Monday, December 31, 2018

Autoists, Beware of the Lincoln Highway-First Street Intersection in DeKalb in 1918

From the April 11, 2018, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"The corner of First Street and the Lincoln Highway is a traffic treacherous at this time inasmuch as the new building there obstructs the view of Lincoln Highway east, to which motorists have become accustomed.

"At this rime the contractors at work on the new garage have large piles of materials near the corner, and this further adds to the danger, and it behooves all autoists to approach this corner slowly to avoid accidents of all kinds."

Autoists, It Behooves You.  --RoadDog

Sunday, December 30, 2018

Along 66, November 2018: National Route 66 Historic Trail

National Route 66 Historic Trail legislation was introduced in the U.S. senate by Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Jim Inhofe (R-Ok).

The  U.S. House of representative advance similar legislation earlier this year.

The bill is designated S 3609 Route 66 National Historic Trail Designation Act.

Let's all hope it goes through the Senate, though I can't see any reason why it wouldn't.


An Auto-Street Car Encounter in DeKalb in 1918

From the December 5, 2018, MidWeek  (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"As F.M. Rowan was backing his car onto West Lincoln Highway yesterday morning the street car came along at about the same time.

"The engine of the auto died, and as the rails were rather slippery, the street car could not be stopped.  The two cars came together but with little force, as a result the damage to the automobile was slight.  The running board was  damaged to some extent as the street car  edged it from the track."

A Street Car Collision Not Too Likely These Days.  --RoadDog

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Along 66, November 2018: Lincoln Law Office Open for Business Again

November 27--  Tourism center opens in building housing the former Lincoln law office in Springfield, Illinois.

This is a project by the Springfield Tourism Bureau which sure pushes it Lincoln heritage.

It is in the 1840 3-story Tinsley Dry Goods building.  The Lincoln Law Office was closed three years ago for a $1 million renovation and would have been finished much sooner except for the state's budget impasse between Speaker of the House Madigan and Gov. Brauner.

It is located on the southeast corner of the Old Capitol Plaza.

Glad to have it open again.  Now if someone would just reopen Norb Andy's by the current state capitol building.


Along 66, November 2018: Plans Moving Ahead for the Red Cedar Inn in Pacific, Mo.

NOVEMBER 25-- Pacific, Missouri, moves forward with Red Cedar Inn project.  They are turning the former restaurant into a history and visitors center.  A contract with an architect was approved November 6.

Plans call for it to be a visitors center, regional museum and a venue with a Route 66 roadside park complex.

The Red cedar Inn was built in 1932 by the Smith brothers.  It is on the NRHP and closed abruptly in 2005.

One of my major disappointments was not going to it in the few years after 2002 that I knew about it before it closed.

Looking forward to going inside even if it is not to eat.  It is a neat-looking place on the outside.


Friday, December 28, 2018

NIU Homecoming 2018-- Part 11: Of Trains and Bars On the Lincoln Crawl

Even though we were early, we still had to park on the other side of the railroad tracks in downtown DeKalb.  This means you might likely have a wait for a train to go by.  Lots and lots of trains run through DeKalb.  And they run through REAL FAST.  I mean, real fast.

You don't try to beat the train, either on foot or in a car.  We had to wait for a train to go by.  We always laugh at each other and say, "Imagine that.  A train going through DeKalb."  If we didn't hear a train, we'd think we were in the wrong town.

We went in through the back door of Lord Stanley's, our new place to go in downtown DeKalb.  Of course, it is on the Lincoln Highway.

Back when we were in school, this place was Daddy-O's Shamrock.  Not too far west of it, on the corner of 1st and Lincoln Highway was Otto's (called the Uprising when we were at Northern).  That has now been torn down and a nice-looking apartment building built in its place.

Just to the east, and across the Lincoln Highway stands Andy's and McCabes, two other college watering holes.

Dodging Trains and Drinking Beer On the Lincoln Crawl.  --RoadDog

Thursday, December 27, 2018

NIU Homecoming 2018-- Part 10: The Old Frat House and the Lincoln Crawl Downtown.


