Saturday, February 23, 2008

Down Da 66 II-- "Route 66" Production-- Atlanta's Certified-- Get Gas at Amboy-- Enjoying the Route 66 Video Route 66 on "Definitely Maybe" Movie

Some more Down Da 66.

1. Moonlight Stage Productions present "Route 66"-- You've just got two more days to get yourself out to Fallbrook, California if you want to see the stage production of "Route 66." It is a musical review of road songs by Roger Bean. The Jan. 24th Fallbrook Bonsall News reports that four high-energy gas attendants sing and drive their way from Chicago to California showcasing pop-musical styles from Elvis to the Beach Boys. Some of the featured songs: Roger Miller's "King of the Road," Jan and Dean's "Little Old Lady from Pasadena," The Beach Boys' "I Get Around," and, of course, "Get Your Kicks on You Know What."

It ran from Jan. 31st to tomorrow.

2. Atlanta, Il. gets certified-- The Jan. 23rd Bloomingtom Pantagraph reports that Atlanta, Illinois, has been designated the state's 64th Certified Local Government community by the National Parks Service.

The town's efforts to save and preserve the Hawes Elevator had a lot to do with them getting the honor.

Not only is it an honor, but also Atlanta is now eligible for technical assistance from the state and can compete for matching fund federal grants for preservation projects.

Atlanta is one Route 66 town that is off and running in connecting itself to the rich heritage of Route 66 and its own history. I doubt that any other town its size does more.

Now, if they'd just do something about that ugly water tower. Smiley faces just don't make it with me. Sorry.

3. Get Gas at Amboy-- According to Jim Conkle of the Route 66 Pulse, the ghost town of Amboy, California, now has gas available. Let's hope that's just the first step in a come back.

4. In the Cold and Snow, a Route 66 video Helps Get you thinking summer-- I've been enjoying the various Route 66 and road-related videos that have been shown on entries at the Route 66 News blog. Come on, out here in Illinois, our resident groundhog, Woodstock Willie did not see his shadow, so winter should be about over. Just wanted you to know.

5. "Definitely, Maybe"-- Sure liked that giant Route 66 shield they showed on this movie back when the main character was a student at the University of Wisconsin. I didn't even know people liked Route 66 much back in 1980.

Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Down Da 66--Atlanta, Il Library 100--Fishin' 66 in Ok-- Route 66 on Frasier

Down Da 66-- Some stuff going on along the old road.

1. Atlanta, Il. Library Turning 100-- The Bloomington Pantagraph reports that the octagon-shaped library is reaching the century mark. It is the social center of the community and also serves as the Route 66 Welcome Center. Celebrations are planned throughout the year.

I was fortunate to get to tour it and the downstairs museum back when the Illinois 66 Association had a Motor Tour and it was inducted into the Hall of Fame back in 2005, I think.

Former librarian Ruth Gordon believes the octagon shape came about to improve lighting with more windows for natural light. It was designed by Bloomington architect Paul Moratz and dedicated March 28, 1908. Before that, the library had been housed in various buildings around town. It is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The clock tower is a new addition to the grounds, but a good fit. It was built in 1982 to house a 1909 Seth Thomas clock that was originally at the Atlanta High School which was torn down in 1980.

The library holds 13,200 books and the basement museum was created in 1973. It will be moving to the nearby Downey Building later this year.

2. Lake Overholser, Ok.-- Three new ponds have been made as part of Oklahoma's "Close to Home" fishing program. They are located on the west side of the lake in the Route 66 Park.

They have been stocked with channel catfish and bluegill sunfish. This spring, large mouth bass will be added to the mix. Stocking began two years ago and one is accessible to wheelchairs. Road access is only to one pond right now and the catch limit is up to six channel cats a day and no limit on bluegills. Large mouth bass will be catch and release only.

3. Route 66 on Frazier-- A few weeks ago, I was watching an episode of Frasier from its first season on Lifetime. Frasier, Daphne, Martin and Niles rented a Winnebago to see America, but they'd be on interstates. Frasier intentionally missed a turn-off so they could go where the road took them. They got into a discussion about Jack Kerouac and Route 66. Niles even put on a baseball hat and turned it backwards to show he was in the old road spirit of adventure.

Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Lincoln Logs-- Upcoming LH Conferences-- William G. Edens-- Consul RoadDog?

Some news from along the Lincoln Highway.

