Saturday, May 30, 2009

Thinking Lincoln Highway

The May 30th Indianapolis Star had an article by James Glass about the 100th anniversary of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Mr. Glass felt it wih appropriate to also think about the first US transcontinental highway which was born in Indianapolis thanks to the "Fabulous Hoosier," Carl G. Fisher, who also conceived the Motorway.

In September, 1912, he proposed to his other Indianapolis car folk, and east-west highway to take advantage of the growing popularity of the automobile. They pledged $300,000 of the anticipated $10 million for the project. The call went out to other automotive people and Henry Joy of Packard Motor Co. in Detroit came aboard and suggested the road be named after Abraham Lincoln.

In 1913, the new Lincoln Highway Association suggested a 3,300 mile route through 11 states and connecting 11 major cities, including Fort Wayne and South Bend in Indiana. Effort was made to minimize mileage, scenery, condition of existing roadage, cost of improving and building new alignments.

The Lincoln Highway in Indiana originally ran from Fort Wayne to Elkhart and South Bend and eventually to Schererville close to the Illinois border. In 1928, it was straightened. Then, Glass suggested that those interested should at end the Lincoln Highway Association convention in South Bend June 16th to 20th.

Quite a Guy, This Fisher. --RoadDog

Thursday, May 28, 2009

More on the 90th Military Convoy

The May 24th Quad-City Times of Davenport, Iowa, had and article titled "Q-C men to participate in convoy re-enactment."

Ninety years ago, a young Lt.-Col Dwight Eisenhower and a group of vehicles from the newly mechanized US Army made a cross-country drive on the Lincoln Highway from Washington, DC, to San Francisco to test the machines and to see the Army's ability to mobilize in case of an attack on the US West Coast.

Two military vehicle enthusiasts from Davenport, Bill Boots and Brad nelson, will be part of it. They are president and vice-president of the Quad-City Military Vehicle Preservation Association and are often seen around the area with the twenty other members in parades.

Boots will be driving his 1952 Jeep M38A1 from Rochelle, Illinois, to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on June 21st. He had been looking for an old jeep 45 years before finding this very rusted one in a barn. Nelson will make the entire journey from DC to SF, June 13th to July 26th in his M1028 shelter carrier heavy-duty truck.


There have been 178 vehicle registrations, but, not all for the whole journey. At any given day, there will be between 60 and 100 vehicles.

Sure wish I could get a chance to see it, but I'll be out of town when the convoy passes through the Midwest.

Quite a Thing to See and History as Well. --RoadDog

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Lincoln Logs: Companion-- Convoy-- Franzwa

Lincoln Logs-- Some New News About an Old Highway, the Lincoln

1. COMPANION-- I see that Brian Butko's Lincoln Highway Companion is about ready to be released. This will be an excellent follow up to his "Greetings from the Lincoln Highway" book which came out a few years ago.

2. CONVOY-- The March 27th Rochelle (Il) News for the "Hub City" had an article about hosting the more than 80 antique military vehicles participating in next month's 90th anniversary of the first US Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy.

There will be food, live entertainment and even restored planes at the airport on Saturday, June 20th. Sunday, there will be a Fly-In Drive-In featuring a pancake breakfast.

3. FRANZWA-- Sorry to report that a man who was instrumental in forming the new Lincoln Highway Association in 1992, Gregory Matthew Franzwa, died March 29th. He also founded the Oregon and California Trails Associations and edited the Lincoln Highway Forum for many years. A great friend of the two lane roads.

Thanks, Mr. Franzwa. --RoadDog

Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure

Came across this on buddy Denny Gibson's website. On a Memorial Day weekend trip along the National Road, he visited Frostburg, Maryland and ate at the Princess Restaurant which is celebrating its 70th anniversary, which is reason enough to visit the place.

However, back in 1953, after he left the presidency, Harry Truman and wife Bess went on a three-week 2500 mile road trip, the first and only president to do this without Secret service, bodyguards, or attendants. They stayed in cheap motels or with friends. He ate at this restaurant and the booth he was at is still there. Denny, of course, just had to get his picture taken in the booth and had a long talk with the owner.

Matthew Alego has written a book on the road trip called "Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure." The Trumans stumbled into an outside shoot of the Today Show and in Pennsylvania, was pulled over for careless driving.

In one section of the book, Truman and his wife, after packing 11 suitcases and leaving Independence, Missouri, stopped at a diner in Hannibal, Missouri, and thought they were getting away with being unrecognized and paying the bill when some county judges came in "and the incog was off."

Looks like a book worth checking out. Can't wait for the PBS or History Channel documentary, if there is one.

I'm Just Wild About Harry. --RoadDog

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Got Mesker?

Well, some folks may "Got Milk," but some Midwestern towns "Got Mesker."

This means that the fronts of some downtown buildings have the efforts of the Mesker brothers on them in the form of decorative sheet metal embossed with Fleur-delis, morning glories, majestic cast-iron columns that mimicked quarried stone. And, these were extra appealing to store owners because they were comparatively cheap.