From the Lagoon, we drove east into a residential/student housing area, past the original Delta Sig (Delta Sigma Phi) house on 242 Augusta.  This was the house the fraternity was in when I pledged and had Hell Weekend before becoming an active.  It was kind of a dump then and continues to be although now it is student housing.  But, it was Our House.  The next year we moved out to Greek Row on Greenbrier.

Lots of beautiful big old trees along Augusta Avenue which are turning brilliant hues of gold this time of the year.

Now we were downtown DeKalb and drove around it a bit.  The main street running east-west through it is Illinois Highway 38, but at one time was the Lincoln Highway.  All addresses are still Lincoln Highway and the road is also called that.

Back in the day, we used to do the Lincoln Crawl, where we would hit lots of bars downtown like Andy's, McCabes, the Shamrock, Uprising, Candle Light and Sullivans.  There were others, but I don't remember them.

I don't know.  Just something about college and drinking.

We never knew it was the Lincoln Crawl because of the nation's oldest transcontinental highway.

Those Were the Days.  --RoadDog

Along 66, Nov. 2018: A Turkey Thief On the Loose

November 24--  The metal turkey marking Illinois Route 66's famous "Turkey Tracks" has been stolen.

This stretch of the road dates to the 1920s, and at one point after it was laid, some wild turkeys crossed it, leaving their mark for posterity with 34 tracks.

These are near Nilwood, Illinois.

Sometime before or on November 11, the metal turkey was stolen from what is now known as Donaldson Road.  This stretch was built between 1926 and 1930.

The site is marked well now, but, when we first saw it in 2002, it was hard to find and I must admit, we were more than a little disappointed with it.  But, well, it's Route 66 history.

Return the TURKEY Or Get Broasted or Deep-Fried You Turkey Snatcher!!  --RoadDog

No Respect on the Lincoln Highway in DeKalb in 1918

From the November 28, 2018, MidWeek "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"The automobiles of the city of DeKalb have little or no respect for the traffic post at the corner of Fourth and the Lincoln Highway.  Some of the drivers  here in town tear around the corner at Fourth, going north, and traveling at the rate of 35 or 40 miles an hour.

"There are a few drivers who believe that the post was put there for a purpose, and that of keeping the traffic going the right way and use it for such."

Respect That Post!!  --RoadDog

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

A Near Street Car-Auto Accident in 1918

From the November 28, 2018, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois)  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"Motormen on street  cars operating in and out of DeKalb are getting so they have less respect than ever for motorists, due to the chances that are taken every day with the street cars.  Last night, for instance, when the cars were a little late, a DeKalb man coming east  on the highway cut in ahead of the car at the Normal bridge, and narrowly missed being hit.

"The fender of the auto and the street car brushed and had the incident happened a couple of seconds later there would have been a serious accident.  The bridge is narrow and motorists who chance it with the street car are taking a big chance, and should use a little common sense in the matter."

Dumb Auto Drivers in 1918.  --RoadDumb

Monday, December 24, 2018

The Woman Knows Her Auto Mechanics in 1918

From the September 26, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"A couple of ladies, traveling by flivver,  were compelled to stop over here the other day for gas and oil and incidentally a few repairs.  The best part  of the latter incident was the fact that the women were independent of any auto expert when they discovered the flivver didn't fliv.

"Instead of becoming frustrated and running about looking for a mechanic the young lady in an unconcerned manner, took a hairpin from her hair, raised the hood of the car and in a moment 'Henry' was going at a rapid rate."

Flivver?  --RoadDog

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Along the Lincoln Highway, July 2018: Mail Pouch Chewing Tobacco

Continued from the last post.

There were Mail Pouch Chewing Tobacco barns in twenty-two states (mostly in the Midwest).  Farmers who had the ads placed on their barns were modestly compensated by the Wheeling, West Virginia, based tobacco company.

They employed painters.  One of whom was Harley Warrick of Ohio who estimates he painted 20,000 barns over his long career.  Hus retirement marked the end of the Mail Pouch barn-painting era.

