13 Miles of Route 66 in Kansas now is ‘Historic Byway’

 Daily, Kansas  Comments Off on 13 Miles of Route 66 in Kansas now is ‘Historic Byway’
Nov 302011
 




Note: When I talked to a few folks in Kansas who are involved with the route a few months ago – they mentioned this was one of the things they were really focusing their efforts on… and it seemed to pay off!! Congrats on this! It takes the route through Kansas to a whole new level!

The state has designated 13 miles of Route 66 in southern Kansas as a Kansas Historic Byway.

The Kansas Department of Transportation announced the designation Tuesday for the route, which runs through Galena, Riverton and Baxter Springs in Cherokee County before reaching the Oklahoma border.

Scott Shields, a coordinator for the Kansas State Byways program, says the designation encourages visitors and state residents to drive the route and explore communities along the way.

The original Route 66 stretched from Chicago to Los Angeles and was a major pathway for those who migrated west and later for tourists.

Historic Route 66 passes briefly through the State of Kansas on its was between Joplin, Missouri and Miami, Oklahoma. Though Kansas has the shortest stretch of the popular old route between Chicago, Illinois and Los Angeles, California, the 13 miles of Route 66 in Kansas are among the best preserved and have many attractions.

©2011 The Republic

Gardner Streetcar has ‘Dedication’

 Daily, Illinois  Comments Off on Gardner Streetcar has ‘Dedication’
Nov 042011
 



I had the privilege on working on the streetcar when it was in a ‘secret location’ before it was moved into its current location. I will tell you this – it was in rough shape last time I saw it, and it looks like (from the picture at least) they have done quite a bit of work on it. I would have to say this is probably in the ‘Top Ten Oldest Items’ on the route – right next to the jailcell which would also be included in that list! The next time I will be anywhere close to Gardner will be in January – so I will try to stop out and see it in person – hopefully without 14 inches of snow around it!

GARDNER, Ill. — On Nov. 11, 2011, a two-part Veteran’s Day Program will honor veterans and dedicate a historical diner that dates back to the late 1800s.

The program, themed upon the Gettysburg Address, begins at 11 a.m. and includes the Gettysburg Address, given by Don Phillips, as well as remarks from Mayor Tom Wise; a war story read by Linda Tyler; guest speaker Russell Santerelli, who is currently serving in the U.S. Army; a balloon release; and other speeches to recognize the veterans.

The second part of the program will include the re-dedication of The Diner, a restaurant that began as a horse drawn-streetcar operated by the Kankakee Transit System. It first was owned by George Kaldem. His mother and the cook, Minnie Springborn, was praised as the woman whose pies, stew, fried chicken and homemade bread were considered some of the finest that could be found anywhere.

Later, it was moved behind a residence and was used to house workers at the armory during World War II. Then it was moved to the rear of the Riviera Roadhouse, where it was used as a place for family reunion picnics, a house for local fishermen and a storage shed.

The Diner has never had toilet facilities or even running water. Water for cooking and washing equipment was carried in with containers supplied by local residents.

The Route 66 of Illinois Preservation Committee, headed by chairman John Weiss, has restored The Diner with a new cement block foundation, new windows, painting, cleaning, repairs and installation of many donated artifacts of the diner.

“We started the restoration on it, but volunteers and Tom Perkins and his sons worked hard on it,” Weiss said. “The restoration is complete, and I will be speaking at the re-dedication of the diner, talking about the connection between Route 66 and Gardner.”

“We have the streetcar to re-dedicate and, at the same time, it is the 85th birthday of Route 66. I will also mention Rev. Christian Christensen, who is the man that saved the world from nuclear destruction. There is a plaque dedicated to him in the two-cell jail.”

The historic jail, which is located in the same area as the streetcar, is always open. Visitors can press a button, the “message repeater,” and hear about Gardner, which also includes the streetcar information.

“The streetcar is not always open, but you can still go peek in the streetcar and see what travel was like back in those days,” Weiss said. “It’s a great piece of history for a little town like this. Not many people know about it.”