1. Upcoming Lincoln Highway Conferences-- 2008 in Evanston, Wyoming June 17-21; 2009 in South Bend, Indiana June 16-20; and 2010 in Dixon, Illinois June 22-26. I'll definitely be attending the last two. After all, Illinois is my home state these days.

2. William G. Edens-- The Land of Lincoln News of the Illinois Lincoln Highway Assoc. had a picture and short biography of William G. Edens. Now, I've taken the Edens Expressway many times, especially in the pre-neighborhood sticker days, but never gave much thought as to who it was named after. Well, now I know.

This man has a highway/road pedigree big-time. He served as the President of the Illinois Highway Improvement Association and was the Chicago consul for the the Lincoln Highway Association.

In addition, he was a banker in Chicago at the Central Trust Company, worked for the railroads, and had been appointed by Pres. William McKinley as the Asst. General Superintendent of the Post Office.

His knowledge of the LH, banking, importance of roads, and ability to talk to and convince local citizens made him effective at getting Illinois voters to approve a $60 million bond in 1916.

And he never even owned an automobile!!!!

3. All Hail Consul RoadDog-- The ILHA Board has recently approved bringing back Consuls for Illinois. Volunteers are needed for the entire length of the road through the state. The job requires attending local parades and car shows as well as being a local contact.

Maybe, just maybe, the Old Dog might just wag his tail for one of these positions.

By the way, you can view a picture of William Edens at at the University of Illinois.

To see upcoming Illinois events:

Keeping on Down that Two Lane Lincoln Highway. --RoadDog

Friday, February 22, 2008

Goldsboro, NC Sites on the NRHP

I just recently joined the National Trust for Historic Preservation, again, putting my money where my mouth is since I am quite interested in preservation as are my mom, brother, sister-in-law, and late father. They do lots for both the Wayne County Museum and Old Waynesborough, the very first site of Goldsboro along the banks of the Neuse River.

The National Trust is also where sites go to get included on the National Register of Historic Places.

Other Goldsboro site listed on the Register:

First Presbyterian Church, 111 West Ash
Glidden Jewelry store 1847) 125 S. Center Street
Goldsboro Union Station (1909) 101 North Carolina Street
Harry Fitzhugh Lee House (1922) 310 W. Walnut St.
Odd Fellows Lodge (1901) 111-115 N. John Street

Goldsboro is a City in Touch with Its History. --RoadDog

Borden Manufacturing Company, Goldsboro, NC

This story has to do with my hometown, Goldsboro, NC. I was born there and in residence until I was 5. My mom, brother and sister-in-law still live there.

For years, this factory has sat vacant and decaying, but it seems there is a good chance that it will find new life as a residential center.

The Borden Mill Loft Condominiums needs 15-25 more people to show interest in purchasing lofts before they set out with a spring construction date.

The factory was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on Feb. 2, 2005. At one time, it was also known as Wayne Cotton Mills. In 1904, they manufactured cotton yarns (I, for some reason always thought they had something to do with milk).

They had two huge mills adjoining each other in the suburbs of Goldsboro and featured state-of-the-art equipment and skilled operatives. A walkway was built across Williams Street to connect the two parts.

F.K. Borden was president, and P.L. Borden was both secretary and treasurer. They also provided attractive cottages for their workers according to an early report.

My mother passed out Christmas gifts to the underprivileged there one December and said it was fairly disgusting in the old buildings.

Perhaps one of my relatives can give some more information on it. That cottages for workers thing was interesting.

Glad to See New Use for an Old Building. --RoadDog

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lincoln Highway Watering Hole and GAR Road

On the Feb. 7 Hoosier Happenings Blog, the Mayflower Restaurant in Plymouth, Indiana was featured with a photo as well.

It was built around 1929-1932 and has always been called the Mayflower. The original siding was covered about 40 years ago, but it still retains its Spanish revival style and does a great business.

On February 8th, the blog featured Route 6, the Grand Army of the Republic Highway which goes through Indiana. Before 1926, it was called the Midland Trail roadway. In the late 20s and 30s it was also called the Roosevelt Highway after Teddy Roosevelt.

Where US-6 and the Dixie Highway, US-31 intersect in Biemer, there is a coffee pot-shaped restaurant and three others: Alibi Restaurant, Dixiana, and Garner's.

A photo of Garner's was featured. From 1925-1949 it was the Maddox Inn. The Garner family operated it until 1996. Unfortunately, it recently burned down.

The Grand Army of the Republic was named for the Union Civil War veterans association.

