Route 66 news update: Hawthorne Works book signing this Friday


Silly us:  in our post last Friday regarding this week’s book signing for the new Arcadia paperback on the Hawthorne Works, we neglected to mention that the signing is at 4pm this Friday at Morton College in Cicero, IL (it wasn’t on the picture-press-release, oddly).  The reception for the authors will be at Morton College Library, Building B, 3801 S. Central Avenue, Cicero, IL 60804.  Ask at the circulation desk to be directed to the exact room.

Arcadia cover - Hawthorne Works bookThe authors are Dennis Schlagheck and Catherine Lantz, two librarians from Morton College.  The college also has a Hawthorne Works Museum that has an archive of photographs and historical material in addition to a large number of artifacts from the Hawthorne campus.  If you have time at least an hour before the reception, you might want to see the museum; it’s worth a look.  Be aware that visits to the museum are by appointment, however, so call ahead.  Ask for Kathy Rozhon at (708) 656-8000, Ext. 2320.

Interesting fact:  during the early 1940s, before the U.S. had entered World War II, about 90 percent of the demand for Western Electric’s products came from one customer:  the Bell System.  By 1944, however, 85 percent of demand for Western Electric’s products came from the federal government, for which the company provided more than 30 percent of all electronic gear for war.

 
Until next time,
Marie

 

Route 66 news: Hawthorne Works Museum’s new book on famous Western Electric plant is out


A book signing next week Friday at Morton College will introduce a new book on the former Western Electric Company’s Hawthorne Works plant in Cicero, the southern end of which U.S. Route 66 cut through like a saw.  The Hawthorne Works wasn’t so much a factory as an entire 113-acre research and manufacturing campus that lasted for the better part of the 20th century and created numerous innovations for Western Electric, then the manufacturing arm of the Bell Telephone System (the forerunner of AT&T).  The campus opened in 1905; at the height of its operations, the works employed about 45,000 employees.  The facility closed in 1983, just as the monolithic AT&T was being broken up into the Baby Bells.

The new book was written by Dennis Schlagheck and Catherine Lantz, two librarians from Morton College, and is being published by Arcadia Publishing.  The college also has a Hawthorne Works Museum that has an archive of photographs and historical material in addition to a large number of artifacts from the Hawthorne campus.  The reception will be on Feb. 28th, this coming Friday afternoon at 4pm, at Morton College Library, Building B, 3801 S. Central Avenue, Cicero, IL 60804.  Ask at the circulation desk to be directed to the exact room.

Hawthorne Works book cover (Arcadia) - blog

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Route 66 ghosts:  Cigars and Stripes BBQ Lounge serves up ’cue and boo in Berwyn, IL


Yes, we know that Hallowmas is over (as of last Sunday morning), but it is the beginning of The Dead Season.  No, that’s not the name of a new TV series on AMC or F/X, despite the numbers of dead and semi-dead running around on the boob tube on those cable networks.  The fact is, almost-winter, winter and almost-spring are also the dead season up north for most car cruising and road trips.  Which, to Route 66 roadies, means that either you go further south and west on the route or else you become a (temporary) armchair traveler.  We don’t mind:  we accommodate armchair travelers, too [grin!].

In that spirit, during the Dead Season we bring you stories of other spirit(s) on Route 66, this time over at Cigars and Stripes BBQ Lounge in Berwyn, IL.  If you recall, we’ve already clued you in about owner Ronnie Lottz’s tasty smoked hot wings and his tent-and-music extravaganza during the annual Berwyn Route 66 Car Show every September.  We’ve even mentioned SweetPea, the resident mummy with its own namesake barbecue sauce; said mummy was out to a day-spa for the fake undead last time we visited Ronnie’s place (we trust that SweetPea’s tattered wraps are all rejuvenated and back in place now).

SweetPea, it seems, has spooky company in the way of a resident ghost or three – or at least there are three possibilities for such spiritual visitations.  Ghost stories about the tavern include tales of glasses falling off shelves, bottles falling over or down to the ground, martini shakers flipping in the air by themselves, keys disappearing then reappearing in front of customers, a phone lifting off the hook by itself, a shadowy figure crossing the lounge area or appearing in a doorway, and unexplained noises.   And now we have people willing to talk about their experiences in the lounge on YouTube.

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