Around the turn of the last century (1885 to 1915), more than 54,000 installations were made nationwide, but mostly in the Midwest where the two companies, one in St. Louis and one in Evansville, Indiana.

Illinois alone had nearly 7,000, followed by Indiana and Missouri at numbers two and three. The Mesker business survived until the 1980s. Mesker Brothers Ironworks is now Mesker Door Co. which makes metal doors and frames in Huntsville, Alabama.

Got Mesker? --RoadDog

Friday, May 22, 2009

First Lincoln Highway Sign in Fort Wayne, Indiana

Yesterday, May 21st, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry unveiled the first of 30 planned signs showing the 1915 and 1928 alignments of the Lincoln Highway through town. It was placed by the Lincoln Highway Bridge on Harrison Street, north of downtown.

Because of one way streets and road closures, however, it will be impossible to drive either alignment. Mayor Henry said that many people don't know much about this important road.

The signs are part of National Historic Preservation Month.

Just last month, I tried to drive Lincoln Highway through Fort Wayne, but really got lost. And that after the great signage I saw in nearby Ohio between Delphos and Van Wert. There must have been a sign every mile.

Good News for LH Fans. --RoadDog

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Something to See in Springfield, Illinois

An unassuming home at 1132 West Lawrence belonged to one John L. Lewis, a renowned labor leader who lived there from 1917 to 1965 according to the Historic Sites Commission of Springfield. He was elected president of a local chapter of the United Mine Workers, became a lobbyist and in 1911 a general field agent for the AFL.

He had left school at age 15 and worked in the mines until blacklisted for union activity.

In 1920, he became president of the UMW and held that position for the next 40 years. he died in 1969 and is buried in Springfield.

However, I saw in Wikipedia, that he lived in the Lee-Fendall House on Alexandria, Virginia, from 1937 until his death. The Lee part of the name comes from Robert E. Lee's father, Richard "Lighthorse" Lee. George Washingtom ate at the house, but did not sleep there.

I'll Have to Check This Place Out next time in Springfield. --RoadDog

American Road Spring Cruise-- Part 6-- Richmond and New Paris

Drove through Richmond to the Golden Inn, just over the border in New Paris, Ohio, and got a room at the Golden Inn Motel, a true 40s-50s mom-pop place. I always prefer to stay at one of these when on the road. Sitting outside your room and talking and enjoying the grounds sure beats nothing but parking lots.

I was a bit worried about getting a room since I hadn't done so in advance as I was told that there was a big show in the araea that weekend, but didn't have any problem. and, it was only $55 with tax, pretty reasonable for these days.

I drove back to Richmond to play NTN at Buffalo Wild Wings as I had never played there before. Played the game with a guy from Oklahoma who was running the show which turned out to be a dog show.

Stopped at a liquor store (unlike Cave City, Ky, where we were two years ago, they sell alcohol). Actually saw my first-ever Heavenly Hill bourbons. On that last cruise two years ago, we had visited their brewery, but I'd never seen a bottle since.


We met up with the others who were on the cruise here. After some talk out by the small trees, we drove a mile north to Baumbach's for some of the best bbq I've ever had. Very rustic interior, nothing fancy, just good food.

I got the pulled pork with two sides. I'd never seen a place have both sweet potato fies and baked sweet potatoes, but, they had it. Not much question about what I was ordering. All that for $10. Even better, their featured beer was Lone Star for a buck an ice-cold bottle. Fully availed myself.

Then, afterward, we went back to the motel for a late evening gab session, something I like as well as cruising the road.

Cruising, Eating, and Talking. Does It Get Much better Than That? --RoadDog

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Down Da 66: Palms Grill-- Rock Cafe

Some New News About an Old Road.

1. PALMS GRILL-- The Grand Reopening will be Friday from 5:30 to 9 PM at 110 Arch Street (wonder how it got that name?). Activities, music, and specials are planned. It cost $500,000 to reopen this long-closed place. I'm sure it won't be long before it gets on the Route 66 Association of Illinois' Hall of Fame.

2. ROCK CAFE-- Tattoo Man, Ron Jones, talked to Dawn Welch at the Rock cafe in Stroud, Oklahoma, and that venerable institution will be open memorial day weekend and will have their grand reopening in June.

Good to Have These Two Eating Places Open Again. --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Down Da 66:

Some New News About An Old Road.

1. SEARS SKYDECK-- Plans are afoot to build a skydeck modeled on the one out by the Grand Canyon where you can walk out and see nothing but glass between you and the ground, at the Sears Tower in Chicago. It will be on the west side an afford a great view of Adams and Jackson streets, the alignments of Route 66. Don't think I'll go out on it, though. Too scared.

We can still call it the Sears Tower until this summer when it becomes the Willis Tower. I, however, will continue to call it the Sears Tower.

