the Woodstock Library with all sorts of memorabilia from the movie.


7:07 a.m.  Woodstock Willie's prognostication in the Square.
7:20 a.m.  Drink to World Peace at the Public House
Groundhog day breakfast at the Moose Lodge featuring a polka band and actor Richard Henzel who will reprise his role in the movie  (He was one of the deejays on the radio.)  Cost $15.
9 a.m.  Walking Tour

Lots of Fun in Woodstock.  --RoadDog

Woodstock's Groundhog Days Slated for Next Weekend-- Part 1

It's back again.  This is the city in Illinois where most of the famous movie "Groundhog Day" starring Bill Murray was filmed.  There are a lot of sites still there.

JANUARY 28, THURSDAY--  The "Awakening of the Groundhog" and trivia.  At the Woodstock Opera House, which was the Pennsylvanian Hotel in the movie.

JANUARY 29, FRIDAY--  Groundhog Day Dinner Dance.  At the Moose Lodge which is where the dance and bachelor auction was held.  Cost $15.  Buffet and band.

JANUARY 30, SATURDAY--  This is the big day of the festival.

10-4:  Bowling at Wayne's Lanes.  Where the bowling scene and the car chase began.
10 a.m.  Showing of the movie "Groundhog Day" at the Woodstock Theatre which was the Alpine Theater in the movie.

10 a.m.  Famed story-teller Jim May gives his "Groundhog Tales."
Noon-1:15  Chili cook-off at the Moose Lodge
1:30  Walking Tour of sites with Bob Hudgins, who was the movie's location manager.  He provides lots of insights.

After the walk, there will be a symposium.

8 p.m.--  Americana music band Switchback concert at the Opera House.


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Proposed Douglas Highway in Illinois in 1915-- Part 5: "The Little Giant" and Impact on Dixon, Il.

Continuing with the article from 1915.

"'The Little Giant' was a big man in Illinois, and it is as fitting that the great and typical state highway should be named for him. as it is that the one real national highway should be named for his greater rival, Mr. Lincoln.

"Dixon should take a great interest in the work on these two new highways (more on the second one tomorrow).  Their success means more to Dixon than it does to any other city on either route, for they both come here.  Dixon is the hub for the noted highways that will branch out in all directions like the spokes of a wheel, and it will be truly said that 'All Roads Lead to Dixon.'"

Evidently, the Douglas Highway never came to be in Illinois.

Oh Well, A Good Effort Though.  --RoadDog

Proposed Douglas Highway in Illinois in 1915-- Part 4: Where It Would Have Run

I took a look at a current map using place names given yesterday to see if such a road exists as I have not been able to find any other mention of a Douglas Highway in Illinois.

It was to enter Illinois at Orangeville near the Wisconsin border which would make it Highway 26 today.  It would remain Highway 26 through Freeport and Forrestown.

At Polo, it would become US-52 and remain that through Woosung, Dixon, Lee center, Shaw Center to Mendota.  From there it would be US-51 through the rest of the state going south to the Mississippi River.


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Proposed Douglas Highway in Illinois, 1915-- Part 3

The proposed Douglas Highway, named after famous Illinois senator Stephen A. Douglas, was to be 400 miles in length, a great "feeder" road for the Lincoln Highway and serving many people and running through a major agricultural area.

"It will be a great feeder to the Lincoln Highway, there can be no doubt of that.  And Dixon must be benefited from both ends of the highway."

Two highways were proposed at the time, the other to be the Rock River Valley Route, "The Black Hawk Trail."  More on that later.

"Both of these highways will not only fill an industrial need and meet the demand of tourists, but will have deep historic interest attached.  The Douglas Highway will follow the line the line of the Illinois Central, the road he (Douglas) made pay a portion of its earnings into the state treasury instead of taxes, when he was a member of the state legislature.

"It will also traverse the route taken during the Lincoln-Douglas debates, known over the nation."


