Hall of Famer | Route 66 Association of Illinois
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Hall of Famer

2015 Hall of Fame Inductees

On Saturday June 13, two new businesses were inducted into our Association’s Hall of Fame.

The Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame recognizes “those people and places along Route 66 whose blend of hardy individualism and grassroots community spirit gave the road such special character.”

To qualify for election to the Hall of Fame, nominees must have made significant contributions to the character or history of the Illinois portion of Route 66 from 1926 to 1977 while it was an official United States highway in the State of Illinois.

Steve's Café, Chenoa, IL

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(Adapted from Carolyn Parry’s nomination)

Steve’s Café was a famous landmark on old Route 66. It was known for, “The Finest Steaks
Between Chicago and St. Louis.” Steve’s Café started out as a garage, gas station and
lunchroom built in 1924 by Tom and Charles Elliott. The building was purchased in
1925 by Paul Lanterman and the lunchroom was operated by his wife, Ada. There was
counter seating for nine and a table which seated four customers. A superheterodyne
radio set was installed in the garage portion of the building and a sizeable crowd of
Chenoans would gather each evening to listen to whatever program was being received.

In 1926, State Route 4 was officially designated U.S. Route 55. In the 1930s, Elmer
and Orville Wahls purchased the property from the Lantermans, who moved across
the street, and added to their existing gasoline and oil business. Then the property was
purchased again and the new owners added 50 feet to the east of the existing dining room to accommodate the growing number of patrons.

The Café was one of the first to have air conditioning outside the Chicago area. The first
air conditioning equipment, made by Williams Oil-O-Matic Ice Cold Air, was installed in
the restaurant and a large sign was put up on the roof. Every time a new model was intro-
duced by Williams, it was brought to Chenoa to replace the older model and to test it as
new equipment. On hot days it was not unusual to see people lined up between the
front door and the counter, trying to keep cool.

Hall of Famer, Steve Funk, of Funks Grove Maple Sirup, Dies

It is with great sadness that we share the news that Hall of Famer, Steve Funk, of Funks Grove Maple Sirup died on June 21.

Association president, Cathie Stevanovich said, "He was a wonderful person, active member, and Hall of Famer. Steve will be missed."

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Steve & Glaida Funk at the Funks Grove Midpoint Dedication

Click to read a complete story about Steve Funk on Route 66 News.

Vendor Market at The Mill on 66 in Lincoln IL

The historic Mill in Lincoln, IL, located at 738 S. Washington, will be welcoming a variety of vendors taking part in monthly weekend flea markets during the tourist season, beginning on the second Saturday of April and running through October, from 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM. Spaces are still available for $10 to $15 dollars for the day and throughout the season.

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It's Sirup Season at Funks Grove!

It's syrup season at Funk's Grove!

Inducted to our Association's Hall of Fame in 1992, Funks Grove is a Route 66 institution!

Come and get your sirup now! Once it's gone, it's gone for the season!

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Funks Grove Pure Maple Sirup
5257 Old Route 66
Shirley, Illinois 61772

Monday - Friday 9-5
Saturday 10-5
Sunday 1-5

funkspuremaplesirup.com
(309) 874-3360

Do you smell pancakes?

“Route 66, My Home Away from Home,” by Chester Henry, for Sale

Hall of Fame Inductee, Chester Henry, (1993) has written a book about his experiences as an Illinois State Patrol officer along Route 66 from 1957-1984. His book, entitled, Route 66, My Home Away from Home, is now available for sale and we are helping spread the word about this unique account of the Mother Road during its heyday.

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Hall of Famer, Chester Henry, Writes Book About Route 66 Experiences

We are very excited to report that Hall of Famer Chester Henry, retired lieutenant of the Illinois State Police has written a book about his experiences along Route 66 in Illinois, both as a resident and an officer. Mr Henry will be conducting two book signings of his memoir, entitled, “Route 66, My Home Away from Home,” at our Hall of Fame and Museum, 110 W Howard St, Pontiac, IL, on October 25 and November 1.

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Motor Tour 2014 Recap - Through the Eyes of Participants

Here it is - the official recap for our 25th annual Motor Tour! Some participants were kind enough to share their memories and photos of this exciting event that took place June 13-15, 2014. Read on to experience your very own Motor Tour adventure through their words and images!

The Friedrich Family

By Josh Friedrich

On Friday, June 13, after I got off work, we piled into the van and made our way to Edwardsville for their Route 66 Festival and the kick off to the 25th Annual motor tour. I was looking forward to seeing all our 66 friends and making some new ones this weekend. The downtown was full of people, vendors, and sweet and savory smells. We picked up our tour packet from Cathie and Marty, said hello to John Weiss, and then made our way over to see two of our favorite authors. Joe Sonderman and Chery Eichar Jett just released their new Arcadia book, Route 66 In Illinois, and Joe released a new hardback, Postcards From Route 66. I picked up each and promptly had them personally autographed. Now it was time to find some dinner and we chose a food truck called Pickerill's Pick'n 'N' Grinn'n BBQ. We had a dirty, filthy dog, a dirty dog, and BBQ cheese fries. Everything was great!

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Dirty Filthy Dog, Edwardsville Rt 66 Festival, photo courtesy Josh Friedrich

Motor Tour 2015: Already in the Works!

It takes the better part of a year for our dedicated Motor Tour committee to coordinate and pull together the awesome experience that is our annual Motor Tour. Plans are already underway for Motor Tour 2015!

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Kathy & Johnny Miller, John Weiss, Joanna Joven and Marty Blitstein at 2014 Motor Tour check-in, Edwardsville, IL. Photo courtesy Elaine Stonich.

Schedule your vacation so you can take part in this exciting event - our 26th annual Motor Tour!

Here's what we know as of November, 2014:

Bob Kraft, Former Owner of The Riviera Roadhouse, Passes Away

We are sad to report that Robert (Bob) Kraft has passed away.

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Route 66 News has published an article about Bob Kraft, co-owner of the Riviera Roadhouse with his wife Peggy for 37 years, and a history of the restaurant on their website.

The Riviera was inducted into our Hall of Fame in 1994.

2014 Hall of Fame Inductees

The Route 66 Association of Illinois is proud to choose a group of special Route 66 heroes each year for induction to our Hall of Fame. They were inducted in a ceremony held on Saturday, June 14, 2014 at Lincoln College in Lincoln, IL.

Read the complete list of our Hall of Fame Inductees, dating back to the beginning, 1990.

The 2014 Hall of Fame inductees include:

Nelch & Son Concrete - Springfield, Illinois

Submitted by John Lucchesi

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Got Content?


EditorWe welcome your Route 66 news, stories, photos and events for publication in our newsletter or on our web site!

Submit it here

Send us your change of address to:
Membership
110 W Howard St
Pontiac, IL, 61764
or use our handy contact form

Learning to use our calendar puts the fun and adventure of Route 66 at your fingertips. It's easy to discover the when, what and where of events along the road.

Here's How!

Historic Maps

Highway GuideWatch Route 66 evolve into The Mother Road  with maps and highway guides from 1917-1992 courtesty of the official Illinois Digital Archives.