2. DA PULSE IS BACK-- I am hearing that Route 66's monthly magazine, The Pulse, is making a come-back in June. Great job Jim Conklin. I missed it. This is great, and free, information about the road, and especially good for non-fanatics traveling it.

3. SIDEWALK HIGHWAY-- Laurel Kane, at Afton Station, in Afton, Oklahoma, is trying to get a marker for the Sidewalk/Ribbon Highway between Afton and Miami and is presently raising money for it. This is one Route 66 place really needing signage.

I could also go for signage directing drivers to it. I've been lost several times trying to find it.

Going Down That two-Lane Highway. --RoadDog

American Road Spring Cruise-- Part 5-- Indy to Richmond, Indiana

After leaving the cemetery, we drove downtown to see the new playing fields for the Colts in football and Pacers in basketball. Both quite impressive, especially the Colts field (can't remember the name of it, though). The Soldiers and Sailors Monument in the circle downtown is extremely impressive.

We also went to see the marker showing where the National Road and US-421 crossed each other by a Hardee's. US-421 is especially important to me as it was the first road that I drove from one end to the other. Plus, my grandparents had a cottage near the southern terminus at Carolina Beach before Hurricane Hazel destroyed it in 1954. Our family still returned to my great aunt's place every year through college, so this area is special.

We drove east from Indianapolis of the National Road/US-40. Once past the perimeter interstate, I expected easy driving, but, unfortunately, we hit some major road construction and it was slow going.

HOOSIER DADDY? (Sorry, Bobby)

Drove to Knightstown and stopped at the old high school field house where the interior shots of the movie "Hoosiers" were shot. It is now a public facility and was open, even though no one was there to supervise it. My recommendation is for some pro team to sign Pat up. That guy is quite the shooter. I, on the other hand, failed to even hit the backboard (my excuse is that I was holding both the still and movie cameras).

This is a real trip back to the 40s and 50s. The actual little school that made it to the Indiana championship was Milan. Jennifer is really into visiting movie film sites, so this was great for her.

He Shoots, He Scores!! --RoadDog

Monday, May 18, 2009

Comparing the 1919 and 2009 Lincoln Highway Convoys

Again, from the April 12th Chambersburg (Pa)Public Opinion. See April 27th blog entry.

Comparing: 1919 first; 2009 second.

Beginning and End: Washington, DC to San Francisco-- Same
Length of Trip and Dates: 62 days July 7 to September 6th-- 26 days June 13th to July 8th

Visited Chambersburg: July 8th-- June 13th and 14th
Size of Convoy: 81 vehicles, 46 trucks, 5 ambulances, 11 cars, 9 motorcycles, 1 Maxwell caterpillar tractor, 2 ambulance trailers, 4 kitchen trailers, 1 pontoon trailer, 1 mobile searchlight and recovery vehicle-- 100 vehicles joining for various parts, many historical military and other antique vehicles.

Size of Group: 37 officers and 256 enlisted-- will vary
Speed: Average speed 6 mph-- Top speed of 35
Average miles per day: 59

Some Interesting Facts. --RoadDog

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Old Spanish Trail

From My Florida Blog by Lucy D. Jones, President of Florida History LLC, April 14th.

There is an Old Spanish Trail Zero Mile Marker in St. Augustine. The name of the road is misleading as it never was a Spanish road during the colonial days, although parts of it were used. It began in 1915 as a transcontinental highway between St, Augustine, Florida, and San Diego, California. Mobile, Alabama, was the beginning and it was designed to take advantage of connecting with the north-south Dixie and Jackson highways.

During World War I, advocates promoted its importance as a military route. In the 1920s, Old Spanish trail Director Harral B. Ayres encouraged the old Spanish aspect to romanticize it and promote tourism.

A major problem facing the road was terrain. Swamps and rivers are difficult to build a road through. It was not completed until 1929, and St. Augustine had a three day celebration in its honor and the Zero Mile Marker was dedicated. It has been moved twice since then.

The festival continues even to this day in Crestview, Florida, during the last weekend in April and first in May. This year's was the 53rd annual.

Sounds Like a Good Place to Visit. --RoadDog

Friday, May 15, 2009

Down Da 66: Coleman Theater-- The Dixie-- Signs Back-- Meadow Gold Sign Back

Some New News About an Old Road.

1. COLEMAN THEATRE-- located on Route 66 in Miami, Oklahoma, is celebrating its 80th anniversary. And to think they were considering tearing it down. Impressive building.

2. THE DIXIE-- The Route 66 E-mail group had some discussion about new owners at the Dixie Truckers Home in McLean, Illinois, and they are doing a lot of work on it. Good news. One member wants to see washrooms in better shape. I don't know about the women's facilities, but I'll amen the need in the guys'.

3. SIGNS BACK-- News on 6 TV reported April 23rd that the vandalized Route 66 signs at the Cyrus Avery Bridge in Tulsa, Oklahoma, have been repaired and replaced.

