Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Along 66, July 2020: Lurvey Courts Is No More, Springfield Route 66 Corridor, and a Cemetery

 JULY 7--  Sadly, Lurvey Courts in Springfield is being torn down, but, at least there is good news in the fact that one of the cabins will be saved for a planned Route 66 roadside park. The Missouri Route 66 Association put a  valiant and time-consuming effort to save the striking buildings, but you don't always win.

The cabins were built in 1928 by Burt and Irene Lurvey.

JULY 8--  Illinois gives $450,000 for the Springfield Route 66 Corridor.  This corridor of original Route 66 pavement goes along Peoria Road and the Ninth Street Corridor.

Always glad to see preservation projects like this.

JULY 10--  Twenty-nine gravestones were vandalized at the historic Hill Cemetery in Bourbon, Missouri.  This doesn't appear to be done by BLM.


Monday, September 28, 2020

Watch Those Cows Out on Stone Quarry Road in 1970

From the Feb. 19, 2020, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1970, 50 Years Ago.

"Cows in the road forced a Genoa driver to swerve into a ditch in the only accident reported to DeKalb County sheriff's office Wednesday.

"The accident  occurred on Stone Quarry Road near Cherry Valley Road.  Walter R. Barnes, 39, of Genoa, said he managed to dodge  the four or five cows, but the fenders and underside  of his car were damaged  when he was forced into the ditch."

I was wondering if this Stone Quarry was where they filmed the famed scene of the truck crash of Bill Murray and the groundhog into the quarry in the movie "Groundhog Day."

Turns Out It Wasn't.   --RoadDog

Going to College Back Then

Definitely a whole lot, I mean, a WHOLE lot more expensive to go to college these days.

Back when Liz and I went to school at Northern Illinois University, living in a dorm like Lincoln or Douglas Hall cost $500 a semester with meals.  We paid $250 a year tuition (both Liz and I had teaching scholarships for that price).

You were required to stay in a dorm freshman year and NIU picked your roommate.  In the dorm, there was two to a room and bathrooms were communal.  Those rooms were small.  We had bunk beds.  There were just a few outlets.  My roommate, Chuck Hartseil from Pekin, Illinois, had a 13-inch black and white TV which made us one of the more popular rooms on the floor as only one other room had a TV.  About half the rooms had a small stereo to play albums and 45s.


Saturday, September 26, 2020

Actually, Ninian Edwards Was Not the Founder of Edwardsville, Illinois. But, It Was Named After Him.

 On September 23 and 24, I posted about Edwardsville being founded by Ninian Edwards, the territorial  governor of Illinois at the time.  He was also the third governor of the state and one of the first two U.S. senators.  But, he did not found the city, but had it named after him.

Edwardsville was founded by Thomas Kirkpatrick who came in 1805 and laid out the community.  Ninian Edwards was his friend.

So, Now You Know.  --RoadNinian

20 Photos of Motels on Route 66 That Would Be Good Choices to Stay

From Feb. 9, 2020 The Travel  "Planning a Road Trip?  20 Photos of Motels That Look (Surprisingly) Cozy" by Bri Thomas.

All the motels have a retro vibe and comfortable rooms.  Text and some wonderful pictures also accompany the article.

**  Liz and I have stayed in these.  Staying at one of these places gives more credence to a Route 66 trip.  Much netter choice than one of the chains.

ROUTE 66 MOTEL  in Barstow, California

WIGWAM MOTELS San Bernardino, California and Holbrook, Arizona  (I stayed in the one in Cave City, Kentucky)

EL RANCHO MOTEL  in Gallup, New Mexico **

BLUE SWALLOW MOTEL in Tucumcai, New Mexico  **

BIG TEXAN MOTEL in Amarillo, Texas

CAMPBELL HOTEL in Tulsa, Oklahoma

BOOTS COURT MOTEL  in Carthage, Missouri  **

MUNGER MOSS MOTEL in Lebanon, Missouri  **

WAGON WHEEL MOTEL in Cuba, Missouri  **

ROUTE 66 HOTEL in Springfield, Illinois  **


Thursday, September 24, 2020

The Founder of Edwardsville, Illinois, at Center of Statue Debate-- Part 2: So, What Was His Big 'Crime?'