Hey, Anyone Want to teach on 66?

Baxter Springs, Ks, USD#508 is looking for elementary teachers for next school year. But, you'll have to be ready to start by August 11th.

Not only do you get the chance to teach at a 950 student district where all the buildings make their AYP every year (and that is a really BIG thing these days in this Land of NCLB, No Child Left Behind), but you also get to teach on the Mother Road.

By way of introducing their town, the district says, "Baxter Springs sits on the famous Route 66 with our entire business district located on the famous Route. Not only can you get your kicks on Rt 66, you can also walk where Civil War battles were fought, visit out beautiful historic homes, paly ball where Mickey Mantle played...."

Nice plug for the old road.

A BS with no experience starts at $34,100. A MS +45 after 18 years gets $53,400.

Any takers.

I'm Already Retired. --RoadDog

A Favorite Group Singing About San Bernardino?

Ron Warnick, in his Route 66 News blog, wrote that a song by Christie, ""San Bernadino" has been adopted by the city of San Bernardino as its official song.

"Yellow River" by this group is one of my all-time favorite songs. I am very liable to play it multiple times when I hear it, and it was just recently put on Bob Stroud's Rock n' Roll Roots Vol. 9 compilation. My friends, however, don't much appreciate it when I do.

I have to admit that I have never heard of "San Bernadino" even though it is misspelled. Hey, I have a problem spelling it myself.

Ron has a link to You Tube and a 1970 performance of the song. I now have another song I will play a bunch of times consecutively once a get a copy of it. It is almost as good as "Yellow River." Jeff Christie, the group's founder is doing his best John Lennon impression minus the granny glasses. I think the host of the German show they took it from must have been related to Joe Cocker.

I ended up spending a lot of time listening to it, then went to and found a bunch of videos by the band.

Great Stuff, Maynard. --RoadDog

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Dwight Yoakam and Route 23

One of my favorite country singers, Dwight Yoakam, will be inducted into the Kentucky Music Hall of Fame in Lexington on February 21st. Others inducted will be "Don't It Make my Brown Eyes Blue" Crystal Gayle and Norro Wilson who wrote such classics as "The Grand Tour" and "The Most Beautiful Girl."

Yoakam grew up in Pikesville.

He currently lives in Southern California, the end of the famous Route 66, but he considers himself to be a part of the Route 23 gang. He says he was born in the same hospital that Patty Loveless was later born. Other famous country folk who grew up near or on Route 23 are Loretta Lynn, the Judds, Ricky Skaggs, and old "Achy Breaky" himself, Billy Ray Cyrus.

Dwight says, "We've had a pretty good run along Route 23. I'm proud to have it as a birthright."

A Trip Out to NIU

Liz and I went out to Dekalb yesterday to take a look at the scene of the tragedy. It is still quite sad.

We drove along the Lincoln Highway which makes up Northern's southern boundary and took a loof at the infamous room 105 where the killer spent several days. It is located at the TraveLodge on Lincoln Highway.

I made three entries about our trip. You can see them at

Also visited the Junction Restaurant on the LH since 1969 and the Record Revolution across the road. This place opened in 1973 and is one of the few remaining mom and pop record stores in the US.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Preservation Texas Lists 2008 Endangered Sites

As already mentioned, Texas Dance Halls are on the list, statewide.

In addition:

Texas Pacific Warehouse, 1931-- Fort Worth
James Lee Dickey House-- Taylor- civil rights
Barker-Huebinger Rock House-- Wilson Co.-- 1871
Statler Hilton Hotel, 1956-- Dallas-- 19 stories, 1000 rooms
Livinston Lodge 152-- Grand Paririe
Booket T. Washington School--Wellington--first brick school for blacks in West Texas- 1903
First Christian Church-- Santa Anna-- 1901--oldest church in Santa Anna
Port of El Copana-- near Bayside--established 1722 by Spain
Hendley Building-- Galveston--oldest remaining commercial building-- 1860-- during the Civil War it served as a Confederate watchtower.
Caples Building-- El Paso-- 1909-- headquarters of the Provisional Mexican government under Francisco Madero
Citizens Savings Bank-- Jefferson-- 1871
Mallett Ranch HQ Court-- Sundown

For more information on these sites:

Always Something to Save. --RoadDog

Texas Dance Halls Endangered

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram ran an article about endangered sites in the state.