Proposed Douglas Highway in Illinois, 1915-- Part 2: The Great State Highway in Illinois

"Yesterday (Oct. 19) a convention in Dixon of important men from four counties decided to establish a new state highway to be called the Douglas Highway.  It is to start at the Illinois-Wisconsin line in Stephenson County near Orangeville, run straight south through Freeport, Forreston, Polo, Woosung, Dixon, Lee Center, Shaw Station, Mendota, etc.

"It will then follow the Starved Rock Trail from Dixon toLaSalle and then south to the southern-most extremities in Illinois.

"It will parallel the Illinois Central railway fromWisconsin to cairo.  It will become the great state highway in Illinois."


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Proposed Douglas Highway in Illinois, 1915-- Part 1

From the October 18, 2015, Sauk  "From our archives: Douglas Highway proposed for state."  From the Telegraph newspaper Oct. 13 and Oct. 20, 1915  "Two More Big Highways."

"Dixon (Illinois) is to be a tourists' headquarters indeed, if plans under foot mature.  And there is no reason why they should not."

Dixon had already been a stop for settlers moving west on trails.

"Dixon is one of the important cities on the Lincoln Highway, and it is known as the first night's stopping place out of Chicago on that great national road."


Monday, January 18, 2016

Appropriate for Today's MLK Commemoration: The Negro Motorist Greenbook

From the Jan. 16, 2016, Route 66 News Blog.

The book said it as well as it could, "You may need It."

Victor H. Green published it from 1936-1964 to "give the Negro traveler information that will keep him from running into difficulty, embarrassment and to make his trip more enjoyable."

The book gave a complete list of businesses like motels, gas stations, barber shops, beauty salons and restaurants where blacks were welcome.

Sadly, these were the years of Jim Crow laws and "Sundown Towns."  Sundown Towns were ones where all blacks had to be out by sundown or bad things would happen to them.  Sadly, Route 66 was into that sort of thing, especially in southern Illinois, Missouri and Texas.

I Am Glad That Things Have Gotten better Thanks to the Efforts of Dr. King and Others.  --RoadDog

New Route 66 Attraction in Oklahoma

From the Jan. 17, 2016, Claremore, Oklahoma, Daily Progress  "New tourist attraction added to Route 66" by Diana Dickinson.

Something new for Route 66 fanatics in Chelsea, Oklahoma.  There is a new pedestrian underpass standing 7 feet tall and 6 feet wide going under a four lane stretch of old 66.

It will feature a mural painted by Sepulpa's Ken Hollingshead depicting Chelsea's history.

It is expected to take another month to complete it.


News From Along Route 66-- December 2015: Rockers, Gas Stations and Bikes

DECEMBER 14TH--  The World's Largest Rocker gets a new color and new name.  It is located at the Fanning Route 66 Outpost in Fanning, Missouri (near Cuba).  It is now painted red and called "The Route 66 Red Rocker."  One of the New Attractions on the Mother Road and a very welcome addition.

DECEMBER 16TH--  Normal, Illinois, plans to improve its Route 66 Bike Trail, spending up to $260,000.  It is so nice to see the twin cities in Illinois (the other one is Bloomington) FINALLY doing something with their Mother Road heritage.

DECEMBER 18TH--  The Foyil, Oklahoma, gas station was added to the NRHP.  It dates to the 1920s.  I love those old gas stations.


Friday, January 15, 2016

50 Foods Representing All 50 States-- Part 6: South Dakota's Chislic

SOUTH CAROLINA--  shrimp and grits

SOUTH DAKOTA--  chislic   Cubed red meat, deep-fried and salted

TENNESSEE--   ribs   Enjoy them wet or dry.

TEXAS--  Tex-Mex and Mexican

UTAH--  funeral potatoes''  baked casserole with potatoes, soup, cheese and corn flake topping.

VERMONT--  Ben & Jerry's


WASHINGTON--  salmon

WEST VIRGINIA--  pepperoni rolls   Snack, fairly soft white bread with pepperoni baked inside.