One of the remaining Mail Pouch signs is in Marshall County, Indiana.  Her family has owned the farm, six miles east of Plymouth, since 1890.    She readily acknowledged that the barn was in bad shape and she was debating options of what to do with it.

On Tuesday, July 17, she found a 7 by 21-foot section of the barn gone.

Sign Stealers On the Loose.  --RoadDog

Friday, December 21, 2018

Along the Lincoln Highway, 2018: Chew Mail Pouch Tobacco

JULY 18  In Marshall County, Indiana, an old Mail Pouch barn advertising mural was stolen.    It was seven tall and twenty-four feet long.  It was located just off Lincoln Highway near Gumwood.

Also in July, a massive tornado ripped through Marshalltown, Iowa, causing much damage.

JULY 21--  Many decades ago, the Mail Pouch Chewing Tobacco Company began an advertising campaign placing their message on the sides of barns in rural areas.   Between 1891 and 1962 they were put up, urging chewers to "Treat Yourself To The Best."

They featured bold white lettering, with the brand name in yellow that stood in contrast with the red or black barn siding..


Thursday, December 20, 2018

NIU Homecoming 2018-- Part 9: Lincoln and Douglas Halls, the Lagoon, Castle and Gus Goose

October 13, 2018

We drove around campus, past where Douglas Hall once stood.  It has been torn down to straighten Lucinda Avenue.  Liz lived in it for a year and a half.  Nearby stands Lincoln Hall, where I lived freshman year on the 3rd floor of C Wing, Home of the Keggers.  Earlier this fall we had noticed it was quite dark and found out today that it is closed and on the list to also be torn down.  I hope not.  Hey, that's my history.

Next, we drove along Lincoln Highway (Illinois Highway-38) eastward to the Lagoon.   We both consider the Lagoon area and Altgeld Hall, the original building of the school, as the most beautiful spot on campus.  It is water surrounded by walkways, landscaping and bridges.  Plus, in the last ten years, the original entryway to the school was rebuilt and is a stunner.

Near the road going by the Lagoon is named Castle Drive as Altgeld Hall looks like a castle.  There is even a stone with an inscription to Gus Goose, a favorite goose of the Lagoon who was cantankerous and you hadn't lived until you had been "goosed" by Gus Goose.  He especially liked doing it to the coeds.  After you were "goosed" he was friendly, especially if you had  food for him.  The inscription names him William the Goose, but no one I knew ever called him anything but Gus.

Sadly, he was found dead one day back in the 1970s under suspicious circumstances.  You can search "Death of William Goose" to find out the particulars.

Sad to Lose the Goose.  --RoadGoose

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

NIU Homecoming 2018-- Part 8: Greek Row


Next, we drove out to Greek Row, north of campus.  I lived out here for sophomore year at the Delta Sigma Phi house at 814 Greenbrier.  It is still there, but now just student housing.  I sure had a great time at that house.

Many of the fraternities and sororities from when I was a student are still  out there and a few still in the same house.  Sadly, my Delta Sigs broke up the next year, when I was at Georgia.  There was a really strong Delta Sigma Phi chapter back in the late 1980s, but they got in trouble and were removed from campus.

Oh well!!

Sadly, Northern no longer has a homecoming parade, nor do the Greeks have house decks or floats.  I guess students are now too busy staring at their cell phones.  Plus, there was a surprisingly large number of students walking around out there as opposed to being out at Huskie Stadium for the game.  Several fraternities were actually having parties out on Greek Row instead of out there pulling for the team.

As John Belushi would say, "Where's the old Delta spirit?"

Sad.  Very Sad.  --RoadDog

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Along 66, November 2018: Say Hello to the Sod Poodles in Amarillo

NOVEMBER 14--  The Minor League AA affiliate of the San Diego Padres has picked Sod Poodles as the new name of the Amarillo baseball team.  Sod Poodles is another name for prairie dogs (I was wondering).