Peggy and Bob Kraft, who owned the diner that had been located at the site of the former Riviera Restaurant before the restaurant burned, donated the diner to the village and are happy that the structure is now being restored. They will be present at the program.

“We refurbished the diner all up and got it all ready,” Mayor Tom Wise said. “It certainly is a good thing. I gave Peggy and Bob the key to the city and we have a memorial plaque for the re-dedication.”

Coffee and donuts will be served at the diner by Auxiliary No. 663 Unit the day of the dedication.

Contributions and donations towards continuing preservation efforts are greatly appreciated.

By Genevieve Toussaint — news@morrisdailyherald.com

Illinois towns on Route 66 vie for foreign tourists

 Daily  Comments Off on Illinois towns on Route 66 vie for foreign tourists
Oct 142011
 



The honeymooners from Spain spoke limited English, but that didn’t stop Mayor Bob Russell from giving them a hearty welcome to his community.

“How long have you been here?” Russell asked, posing for a snapshot with the newlyweds by a giant Route 66 mural before moving on to greet a busload of French tourists.

“There are visitors on the street all day long,” he said, smiling. “This has brought new life to our community.”

While many small towns across the country are struggling to keep their downtowns afloat, Pontiac and a string of other Illinois communities scattered along the famed Route 66 are enjoying newfound popularity as foreign tourists roll in by rental car, motorcycle and bus.

The visitors come from Armenia and Ukraine with cameras around their necks, road maps in hand and money in their pockets. They tell locals they heard about the highway on international travel programs and read about it in guide books. Some catch an all-night flight to Chicago, skipping the downtown attractions to head out on the “Mother Road.”

“In Europe, it’s very much the epic American road trip,” said Sonny Dudes, a 31-year-old resident of the United Kingdom who pulled a rental car up to a visitor center housed in a restored Texaco gas station in Dwight on a recent afternoon. “It’s the novelty of a bygone era.”

And the homegrown tourism efforts are getting results. Shops in downtown Pontiac, for example, report an 8 percent increase in business over last year. The number of visitors has grown from 6,900 in 2008 to more than 15,000 so far this year, with representation from 84 countries, according to tourism officials.

The foreign interest gratifies boosters such as John Weiss, a resident of nearby Custer Park who has spent 15 years, he said, encouraging Route 66 communities to play up their ties to the road for their own survival. Weiss says he has sold more than 10,000 copies of his book, “Traveling the New, Historic Route 66 of Illinois,” many out of the trunk of his car.

“It’s so rewarding,” he said. “They’ll take pictures of our cornfields and our soybeans. They spend thousands of dollars just to come here — it’s their dream.”

Anyone familiar with the old Bobby Troup song knows that people get their kicks on Route 66, which ran 2,448 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. The 85th anniversary of the roadway’s designation is Nov. 11.

The storied highway began as 300 miles of uninterrupted paved road in Illinois in 1926. By the early 1930s, the entire distance was paved, prompting business owners along the path to create kitschy gimmicks — giant statues, Indian trading posts and neon signs — to entice drivers to stop and spend money, Weiss said.

The construction of Interstate 55 in Illinois replaced the need for Route 66, and in 1977, the roadway was taken off official state maps. Communities began losing touch with its history. Former attractions turned into storage buildings. Once-bustling gas stations fell into disrepair.

Even so, Route 66 consistently drew throngs of visitors each year, and it remains one of the state’s top tourist attractions, said Jan Kostner, state travel director for Illinois’ Office of Tourism.

Last month, more than 50,000 people from 30 countries stopped in Springfield for the International Route 66 Mother Road Festival, she said.

Recognizing the untapped market, Joliet tourism officials in 2006 spent $150,000 in state grant money and city funding to create attractions. They added furniture from the 1950s and ’60s and Blues Brothers statues to the visitors center at the Joliet Area Historical Museum. A neon sign went up on the Rich & Creamy ice cream parlor along the route’s path.