A FaceBook group has petitioned the City of Edwardsville to remove the statue of Ninian Edwards  and his name from the plaza where it sits.  His crime?  In this day and age you can probably guess it.

They argue that he owned slaves and used his power to protect its practice.

Well, the Confederate monuments are coming down in the wake of the George Floyd killing in Minneapolis.  George Floyd was never a slave, nor were his parents or great parents.

William Furry, executive director of the Illinois State Historical Society  said it was true that Edwards owned slaves when he came to Illinois Territory, but at the time, owning slaves was the law of the land.

"Edwards was a citizen of his times, just as we all are," said Furry.  Laws change, people change, social mores change.

Ridiculous.  --RoadDog

'Salty' Learns Valuable Lesson About Starting Cranks on Ford Vehicles in 1920

From the April 29, 2020, MidWeek  "Looking Back."

1920, 100 Years Ago.

"Vernon Peterson, known to almost everybody as 'Salty' had the misfortune to break his arm while cranking the Ford trouble chaser of the telephone company.

"Salty has worked for the telephone company for some time and lately has had charge of the trouble wagon.  When he went to crank it yesterday, he did not take the usual care and the result is that he has a broken arm."

I'm taking it that trouble wagon is what goes out on calls.  Electric starters are so much better.

And You Think You have Problems With Your Car.  --RoadCrank

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

The Founder of Edwardsville, Ninian Edwards, At the Center of Statue Debate

From the July 4, 2020, Kansas City Star by Stephen Spearie, The Springfield State Journal-Register.

His final resting place is at Springfield, Illinois' Oak Ridge Cemetery (where Lincoln is buried).  He served one term as Illinois' third governor and was territorial governor for three terms.  Abraham Lincoln was married in his son's house in Springfield.  The City of Edwardsville is named after him.

One of our favorite stops on our Route 66 sojourns is in Edwardsville, especially the Stagger-Inn Again Bar and their Route 66 festivals.

And, now, here in 2020, his name has essentially become mud as far as some are concerned.

His name was Ninian Edwards, for whom the city of Edwardsville was named.

What could he possibly have done to become such a target?


Monday, September 21, 2020

Along 66, July 2020: Palmer Hotel in Afton Burns. Park It Right Here Times

I get these stories from the Route 66 News site, your best source for any and everything you can want to know about our Mother Road.  I just write about the stories of most interest to me.


JULY 2--  Fire destroyed the long-closed Palmer Hotel in Afton, Oklahoma.  It once featured hot and cold running water in EACH room and electric lights throughout the building.  And, all for the cost of $2 a day.

It is believed to have opened in Mid-March of 1910.

It was just sitting there slowly deteriorating every time we saw while visiting the Afton Station across from it.  Poor Afton.  Hope something can be done to stop its slide into obscurity, especially now that the Afton Station is gone.

JULY 2--  New Mexico imposed a 14-day quarantine to all travelers entering from other states.

Definitely doesn't help Route 66 tourism, but these are trying times.  (Oops, must take a shot.  Whenever you hear a news cast or commercial with any words and then the word "times," you have to take a drink.)

Real Challenging Times These Day.  (Oops, another shot.)  --RoadShot

Saturday, September 19, 2020

Along 66, June 2020: Loss of the Oklahoma Elm Trees and Death of Marty Bilecki

 JUNE 25--  The fabled elm tree west of Clinton, Oklahoma, may not be around for very much longer.  There were 14 of them but only one and a half remain now.  The thought is that their demise is being brought about because of the fiberoptic line that has been built through there damaged their roots.

Michael Wallis famous book "Route 66: The Mother Road" featured them and they have since been seen by many 66 travelers.

The trees are just off the Exit 57 of I-40  on North Frontage Road (Route 66).

Other causes of their demise might be the Dutch elm disease which has killed millions of them or the severe droughts Oklahoma has been having lately.

Okay.  Time to get some tree folks out there and replant.

JUNE 30--  Marty Bilecki, 86, has died.  He is considered "Mr. Route 66" in Illinois.  I've met him on several occasions and even had lunch once.

Always sad to lose someone who has done so much for the road.


