Archive for the ‘History’ Category

Reminder: Stroll 66 on November 6th Chicago Walking tour

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

Chicago Hilton, formerly the Stevens Hotel, where the Nov 6th tour begins

Chicago Hilton, formerly the Stevens Hotel, where the Nov 6th tour begins

…and there is still time to join us! The tour begins at the Chicago Hilton Hotel, 720 S. Michigan Avenue, at exactly 12:06 p.m. (66 minutes after 11 a.m.!).

From the railroad era through the Route 66 era, Michigan Avenue and Jackson Boulevard were the main destinations for tourists and visitors in Chicago. Our December 6th Stroll on Chicago’s Route 66 will trace the history of lodgings, rail stations, and other attractions that brought the world to Chicago’s “route center.”
The tour will meet on Sunday, November 6th at 12:06 p.m. (66 minutes after 11 a.m.) at the historic Chicago Hilton Hotel, 720 S. Michigan Avenue. When built in 1927, it was the Stevens, the largest hotel in the world and convenient to two of Chicago’s six passenger rail stations: the Illinois Central and the Dearborn Station.
We will walk north along Michigan Avenue and discuss the Blackstone, the Congress, the Auditorium, the Richelieu, and the Stratford Hotels. Along the way, we will discuss “smoke-filled rooms,” labor unrest, Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright, and the changing face of Chicago.
Turning west on Jackson, we will see the original starting point of Route 66, Chicago’s most musical corner, and the site of former luxury hotels: the Wellington, designed by Henry Ives Cobb; Burnham & Root’s Great Northern and Majestic; and Boyington and Jenney’s Grand Pacific. The tour will end at Adams and LaSalle, where the former Midland Hotel lives on as the W, and a bank building designed by D.H. Burnham & Company is now home to the J.W. Marriott. By the end of our walk, we will have a thorough understanding of why this corridor has been home to Chicago’s visitors for 140 years.
All participants in the tour will pay a discounted price equal to 66% of the regular $18.00 per person cost—that is only $12.00 per guest for a 2-hour adventure.
Reservations required. To register, send an email to: dave@windycityroadwarrior.com . Or Contact Me Here: http://windycityroadwarrior.com/Contact.html
Or call me at 312-432-1284.
I hope to see you Strolling Chicago’s Route 66 (and neighborhood) TOMORROW, November 6th, at 12:06!

Union Station, Springfield IL featured on new blog page

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Union Station, Springfield IL

Union Station, Springfield IL. Click above to go to the Springfield Union Station blog page

On the September 23rd, I had the pleasure of leading a group of La Grange IL middle school students on a trip to Springfield, Illinois. On a break when I had some free time, I took a close look at Springfield’s Union Station. I published pictures of this visit in an album on my Facebook page last week. I have now used those same photos on a dedicated Springfield Union Station blog page with a lot more background information than on the Facebook album.

This new Union Station page is part of my ongoing attempts to add more exclusive content to WindyCityRoadWarrior.com. I will be adding more articles, photos, and research-in-progress projects as time goes on. I would appreciate your feedback about what you like, your critical concerns, and what you would like to see more of in the future. Feel free to comment on this post, send an email to: dave@windycityroadwarrior.com. Or Contact Me Here: http://windycityroadwarrior.com/Contact.html
You can also send me a twitter message Follow windycityroad on Twitter or call me at 312-432-1284.

Meet the Route 66 Authors Oct 5th at Berwyn 66 Museum-

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

Berwyn Route 66 Museum Logo

Berwyn Route 66 Museum, 7003 W. Ogden Avenue, Berwyn IL

Come visit with Dave Clark and Jim Hinckley, noted and award-winning authors of books on Route 66 (and other subjects). We will be at the Berwyn Route 66 Museum from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on October 5, 2011. Feel free to come by to buy an autographed book, bring books you already own so we can sign them, or simply engage in conversation about Route 66, transportation history, Chicago and the great American West, or anything else! It will also be a great opportunity to see the new Berwyn Route 66 Museum and what it has to offer!