WISCONSIN--  fried cheese curds

WYOMING--  buffalo jerky


50 Foods Representing All 50 Sates-- Part 5: North Carolina's Pulled Pork Sandwiches

NEW YORK--  pizza

NORTH CAROLINA--  pulled pork sandwiches

NORTH DAKOTA--  kuchen   Cake with fruit or custard filling

OHIO--  buckeyes   Peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate

OKLAHOMA--  chicken-fried steak

OREGON--  Marionberry pie

PENNSYLVANIA--  cheesesteaks

RHODE ISLAND--  coffee milk  Coffee instead of chocolate


50 Foods Representing All 50 States-- Part 4: Mississippi's Mud Pie

MINNESOTA--  Tater Tot Hot Dish--  beef, green beans and corn.

MISSISSIPPI--  mud pie  Delicious chocolate

MISSOURI--  toasted ravioli

MONTANA--Rocky Mountain Oysters   Deep-fried bull testicles

NEBRASKA--  steak

NEVADA--  hotel buffets


NEW JERSEY--  Taylor ham, egg & cheese on a bagel

NEW MEXICO--  green chiles


Thursday, January 14, 2016

50 Foods Representing All 50 States-- Part 3: Kentucky's Hot Brown

IOWA--  grilled sweet corn on the cob


KENTUCKY--  Hot Browns  Open-faced sandwich of turkey, bacon covered in a Mornay sauce

LOUISIANA--  gumbo

MAINE--  lobster

MARYLAND--  crabs

MASSACHUSETTS--  clam chowder

MICHIGAN--  pasties  Meat and vegetables wrapped in crust (pot pie without the pot)


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

50 Foods Representing A;; 50 States-- Part 2: Delaware's Scrapple

DELAWARE--  Scrapple, pork trimmings, cornmeal and flour

FLORIDA--  Key lime pie

GEORGIA--  anything peaches, cobbler, pies, fresh peaches

HAWAII--  Spam

IDAHO--    finger steaks, strips battered and deep fried

ILLINOIS--  Chicago-style deep dish pizza

INDIANA--  port tenderloin


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

50 Foods Representing All 50 States-- Part 1: Chimichangas and Steamed Burgers

From the Jan. 10, 2016, Yahoo! Food/Spoon University  "50 Foods That Represent Every State in the US" by Melissa  Gallanter.

ALABAMA--  Fried anything, especially fried green tomatoes

ALASKA--  Local cold-water seafood, especially salmon

ARIZONA--  chimichangas which are burritos dropped into a deep fryer

ARKANSAS--  Southern fried catfish

CALIFORNIA--  avocados.  (Also In-N-Out)

COLORADO--  chile verde

CONNECTICUT--  steamed burgers, invented at Louis' Lunch in New Haven.  Also New haven style pizza.

Hungers.  --RoadDog

National Park Attendance Hit All Time Records at Largest Parks

From the Dec. 29, 2015, Yahoo! News "Country's largest national parks hit visitor records" by Felicia Fonseca, AP.

Grand Canyon, Yellowstone and Zion set visitation records for 2015.

The National Park service celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2016 and even bigger crowds are expected.

They are on track  to attract 300 million visitors for 2015 in all the parks.  This will be last year's record of 293 million.

Not counting the month of December, the Grand Canyon has had 5.3 million, Zion 3.5 million and Yellowstone 4.1 million.


Monday, January 11, 2016

What is the Best Version of the Route 66 Song?

I normally post about a month behind the Route 66 News site, but this is one you need to know about sooner.

Ron Warnick is running voting on the best version of our favorite song.  Even better, he has all the versions on his Jan. 4, 2016, post so you can hear them before voting.

His voting is on: Nat King Cole, the Pied Pipers, Bing Crosby & the Andrews Sisters, Perry Como, Chuck berry, Rolling Stones, Asleep at the Wheel, Manhattan Transfer, DePeche Mode, Michael Martin Murphy, Brian Setzer Orchestra, John Mayer and Glenn Frey.