4. MEADOW GOLD SIGN BACK-- Another great Oklahoma sign will be back up and better than ever when this is dedicated May 22nd in Tulsa.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

American Road Spring Cruise-- Indianapolis-- Part 4


I followed Pat and Jennifer to Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis to see Carl Fisher's grave. They added a few other highlight graves, though. The first was that of bank robber John Dillinger. It was nothing fancy, just an in-ground stone with name and dates. I've since read that people take souvenir chips, but it looked in fine shape to me. However, people had put quite a few coins (mostly pennies) on it, probably because he liked money so much.

We then saw the grave of Pat's grandfather.

This has to be the largest cemetery I've ever seen. I mentioned that with one this large and in a major city, there must be a president buried there, and there was. Next stop was the grave of the 23rd president, Benjamin Harrison. It also wasn't as big as I might have expected.

A short distance from it was the mausoleum of the Fisher family, where Lincoln Highway, Dixie Highway, Indianapolis Speedway, and Miami Beach founder Carl Fisher is buried. Other than the family name, there is nothing else to indicate the importance of the man buried there.

Also, a short distance from Harrison and Fisher's grave is Strawberry Hill, where Indiana children's poet James Whitcomb Riley is buried. It is the highest point in Indianapolis and offers a great view of the skyline.

We also found the grave of Richard Gatling, inventor of the first machine gun, the Gatling Gun.

Quite a Cemetery. RoadDog

Quite a C

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

American Road Spring Cruise-- Indianapolis-- Part 3

April 24th, I met Pat and Jennifer Bremer at Charlie Brown's on Main Street in Speedway. This is not one of your cookie cutter breakfast places and its wall were covered with racing posters (perhaps because it is about a quarter mile from the Indianapolis Speedway.)


We drove out to the nearby Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indy 500, a major NASCAR race, and a motorcycle race. Free parking and just $3 for a very informative and interesting drive on the speedway itself. Lots of history here in the small strip of bricks at the start-finish line (originally, the whole track was bricked, most of which are now covered by asphalt. They could raise lots of money by uncovering and selling them. In case you're ever wondering why the track is sometimes referred to as the Brickyard.

I was also impressed by Gasoline Alley, the Pagoda, and the number tower that is lit up by thousands of lights. The tour is narrated, and well worth it, even if you're not a race fan (like me).


We then paid another $3 for the museum, which was worth every bit of it. We got to see the winner's cub with its risque male figure on it as well as a lot of the winning cars over the years, and a very informative film. I would recommend seeing the film first, however, especially if you're not a race fan.

There were historical race cars, including one of Carl Fisher's which was too heavy, so he bored holes in it.

I wasn't going to buy anything, but when I found this year's race is on my birthday, May 24th, I was forced to buy some. This is the 100th anniversary of the track and 2011 will be the 100th anniversary of the Indy 500, so they're calling this year and the next two the centennial era.

When In Indianapolis, You Must Go to the Indy. --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Palms Cafe-- Part 2

Some more on the Palms Cafe in Atlanta, Illinois, from the Bill Thomas article in the Route 66 News.

Boxer Max Baer, Sr., the real father of Jethro of the Beverly Hillbillies, the newly crowned heavy weight boxing champion stopped in August 12, 1934. His group parked in front and five went in, Mr. Baer remaining asleep in the car.

They awakened him and he went inside just as the cook, Tina Shifflet, was taking several pies out of the oven. He had a slice of coconut pie and was so impressed, that he walked into the kitchen and tipped each of the workers a buck saying that was the best pie he'd ever had.

It closed in the late sixties and the place remained empty for twenty years.

Owned by John Hopkins and after his death in 2002, the family donated it to the Atlanta Library and Museum, which began renovation the following year.

It has been restored to its original appearance.

Definitely a place to stop and have a meal and take a trip back to the time Route 66 was the way to go from Chicago to Los Angeles.

I wonder if Al Capone ever stopped there.

Great Bit of Research, Mr. Thomas. --RoadDog

Monday, May 11, 2009

US Highway 12 in Illinois.

A Bit of Nostalgia and NTN

We had planned to go to visit the graves of Liz's parents at Memory Gardens in Arlington Heights, Illinois, on Saturday. but the weather wasn't very good, so decided to go today.

We drove US-12 from Spring Grove to Des Plaines, a trip we've made many times over the years. While living in Palatine in the sixties, we often went to St. George & the Dragon (now Idols) at the corner of Dundee and 12 and the nearby Village Inn (now a chicken wings place) for pizza. Across 12 was Skrudland's, a film developing store (for those old Instamatic cameras).

A big hang out for us high schoolers was Randhurst Mall (now being partially torn down) at the corner of 12 and Il-83. This was one of the first indoor malls in the United States. Students from all over Chicago's Northwest suburbs went there to see and be seen.