Ghost Towns of Route 66 by Jim Hinckley

Ghost Towns of Route 66 by Jim Hinckley (click above to visit Jim's blog, Route 66 Chronicles

Jim Hinckley – Author of Ghost Towns of Route 66

Explore the beauty and nostalgia of these abandoned communities along America’s favorite highway! Ghost towns lie all along the Mother Road. The quintessential boom-and-bust highway of the American West, Route 66 once hosted a thriving array of boom towns built around oil mines, railroad stops, cattle ranches, resorts, stagecoach stops, and gold mines. Join Route 66 expert Jim Hinckley as he tours more than 25 ghost towns, rich in stories and history, complemented by gorgeous sepia-tone and color photography by Kerrick James. Also includes directions and travel tips for your ghost-town explorations along Route 66!
Hardcover • 160 pages
151 color & 21 b/w photos, 1 map
$25.00 US

Route 66 in Chicago

Route 66 in Chicago by David G. Clark

David Clark – Author of Route 66 in Chicago

Vintage photographs and postcard views, as well as contemporary images, are weaved together with narrative and captions to tell the pictorial history of the world’s most famous highway and the city in which it began.

“Much as Route 66 and the city of Chicago share a kindred history, so do the art and text, paired perfectly so that readers get plenty of information and are able to see what the author is talking about” –Jon P. Callender, American Road Magazine.

“David Clark has produced an excellent volume tracing the Route 66 corridor through the Chicago of today and back to early Native American trails and waterways…Clark is noted for his outstanding research and entertaining writing style and this book does not disappoint in either category”—Bob Moore, Route 66 Magazine.

First place winner, nonfiction history book, 2008 Illinois Women’s Press Association Communications Awards.

Softcover: 128 Pages, 6 1/2″ wide x 9 3/16″ tall, 195 photos & illustrations. $19.99.

Both authors will have these titles and more available for purchase and signing. Come by for casual conversation about Route 66, other U.S. Highways, your travels, local and U.S. history, or to just say hello!
Berwyn Route 66 Museum, 7003 W. Ogden Ave., 708-484-9349 http://www.berwynrt66museum.org- info@BerwynRt66Museum.org

Your Chicago: Route 66 Starting Point, CBS 2 Chicago

Saturday, October 1st, 2011

…this segment with news anchor Kate Sullivan appeared on the CBS 2 Chicago 10 p.m. newscast on September 30th, 2011. It can be seen, along with its accompanying text, at the http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2011/09/30/your-chicago-route-66-starting-point/ Web page.

If this video makes you hungry for more, please contact me for a tour, a presentation to your library/museum/social group, or to buy a book or postcard!

dave@windycityroadwarrior.com or call me at 312-432-1284! Get your kicks with me on Route 66!

Another Promo for CBS 2 9/30 Route 66 Your Chicago Segment

Friday, September 30th, 2011

… this time I speak! I was asked the question why people come to Chicago from all around the world for their 66 adventure and I said, “It is the adventure of a lifetime that they’ve been looking forward to.” Enjoy!

Promo for CBS 2 Your Chicago Route 66 Segment

Friday, September 30th, 2011

as it appeared on the 9/29/11 newscast with anchor Kate Sullivan. Yours truly is the large guy in the Route 66 Aloha Shirt!

Driving through Pontiac IL in 1915

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

Pontiac Trail SignYou have just bought a brand new 1915 Studebaker and you want to drive from Chicago to Bloomington, Illinois. This is a daunting journey in the early decades of the 20th Century, since you never know what roads to take. Few rural roads are marked with names and most are unimproved dirt surfaces (that turn to mud after even a moderate rainfall).