Joliet leaders posted Route 66 signs, printed maps and renovated a parking lot near the Joliet Correctional Center — made famous in the movie “The Blues Brothers” — where tourists often stopped to take pictures.

“They’d been coming through here and we just didn’t have a system for guiding and directing it,” said Rebecca Barker, media and communications manager for Visit Joliet.

About the same time, Weiss and his late wife, Lenore, approached leaders in communities along the former Route 66 path, encouraging them to showcase historic places such as the two-cell jail in Gardner and the iconic Standard Oil Filling Station in Odell.

“All these little towns, they don’t have tourism directors, they don’t have big budgets,” Weiss said. “And yet thousands of people drove by every day.”

By October 2006, leaders from 12 communities from Joliet to Towanda agreed to do whatever they could — repaint, add audio narration, post new signs — to promote Route 66 attractions. Clustered along 90 miles of the highway, the towns coined a name designed to promote their offerings collectively: “The Red Carpet Corridor.”

Luna Cafe Neon Sign Relighting!

 Daily, Illinois  Comments Off on Luna Cafe Neon Sign Relighting!
Oct 132011
 



Received an Email from the Route 66 Association of Illinois about the ceremony and relighting of the Cafe Luna sign.





The Luna Cafe neon sign in Mitchell, IL has been restored!

Please attend the Luna Cafe Neon Sign Relighting Ceremony!

Join your fellow Roadies and Route 66 Preservationists for this exciting event, celebrating these icons of the Mother Road – the Luna Cafe and her historic neon sign!

Saturday, October 22, 2011
6:30 PM (approximate time – actual time of relighting depends upon when dusk falls)

Luna Cafe
201 East Chain of Rocks Road
Mitchell, IL

Updated pic of Gardner Street Car on Route 66

 Daily, Illinois  Comments Off on Updated pic of Gardner Street Car on Route 66
Aug 262011
 



About a year ago – I took (4) folks who are in a Mini Cooper Car Club pretty much the entire drive of Route 66 in Illinois – I ended up finishing ‘my part of the tour’ in Edwardsville as they continued to St. Louis the next day.

When we drove it back then, the street car was ‘in hiding’ and the pad had not yet been poured…

Fast forward to today – and my friend decided to take another mini ‘MINI’ trip and took this pic of the street car.

As you can see – the pad is finished, the ‘skirt’ or base is in place, a plaque is up and the stairs are put back in it’s correct place (even though the door is nailed shut).

This is how I remembered it looking as we painted it with primer and then a coat of white exterior paint while it was located in its hiding place.

The roof was supposed to be completed this year – but the year is still not over and they still have a good month or two before the weather starts going south.

If not, there is always next year!!

For those of you who may not remember where the street car was relocated to after the Riviera Restaurant fire – it is right next to the Historic Jail Cell in downtown Gardner.

Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program Grant Awards – 2011

 Arizona, Daily, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma  Comments Off on Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program Grant Awards – 2011
Aug 092011
 



Below is a liting of the (10) properties / businesses who were awarded Preservation Grants. PLEASE keep in mind these places do not get this money upfront – it is a ‘cost share program’ which means they need to spend a dollar to get a dollar. So, they still need help!! Either you can donate your dollars and/or time. They get a ‘cost per hour’ charge for every hour of work from volunteers – which turn into dollars they get from these grants. Check with the local proerty to see how you can help!!

ARIZONA

Project: Route 66 Motel Sign and Roof Rehabilitation
Recipient: Private Owner
Amount: $10,319 NPS, $10,319 match

The Route 66 Motel has been a welcoming stop on Route 66 in Kingman, Arizona for more than 50 years. Its towering red and yellow neon sign remains a beacon in the night for travelers stopping to photograph the sign, stay the night, or visit the Route 66 gift shop. Built in 1963 as the “Pony Soldier”, the motel is a two-story, brick building with decorative, extruded mortar joints.
An aging electrical system has caused many portions of the sign to stop working, and the flat roof on the motel building needs repair. Grant funds will assist with these priority preservation needs, so it can continue to serve as an important Route 66 landmark in Kingman.

