MAY 19TH: The Sputnik ball from Springfield, Illinois' doomed Bel Aire Motel will be saved and restored for a sign company's sign museum. Ace Sign Company of Springfield will place it in their neon museum, which started operating today at 2340 S. First Street.
They also have a large collection of Reisch Brewing, Stag Beer, Steak N Shake and Hub clothing store signs. It is believed that the Bel-Aire's owner installed the Sputnik ball in the 1960s during the Space Race. The motel itself was built on Route 66 in the early 1950s and has been in severe decline since 2000.
It would have been nice to have saved the motel, but it was too far gone. The Sputnik was by far the neatest thing about it and the motel sign hopefully will be saved as well.
MAY 20TH: The Odell Station in Odell, Illinois, held a commemoration for Laura Weiss, wife of Mr. Route 66 in Illinois, John Weiss. Between the two of them, they have been great to have on our stretch of the Mother Road. Their efforts helped preserve this great old gas station.
It was held May 23. Lenore died of cancer in 2010
The gas station was builtin 1932 as a Standard Oil station. Then later, it was Sinclair and Phillips 66. It closed in the 1970s and is on the NRHP.
We are so happy to have met and talked with Lenore Weiss on many occasions. She is missed.