Six Degrees of Route 66

#Route66onthe6th

Windy City Road Warrior presents a Zoom talk series by David Clark:
Take a virtual tour–stories at the crossroads of the Mother Road and U.S. History — on the 6th of every Month!
Get your Route 66 Kicks along with a History Fix!

  • Uncover the HIDDEN HISTORY of Route 66…and related journeys
  • A different Deep Dive in every Episode!
  • Stories within Six Degrees of Route 66

GET A TICKET for the NEXT Episode for access to ALL EPISODES!


Episode List:

  1. Route 66 in Chicago: Where the Road Begins 8/6/2020
  2. Diners, Snake Pits, & Long–Haul Truckers: The Commerce of Route 66 9/6/2020
  3. The Ghosts of Route 66 10/6/2020
  4. Time and Place on Route 66 11/6/2020
  5. Motoring West the Wright Way: Frank Lloyd Wright & Route 66 12/6/2020
  6. Before the Mother Road: Route 66, Illinois 4 & the Pontiac Trail 1/6/2021
  7. The Roads that Lead to Lincoln: Honest Abe on the Historic Highways of Illinois 2/6/2021
  8. The Crossroads of Cause and Coincidence: Illinois Route 66 & the Mother Road 3/6/2021
  9. Route 66 Roundtable 4/6/2021
  10. The Rails that Blazed the Trail 5/6/2021
  11. International Route 66 Roundtable 6/6/2021
  12. Filling the Heavens with Commerce: Route 66 & the Flying Machine 7/6/2021
  13. Chicago’s Route Center: Where the Road Began 8/6/2021
  14. Hard Road – Hard Work: The Laborers of Route 66 9/6/2021
  15. Chicago’s Route Center, Part 2: An Affair of Character 10/6/2021
  16. It’s Greek to Me! Greek-owned Restaurants on the Road 12/6/2021

It’s Greek to Me! Greek-owned Restaurants on the Road – December 6th 2021

In this episode we interview Nick and Demi Adam, long-time proprietors of the Ariston Cafe in Litchfield, Illinois. We will take a look at two iconic Chicago eateries: Lou Mitchell’s, owned and operated by the Thanas family, and Miller’s Pub, run by the Gallios Brothers and their family since the 1950s.

And we will go back to see how it all began. The building in Chicago’s Greektown that is now home to the Athenian Candle Company once displayed a sign that said “Look for Raklios Restaurants.” So look I did, and I discovered the amazing story of John Raklios, a Greek immigrant who came to Chicago with just $10 to his name. Within a few years he was known as the Cafe King of Chicago, whose innovations in dining still resonate in our favorite eateries to this day.

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Chicago’s Route Center, Part 2: An Affair of Character – October 6th 2021

Chicago’s Route Center–the intersection of Jackson Boulevard with Michigan Avenue. Today, it is where Historic Route 66 ENDs in Illinois. Historically, it was the crossroads of the city, the state…the nation.

In the early 1900s, the S.W. Straus Investment bank was well-known and respected, and famous for underwriting first mortgage bonds sold in denominations as low as $100 so that the public could participate on a wide scale. They were the pioneers in the development of some of America’s greatest skyscrapers, including New York’s Chrysler Building. When they built their new Chicago home at the Route Center in 1924, they could boast “42 Years Without Loss to Any Investor.”

The building’s pyramid top is topped by a beehive of glass; Straus Bank proclaimed to the world this triple theme–longevity, industry, and thrift–when they built this soaring HQ. Soon after Tower Tavern went up in the air, the bank went down in a pyramid scheme.

Simon W. Straus, born into money, preached to working people the importance of scrimping and saving. He started the American Society for Thrift and was quoted as saying, “Thrift is not an affair of the pocket, but an affair of character.“ Soon after his death, the story of his bank would be revealed as an Affair of Character, or lack thereof. In Chicago’s Route Center Part 2: An Affair of Character hear these stories, and more.

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Hard Road – Hard Work: The Laborers of Route 66 – September 6th 2021

Abe Lincoln said “Labor is prior to—and independent of—capital.” So laborers toiled to create Route 66 before anyone could capitalize on it. Across eight states from the shores of Lake Michigan to the beaches of the Pacific southwest, dirt roads were turned into hard roads, mud covered over with concrete. Laboring armies turned kicks on 66 from a dream to a reality. In many localities the workers competed for jobs and wages with convict labor.