I cast my vote for Asleep at the Wheel.  Right now, Nat King Cole leads with Asleep at the Wheel in second.

Enjoy the Listening and Voting.  --RoadDog

News from Along Route 66-- December 2015: Scotland's "North Coast 500" and Route 66's Length

These news items are taken from Ron Warnick's Route 66 News site.  I just mentions ones I'm interested in and if you would like to see the whole thing, go to the site.

DECEMBER 4--  The North Coast 500" is Scotland's answer to Route 66.  It follows a circular route along Scotland's coast.  There would have to be a lot of beautiful scenery.  And, this new concept definitely will help tourism.

DECEMBER 8TH--  What is the length of Route 66?

It is commonly cited as being 2,448 miles.  Stefan Joppich's research says that with bypasses, the length dropped to 2,278 by 1948.  Another estimate has it at 2,387 miles.  If that is so, that would put the midpoint at what is left of Glen Rio on the Texas/New Mexico border, not in Adrian, Texas.

Regardless, it is lots and lots of sweet miles.


Eight Other New Year's Eve Symbols-- Part 3

PEEP--  Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, 4 1/2 feet tall, 4 feet wide.

As part of an annual two-day New Year's Eve festival, an 85 pound lighted yellow Peep chick descends at a family friendly 5:15 p.m. and again at midnight.

SHOE--  Key West, Florida.  4 feet tall by 8 foot wide.

Sushi, portrayed by female impersonator Gary Marion, sits atop a red, high-heeled shoe and is lowered from the second-story balcony of Bourbon St. Pub/New Orleans House to the ground at midnight.

I can think of three other New Year's Eve symbols off the top of my head:

ACORN--  Raleigh, N.C.
PICKLE--  Mt. Olive, N.C.  (Mt. Olive Pickles)
MOON PIE--  Mobile, Alabama

Not Dropping Easy.  --RoadDog

Friday, January 8, 2016

Eight Other New Year's Eve Symbols-- Part 2: Potato, Conch Shell, Music Note

POTATO--  Boise, Idaho, 17 feet tall, eight feet wide.  For the third year an 800-pound potato, which is made of foam and resin attached to a steel frame, will be lowered by crane.

New this year, the massive potato will be lowered in a park in front of Idaho's Capitol building.

CONCH SHELL--  Key West, Florida, 6 feet tall.  People native to Key West refer to themselves as Conchs and their home as the Conch Republic (they even have a flag).

Sloppy Joe's, a bar famous for its former patron author, Ernest Hemingway, began this tradition 23 years ago atop its roof.  We were at the New Year's celebration in Key West back in the 90s.  Wore me out.

MUSIC NOTE--  Nashville, 15 feet tall.  Lowered at the stroke of midnight from a 145-foot structure in downtown Nashville, the red music note is covered in more than 150 feet of LED lights and 425 lightbulbs.

Crazy Key West.  --RoadDog

Eight Other New Year's Symbols-- Part 1: The Ball, IndyCar and Peach

From the Dec.30, 2015, Chicago Tribune.

BALL--  New York City, 12 feet in diameter.  A symbol of Times Square's New years Eve celebration since 1907, the ball is covered with 2,688 Waterford Crystal triangles that vary in size, and is illuminated by 32,256 LED lights-- 8,064 of each in red, blue, green and white.

INDYCAR--  Indianapolis, 17 feet tall.  The two-seater, carbon-fiber IndyCar weighs 1,100 pounds.  It is raised up to 90 feet, depending upon the wind, above a crowd in downtown Indianapolis.

At 11:59 p.m., the suspended race car descends to fanfare and fireworks.

PEACH--  Atlanta, 8 feet tall by 8 feet wide.  The Peach Drop has taken place since 1989.  Weighing more than 800 pounds, it is made of the same materials as surfboards-- fiberglass and foam.

It takes the peach 58 seconds seconds to descend a 138-foot tower of lights.

