We’re in the news again – well, yours truly is. I’ll be giving a lecture and slide presentation on Tuesday, April 19th in downtown Chicago at the Chicago Cultural Center on Michigan Avenue between Randolph and Washington Streets, right across from Millennium Park. The topic will be “Public Art Along Route 66,” covering the route between its eastern terminus at Jackson Boulevard and Michigan (only a few blocks south of the lecture venue!) and downtown Joliet some 40 miles southwest. The 90-minute presentation will begin at 1:00pm and will be held in the Renaissance Court, which is located in the northwest corner of the first (main) floor, right off the Randolph Street entrance.
Sponsored by the Geographic Society of Chicago, the free lecture is part of the society’s monthly travelogue series. Registration is unnecessary, but show up at least 15-20 minutes in advance to get a good seat. See you there, or be square!
Your own 66 roadiegal,
Yes, it’s in the wrong place … but you’ll be in the right place if you come to my lecture!
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
So we’ve been following the brouhaha over the roof situation at the Rich & Creamy ice cream stand on Broadway Street/IL 53 in Joliet. The fuss is between the stand’s current operators, who rent it, and the landlord, which is the city of Joliet. The stand is an official Route 66 Roadside Attraction, so of course Route 66 aficionados are concerned about its preservation.
The operators figured roof repairs would cost about $19,000, according to one estimate they’d received. The city manager, Tom Thanas, balked at paying that much and hinted that maybe the stand should simply be torn down … until people began complaining and sending him e-mail (which we encouraged). My colleague Joe Kubal, a contributor to this blog, sent his own protest e-mail. But look at the reply Mr. Thanas sent (below): suddenly, his estimate of roof repairs has ballooned to $30,000. WHY??? What could possibly cost that much?
Well! At least one Route 66 roadie (that I know of, anyway) decided to let Joliet, IL City Manager Tom Thanas know that tearing down the Rich & Creamy ice cream stand at 920 N. Broadway St. would be a bad idea. Considering that Route 66 tourists make a special stop to spend their money at the stand, which is an official Route 66 Roadside Attraction on the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, tearing down something that helps bring money and tourists into Joliet seems crazy to us. We hope you agree.
The historic Rich & Creamy ice cream stand on Broadway Street in Joliet, Illinois is an official Route 66 Historic Attraction. Photo copyright 2012 by M.R. Traska; all rights reserved