Dancehalls in Texas have been for decades a cultural landmark, but many are falling to age these days. Quite a few still have highly flammable wooden dance floors and walls as well as sub-code antiquated wiring. In the early 1900s, there were an estimated 1200 of these dancehalls.

A new group has been formed to preserve these icons, calling themselves the Texas Dance Hall Preservation. They got together after a 2007 fire destroyed Gruenau Hall which was built in 1900. It was a round dance hall with hardwood maple floors and hand-carved rafters.

Other famous ones are Luckenbach Dance Hall near Fredericksburg and Gruene Hall which bills itself as the oldest continually operating dance hall in Texas which attracts big acts and large crowds.

Preservation Texas has put Austin's Schroeder Dance Hall on their endangered list.

Anybody Up for Cotton-Eyed Joe? --RoadSteppin'Dog

Down Da 66-- Taj Mahal-- Illinois Ghost Town-- Saga Motor Motel-- Da Gonzo Goes to Pontiac-- Sears Homes in Berwyn

News about the old road.

1. Taj Mahal comes to Oklahoma-- Travelers entering Oklahoma from the west along I-40 can now visit a brand new $6.1 million tourism information center featuring not one, but two doggie parks, one for large and one for small. In addition, visitors can unwind along walking trails and dine al fesco at covered picnic tables.

Former Oklahoma Governor George Nigh was on hand for the dedication: " It makes you proud to be an Oklahoman. This is the first impression people have of our state, and you know what they say, it's the first impression that always lasts."

The new 6,400 square foot native stone building replaces an outdated 580 square foot one. Vaulted ceilings with windows for sunlight tower above the oak trim of the interior. There are two bathrooms each for men and women, so no waiting. All are open 24 hours a day with the outside door.

The information center is open every day from 8:30 am to 5 pm.

Executive Director of the Department of Tourism, Hardy Watkins, remarked, "We've given them the Taj Mahal."

So, the next time you're cruising 66 and feel the need to go, eat, or acquire information, get on the interstate for a short while. Sounds like a place to check out.

Jan. 25th OKC Oklahoman "State opens Taj Mahal for Visitors" by Julie Bisbee.

2. Ghost Town in Illinois-- There has been some discussion about a ghost town located south of Springfield, Illinois, in the yahoo Route 66 e-mail group.

It is the old town of Cotton Hill and is located on the north shore of Lake Springfield. This grows out of an article by Carl Johnson in the Route 66 Federation News.

3. The saga of the Saga-- silverquill has posted a photo on Waymarks of the Saga Motor Motel in Pasadena, Ca., built in 1957. It is on Colorado Blvd. which used to be Route 66 and combines elements of art deco and googie architecture.

4. DaGonzo goes to Pontiac, Illinois-- Blogger Gonzo, on Jan. 30th, posted about US-66 in Pontiac, Illinois. He had photos of the Route 66 Museum, mural, and the courthouse.

He also had pictures and information on Dwight's Gothic church and train station.

On Jan. 31st, he featured the State Police Station south of Pontiac.

Well worth a look and read.

5. Sears Houses in Berwyn, Illinois-- In a city better known for its famous bungalow homes, a fight is brewing between Berwyns government and the Berwyn Historical Preservation Commission. The city council recently approved the demolition of a Sears House at 6501 27th Place without consulting the commission, which was established in 2006.

Rebecca Hunter, an architectural historian from Elgin who specializes in mail-order buildings said, "They're rare (and) this appears to be the only country in the whole world that ever marketed pre-cut kit homes ao it's a special thing in American architecture and American ingenuity at its best."

There are also 13 other Sears homes that have been identified in Berwyn.

Feb. 14th Berwyn Life "Preservation commission works to save home" by Cari Brokamp.

Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

NIU-- Memorial for the Slain

There are some who believe Cole Hall should be torn down and replaced with a park.

Personally, I believe the hall (which was called Reavis when I attended from 1969-1973) should remain and continue to be used. The actions of one deranged person should never be allowed to interfere with education.

I'd put the broken door in a case and leave the seats in the front rows just as they are, but no one would be allowed to sit in them. Outside, perhaps some sort of memorial wall or statue.

Just a Thought.

NIU Tragedy Continues-- Shivers and First-Hand Account

Yesterday, we found out that the killer stayed at the TraveLodge on Lincoln Highway. We used to stay here a lot when it was Motel 6 so this kind of sends the shivers up the old spine. Did we stay in the same room the killer did at a later date?

We no longer stay there because they have let the place go. I like cheap places, but they have to be clean. I wouldn't recommend it.