Other names in the final selection were Boot Scooters, Bronc Busters and Jerky & the Long Haulers.

The home opener at the new stadium in downtown Amarillo will be April 8 against the Midland Rock Hounds

This is an interesting name, but I don't think the name Sod Poodles will strike much fear into opponents.  But, I must commend the minor league teams for interesting names, including my own favorite Clinton Lumber Kings.

Some other interesting names:

Batavia Muck Dogs
Hartford Yard Goats
Montgomery Biscuits
Richmond Flying Squirrels
Toledo Mudhens
Akron Rubber Ducks
Wichita Wingnuts
Savanah Bananas
Lehigh Valley Ironpipes
Albuquerque Isotopes  (Isn't that the name of Homer Simpson's Springfield team?)


Monday, December 17, 2018

Along 66, November 2018: The Painted Desert Trading Post and Sirloin Stockade

These are taken from the Route 66 News site, your ultimate source for all things Route 66.  I just select the items of most interest to me.

NOVEMBER 12--  Volunteers have been at work on the long-abandoned Painted Desert Trading Post in Arizona.  Volunteers jacked up the corners which were sagging so badly it threatened the building.

Always great to have any kind of preservation done, even if it is just to keep the structure standing until it can permanently be saved.

NOVEMBER 16--  The Sirloin Stockade in Rolla, Missouri, has reopened, nine months after it was devastated by a fire.

In February, the structure, located near the city's west side traffic circle, was declared a total loss.  Then it had an almost 100% tear down.

Sirloin Stockade has about eighty locations in the United States and was founded in 1966 in Oklahoma City. Many of the restaurants feature a large fiberglass steer.

The one in Rolla is the only Sirloin Stockade on Route 66.

We have often driven past there and often thought of stopping in, but never did.  Next time in Rolla, we will be stopping.


Friday, December 14, 2018

NIU Homecoming 2018-- Part 7: Rick's and Smoke Signals


Rick's was the place to get together off campus (just a block) and within easy walking distance of Grant, Douglas, Stephenson and Grant dorms.  The place was practically standing room only and you'd be lucky to find a table.

When they moved over to the Village Commons Center at Annie Glidden and Lucinda roads I figured they would do even better business.  A whole lot closer to the dorms and three times the size.  But it just wasn't the same.  The huge crowds never materialized.

But they had great pizza and food.

Meals at Smoke Signals aren't cheap, but they sure are good and there is a lot of it.. Liz had a burger and I had the pulled pork.  We came no where finishing the huge and delicious portions.  The wait staff couldn't have been friendlier and even the owner, Chef Roy came around to see how the food was.

All I can say is, "We'll be back."   (And we were so full we couldn't even order any of the naked nuggets at Pizza Pro's later that night.)

Eatin' Good At the Old College Stompin' Grounds.  --RoadDog

Thursday, December 13, 2018

NIU Homecoming 2018-- Part 6: Smoke Signals BBQ and the Old Rick's

October 13, Saturday

Continued from November 23.

We looked around the Village Commons Bookstore, but didn't find any NIU items we had to have.  So took a walk around the other stores in the center.

We were getting a bit hungry about now and found a place called Smoke Signals BBQ.  (Partly because they were grilling right outside near the street.  Something about that aroma wafting does it every time.)  The place is evidently a new venture.

It is located where Rick's used to be in the 1970s.  That was a pizza place that sold Italian beef and hot dogs as well.  When I got to Northern in 1969, it was located in a small shopping center out by Lincoln Highway (Illinois Highway 38) which goes right through DeKalb.  When I was a student, I never knew about that old historical road.  As a matter of fact, I didn't know about it until I learned about Route 66 in 2002.


Along 66, November 2018: Work On the Painted Desert Tradong Post

These articles about Route 66 are taken from the Route 66 News site, the best place to go when you're looking for what is going on on our favorite road.

The site has an entry for most every day and pictures.  I just pick the stories of most interest to me.

NOVEMBER 12--  Work has been done on the Painted Desert Trading Post in Arizona.  Volunteers have jacked up the corners which were starting to sag.  The building was in danger of collapsing.