During the summers, we would pile a bunch of kids into a car and drive northwest on US-12 to Honey Hill Beach in Wauconda (now a condo development). Now, that was a great time, especially the king of the raft encounters and the giant slide. Then, soaking up rays listening to the latest tunes being played over the intercom. Those were some great times. The night crew at Burger King would go there for the morning and afternoon, and then be really worn out, much to the owner, Bob Galloy's dismay.

One of the Original 1926 Roads. --RoadDog

Saturday, May 9, 2009

New Route 66 Place in Illinois-- Palms Cafe

When we went through Atlanta, Illinois, back in March, I saw that the Palms Grill Cafe was almost ready to open. Now, I see that it has.

My friend Lulu, aka Lynn, sent an e-mail from You Tube, showing the place in business after all these years being closed. You can see it at

Also, the Spring issue of the 66 News, publication of the Route 66 Association of Illinois, had an article by Bill Thomas "The Palms Grill Cafe-- A New Beginning in Atlanta, Cafe."

Some interesting facts from the article:

The cafe opened August, 1934.
Gathering place for locals and place of employment for many.
Greyhound Bus Stop
Dancing and bingo on selected evenings in room in rear of building.
Opened and named by Atlantan resident Robert Adams who also lived in Los Angeles. The name Palms came from time he spent in LA.

More to Come. --RoadDog

Friday, May 8, 2009

Do You Remember These?

My Uncle Bo sent me an e-mail featuring those famous roadside signs of Burma Shave.

Do you remember any of these?

There would be five separate signs.

Hardly a driver
is now alive
who passed
on hills
at 75.

Don't lose your head
To gain a minute
You need your head
Your brains are in it.

Drove too long
Driver snoozing
What Happened
Next is not amusing.

An American Classic. --RoadDog

American Road Spring Cruise-- Part 2-- Playing NTN in Indiana

April 23rd, I left for a five day American Road Magazine Forum Cruise along the National Road/US-40, the oldest restaurant in Ohio and a trip to the American Sign Museum in Cincinnati.

Since I was heading out bright and early Friday, the 24th, I drove to Indianapolis on the 23rd.

I took the usual get-around Chicago route along Il-47, this time to Sauneman, Illinois and then went east to Indiana, picking up US-52 and taking it to Lebanon, Indiana, and then super-slabbed it to Indianapolis.

Today's objective was to play NTN at as many places as possible, using the new GPS. Before this, if Liz, my navigator, was not alone, I went to places I accidentally came across. That GPA sure helps.

Here an NTN, There An NTN

Lafayette/West Lafayette has four NTN sites. Two are Buffalo Wild Wings and we have played at one, but which one? I played at Aces Pub. Lebanon only has one place, the Depot. Unfortunately, the game wasn't on. They tried to get it on one set, but couldn't, so I left.

There are lots of NTN sites in Indianapolis, but the main one I wanted to go to was 86th Street Pub. They are usually ranked on most games. I found the place and they do play team. Only one of the regulars was there, unfortunately.

Played at BW3 and a TGIF near Speedway, but I had already played at these places before, so couldn't count them as new sites. Also played at JDs Pub and Union Jack, before getting a room at the Motel 6 in Speedway.

NTNin' Down the Road. --RoadDog

Thursday, May 7, 2009

2009 Dozen Distinctive Destinations-- Part 2

Continuing with the dozen from May 5th. An asterisk means I've been to it.

7. BRISTOL, RHODE ISLAND-- Town center on National Register, Home of famed Herreshot Manufacturing Co., producer of beautiful yachts.

8. FORT WORTH, Texas-- Calls self "City of Cowboys and Culture. Fort Worth Stockyards and Amon Carter and Modern Art museums.

9. LITITZ, PENNSYLVANIA-- old stone mills, log homes, and covered bridges. Rooted in Moravian heritage from 18th century.

10. HOT SPRINGS, SOUTH DAKOTA-- Mammoths and Indian petroglyphs among canyons.

11. * LAKE GENEVA, WISCONSIN-- On shores of Geneva Lake, two hours from Milwaukee and Chicago. Mix of architectural styles Gothic Revival to Queen Anne.

12. * FRANKLIN, TENNESSEE-- Close to Nashville, historic downtown, eclectic mix of buildings and Civil War heritage.

My Comments Tomorrow. --RoadDog

Long Weekend on the Road-- Part 10-- Scotty's

Other items at the Route 66 Association of Illinois quarterly meeting at Majestic Banquets in Litchfield, Illinois April 19th.

SCOTTY'S-- Back in March, Liz and I had visited here for lunch on our way out to Independence, Missouri, and had had some delicious buffalo fish (since I'd never heard of it before). Very good and akin to the mullet along the Gulf of Mexico, considered a garbage fish, but good it you eat it soon after it's caught.

We'd seen a for sale sign outside and asked if it were true and were told it was.