Our Illinois Lincoln Highway State Director, Kay Shelton, is a librarian at NIU. She posted on the ILHA e-mail group.

She said she was interviewing a new library dean at the library which is located across a parking lot from Cole Hall, where the shootings took place. A guard came in and they had to relocate to another building farther away, where they continued the interview.

At first, Kay thought this was just one student getting mad at another and shooting, but, "I did not know until I got home that it was Columbine and Virginia Tech all over again."

On another post, she said that she didn't know the shooter, but seems to remember seeing him around campus. However, "there was nothing suspicious about him at all."

Part of Kay's job at NIU is to answer e-mails. The enormity of the tragedy struck her when "I received a message from a librarian from Virginia Tech offering to help me do my job answering e-mail questions."

Kay and others in the group would like to have Cole Hall torn down and turned into a park or memorial for those slain.

To view the discussion

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Route 66 News has Millionth Hit

Hats off to Ron Warnick for his excellent Route 66 News blog which recorded its millionth hit on February 11th.

This is always one of the first places I check when I go on the internet.

Said Ron, "I suspected that Route 66 needed a one-stop, timely news source when I created it, and the site's growth has only confirmed that."

The 100,000th page view was in July 2006, less than 8 months after the launch. He has since posted 2,601 times, and he was only shooting for one post a day. There have been over 3,500 comments as well and the filter has stopped 157,000 spams.

For those of you who are "Cars" movie fans, his most popular post has been "A Route 66 Guide to the 'Cars' Movie" where he shows where the ideas came from. There have been 84,000 page views of it since posting in June 2006.

The biggest day of activity was June 23, 2007 when there were 6,720 page views.

This blog sets the marker for all road blogs.

Congratulations Ron for a Job Well-Done. --RoadDog

Sad Times at NIU on the Lincoln Highway

Both Liz and I are in shock by what happened at Northern Illinois University Valentine's Day. We both graduated from there in 1973. I received my MA from there in 1981. We've been back for many functions.

We first learned about it while out for a Valentine's Dinner. A lady asked the owners to turn on the news as she'd just gotten a call from her daughter saying she was ok. The woman had no idea what had happened as this was only a short time after the shootings took place. Both Liz and I happened to be wearing NIU sweatshirts at the time.

We came home and called a friend who had gone back to college and she was at her apartment and had been parked across from Cole Hall just an hour before the shootings.

Yesterday, I talked with another woman who had a daughter who had just graduated from Northern.

At Best Buy in McHenry, Illinois, there was an employee who was a student at NIU. He was unhappy because he couldn't wear Huskie red as the students at Virginia Tech had suggested. Best Buy's color is blue. Had he been working at Circuit City that would have not been a problem.

There is a discussion of it going on at the Illinois LincolnHighway Association's google e-mail group. Our state director, Kay Shelton was close by when the horror took place.

Also, I came across an NIU student's blog where he talks about it.

Illinois Route 38, the original Lincoln Highway, forms a lot of the southern border of Northern's campus.

Now, Northern joins the list with Columbine and Virginia Tech. Sad Days Indeed.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Forbes Trail in the News

One of the lesser know early US highways is the 1758 Forbes Road which was built by British General John Forbes from Philadelphia to Fort Duquesne, present-day Pittsburgh. It measured 300 miles and helped open the west to settlement. Although primitive by today's standards, although this winter's potholes around the Chicagoland are turning our roads primitive, it was still a major accomplishement.

Some 7000 men helped build it. After the French Fort Duquesne was captured, the name was changed to Fort Pitt.

Laura Fisher, director of the French and Indian War 250 Inc is currently editing a book about the road which is going to be published in May.

For more info:

Feb. 11th Pittsburgh Tribune-Review "Digital mappers rediscover Forbes Trail" by Allison M. Hendrichs.

Also, work is underway to use historical sources, computer programs, and mapping software to produce the first digital map of the road. Once computerized, it will be laid over current roads to be used as an aid to folks driving the road.

One More Road to Travel. --RoadDog

Monday, February 11, 2008

Lots 'o Lists

Sure appears that there are a lot of lists being released right now. Sure glad of it. It sure is a boost to preservation. The list of top destinations also gets tourists and makes the people of their communities even more open to spend money for preservation.

National Trust for Historic Preservation List

The NTHP recently released its annual list of top 12 in the US.