Happy New Years.  --RoadDog

Chicago's New "Rising Star" Welcomes the New Year-- Part 2

It's new, it's big and goes up instead of down.  Chicago now has its own symbol for welcoming the new year.  Referred to simply as the "Rising Star."

It is 70 feet, 6 inches tall.

Unlike Times Square's ball drop, the "Rising Star" travels on tracks up the side of the Hyatt Regency Chicago as midnight approaches.

The star is based on the second star in the City of Chicago's flag design, which represents the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and the city's rebirth.

Liz and I happened to be up at midnight Dec. 31st, and saw it rise, although a bit late.  It was impressive.  And, wow, that fireworks display that followed.

Might Even get me to Go Downtown for It.  --RoadDog

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Chicago's New "Rising Star" Welcomes the New Year-- Part 1

From the Dec. 30, 2015, Chicago Tribune "A giant rising star to ring in the new year" by Jemal R. Brinson and Kori Rumore.

Chicago's new holiday attraction outsizes New York's ball and a host of others.

Chicago never dropped anything at the stroke of midnight to welcome in the New Year like New York's "Ball."  But that is not the case anymore.  Chicago now has the "Star."  It is a six-pointed star and is larger than most items dropped.  And, speaking of dropped.  It doesn't drop, it rises.

The "Star" does its thing downtown on the side of the Hyatt Regency and is a part of the Chi-Town Rising festivities.


Indiana Celebrating Its Bicentennial As a State

From the Dec. 13, 2015, Chicago Tribune "Indiana kicks off bicentennial events" by Carrie Napoleon, Post-Tribune.

The state bicentennial flag was raised, launching a year-long celebration of its 200th birthday.  The celebration is being spearheaded by the Association of Indiana Counties which provided one Indiana Bicentennial flag to everyone of the state's 92 counties.

Flag raising in Lake County, on Indiana's northwest corner were held at the Government Center in Crown Point and courthouses in Gary, Hammond, East Chicago and the Lake County Fairgrounds.

Indiana was admitted at the 19th state of the Union on December 11, 1816 by President James Madison.  Lake County was incorporated in February 1837.

Several events are planned throughout the year, including the Indiana Bicentennial Torch relay in September.

Also, don't forget that this year also marks the 100th Running of the Greatest Racing Spectacle in the World.  I'm talking about the Indy 500!!!


Wednesday, January 6, 2016

More Unusual Illinois High School Nicknames-- Part 4: Plano Reapers

Elgin Academy Hilltoppers
Farmington Central Farmers
Freeburg Community Midgets

Fulton Steamers
Plano Reapers
Prophetstown Prophets

Rochelle Township Hubs
Steinmetz College Prep Silver Streaks
Tremont Turks (using a turkey logo)

Vandalia Vandals
University Laboratory Gargoyles


More Unusual Illinois High School Nicknames-- Part 3: DeKalb Barbs

South Bend SOBOs
Lincoln Community Railsplitters
Illinois Central Gray Ghosts

Monticello Sages
Argo Fighting Argonauts
DeKalb Barbs

Elk Grove Grenadiers
Carbondale Community Terriers
East Aurora Tomcats


Tuesday, January 5, 2016

More Unusual Illinois High School Nicknames-- Part 2: Genoa-Kingston Cogs

Bloom Blazing Trojans
Springfield Senators
Saint Patrick Shamrocks

Dieterich Movin' Maroons
Southwestern Piasa Birds
New Trier Trevians

Lake Forest Academy Caxys
Rock Island Rocks
Genoa-Kingston Cogs

Springfield Is the Capital of Illinois.  --RoadDog

More Unusual Illinois High School Nicknames-- Part 1: Hampshire Whip-Purs

From Reboot Illinois: Unusual Illinois High School Mascots.

EVANSTON WILDKITS--  a play on Northwestern University's Wildcats.

Cobden Apple Knockers
Wethersfield Flying Geese
Hoopestown Area Cornjerkers

Alden-Hebron Green Giants
Hampshire Whip-Purs
Effingham Flaming Hearts

Centralia Orpahns
Fisher Bunnies

Freeport and New Berlin Pretzels
Polo Marcos

I imagine there is a good story behind every name.