Owner Jim Allen was at the meeting and said that the place had been sold and his last day was going to be May 21st. He has been very involved with Route 66 since he took over the place a few years ago. We'll miss him and hope the new owners continue the 66 tradition.

The place dates back to at least the 1930s and was called Tourist Haven for a long time. There is an old Tourist Haven sign on the wall inside. The first time we visited back in 2002, it was Earnie's and we've been back many times since.

Jim has donated the famous far-ranging jackalope to the museum in Pontiac and the farewell party will be May 15th and there will be all sorts of specials and a band..

Best of luck in retirement somewhere out west, Jim.

Still More to Come. --RoadDog

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Lincoln Highway Lost and Found

The May 4th Quad City Times reports that construction workers on a sewer project on the north side of 11th Street in DeWitt, Iowa, have found an original Boy Scout concrete Lincoln Highway marker, complete with large copper penny. Eleventh Street was the route of the original Lincoln Highway through town.

It was one of the 3,400 the Boy Scouts of America put up every mile along the highway back in 1928.

The city plans on restoring it and it will be replaced somewhere along 11th Street. Officials contacted the Iowa Lincoln Highway Association who expressed interest.

It would be interesting to find out how it came to be lost.

Lost and Found. --RoadDog

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

2009 Dozen Distinctive Destinations

The National Trust for Historic Preservation has announced their 2009 Dozen Distinctive Destinations List. This features places "that showcase and preserve their unique histories while offering and enriching--and fun--visitor experience."

It is quite an honor to make the list.

An asterisk means I've been there. I'll make my own comments later. These are Krista Walton's. This year's destinations:

1. SANTA BARBARA, CALIF-- known for its Spanish Colonial Revival architecture, sometimes called America's Riviera. Over 70 designated historic landmarks.

2. *BUFFALO, NEW YORK-- Locals have made preservation a priority the last decade. Numerous restored structures and 500 annual walking tours with Frederick Law Olmsted parks and Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis Sullivan-designed buildings.

3. *SAUGATUCK-DOUGLAS, MICHIGAN-- century-old harbor towns and artist retreat.

4. SANTA FE, NEW MEXICO-- adobe architecture and surrounding 1.6 million acres of national forest. And, on a Route 66 alignment.

5. *ATHENS, GEORGIA-- 15 National Register-listed historic districts, neo-classical architecture and black heritage sites. Also home to Univ. of Georgia.

6. *VIRGINIA CITY, NEVADA-- Founded during the Gold Rush in the 1850s, outside Reno.

The Other Six Coming Up. --RoadDog

Monday, May 4, 2009

Long Weekend on the Road-- Part 9-- Route 66 Meeting


Marilyn Pritchard said attendance at the Hall of Fame in Pontiac was 379 for March and 425 so far in April. Of course, travel on 66 is a lot heavier during the summer.

The well from the old Wishing Well Motel, dating back to 1941, in Countryside (a Chicago suburb) has been rebuilt in the H of F, and people are throwing coins in (another source of money?). Unfortunately, the motel was torn down a few years ago, but not before the well was given to the association.

Landscaping is being done by the city of Pontiac by the wonderful Route 66 mural behind the building. Part of it will include some original bricks from the stretch near Springfield.

The Red Carper Corridor website has attracted 200 hits.


Membership stands at 861 with 112 new individual and 9 new business. There are 537 renewals and 127 life members and 62 Hall of Fame members.


There will be no special Illinois license plates for this year's motor tour. They were ordered in ample time, but, it was not to be. Wonder if the ex-gov was involved?

No Plates, What Will We Eat On? --RoadDog

Long Weekend on the Road-- Part 8-- Route 66 Meeting

Majestic Banquets is located in the old Masonic Hall where they are currently installing an elevator to provide disability access. I can tell you that the steps going up to the front door are STEEP!!


The names of the 2009 Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame inductees were announced. They were: The Crossroads Diner in Mt. Olive (wonder if it might have been a Jubelt's at one time?), The Mill on 66 in Lincoln, Staesville Penitentiary (why a prison?) in Crestwood, and the Sprague Super Service in Normal. The Tom Teague (founder and heart and sould of the organization) Ambassador Award to Lenore and John Weiss, Mr. and Mrs. Preservation in Illinois.


The association's web site recorded 2,402 visits in March with people visiting an average of 3.31 pages and spending an average of 2 minutes 17 seconds. Referred sites accounted for 1,006 and search engine 991.

Visitors by country: US- 1,936, France- 61, UK- 47, Canada- 37, Italy- 34, Ireland- 33, Germany- 25, Spain- 21, Japan- 20, and Norway 18.

Are Americans getting more interested in 66, or did some teachers assign a Route 66 project?


One of the prime stops on Illinois' stretch of 66 is the Soulsby Station (1926-1993), the oldest station on the road. It always sold Shell gasoline. After being bypassed in 1944, Russell Soulsby began repairing TVs.