ILLINOIS

Project: Ariston Cafe Rehabilitation
Recipient: Private Owner
Amount: $10,000 NPS, $10,000 match

The Ariston Cafe in Litchfield, Illinois opened in 1935 and has been continuously operated by the Adam family ever since. A standing tradition for locals and travelers alike, the cafe offers favorites such as toasted ravioli and homemade red velvet cake. With its distinctive curved parapet, finely crafted brickwork, and its original Art Deco-style dining booths, this beloved Litchfield landmark was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2006. In 2008, a preservation plan was prepared for the cafe, and rehabilitation work has been ongoing since. Grant funds will assist with the current phase of the project, which will focus on structural repairs to the exterior brickwork.


Project: Dell Rhea Chicken Basket Rehabilitation
Recipient: Private Owner
Amount: $7,000 NPS, $7,000 match

Dell Rhea Chicken Basket has its origins in the 1930’s as a lunch counter attached to a service station in Hinsdale, Illinois. Oral tradition has it that two local farm women offered to reveal their excellent fried chicken recipe to the owner if he would promise to buy their chickens. The recipe was so good, that by 1946, the service station was closed and the new Chicken Basket was born. Built adjacent to the lunch counter site, the building reflects the nononsense,
utilitarian, commercial style of the post-war years. After being bypassed by the Interstate in 1962, the business fell on hard times. The Dell Rhea family purchased the Chicken Basket in 1963, and through savvy marketing and its famous fried chicken recipe, the business flourishes today. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008. Grant funds will assist with much needed structural repairs to the exterior brick walls.


Project: Luna Cafe Neon Sign Restoration
Recipient: Private Owner
Amount: $11,000 NPS, $11,000 match

The Luna Cafe in Mitchell, Illinois was built in 1926, the same year Route 66 was commissioned as a highway. With over 85 years of continuous service, the Luna has reportedly had many famous visitors including Al Capone, Elvis Presley, Hank
Williams Sr., and Ike & Tina Turner. Local memory recalls it serving variously as a Route 66 cafe, piano bar, boarding house, brothel, upscale restaurant, and meeting spot for gangsters. The neon sign with its iconic ruby red cherries lit up the night for over 40 years before going dark in the 1990s.The Missouri and Illinois Route 66 Associations are partnering with the owner of the Luna to oversee the restoration of the sign. Grant funds will assist with this effort.


Project: Sprague Super Service Window Rehabilitation
Recipient: Private Owner
Amount: $10,000 NPS, $10,000 match

In 1931, William W. Sprague built a two-story, Tudor Revival style building on Route 66 in Normal, Illinois to meet the
burgeoning demands of automobilists. Although Sprague opened the business during the Great Depression, he could count on travelers and local residents who needed food, gasoline, and car repair to stay in business. By providing on-site housing in the upstairs portion of the building for himself and a gas station attendant, he could readily meet the needs of his customers while lowering his housing costs. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2008, the current owner is restoring the building for use as a visitor center. Following a preservation plan prepared in 2009, a new roof and ADA accessible bathrooms have been installed. Grant funds will now assist with rehabilitation of the historic, wood frame windows.

MISSOURI

Project: Meramec River Bridge Historic Structures Report
Recipient: Landmarks Association of St. Louis
Amount: $15,000 NPS, $30,000 match
Constructed in 1931-1932, the Meramec River Bridge is a 1,009’-long, three-span, steel deck truss and girder structure located near Eureka in the Missouri Route 66 State Park. The bridge carried Route 66 traffic until it was bypassed by I-44 in the 1960’s. Today it serves as a centerpiece of the Route 66 State
Park, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2009. Now closed to traffic and under threat of demolition due to its deteriorated condition, it has been listed on Missouri Preservation’s Most Endangered Historic Places list for two years in a row. As part of a larger master planning effort, grant funds will assist with the preparation of a Historic Structures Report to evaluate preservation options and rehabilitation costs for the bridge.