Hopefully now it will be ok until some serious preservation work can be done and use found for it again.


Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Along 66, October 2018: Gasconade River Bridge Makes Peril List in Missouri

OCTOBER 28--  The Gasconade River Bridge made the Missouri Places in Peril list for 2018.

It is now closed and is near Hazelgreen.

The three-span through truss bridge was fabricated by the Illinois Steel Company in Chicago between 1922 and 1924.

It is one of the few bridges dating to the 1920s and even predates Route 66.

It is a beautiful bridge and I sure hop it gets saved.  We went to a bug save the bridge get-together at the bridge several years ago.


Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Along 66, October 2018: The Sapulpa Bridge and "Dottie" Hanson

OCTOBER 25--  Sapulpa, Oklahoma, forces a 90-day deadline to repair Rock Creek Bridge.

It has an erosion problem going on on the east side.  If not cleared up, the bridge will be closed permanently.  But the town is sure they can comply.

Neat old bridge.

OCTOBER 29--  Death of a woman who worked at two Route 66 icons in Arizona.  Dorthy "Dottie" Ann hatch Hanson, 83, died.

She worked at the Wig Wam Hotel and the Jack Rabbit Trading Post.

She might have been there when we visited in 2006.


Two Accidents In One Night in DeKalb in 1918

From the September 12, 2018, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1918, 100 Years Ago.

"Two automobile accidents occurred last night although neither one amounted to much.

"A gentleman from Aurora giving his name as Wetmore was looking for a cigar store and crashed into the Burlington-Lincoln Highway marker on Fourth street with some force, and the spring on his car was damaged and a hole made in the marker.

"Nate Woods collided with the Homer McDole car during the evening and this was also a soght accident and both cars were soon on their way."


Monday, December 10, 2018

What Is A Flivver?

In several earlier blog entries, I mentioned flivvers.  Most recently in November I wrote about one that had a near accident in DeKalb in 1918.  (Click on the Flivvers laabel below.)

Just what is a flivver?

According to the Dictionary site, a flivver is  a slang word referring to an automobile, especially one that is small, inexpensive and old.

Driving My '85 Firebird Flivver.  --RoadDog

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Illinois Bicentennial: About That Illinois Northern Border

From Wikipedia.

During the discussion to admit Illinois as a state, the northern border was moved twice.  The original provisions of the Northwest Ordinance said the border would be straight across from the southern extremity of Lake Michigan to the Mississippi River.  This would have left Illinois with no shoreline on Lake Michigan.

However, Indiana had successfully been granted a ten-mile  northern extension of its boundary to provide it with usable lakefront.  The original bill for statehood, submitted to Congress on January 23, 1818, had a northern border at the same latitude as Indiana's, ten miles north of the southernmost extremity of Lake Michigan.

But Illinois Territory delegate, Nathaniel Pope, wanted more.  He lobbied to have it moved even further north.  When the final bill passed Congress, the northern Illinois border was 51 miles north of the Indiana northern border.  This added 8,500 square miles to Illinois, including the lead mining region by Galena.

More importantly, it added nearly 50 miles of shoreline on Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.  Pope envisioned a canal that would connect the Great Lakes to the Mississippi.

And, of course, there was that future city called Chicago.


Friday, December 7, 2018

Bell Rings for Pearl Harbor Survivor Survivor Lt. Jim Downing

From October 13, 2018, KOAA News 5 NBC.

Lt. Jim Downing was honored at the annual USS West Virginia reunion at Colorado Springs, Colorado, on Saturday.

They honored those who died December 7, 1941, and everyone who has died since then.  This year, sadly, it also rang for Jim Downing.  He died unexpectedly this past year.

The reunion was attended by 8 sailors from the ship as well as 50 others.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

George H.W. Bush in World War II: "Skin"

From Wikipedia.

As we continue to lose so many World War II veterans to age.