Motorists did have a few tools to help them find the best available roads in those days. Some named auto trails were beginning to get marked. Those wishing to travel from Joliet to Iowa could follow the Lincoln Highway whose red-white-blue symbols with a large “L” had been painted on posts and trees all along the way. From Chicago to Bloomington, you could theoretically follow the signs for the Pontiac Trail, whose sign is shown here.

Or could you? A 1915 article in Illinois Highways, a publication of the state highway department, discussed the plans and general routing of the Pontiac Trail. The Trail was also included on the state’s “Map showing Marked Through Routes in Illinois” published in February 1917. However, other sources from the era do not mention the Pontiac Trail at all.

Several years ago, I started a page on my website titled “The Mystery of the Pontiac Trail.” I detailed some research into a primary source: the 1914 Automobile Blue Book, where detailed turn-by-turn directions are given for a trip between Chicago and Bloomington, with NO mention of the Pontiac Trail along the way. This is not surprising since it depicts the state of the roads a year before the trail was described in Illinois Highways.

1915 King's Official Route Guide, Section Four for Illinois & Iowa

1915 King's Official Route Guide, Section Four for Illinois & Iowa

On that page, I promised to add more information from a 1915 guide, King’s Official Route Guide. That promise remained unfulfilled until I recently got a call from a gentleman in Pontiac that asked about the routing of the trail through his home town and namesake for the trail. This shamed me into pulling out the guide and resurrecting my research. I will soon add a new page to the website that will have scans from the book covering the entire route from Chicago to St. Louis–the way folks could get between those points 11 years before the birth of Route 66. I see no mention of the Pontiac Trail in the King’s Guide, but the Lincoln Highway and the Alton Way do get mentioned in the appropriate sections.

Click here to see 1915 routings through Pontiac Illinois

Click above to see 1915 routings through Pontiac Illinois

Until I get that page up, here is a little taste of the routing through Pontiac, Illinois. The description through town is familiar to anyone that has driven through Pontiac: from north-to-south, it is Aurora St to Indiana St to Main St to Washington St to Vermilion St to Reynolds St. Today, you can drive this same route by crossing the tracks south into Pontiac adjacent to the Old Log Cabin Restaurant. Click on the image here and you can see a .pdf of three pages–the first two are the north-south directions, and the last is the south-north directions. Enjoy and stay tuned for the full routings from Chicago to St. Louis!

Oct 6 Stroll 66 on the 6th Chicago Walking Tour

Friday, September 9th, 2011

October 6 2011 tour begins at Dearborn Station in Chicago

October 6 2011 tour begins at Dearborn Station in Chicago

…will begin at Dearborn Station and end with a bar crawl from the Berghoff to Miller’s Pub! It will begin at 6:06 p.m. (exactly 66 minutes after 5!) Along the way we will walk a street that was a notorious red light district at the turn of the 20th century (as far as I know, all the brothels are long gone). We will discuss many of the early skyscrapers of Chicago along Dearborn from Congress to Jackson, including the magnificent Monadnock Building.

When we reach the Federal Center, we will discuss its architecture and controversies about its construction and the structures demolished to build it. We will discuss the famous trial that happened in the old court building on this site in which Al Capone was convicted of tax evasion.

After visiting the breathtaking lobby of the Marquette Building featuring a dazzling Tiffany mosaic, we will next discuss the history of the Berghoff restaurant and its historic buildings dating from 1872–and how a little political intrigue in the early 1960s nearly led to their destruction.

Then, it will be time for libations! We will visit the Berghoff Bar at 17 West, where tour patrons can enjoy the ambiance and if they wish purchase a Berghoff Beer (or a Berghoff Root Beer).

Neon sign at Millers Pub, Wabash north of Adams (Route 66), Chicago

Neon sign at Millers Pub, Wabash north of Adams (Route 66), Chicago

We will end the tour discussing the history of Miller’s Pub, its move from the original location on Adams around the corner to Wabash, and then patrons can enjoy a beverage if they wish at the bar!