They are:

Friday Harbor, Washington State
Aiken, SC
Appalachiola, Fl
Columbia, Ms
Crested Butte, Co
Redwing, Mn
Fort Davis, Tx
Portland, Or
Portsmouth, Or
Portsmouth, NH
San Juan Bautista, Ca
Wilmington, NC

I've been to Friday Harbor, Portland, Or, Portsmouth, NH, and Wilmington, NC. I sespecially like Wilmington's efforts to portray life on the homefront during WWII. There is even a tour of it available.

Places I probably won't get to visit because of the gas prices. Thanks a lot, Big Oil!!! --RoadDog

Wisconsin Preservation Efforts-- Lancaster and Sheboygan

A couple articles from our neighbor to the north.

Lancaster-- The Feb. 5th Dubuque, Iowa, Telegraph-Herald reports that the Wisconsin State Historical Society has awarded the City of Lancaster a $17,500 grant to identify historical properties and support preservation efforts. A lot of this effort revolves around the extensive mining operations that occurred in Southwwestern Wisconsin in the 1800s to early 1900s.

Sheboygan-- The Feb. 6th Sheboygan Press reports that the city has approved a 90 day moratorium on applications to raze any of the 360 properties designated as historic. It doesn't block demolition, but will impact fast teardowns. You know, let's tear it down before anybody knows.

These are properties that may be eligible for inclusion on the National register of Historic Places.

This past May, 8 of these were placed on the city's first historic landmark list: City Hall, Sheboygan Fire Station No. 1, Heritage School, Fountain Park, Sheridan Park, the Little Red Schoolhouse, the Sheyboygan Press building, and a private residence at 710 Michigan Avenue.

Good to see Sheboygan getting involved with preserving its heritage. Congratulations.-- RoadDog

Oklahoma's 12 Most Endangered Sites

The February 4th Oklahoman, of OKC, released the 2008 list of the 12 most endangered Oklahoma sites.

They are:

Archaeological Sites-- statewide
Art Deco Apartment Building-- OKC in Crown Heights District
Boley Historical District-- 1903 black settlement where blacks could govern themselves
Chilocco Indian School-- 1884. Grew from one building to 35 in 1907.
Fairchild Wine Vault-- 1893- first winery in Oklahoma territory
Lustron Homes-- 1949-1950-- built entirely of steel to address the housing shortage after WWII. 2,560 built and eight still standing in Oklahoma. I'll have to find out more about these homes.
Midtown Tulsa-- 11th to 51st streets, Lewis Avenue to Arkansas River. Homes from 1920s to 1950s. McMansions replacing them.
Places of Worship-- statewide
Route 66 Motels-- Sayre to Miami
Santa Fe Depot-- Tonkawa, 1899
Small Towns-- statewide. More than half of Oklahoma communities are 1000 population or less.
Wheelock Academy-- Millerton, 1832--founded shortly after the Trail of Tears

If We Let Them Know, Will They Save Them? --RoadDog

Chicago Endangered Sites

Preservation Chicago released its 7 most endangered sites list on Jan. 26th. They include:

Grant Park-- primarily because of the Children's Museum moving there
Chicago Athletic Association Building-- on Michigan Avenue
American Book Company-- at Cermak and Calumet
Devon Avenue Commercial District-- far North Side
Booker Building-- South Cottage Grove
Daily News Building-- along the river downtown--proposed building
Old Norwood Park-- on Northwest Side

Always good to see preservation groups bringing endangered sites to the public's attention.

If they Know, Perhaps it WON'T Get Torn Down. --RoadDog

Friday, February 8, 2008

Down Da 66-- Motel Compromise-- Tulsa Development-- Montana-- Pontiac's Betty Estes

Down Da 66-- News Along Route 66-- A Bit Late with this batch, though.

1. El Vado Compromise-- The Jan. 8th KOB TV had a segment on the Albuquerque City Council which voted 5-4 to designate the controversial El Vado Motel on Central Avenue as a historical landmark, but this in itself will not save it from the owner's bulldozer. Richard Gonzales, the property owner wants to develop high-end condos on the site and city statutes state that landmarks must also be economically viable, if not, the owner can do whatever they want. Gonzales says it isn't viable.

So the historical and distinctive El Vado is not out of the woods yet.

2. Tulsa, Oklahoma Development Underway-- Tulsa's KJRH TV reported that the city was getting involved with its 24 miles of Route 66 as per its Vision 2025 Plan.

