Tuesday, March 15, 2016

News From Along Route 66, February 2016: The Tropics Restaurant

FEBRUARY 1--  A history of the Tropics restaurant in Lincoln, Illinois.

Tami Goodrich's family owned it for 40 year.  It opened in 1950 and the original owner, Vince Shwenoha based the sign on California.  One employee, Betty Fletcher, worked there from the beginning until it was sold in 1997.

Among the famous diners were Danny Thomas and Bobby Burgess.

It was closed for long periods in 1965 and 1975 because of fires.

After Interstate 55 bypassed Lincoln, it appeared the Tropics would go bankrupt, but a big ice storm in 1978 saved it.  Utility workers ate there and made extra sure that the electricity stayed on.

It closed a short time after the Johnsons sold it and closed for good in 2004 after sporadic reopenings.  The property was sold in 2014 and the sign removed.

A group now has a three-year, $50,000 fundraiser going on to restore the sign and reinstall it at a site to be determined.

I am sure glad that we got to watch a Bears game there before it closed.  We've always loved that sign and am glad it was saved.


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