Well, the folks in McCook, IL have finally drunk the Kool-Aid: they are now suddenly big boosters of Route 66. Perhaps village officials were bitten by the bug last year when Terry Carr Sr. opened up a vastly remodeled Steak N Egger on Route 66 in the historic former Snuffy’s 24-Hour Grill building.
I say this because they chose to put their new ‘Welcome to Fabulous McCook’ sign right next to the sidewalk on Joliet Road on the corner of the Steak N Egger parking lot. Carr’s place has all kinds of Route 66 items worked into its 1950s classic diner décor. The old Snuffy’s, of course, had none of that, merely a prime location on what was a major thoroughfare before the interstates came around.
New McCook route 66 welcome sign – we’ve seen this before, right? Photo copyright 2013 by J.D. Kubal; all rights reserved.
So: yours truly decided last week that the best way to figure out exactly what Joliet city manager Tom Thanas meant by that $30K figure for redoing the Rich & Creamy ice cream stand’s roof was to write to Thanas and ask. What a novel idea, you say (no, not really; just comes from me being a journalist for lo, these many years). I also mentioned to him that the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway Authority had a grant program, as does the National Park Service, for rehabbing historic sites and official roadside attractions along Route 66 (which information I received from Stacy Conn over at the byway; thank you, Stacy!). And Mr. Thanas deigned to reply!! Imagine that.
The historic Rich & Creamy ice cream stand on Broadway St. is an official Route 66 Historic Attraction in Joliet. Photo copyright 2012 by M.R. Traska; all rights reserved
We’ve just had another piece of U.S. Route 66 history that we’ve researched hit print. Well, so to speak: our co-author Keith Yearman just got a story about the Stinson Airport tragedy of July 1930 published on the website of The 66 News and its sponsor, the Route 66 Association of Illinois. It was posted by 66 News editor Gina Blitstein (thank you, Gina!).