The 11th Street Bridge will feature bronze artwork of the Father of Route 66, Cyrus Avery and flags of the eight states the road goes through. There will also be an illuminated skywalk and a diner atop a three story building and interactive museum.

On the west side of town, there are plans for a Route 66 Red Fork Centennial Park. Also, a 154 foot oil derrick will be constructed to honor Tulsa's oil heritage. At that highth, it will be the tallest derrick in the world. Tulsa's old Frisco engine train will also be located here.

3. Montana Doing OK-- Much discussion has been going on in the Route 66 E-mail Group regarding the health of Montana the rabbit, the official Route 66 greeter at Henry's in Staunton, Illinois. She had to be operated on, but is recovering nicely. Shouldn't be long before she will once again be "signing" postcards at Henry's.

4. Pontiac's Betty Estes-- Betty Estes, who has done much to further Route 66 and Pontiac, Illinois tourism, recently was elected to the Illinois Senior Hall of Fame. This is an honor she very-much deserved. Congratulations Betty!

Keep on Down that Two Lane Highway. --RoadDog

Woodstock Willie's Groundhog Days-- Part 2

Walked across the beautiful town square and I was among the first to go into the annual chili cookoff. Few things in this world I like better than a chili cookoff. I love tasting the different chilis. I was very impressed with a vegetarian chili and voted that the best.

As usual, I wasn't the only one and the room at the Opera House was soon shoulder-to-shoulder big winter coats. Turning was difficult and I don't even want to talk about trying to get up to the tables to sample others' offerings. They should just allow a certain number in at a time and keep reminding people to go to the center of the room to taste. Also, it might help if they would have the people put the chilis into the paper cups a little ahead of time. They were mighty hot to the touch.

Walked around the square for awhile visiting stores and dropped off a note to Village Cove, where my mother-in-law lived for about three years in assisted care. She died last week in a nursing home at age 92. She had a great apartment overlooking the square. I always joked with her that she had to hold on long enough so I could get the place when I reach that point in my life. Unfortunately, that was not to be.

Every year, there are walks to the various "Groundhog Day" movie sites, usually given by Bob Hudgins who served as the film's location director. A new plaque is placed each year as well. This year's was at the alley where the old man died.

There are usually anywhere from 60-100 people, but this year we had at least 500. I decided just to stay for his introductory talk in front of the Opera House (usually, it is in the Stage Left Room) but there were too many people.

Bob has done the walk (it's given both days) most every year since the celebration started 14 years ago. My very first year, it was given by Steve Tobolowski who played Ned on the movie.

More to Come... --RoadDog

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Where's the General's Horse?

The next time you're in the Chicago area, why not take a trip out to Frankfort, Illinois, and look for Sam, the horse that was General Sherman's mount during the Civil War.

They know for a fact that it is buried somewhere in the town, but no one knows exactly where. Perhaps it is in Vern Harvey's yard, or maybe its under one of the many subdivisions that have been built in recent years. Or maybe even a strip mall.

Inquire at the village hall.

For more info, see my Civil War blog at

A Trip Back to 1950s

The February 3rd Chicago Tribune reported about a new house that opened in Park Forest, Illinois, which takes Baby Boomers right back to their youth.

This past Saturday, the village had the grand opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Park Forest is located 40 miles south of Chicago and was in the first-wave of suburban towns built after WWII to meet the needs of returning veterans and theiur families. There is another house like this in Rolling Meadows (the first village my family lived in when we moved to Illinois in in 1962), which was designed in a similar fashion.

The house features Boontown Ware dishes, an old TV, rotary phone, among other era items.

All in all, these items are on a modest side compared to today's McMansions. According to village archivist and museum director Jane Nichol, "It's not that things were simpler in the '50s--it's that people expected less. What you have to understand is that these were people who were raised in the Depression and had been through years of war. They didn't have the attitude that they had to own everything."

Park Forest was incorporated in 1949 and was the first master-planned community in the country.

The museum will be open Sundays this month from 1 to 3 pm and is located at 141 Forest Blvd.

Hey, What Time is Howdy Doody On? --RoadDog

Woodstock Willie's Groundhog Day

This past weekend, I went to the 14th annual Groundhog Day celebration in Woodstock, Illinois. This was my fourth trip to it, possibly fifth.

The 1993 movie "Groundhog Day" starring Bill Murray was filmed there in 1992.