Project: Sunset Motel Entrance and Exit Signs Restoration
Recipient: Private Owner
Amount: $7,100 NPS, $7,100 match

The Sunset Motel was built just after World War II in the “Hi-Way Hills Subdivision” of Villa Ridge, Missouri. Built in a distinctive Vshape, it had a twin-sister property known as the Pin Oak Motel just two miles west on Route 66. The motel featured a spacious lawn and central garden, a circular driveway around the rear of the property, and front and back entrances to each room. Since 1971, the property has been owned by the same family, and is currently operating on a weekly rental basis. Restoration was begun in 2009 to replace the roof, repoint exterior brick work, restore the interior floors, and return the neon sign to operating condition. Grant funds will assist with restoration of the damaged
and missing neon Entrance and Exit signs.


Project: Wagon Wheel Motel Roof Replacement
Recipient: Private Owner
Amount: $17,500 NPS, $17,500 match
Built in 1935 in Cuba, Missouri, the Wagon Wheel Motel, known originally as the Wagon Wheel Cabins, is a rare example of the transition in roadside lodging from individual tourist cabins to attached units. A well known local mason built the motel using local stone that farmers brought to him. While stone was a common building material for motels in Missouri, the Tudor Revival styling was not. Today, the motel is still locally owned and operated, and is the earliest tourist court on Route 66 in Missouri that still accommodates nightly travelers. Ongoing restoration work has included porch and soffit repairs, window repair, floor refinishing, and heating/cooling improvements. Grant funds will assist with roof replacement on two of the motel units.

OKLAHOMA

Project: Arcadia Round Barn Siding Restoration
Recipient: Arcadia Historical and Preservation Society
Amount: $21,000 NPS, $21,000 match
The Round Barn has stood sentinel in Arcadia, Oklahoma, since 1898. During construction, boards were soaked in water to make them pliable enough to bend into the round shape of the barn.
The barn was used variously to house stock and hay, but it is the dances on the second floor of the barn that people remember most. In 1914, Oklahoma County obtained a right-of-way and built a crude dirt road between the barn and the railroad tracks. In 1926, this unpaved road was designated U.S. Highway 66, part of the new national highway system. The barn has been a landmark on the route ever since and today serves as Route 66 and local history museum. The barn was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Grant funds will assist with much needed repair of rotted siding boards and trim.


Project: Firestone Station Restoration
Recipient: Private Owner
Amount: $25,000 NPS, $25,000 match
In July, 1929, the Bristow, Oklahoma Daily Record reported that
Firestone had purchased lots on Route 66 for the purpose of constructing a building that “will be one of the most modern in the state”. The store opened in May, 1930, and included an Art Deco design with six large service bays, a wash bay, an office and sales area with large display windows. The station prospered through the 1950’s, relying on its premier location and national brand recognition, as well as is distinctiveness as a full service station. Now under extensive and meticulous restoration for use as an auto body shop, grant funds will assist with site improvements including the exterior lights, sign, and concrete driveway repairs.

Flames destroy Coliseum Ballroom on Historic Route 66

 Daily, Illinois  Comments Off on Flames destroy Coliseum Ballroom on Historic Route 66
Aug 012011
 



The legendary Coliseum Ballroom in Benld, Illinois was gutted by fire Saturday night, leaving nothing but a charred shell.

Officials say the fire broke out sometime between 9 and 10 p.m. in the Macoupin County antique mall, about an hour northeast of St. Louis. A band was playing to a full house when the blaze started.

One of the band members said he noticed a burning smell hours earlier around 7:30 p.m.

Nearly every surrounding department responded to the fire. Flames reportedly rekindled Sunday morning, and crews returned to the scene.

Three people suffered injuries during the blaze. No word yet on their condition.

In its heyday, the ballroom was seen as a historic hotspot on Route 66.
It was built in the 1920s, and hosted many celebrities over the years. It was reportedly one of Al Capone’s favorite hide-outs.