As one of the youngest naval aviators, George Bush was assigned to Torpedo Squadron 51 (VT-51) as the photographic officer.  The following year, his squadron was based on the light aircraft carrier USS San Jacinto as a member of Air Group 51.

While aboard, he received the nickname "Skin" because of his lanky physique.  During this time, his air group took part in one of the largest air battles of WW II in the Pacific, the Battle of the Philippine Sea.

After his promotion to lieutenant (junior grade) on August 1, 1944, the USS San Jacinto began operations against the Japanese-held Bonin Islands.


Chicago, Wisconsin?-- Part 2: It Was a Slave-Free Thing

That was the way the Illinois Territory was regarded when it was to become a state.

But, then national politics got involved.

Keeping the balance between slave and free states became paramount to both the North and South sections.  Mississippi entered the Union as a slave state in 1817.  The North needed another free state and Illinois seemed to be the likely candidate.

At the time, many of the settlers in the southern part of the state were from Kentucky and Tennessee, slave states..  They tended to support Illinois being a slave state.  But, if Illinois had a port on Lake Michigan, it would develop ties with the north.  Northerners would begin moving to the northern part of Illinois.

So, when Congress voted for statehood for Illinois in 1818, a resolution was attached to move the boundary fifty miles northward.  Wisconsin, of course, was not a state at the time, nor would it have enough residents to become a state until 1848, when it joined the Union.  People there weren't happy, but couldn't do anything about it.


Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Chicago Was Almost In Wisconsin-- Part 1: Northwest Ordinance

From November 30, 2015, Wisconsin Public Radio  "Chicago, Wisconsin? How the Windy City Almost Ended Up In the Badger State" by Erika Janik.

Illinois became a state on December 3, 1818,  But, while doing so, some 8,500 square miles of territory that had been allotted to Wisconsin did not become a part of Wisconsin.  This covered the whole northern part of what is today Illinois.

In the late 1700s American statesmen drew up plans of how new states would join the Union and a map was made.  This was called the Northwest Ordinance.  One of the men who drew it up was Nathan Dane, a Massachusetts attorney, for whom Wisconsin's Dane County, envisioned a straight line from the southern tip of Lake Michigan straight out to the Mississippi River.

North of it would be Wisconsin.  South of it would be Illinois.


Monday, December 3, 2018

Illinois Bicentennial: Did You Know, It Was Almost Chicago, Wisconsin?

Chicago very nearly wasn't in Illinois.  It was originally supposed to be in Wisconsin.  But things happened back 200 years ago as Illinois was about to become a state and the area from the southern tip of Lake Michigan to the present Wisconsin-Illinois border came to be in Illinois.

It would be weird typing this from Spring Grove, Wisconsin.

Well, we might have to do this anyway as it appears to be the only was to get rid of Madigan.  Let him be Wisconsin's problem.

More On This Later.  --RoadDog

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Today Marks the 60th Anniversary of the Our Lady of the Angels Fire in Chicago

A very sad day in Chicago and the whole country.

A fire at this Catholic school resulted in the deaths of 95 people, 92 of them children and 3 were nuns.  The school was kindergarten through 8th grade.

If you ever had a fire drill while you were in school, that was a result of this fire.

The ruins of the school were torn down in 1959 and a new Our Lady of Angels School opened by the old one in 1960.  But decline in enrollment caused it to close after the class of 1999 graduated.

A Sad Day.

Along 66, Oct. 2018: Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission

OCTOBER 24--  Nominees sought for Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission.

This summer, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed the Illinois Route 66 Centennial Commission bill into law.

A panel is now looking for 3 people to fill available sears on the commission and one to lead it.  People can nominate themselves.

State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield) introduced the bill and shepherded it through the General Assembly.

Eight members of the commission will be selected by the Senate and House majority and minority leaders.

The Route 66 Centennial will be celebrated in 2026 as the road came into being, as well as the new numbered highway system in the United States, in November 11, 1926.

Sadly, Route 66 lost one of its biggest fans when Governor Rauner was not reelected in November.

Hey, I'd like to be on the commission, but John Weiss definitely should be.