Friday, September 18, 2020

Along 66, June 2020: The Black Story of Route 66 and Another COVID-19 Cancellation

JUNE 19--  Route History Shop in Springfield, Illinois, awarded $80,000 grant.  This place tells the black experience on Route 66 which was anything but pleasant during the Jim Crow era.  This is why the Negro Green Book was so essential to Blacks back then as they were not welcome in many places.  Driving 66 was not as much fun for them as it was for white travelers.

They also tell about the 1908 Springfield Race Riot in which at least 16 people were killed. 

They are located at 737 East Cook Street.

If it is where I am thinking it is, once, a lot of years ago, it was open as a sandwich shop at a former gas station.  But, good for them.  The black experience on Route 66 needs to be told.

JUNE 23--  The COVID-19 pandemic prompts cancellation of the world famous Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta for the first time in its history.  It started in 1972 and an estimated 850,000 people attend over its nine days.


Wednesday, September 16, 2020

The Swastika Trail in Illinois-- Part 2: On a Rand McNally Map in 1923

From Worth  "1923 McNally  Indian Road Map of Illinois Swastika Trail.

A fold out 22 x 28-inch map of Illinois includes Illinois, southeastern Iowa, western Indiana and northeaster Missouri.

It includes a gallery of pole markings for named highways in the era before numbered highways.  Some of the ones shown on this 1923 map are the Kickapoo Trail, National Old Trails Road, Dixie Highway, Lincoln Highway, Bee Line, Yellowstone Trail The Great White Way, Egyptian Trail,  Red Ball Route, Ben-Hur Highway, Waubonsie Trail, Blue Grass Road, Wabash Way and the Swastika Trail.

Of course, today the word swastika is linked with the Nazis, but it is a native southwestern U.S.  design and its use was not uncommon through the 1920s.

Prior to the 1920s federal highway numbering system, one of the named routes through Illinois, indicated by the distinctive hooked cross pole marker, was known as the Swastika Trail.


The Swastika Trail (Illinois)

From  Swastika Trail and Old Highway Map.

I came across the name of one Illinois road back in the 1920s as being Swastika Trail.  Of course, I had to do some further research, but was unable to come up with much.

From the Illinois Digital map Collection.  1922 map.

Back in 1922, highways did not have numbers as they do today.  They had names.

On the map, Swastika Trail ran through the towns of Wapello, New Boston, Joy and Aledo, south of the Quad Cities.

This is now Illinois Highway 17.

Was It a German Thing?   --RoadDog

Painting Word Pictures With Steve Goodman's 'City of New Orleans'

Chicago native Steve Goodman.

Riding on the City of New Orleans
Illinois Central, Monday morning rail

Fifteen cars and fifteen restless riders
Three conductors, twenty-five sacks of mail

All along the southbound odyssey, the train pulls out of Kankakee
And rolls along past houses, farms and fields

Passing towns that have no name, and freight yards full of old black men
And the graveyards of the rusted automobile.

Good morning, America, how are you"
Say, don't you know me, I'm your native sun
I'm the train they call the City of New Orleans
I'll be gone five hundred miles when the day is done.

This paints quite a word picture at this point.  I don't know about you, but I can sure see that train chugging along.

Good Ol' Steve.  --RoadRail

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Bill Murray's Fiery Truck Crash-- Part 2: 'About That Honeypot'

When the truck crashed at the bottom of the quarry pit, applied pyrotechnics caused the fiery explosion.  Not seen on camera was a local fire crew stationed at the bottom as well.

William Butt snapped pictures of the scene from 200 feet above.  He said, "it took forever" just to get the cameras rolling on that one scene.

The few minutes of filming took about two weeks  to shoot, and Nimtz Quarry at that time bristled with trailers, dressing rooms and caterers for cast and crew who were waiting for the right weather.  Production took place during the quarries off-season, so it didn't disrupt any usual excavating.

"They figured out one of the deepest parts of northern Illinois is off Nimtz Road,"  William Butt said.  "They were looking for maximum depth for the visual effect, drama."

Most of the filming took place in Woodstock, Illinois, about 34 miles away.

I heard that one day the "honeypots" which was what they called the porta-potties, fell off the trucks on the way back from the quarry and caused a mess on one of the roads.  This caused an accident and the production company got in trouble with the law.

Never get Tired of Learning About That Great Movie.  --RoadDog