You can check out a video of the fire by clicking HERE.

Our (partial) Route 66 trip – Day 1

 Daily, Illinois, Missouri, Route 66 States  Comments Off on Our (partial) Route 66 trip – Day 1
Jun 222011
 



The mission was to get from Chicago to Scottsdale as fast as possible – with minimal stops. Now – add in the fact we follow Route 66 for 85% of the drive – there are several people and places I have to / want to see, and 1800 miles is tough on just about anyone – ‘as fast as possible’ turned into ‘whenever we get there….’

I started our trip by making a quick stop over to the Sprauge Super Station in Normal IL to say ‘hi’ to Terry Ryburn and check on her progress with the station.

She updated me and we walked around the property for 20 minutes as she was pointing out what still had to be done. She mentioned the Route 66 Association of Illinois were coming out in Aug to do some interior work – if you want to help them / her in Aug – contact them association – I am sure they would love for you to stop out! If you want to help by sending a few dollars to further her progress – click HERE for more information.

After I said my ‘good-byes’ – we headed south. Now – I will almost NEVER travel throughout the southern part of Illinois on the route without stopping in and seeing Rich Henry at Henry’s Rabbit Ranch! Although he was closed and he was running around bar-b-queing he took 15 minutes and spoke to Juliana about the property, Big Red and Montana. She enjoyed the time and thought Rich was nothing but a ‘sweet man’.

So, for the first time of all the times I have been at Rich’s place, I hoped on the Giant Rabbit and took a picture!











We continued our way thru St. Louis and stopped the night in Springfield MO. We wanted to stop short of Joplin so we can tour it in the daytime.











Low and behold – we listening to air raid sirens and the hotel asked everyone to gather in a conference room for the fear of possible approaching tornados.











All was good – for the time and we decided to turn in and in the morning drive the 60 minutes to Joplin to check out the damage.
More on that tomorrow…

Hop onto Route 66 to celebrate

 Daily, Illinois  Comments Off on Hop onto Route 66 to celebrate
Apr 302011
 



The annual Route 66 Red Carpet Corridor on Saturday and May 8 includes Mother’s Day this year, a fitting honor to what was called “the Mother Road.”

One of America’s best celebrations of Route 66, the linear festival stretches 90 miles along Route 66 from Towanda to Joliet. A dozen towns along the way host all kinds of events, from garage sales to live bands.

Chenoa’s Red Carpet Festival will include live bands on Saturday afternoon, a carnival and food vendors. On Sunday, Anjanel Folkens will perform.

Lexington hosts a motorcycle show, a vintage car show and a tractor show, a quilt display, a concert by the Lexington High School band and chorus and the 2nd annual Amazing Bed Race. Add to that flea markets, garage sales, entertainment by an Elvis impersonator and a Hula-hoop contest. Food choices include Route 66 Root Beer Floats.

Pontiac’s festival is dedicated to the memory of Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire. To celebrate Waldmire’s life on the Mother Road, the city will be painting a 66-foot mural designed by Waldmire shortly before his death in 2009. Help paint the mural and receive a commemorative button. The project will be at the corner of Main and Madison streets in downtown Pontiac at 10 a.m. An art sale will be on the courthouse square. There also will be citywide garage and yard sales and a model train display at Evenglow Lodge. A free performance of the Route 66 Musical Revue will be at Chautauqua Park by the Vermillion Players.

Braidwood hosts a flea market, a karaoke/talent show, baked goods and kid’s stuff to do May 7. On Mother’s Day, a spa tent just for ladies will be offered.

Check out more and download a map by clicking HERE.

Copyright 2011 pantagraph.com

Historic Manor Motel Gets Facelift

 Daily, Illinois  Comments Off on Historic Manor Motel Gets Facelift
Mar 232011
 



Illinois’ 32nd governor, William Stratton, stayed there. Rumor has it that rock star Eddie Van Halen did too.