Times are bad for this relic of bygone era. The exterior was lovingly restored to its original appearance, but unfortunately, nothing was done with the interior and now termites have done considerable damage, threatening the structure.

A $10,000 matching grant has been awarded to the station to solve the problem. John Weiss was in attendance and said some of the matching funds can be raised with "in-kind work" where volunteers are accounted for $10-$15 an hour for their efforts.

I'm sure John will be putting the call out to the very active preservation group.

More Meeting to Come. --RoadDog

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Long Weekend on the Road-- Part 7-- Jubelt's and Route 66 Meeting

April 19th

I've been wanting to eat at Jubelt's in Litchfield for quite some time now, and today was the day.

The place was packed with pre-church folks and obviously quite popular. The waitress told me they'd been in business since 1922 and at one time they had six places, but this is the only one left. It is right next to the Ariston. I had v one huge omelet and gravy for my biscuit. Good eating.


I drove over to Majestic Banquets, but found out I was too early so was forced to go over to Wal-Mart where I found a lot of $3 and $2.50 CDs. Cost me quite a bit of money, but some great road cruising tunes like: 80s Party, Shake That Groove Thing, Disco Party (hey, that was good music!), 60s R&B, Booty Hits, and even Best of Hip Hop. Also, at $3 was Billy J. Kramer's GH, Ernest Tubb & Friends, Country Legends, and, at $5, Hohnny Horton's GH. I like a variety.


The meeting was on when I returned. This was the directors' meeting, but open for all.

Ernie Edwards, the "Old Coot on 66" and owner of the Pig Hip Restaurant in Broadwell was there with wife Fran. He has been the director from Logan County for many years, but age, he's 92, has made it too difficult, so he resigned, adding, in typical Ernie-style, that "People don't listen to me anymore anyway."

More to Come. --RoadDog

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Long Weekend on the Road-- Part 6-- A Red Crown and a Shaw

Continuing April 18th.

Drizzled the whole way to Litchfield.

Located the Majestic Banquets just off Main Street (where the Rt 66 meeting will be tomorrow), then checked into the America's Best Value Inn on the four lane Route 66 bypass. It used to be a Best Western when Liz's family would stop there on trips to visit family in Missouri. The famous Gardens used to be next to it before being torn down a few years ago so that a Walgreens could be built on the corner. IMAGINE THAT?

Drove downtown again to a place we'd previously visited to play NTN, Chapps. Unfortunately, they no longer have it. The place has been open since 1992, but a bar has been there many, many years, back to the time of 66. Their specialty is something called a Red Crown which consists of 3/4 shot of Crown Royal and 1/4 shot of Amaretto. They sell a lot of them. Very tasty stuff and just $3. And, JUST $1.50 on Wednesdays. I've gotten into Crown Royal since seeing how popular it was around Panama City.

See you TO-KNIGHT. For some reason, there is a full-sized suit of armor in the place.


Visited Shaw's again on the original alignment of 66, right next to the old Belvedere Motel and Route 66 Cafe. This has become a must-stop place for us when in Litchfield. Always friendly folks there, and, of course, Rita Shaw, the owner who is there most times. They now have a big sign out front saying this is a Route 66 original (the bar is in an old gas station and pool room and bandstand in an old restaurant and has been owned by the same family all these years.

Domestic bottles are still at $2.

One of the patrons said his family owned four sandwich places along Route 66 and the area. One was covered over by a ramp of I-55. He was a Cub fan and evryone in the place was quite excited when the Cubs won against the Cardinals in the last inning. When a pal came in who was a Cards fan, he had to use his Cub cozy and wasn't much happy about it.

A Good Day on the Road. --RoadDog

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lincoln Highway Loses a Record Store

I was much saddened to learn of the end of another one of my favorite mom and pop record stores, the Record Revolution in Dekalb, Illinois, right on Lincoln Highway.

An article in the April 22nd student newspaper of Northern Illinois University, the Northern Star, reported that the store was closing this past Sunday, April 26th. Every time I was in town, this was a necessary stop and I always bought at least one CD or more, usually from their great oldies selection.

They had been selling records since Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" in 1973, my last year as an undergrad at Northern. I also got my Master's there in 1981. I always thought it was owned by this one guy who was always there, but found out he didn't own it. I can't remember his name, but, we had some great music talks and other stuff. One of the last times I was there, we talked about all the helicopters and police staging along the Lincoln Highway (Illinois-38) the day of the Valentine's murders.

The owner, Mark Lemy cites the dire economy and student downloading as the reasons for the demise. "My flame is extinguished. I'm done running my 35-year marathon." He counted them, and he has been in business 13,000 days. Over the years, they sold vinyl, 8 tracks, cassettes, and CDs.

A benefit concert was held at the House Cafe at 263 E. Lincoln Highway.

So, the next time you drive by 817 West Lincoln Highway, think of what was. In the last two years, I've lost the Record Rack in Goldsboro, NC, and Full Cyrkle Records in Crystal Lake, Illinois. Sigh!!!