Adjacent to the highway, stories abound of workers uniting for better wages and working conditions. It was a fight engaged in Illinois with the help of Mother Jones–memorialized in Mt. Olive. And in Collinsville, coal miners established a union, and from the dues collected, the Miner’s Theater was built in 1918–a union hall, but also a theater bringing live performers and traveling troupes. The Labor of the road builders paved the way for the sweat equity of entrepreneurs, creating the motels, shops, and attractions along the highway. In Hard Road – Hard Work: The Laborers of Route 66 hear these stories, and more.

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Chicago’s Route Center: Where the Road Began – August 6th 2021

The Route Center is circled by stories galore, with fountains, four bison, square donuts and more!
It’s where Jackson Boulevard and Michigan Avenue cross,
where Chicago’s Landmark “cliff” of buildings overlook a Great Lake and Grant Park.
Where the view from the top of the Railway Exchange is through round “porthole” windows:

From this 17th floor first-class-cabin berth, architects remade the city with No Little Plans.
And the stories to be told in the 16 stories below:
where Railways Exchanged ideas while taking the Alton Way;
where chefs for Fred Harvey planned your dining-car meals;
where moguls managed the rolling stock running to Santa Fe, All the Way.
And imagine the vista next door south,
where Fred Harvey’s 33rd-floor Tower Tavern overlooked the World’s Fair of 1933!
The pyramid top is topped by a beehive of glass;
Straus Bank proclaimed to the world this triple theme–longevity, industry, and thrift–
when they built this soaring HQ.
Soon after Tower Tavern went up in the air, the bank went down in a pyramid scheme.
The Mother Road was no orphan at this crossroads with sibling highways numbered from 1 to 54.
In Chicago’s Route Center: Where the Road Began hear these stories, and more.

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Filling the Heavens with Commerce: Route 66 & the Flying Machine – July 6th 2021

Look! Up in the sky! It’s a Bird! No, it’s a Plane! No, it’s…
Wait, stop, it IS a plane!
And flying machines have been soaring above, and landing on or next to Route 66 since the beginning of the highway. Even before…

…when Grant Park was Chicago’s first airport. It was the location of the Chicago International Aviation Meet  in 1911, and where Walter Brookins’ famous “Air vs. Rail” race began in 1910!
And further west, 66 passed two airports: Hinsdale, across the road from Del Rhea’s Chicken Basket; and Stinson, now no longer a landing strip–but rather a Huge Hole in the ground!
These stories and more in Filling the Heavens with Commerce: Route 66 & the Flying Machine

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International Route 66 Roundtable – June 6th 2021

Windy City Road Warrior, InSites To Go, and Route66Chicago.com present host David Clark in a “virtual” panel discussion: International Route 66 Roundtable

Get your kicks as we discuss a range of Route 66 topics with “Road Scholars” from around the world

  • Dries Bessels of the Netherlands will tell us about the things that interest Europeans as they are travelling Route 66.
  • Toshi Goto will talk about how he met Japanese Route 66 lovers and eventually organized the Route 66 Association in Japan, including their current status and future plans.
  • Roberto Rossi will talk about his experience on Route 66 and what this road represents for Italy and the whole of Europe. “A different point of view of what we Italians think of the Mother road. Love and Passion.
  • David Clark will update on business openings on Route 66 in Chicago. We will also discuss the impact on Chicago’s Route 66 by immigrants, and a cinematic journey back to 1987 when an international film crew visited an iconic stretch of the Mother road.

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The Rails that Blazed the Trail – May 6th 2021

Long before the first Model T motored west on the highway that’s the best, the trail that winds from Chicago to L.A. was blazed by shining steel rails. The Chicago & Alton took travelers from the Windy City to St. Louis, and the Frisco ran west from the Gateway city to Tulsa. Travelers could then take the mighty-fine Rock Island Line from Oklahoma City to Tucumcari, New Mexico. And from Albuquerque to Los Angeles, it was the Santa Fe, all the way. All aboard for a trip through time on the Rails that Blazed the Trail!

Here is a 1:31 preview, featuring a song by Johnny Horton!

