Route 66 calendar update:  Wright Plus housewalk and another CBOT/CME memoir


Hi again, fellow roadies!  Yes, we know we gave you the spring-summer Route 66 events calendar for northern Illinois just two days ago, but you also knew there would be additions, yes?  Of course there are, and so soon.

Statue of Ceres, goddess of grain and the harvest, atop the Chicago Board of Trade Building  (Photo copyright 2014 by M.R. Traska; all rights reserved)

Statue of Ceres, Roman goddess of grain and the harvest, atop the Chicago Board of Trade Building  (Photo copyright 2014 by M.R. Traska; all rights reserved)

First, let me mention a must-read on another website.  It’s related to our recent post about the Chicago Board of Trade and the death of open-outcry trading at CBOT.  Open outcry, a system of trading using hand signals that the CBOT’s earliest iteration invented, will also die soon at CBOT’s sister market for agricultural commodities, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME), aka the Merc.  A reminiscence of trading at the Merc ran in this month’s Chicago magazine online.  Ted Fishman does an excellent job on “What Chicago loses by closing the CME’s futures pits.”   Whereas my very brief memoir of CBOT came from a trading floor runner’s point of view, the Chicago mag piece is written from a trader’s viewpoint.  Fascinating and sad.  Don’t miss it.

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Route 66 visits:  Chicago’s Union Station and the Rookery Building


Happy holidays, fellow roadies!  How many of us here in Chicago do the home tourist thing over the holidays and take the opportunity to see our hometown the way other people do?  Since we live here, you’d think we’d know all the museums, galleries and event venues inside out … and yet, it sometimes takes a visit from out-of-town friends or relatives to prompt us.  We get busy with our lives, and we miss a lot.  Personally, if I don’t hit a museum or a lecture or an event in town at least once a month, I get antsy and need a fix.  But that’s me, a born and bred Chicagoan unwillingly living in the suburbs.  Besides, in our case, writing the Route 66 book has given us plenty of excuses for local travel, so I’ve been kind of spoiled for a while.

At this time of year, the local-tourist itch usually starts with going downtown to shop or see the decorated store windows as an excuse.  You’ve made reservations for lunch or brunch at the Walnut Room or some other place you only hit during the holidays.  Before you know it, you’ve finally decided to use those museum passes that have been burning a hole in your wallet all year or take a few building tours as long as you’re in the Loop.  You really meant to do this when the weather was better.  Yeah.  Uh-huh.  Sure you did.

The Walnut Room at Christmas in Marshall Field's, now Macy's

The Walnut Room at Christmas in Marshall Field’s, now Macy’s, Chicago

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Route 66 bits & bytes:  Berwyn’s Cigars & Stripes in the Weekly Yelp!, cocktails at Robie House


Ronnie Lottz, you darling huckster supreme:  your Berwyn barbecue lounge, Cigars & Stripes made it into this week’s The Weekly Yelp! for metro Chicago in its review “Laugh Out Loud – Chicago Burbs Style.”  Congrats!!!  We hope you’re tweeting the hell out of this on your Twitter feed (we gave you a head start on that – wink!).  And of course, all your friends and fans should check out our previous blog post about your venerable institution on Ogden Avenue, aka Route 66.

Cigars and Stripes BBQ Lounge, Route 66, Berwyn IL

Ronnie Lottz, gregarious proprietor and BBQ smokemaster, in front of Cigars and Stripes BBQ Lounge on Route 66 in Berwyn, IL  (Photo copyright 2013 by M.R. Traska; all rights reserved)

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Route 66 amusements: the Wright stuff on exhibit at Chicago Cultural Center’s Open House


If you know Route 66 in suburban Chicago, then you know that right across the Des Plaines River from the landmark Hofmann Tower in Lyons is Frank Lloyd Wright‘s Avery Coonley House, a National Historic Landmark and one of the three coolest houses that Wright ever designed (the other two being, of course, the Robie House in Chicago’s Hyde Park and Fallingwater on Bear Run near Mill Run, PA).  This weekend’s Open House at the Chicago Cultural Center, a few blocks north of the Art Institute and the spot where Route 66 began, will feature an exibit of Wright’s work from the 1890s when he was a young man working in downtown Chicago and still signing his name as Frank L. Wright.  The exhibit is called Wright Before the “Lloyd” and features photos and drawings of his early work.  the exhibit is free and will be up through the middle of March; you can find more information about it here.

The Chicago Cultural Center was originally the central library of the Chicago Public Library, designed by Shepley, Rutal & Coolidge.  Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

The Chicago Cultural Center was originally the central library of the Chicago Public Library, designed by Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge of Boston.  Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

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