You Have to Like the Last One.  --RoadDog

Monday, January 4, 2016

Unusual Illinois High School Nicknames-- Part 2: Zion-Benton Zee-Bees

Zion-Benton= Z.B.

To our cheerleaders, the nickname is pure marketable genius.  To our cynics, a shameless pun, our athletes, pure inspiration.

Another story is that the name began during World War II.  During the Pacific Island Campaign, the Construction Battalion that built the airstrips, harbors and refueling stations, were called C.B.s.  Known more commonly as See Bees.

Zion-Benton Township High School was built by the Public Works Administration in 1939.


Unusual High School Nicknames in Illinois-- Part 1: Teutopolis Wooden Shoes

In Effingham County which was established in 1839.  Many early settlers came from the City of Teutons in Germany

The city is on the National Road/U.S.-40 and has a Cincinnati connection.

They even have a German Club there.

Only I always think of wooden shoes as Dutch.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

4000th Post On This Blog

With this post, there are 4052 entries on this blog, which was my very first one.

I figure I hit #4000 sometime in late November.


Austin's Moonlight Towers-- Part 4

Wikipedia has a listof all active and gone towers.

Two towers have been destroyed in traffic accidents and two came down in tornadoes.  Another six were victims of age and rust.

Detroit had the most extensive system with 122 towers from 1882 into the 1910s.  The 31 in Austin were initially installed here.

New Orleans had one.

San Jose, California also erected one in 1881, making it the first U.S. city west of the Rockies to be lighted with electric lights.  It collapsed in a storm on December 3, 1913.


Friday, January 1, 2016

Austin's Moonlight Towers-- Part 3: World War II Blackouts

The Moonlight Towers were originally connected to electric generators at the Austin Dam (now Tom Miller Dam).  In the 1920s, the original carbon-arc lamps, which were hard to maintain, were replaced by incandescent lamps and they in turn were replaced by mercury vapor lights in the 1930s.

The lights were controlled by a switch at the base of each tower.  In World War II, they were all connected to a central switch allowing city-wide blackouts in case of an air raid or drill.

In 1970, the towers were recognized as Texas State Landmarks and the remaining 17 went on the NRHP.  Only six are in their original locations.

In 1993, the City of Austin paid $1.3 million to completely dismantle and restore the towers.  Their return to service were celebrated with a city-wide festival.

One was prominent in the 1993 movie "Dazed and Confused" as the site of a high school kegger party.


Austin's Moonlight Towers-- Part 2: Serial Killer Connection?

From Wikipedia.

Moonlight Towers were popular in European and U.S. cities in the late 19th century and most common in the 1880s and 1890s.  They put out exceptionally bright and harsh light.

Austin, Texas, is believed to be the only city still having Moonlight Towers.

They stand 165 feet tall and were manufactured in Indiana by the Fort Wayne Electric Company.  The towers were assembled on site.  Austin purchased 31 of them used from Detroit.  Seventeen remain to this day.

Some claim that the towers were put up as result of the Servant Girl Annihilator in Austin who killed seven females (5 black and 2 white) and one black male between 1884 and 1885.  All were attacked indoors then dragged outside and killed.  However, these murders came a decade before the Moonlight Towers were installed in the city.


Austin's Moonlight Towers-- Part 1: Something You Don't Much See Anymore

There is a plaque by one of them.  Thirty-one Moonlight Towers installed in Austin in 1895, each one illuminating 3000 square feet.  Seventeen of them still remain and are still working.

San Diego had one in 1886.

They were carbon arc street lamps.

The Moonlight Towers were installed in response to a string of serial murders in Austin from 1884-1885.

In 1976, the 17 remaining towers were placed on the NRHP.  There are clusters of them in downtown and residential areas.

Most photos of these are taken during the day, but can't convey a true sense of what they look like.