All participants in the tour will pay a discounted price equal to 66% of the regular $18.00 per person cost—that is only $12.00 per guest for a 2-hour adventure.

Reservations required. To register, send an email to: dave@windycityroadwarrior.com . Or Contact Me Here: http://windycityroadwarrior.com/Contact.html
Or call me at 312-432-1284.

Tour subject to cancellation if fewer than 6 reservations are received by 10/5/11. The first six people to make reservations will receive a FREE set of five full-color Route 66 postcards!

I hope to see you Strolling Chicago’s Route 66 (and neighborhood) on the 6th of October at 6:06!

Recap of Sept 6 Stroll on Chicago’s Route 66

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

Misting fourntain at Mary Bartelme Park, where the tour ended on September 6.

Misting fourntain at Mary Bartelme Park, where the tour ended on September 6.

…It was a leisurely, fun, and fact-filled 2 hour tour for 15 happy folks at 1:06 p.m. on September 6th. We walked from Jackson Boulevard and Jefferson Street in Chicago, right across the street from Lou Mitchell’s Restaurant. Along the way we saw Chicago’s oldest church, a stretch of street that was Route 66 for only nine months back in 1953, Greektown’s restaurant row, beautiful restorations and reuses of buildings once part of the West Loop manufacturing district, the home of Bay’s English Muffins, and a visit to beautiful Mary Bartelme Park. To see more details of the tour, click here

I will be posting more info about next month’s Stroll on Chicago’s Route 66, happening on October 6th at 6:06 p.m.! For a sneak preview, click here

Come Stroll Chicago’s Route 66 on September 6th…

Monday, August 29th, 2011

Tour group Strolling on 66 at Adams and Michigan …the first of a monthly series of special walking tours! What better day each month to celebrate the history and importance of Route 66 in Chicago than the 6th? Explore the Double-6 and its neighborhood every month on the 6th!

Month in and Month out, keep your eye on the 6th and if you are available and in the area, you will find me talking and walking somewhere on or about Route 66 in Chicago!

The time of day that each tour starts will vary, but it will always be 66 minutes after an hour! (The first tour on 9/6/11 will start at 12:66 p.m., a.k.a. 1:06 p.m. to most folks!)

On September 6th, we will explore the sights and history of Chicago’s West Loop and Greektown on and around Route 66. We will walk a street that was part of the 66 alignment for a short nine months back in 1953. We will talk about today’s restaurants and the early 20th century pioneers of affordable dining from which our current favorites evolved. We will discuss the changes in transportation through the decades that transformed this section of Chicago from tall-grass prairie to shipping center to railroad mecca and to highway corridor. Along the way, we will mention Lou Mitchell, architect Alfred Alschuler, Albert Loeb and his infamous son, and so much more!

This tour will explore the Near West Side and Greektown. It will start at Jackson and Jefferson, across the street from Lou Mitchell’s Restaurant. All participants in the tour will pay a discounted price equal to 66% of the regular $18.00 per person cost—that is only $12.00 per guest for a 2-hour adventure. Reservations required. Tour subject to cancellation if fewer than 6 reservations are received by 9/5/11. The first six people to make reservations will receive a FREE set of five full-color Route 66 postcards!

To register, send an email to: dave@windycityroadwarrior.com. Or Contact Me Here: http://windycityroadwarrior.com/Contact.html
You can also send me a twitter message Follow windycityroad on Twitter or call me at 312-432-1284.

Future tours in the Stroll 66 on the 6th series will be scheduled for mornings, some in the afternoon, and some will be during Happy Hour after people are done with their 9-to-5s! (These might even include a bar crawl or two, or SIX!) Ideas in the planning stages include a tour/bar crawl that will start at Dearborn Station and include stops for libations at the Bar at the Berghoff and at Miller’s Pub, LaSalle Street Corridor tour, and a tour including the Hull House area, Maxwell Street, the Chicago Fire Academy, and the site of Grand Central Station. Stay tuned!