It’s fall – orange, brown, fading greens. The days are getting shorter, our shade is slowly drifting downward as we enjoy these last days of summer and fall begins. There is still a lot of things to do on Route 66 – festivals, pumpkin patches, conferences, the last outdoor concerts, the last car shows, the last impromptu visit to somewhere for dinner and pie and laughter-punched conversation. It’s been a good year on Route 66 in Illinois.
We had another successful Motor Tour, countless car shows, we’ve gotten a little more done on our preservation maintenance, and are seeing a few new historical museums on the horizon that we can help foster. Michael Storm is working to help create and launch a museum in Berwyn on Ogden Avenue appropriately housed in a former car dealership! The amazing Mining Museum in Gillespie that Dave Tucker and others have worked so hard to bring about was a highlight on the Motor Tour. There is a new stop in Gardner near the Two Cell Jail and the Streetcar run by Tom Perkins called “The Shop on Route 66” – stop by and find out the history of Gardner – and more! Holly and Tully have made amazing strides with the Gemini Giant/Launching Pad – and it has gone from a dark, tired building on the side of the road to a brightly lit neon mecca that sparkles and shines. Every week there is progress and its no nice to come around the corner into Wilmington and see the Giant well-loved and protected again.
Its time for all of you to think about the people and places that should be honored by being nominated for the Route 66 Hall of Fame. Nominations are taken from September 1 through December 31 for the 2019 Class of the Hall of Fame. Think about the people and places you knew/know, and how they relate to the road, and share their stories with us. Nominees can be a person, a place, a destination, or an event that occurs/occurred on Route 66 in Illinois. Check our website for the criteria for the nomination and outlines for information are also available at the Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum in Pontiac.
The National Parks 2018 grants are out and Illinois garnered money for the return of the original neon in the windows at the Ariston Cafe, and a rebuild of part of their sign. There was matching funding for much-needed projects regarding our historic Bridges from Chicago to Santa Monica. The Route 66 Gasconade River Bridge in Hazelgreen, Missouri received money to fiund a study on how best to use this structure and fund an engineering report.
The Road Ahead has made progress, held meetings, and is working on different Committees to advance all the needs of the road. Our State Associations are very vital to the history, preservation and caretaking of our individual states, but we are working together for the benefit of the entire road. If we can become a National Trail, we will never lose a piece of road to politics or be forced to close alignments because local government can’t afford to maintain the road. Every piece of 66, every alignment, every bypass that’s left intact, needs to be respected.
At our Hall of Fame banquet this year, we honored those members who worked hard to start our organization, those people who took it upon themselves to donate time and effort to launch our group and to help fine-tune and help the Association grow. We acknowledged (in random order): Frank and Roxane Lozich, Lou and Bud Van Diver, Adele and Harry Hodges, Getty McLellan, Nancy Saul, Annette Lafollette, Marilyn and Durelle Pritchard. Jeff Meyer, Tom Flasch, John and Lenore Weiss, Chester Henry and Bob Waldmire. Barbara and Bill Gwodz, Dolores and Lenny Scinto, Anne and Larry Scinto, Ted and Marilyn Giovannazi, Duke and Vada Cartwright, George and Sharon Leone, Tom Teague, Bill Shea and Dorothy Seratt McMullen. The President’s Award went to two individuals who quietly have gone about taking care of important parts of preservation with our group and on their own: Dorothy Seratt MceMullen and Tom Perkins. The both lead by example.
Elections are in October in Pontiac at the City Hall Annex at 115 W Howard Street – across from the museum. Come join us to talk about where we’ve been, where we need to go, and join and help us be all that we can be.
The museum will be moving to winter hours come November 1 (10:00 AM – 4:00 PM) but we’re still open seven days a week. Come home and visit!
I wish you a colorful fall and few more weeks before the “Honey Do” list means the car is in the driveway instead of out on the open road. Take time for family and friends and family of choice. Take time to savor the great atmosphere and food at the Wildhare Cafe/Horsefeather’s in Elkhart. Take a selfie at the directional pole/24 hour camera at the Williamsville Public Library parking lot. St Michael’s in Staunton is having their 39th Annual Octoberfest on October 6th and 7th. Pumpkin Festival and VChili Cook-off in Girard on October 13th (no pumpkin chunkin ‘ this year)!
Support your Route 66 communities! See you on the road!