It is actually an eight day event these days, starting the previous Sunday with a pancake breakfast at the Moose Lodge (scene of the final party where Rita "buys" Phil), but the biggest things are the prognostication, Lighting of the Groundhog, viewing of the movie (in the Woodstock Theater called the Alpine in the movie, where Bill gave his Clint Eastwood impersonation), chili cook off, plaquing and movie site walk, movie symposium, and Groundhog Dance.

Attendance continues to pick up as people find out about it. Plus, this year, Groundhog Day fell on a Saturday and we had much nicer weather than last frozen year. A record 1000 people watched the 7:07 am prognostication (Woodstock Willie did not see his shadow so winter will soon be over, although with the 12-14 inches of snow we got here yesterday, I'm not sure). I missed it as I didn't wake up until 7:10.

I did make it in time for the 10 am showing of the movie. Usually, only one of the four screens at the theater has it, but today, there were two and full houses for both. This is a free movie!!! Nothing like watching the original movie where it was filmed. The audience cheers every time the movie house is shown.

I had to sit three rows from the screen in order to be on the end of the row, a place I don't much care for, but the only ones available. Two families with young kids came in to fill out the row. A young child is NOT going to enjoy this movie. There were numerous trips to the bathroom, refills (which are free) and much youthful talking. Parents, it's a free movie, hire a babysitter.

To Be Continued. --RoadDog

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Lincoln Logs-- Buy Way's Back-- Money for L-H Sculptures-- Faulkner's Service Station-- Ligonier, Pa, --Western Terminus Marker

Some News From the Lincoln Highway

1. The Lincoln Highway's Buy-Way is Back-- I came across a blog where the announcement that the annual Buy-Way in Ohio will be August 7 through 9 this year. This whole even keeps getting bigger every year and certainly brings the name of Lincoln Highway to the public.

2. $49,340 for Pennsylvania LH Sculptures-- The Feb. 4th Pittsburgh Tribune Review said that a $49,340 grant was given byComminity Connection to plan and design 20 foot sculptures along a 200 mile stretch of LH in Pennsylvania. This will be also along the Forbes Road, the same route traveled by General John Forbes and George Washington in 1758.

The sculptures will be completed by vocational and technical students in Somerset and Westmoreland counties. They will be made of metal and wire and will portray vintage autos and recognizable historical figures like gas attendants and waitresses.

3. Faulkner's Service and Filling Station-- Bourbon, Indiana-- Hoosier Reborn in his Hoosier Happenings Blog of February 4th had a picture of Faulkner's Service and Filling Station which opened for business in 1931 a mile west of Bourbon. The structure was built three years after the LH/US-30 was built across the back of the farm. "This may be one of the more intact examples of a filling station from the early Lincoln Highway days of our country. He'd been by it many times, but just found out what it was.

Not a very impressive building if you ask me, but of historical importance.

4. Blogger Goes to Ligonier, Pa.-- Crystal Lynn in her Just By Walking Around Blog visited the town of Ligonier, Pa in her January 27th entry.

She said it was a colonial outpost in the 1700s. General Forbes came across and cleared a road to what is now Pittsburgh. A young George Washington visited the area during the French and Indian War.

Today, the Forbes Road is also known as the Lincoln Highway, the first major east-west highway in the US. Each town has a diamond in the middle of it. If you go east, you will visit Gettysburg.

The town had an ice-sculpting festival and she included a picture of a General Forbes sculpture.

5. Flickr Photo of Western Terminus-- mmhmm posted a picture on Flickr Jan. 27th of the western terminus Boy Scout marker. There are also LOTs of pictures of SF. Perhaps someone could tell which ones are on the old LH.

Keep on Down that Grand Old Lincoln Highway. --RoadDog

Litchfield, Illinois--Veterans Memorial Garden

Last fall, I was in Litchfield where the 2008 Route 66 International festival will be held this June. While walking around the downtown, I saw the Veterans Memorial Garden on the east side of the library, which I had mistaken for the county courthouse until I learned it was in Hillsboro.

Mighty impressive recognition for those who risked their lives in US wars from WWI right up to the Afghanistan/Iraq conflict.

It was dedicated on Memorial Day, May 28, 2007. Twelve granite stones are etched with the names of over 3,500 veterans, living and dead.

The idea came about in early 2006. Fund-raising began in April with the Ariston making one of the first donations. An architect and site were found, then came the hard part and that was compiling the names. Old newspapers, scrapbooks, service organization records, and library archives were extensively searched.

To view the names, go to

Something Else to see at the Festival in June.  --RoadDog