So Sad to See This Part of My Past Go. --RoadDog

Long Weekend on the Road-- Part 5-- Recycled Records-- Cozy Dog-- Art's--

April 18th, continued.

By the way, you don't have to pay the parking meters on Springfield streets on the weekends.


After the meeting, I walked over to Recycled Records, about a half block away, always a favorite stop with all their new and used (and hard-to-get) CDs, cassettes, and LPs. Today was National Record Store Day. They were celebrating with food, a live radio broadcast, and specials. The store was the busiest I've ever seen.

About the only thing I don't like about it is that the CDs are in cases and you have to get an employee to get it out. That makes my browsing and looking a bit more difficult, plus, they were quite busy with other customers. But with their buy two used CDs, get one free, I did purchase six, mostly 1980s Time-Life country collections. The 80s in country music was probably my favorite era for that music.

I also bought the Five Americans' "Western Union" CD and John Fred & the Playboys' "History" with their Greatest Hits, which really was only "Judy in Disguise" but they had quite a few other good, non-charting ones.


I was going to return home because Liz wasn't feeling well, so stopped at the world-famous Cozy Dog for an order to go 180 miles. Figured that would cheer up Liz. I was still full from the SCV lunch, but, when in Springfield, eat at least one Cozy. Ordered an extra one for Liz and a small fries. Called Liz, who said she was feeling better and I should go to the Illinois Route 66 Association meeting in Litchfield tomorrow as I had originally planned. Forced to eat TWO Cozy Dogs!!!


Besides Chicago outside the downtown and suburbs, the least fun Route 66 stretch is between Springfield and Litchfield, so I super slabbed 55. I did stop at Art's Motel in Farmersburg and thought about staying there. However, the bars downtown didn't look too promising and it appears the restaurant by Art's is closed, so went to Litchfield.

The Skyline Drive-In is still closed for the winter. Checked into America's Best Value Inn across from the Ariston and on the four lane Route 66. It is an original Route 66 motel, a Best Western back then, and connected to the late-great Gardens which sadly has been torn down and replaced with...a WALGREENS!!! Hey, it was on a corner, and you know about Walgreens and CORNERS.

Collecting and Eating on Route 66. --RoadDog

Long Weekend on the Road-- Part 5-- The Hilton-- Still Closed-- SCV

April 18th

Drove to the Hilton Hotel in downtown Springfield, the tallest building in town and in a circular shape, at least 29 stories high, and with a great view of the city and environs. I can remember being there one night on the opening day of the annual Route 66 Festival and having a huge thunder storm. Kind of strange being at the same height as the clouds and watching the lightning. (That Friday of the festival was rained out, but lots of places to have a good time at downtown.)


I was sorry to see George Ranks, the round orange bar and on an alignment of Route 66, was still closed. We had some good times in that old 40s place and good food as well. I'd sure be happy if they could get it open as well as the unique Norb Andy's which was in an 1840s building and had been serving drinks and food (we had our first horseshoes there) since around 1900. Locals, politicians, other government-types (but no Blago who was hanging out in Chi-Town) hung out there. We had one lobbyist who was entertainment all by himself. He was there most nights. Everyone we've talked to since who hung out there knew him.


We had our annual Illinois Division convention there, as we've had the last four years. We were in the Vista Room on the 29th floor. Imagine Rebels overlooking the town of Lincoln. To paraphrase Scarlett, "Rebels in Springfield!! How can this be?"

We had 28 in attendance, business, officer reports, and camp reports. Camp Douglas, the camp I belong to has long been the biggest group in Illinois, but we have been passed by the Lt. George E. Dixon Camp 1962, which has more than doubled in size and are more than a bit proud of it.

We had a great lunch, then, in the commander of the Indiana Division, Stephen L. Ritchie, gave a talk on recruitment with lots of information.

For more on the convention, read my Civil War blog:

One Great Town, Springfield, Illinois. --RoadDog

Long Weekend on the Road-- Part 4

April 17th, after leaving the Curve Inn, a member of the Route 66 Association of Illinois' Hall of Fame, I drove back to the Travelodge which has its own bar called the South Side Pub. It's great to be able to have a few cocktails and walk back to the room. I'd only had two beers at the Curve Inn, but it is only about a half mile away.

This place is never crowded the times I've been there. Three other older gents were telling jokes and I had a nice talk with a truck driver who drives to New York City twice a week and this is a twice-a-week stop for him. He especially likes the pool during the summer where you can find him most nights.

Two other gentlemen were there for one of their daughter's wedding. The jokes were funny, but unfortunately, I've never been one to remember most jokes I hear. Another couple came in and played pool.

The bartender put on some really eclectic songs on the Jule box, including the great "Bop" by Dan Seals, who, unfortunately died within the last few weeks.

Domestic bottles are $2.25.

Nothin' Like Drinkin' and Walkin'. --RoadDog