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Route 66 Roundtable – April 6th 2021

Get your kicks as a panel of ROAD Scholars discuss a variety of Route 66 Topics!
Ride along as we journey into lively discourse

  • Sherry Meyer of InSites To Go on the economic development of cultural and historical assets in Chicago’s North Lawndale Neighborhood
  • Cheryl Eichar Jett on women-owned businesses and the Extraordinary Women Initiative
  • Jim Hinckley on the story of his personal journey and a virtual tour of Jim Hinckley’s America
  • Jim Livingston on the I Am Route 66 Project
  • Dave Clark on the re-opening plans of Chicago Route 66 businesses

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The Crossroads of Cause and Coincidence: Illinois Route 66 & the Mother Road – March 6th 2021

Get your kicks as we take a Road Trip on the trail across the tall-grass prairie!
Ride along as we journey into history:

  • Discover the origins of the old ILLINOIS Route 66
  • Learn of the coincidence of IL 66 and the Mother Road
  • See how the US 66 designation caused changes to the Illinois Highway Map
  • Hear about the two Illinois Routes 126
  • And how only in Illinois does IL66 + US66 = 126 ?

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The Roads that Lead to Lincoln: Honest Abe on the Historic Highways of Illinois – February 6th 2021

Get your kicks as we take a Road Trip on the trail across the tall-grass prairie!
Ride along as we journey into history:

  • Explore the life of Abraham Lincoln in Illinois
  • Learn how Abe championed the Internal Improvements of Transportation
  • Discover Lincoln’s role in building our railroad infrastructure
  • See Lincoln-related sites along Route 66 and the Lincoln Highway
  • See the bizarre ways we have used the Lincoln Legacy

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Before the Mother Road: Route 66, Illinois 4 & the Pontiac Trail – January 6th, 2021

Get your kicks as we take a Road Trip on the trail across the tall-grass prairie!
Ride along as we journey into history:

  • Explore the ancient trail that led from the Chicago River southwest across the Prairie
  • Learn how Illinois pulled out of the mud!
  • See how the Good Roads Movement led to the Pontiac Trail
  • Hear how we voted for the State to build Hard Roads
  • And how Illinois 4 blazed the trail for Route 66
Here is a 1:42 Preview of Before the Mother Road

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Motoring West the Wright Way: Frank Lloyd Wright & Route 66 – December 6th, 2020

Get your kicks as we take a Road Trip with Frank and the Fellowship!
Ride along as we Caravan from the Midwest to the Southwest

  • Follow Frank Lloyd Wright from Wisconsin to Chicago
  • Early career as draftsman for Louis Sullivan
  • Success and Scandal
  • Founding of the Taliesin Fellowship and Taliesin West
  • Wright designs in Route 66 towns, Chicago to L.A.
Watch this 2:43 minute Preview

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Time and Place on Route 66 – November 6th 2020

Get your kicks as we take a trip through Time before the Mother Road!
Discover the events of a certain Place, over many different Times:

  • The devastation of the Great Chicago Fire
  • Mary Lincoln’s Time of Distress
  • The place where Time became Standard
  • An airship’s final Landing Place
  • Plus architects, hoteliers, robber barons, and so much more!
Watch this 2:05 minute Preview

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The Ghosts of Route 66 – October 6th 2020

Get your kicks as we take a “Spirited” trip down the Mother Road!
Discover the Ghost Stories — and the Ghost Towns of the Highway

  • Stories of the Supernatural from all 8 States
  • A Tour of Ghost signs, Ghost businesses, and Ghost Towns
Watch this 2:25 minute Preview – If you Dare!

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Diners, Snake Pits & Long‐Haul Truckers: The Commerce of Route 66 – September 6th 2020

Get your kicks doing Business on Route 66!
Discover the unique ways highway travel transformed U.S. Commerce:

  • Railroads concentrated economic growth in clusters near depots
  • But Route 66 allowed for Commerce at ANY SPOT along the road
  • Goods and services spread across rural and small town America
Watch this 3:25 minute preview!

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Route 66 in Chicago: Where the Road Begins – August 6th 2020

In this episode:

  • WHY Route 66 BEGINs in Chicago
  • WHERE to find 66 in the City
  • A “virtual DRIVE” of the Mother Road in the Windy City
Watch this 91 Second Preview!

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