Today it’s predominately a place for business personnel to attend conferences for the nearby nuclear plants and for refinery tradesmen. But this place also gets frequented by casino clients, race fans and out-of-town guests of Channahon, Minooka and Joliet residents.

Located along the Route 66 alignment in Channahon, Manor Motel has offered travel-weary motorists a comfortable and affordable place to spend the night since 1954.

It all began in 1946 when Walt Anderson, a masonry contractor, bought land and had a vision to build the motel. A year later there was a unit constructed, followed by several others, until the motel officially opened in 1954. Anderson ran the motel until the late 1970s.

“This place is built like a bomb shelter,” said current owner Prakash Silveri, referring to the motel’s structure.

Silveri is the third owner of the motel. He took over the business from Jeff Kowalski in 1998. His current focus is updating all 77 guest rooms, the motel lobby and lounge area. Fresh paint, furniture, carpet and bedding are complete in 52 rooms.

“I want to bring it up to style and get a modern look,” Silveri said.

Rooms with bigger desks are reserved for corporate personnel or job superintendents who need the extra desk space to complete paperwork and other job-related matters, Silveri said.

There are 30 large, spacious — 20-by-14-foot rooms— with 40 king-size bedrooms. Rooms cost between $50 to $60 a night. Jacuzzi rooms run $89.95 during the week and up to $99.95 a night on the weekends. Free, high-speed Internet is offered to all customers.

Virtual tours and information is provided on the motel’s Web site.

Besides the corporate customers, casino clientele and race fans tend to book a room at the Manor Motel because it is close to where they are going for entertainment, Silveri said.

The motel is close to Channahon State Park and to neighboring Joliet, which hosts several events, including Rialto Square Theatre shows and future Joliet Slammers baseball games.

The Hollywood Casino is near Channahon and Rockdale. Harrah’s Hotel and Casino is in downtown Joliet. Chicagoland Speedway hosts NASCAR events and the Indy Racing League, while Route 66 Raceway, next door features National Hot Rod Association events on its drag strip.

Discounts to larger groups are available. Silveri said he has worked with customers and provided discounts for weddings and family reunions. Reasonable, extended-stay rates also are available.

Manor Motel has a concrete pool with radiant heat and underwater lighting but is closed until further notice.

Although Silveri is focused on pouring money into completing the remodeling of the guest rooms, he would like to reopen the pool in the future. The additional expense currently is too much in this economy.

Back in its heyday, the motel pool was used by the Channahon Park District for swimming lessons. Anderson’s son, Carl, recalls the village approaching his father and requesting to use the pool.

“I remember doing maintenance work around the motel grounds and every hour, 20 to 30 kids would be coming in,” Anderson said. “They were coming in by the busloads. It was something for the kids in the community to do.”

Anderson, who still lives down the street from the motel, said his father also built Manor Inn, a restaurant, in 1953.

“The restaurant had a coffee shop, cocktail lounge, dining area,” Anderson said. “It was a pretty classy diner.”
Anderson said his father had a strict dress code for the restaurant on Saturday nights. After 6 p.m., proper attire was required. Men had to wear suits, or they were not allowed to dine.

“I remember a couple of men coming to the restaurant on a Saturday expecting to be served wearing Bermuda shorts,” Anderson said. “My father was pretty rigid, and he turned them away.”

Today the historic building houses Ivo’s Express Bar & Grill. That is where Silveri refers his hungry clients to dine.

Silveri attempted a continental breakfast bar in the past, but some customers were inconsiderate and didn’t clean up after themselves very well. He said he may explore the idea again once the remodeling is completed.

In 1954, Walt Anderson also built a Sinclair gas station and a liquor store across the street from the motel.

“Pops had to build them,” Anderson said. “People needed it”

Silveri plans to preserve the history of the motel through brochures. After he has several framed, he wants to display them in each motel room.

Manor Motel will be remembered by photos and people recalling stories or their visits. And thanks to Silveri, he, too, is keeping the history of Manor Motel alive.

By Vanessa Holloway