May 192014
 











The official Eagle Scout pledge reads, “On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty to God. On my honor, I will do my best, to do my duty to my country. I reaffirm my allegiance to the three promises of the Scout Oath. I thoughtfully recognize and take upon myself the obligations and responsibilities of the rank of Eagle Scout.”

Less than four percent of all Boy Scouts ever attain the rank of Eagle, which is the highest honor of the Boy Scouts of America.
Three newly refinished plaques with the names of all of the Litchfield Eagle Scouts, dating back to 1935, were dedicated to the Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center in a special ceremony on Saturday morning, May 17 at the museum.
To open the ceremony, members of Boy Scout Troop 89 led the “Pledge of Allegiance” outside the museum.

Once returning inside, Sharon Wood, a member of the museum committee, served as the master of ceremonies.
“We are here today because you, the Eagle Scout, are very important, and we are blessed to recognize each of you with your names on these plaques,” Wood said.
The original plaques were created in 1990 by John and Linda Thull, who wanted the citizens of Litchfield to see the achievement of the young men who attained this honor. They hung in Litchfield City Hall for many years.

“Many times, I had Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts come in the building to sell popcorn,” said Wood, who worked in the clerk’s office.
“I would take them by the hand and show them the plaques and suggest they work really hard and become an Eagle Scout with their name added to the plaque.”
When Wood became involved with the new museum, she thought it would be nice to move the plaques since so many visitors from all over the world stop in to see the museum. Due to their age, the plaques needed some refinishing and updating, which was done by Wood’s husband, Mike.

The Boy Scouts of America office in Springfield helped the Woods to update the records, and the Litchfield Knights of Columbus provided a monetary contribution to the project. Also helping were Cub Scoutmaster Lisa Francis and Connie Beck, who did the engraving.
“The Thulls’ idea has grown, and what better way to honor our hometown Eagle Scouts through the years than by adding their names to a plaque that will be seen by many visitors to our museum,” Wood said. “We are proud of the hard work these young men and their families endure to accomplish each rank on their way to Eagle Scout.”
After her remarks, Wood opened the floor to others present, and Litchfield resident Will Tackaberry, who earned his Eagle Scout in 1947, spoke. He talked about how the skills he learned in scouting helped him have a successful military career with both the Navy and the Air Force.
“What you learn in scouts will help you no matter what kind of a job you have,” Tackaberry said.

Following the ceremony, the plaques are now on display inside the museum.
Litchfield Eagle Scouts
Ray Prange, 12-7-1935
Don Lee Brubaker, 12-1-1936
Irving Nathason, 12-1-1936
Russell Eppinger, 12-7-1937
Fred Griffith, 12-7-1937
Charles Napier, 12-7-1937
Philip Rainey, 12-7-1937
John Ritchie, 12-7-1937
Bernard Schoen, 12-7-1937
James Griffith, 8-11-1938
Richard Savage, 11-29-1938
Melvin Kellenberger, 11-21-1939
Billy Griffith, 6-1-1941
John Morris, 3-12-1942
Herbert Perkins, Jr., 3-12-1942
Fred J. Carll, 8-23-1946
Fred Hammond, 4-25-1947
Warren L. Roach, 12-3-1947
Wilbur Tackaberry 7-9-1947
Carl Bierbaum 6-17-1949
Ross Schweppe, 12-10-1949
Paul B. Ulenhop, 7-25-1951
Chris McClurg, 9-24-1952
Patrick McClurg, 5-31-1953
Fred Barringer, 1-6-1953
Mike Ulenhop, 4-15-1956
Bruce C. Wilson, 6-10-1957
Robert Ulenhop, 5-24-1960
Thurman Schweitzer, Jr., 7-30-1963
James E. Gibson, 6-13-1973
John J. Benitez, 6-24-1975
Allen E. House, 6-24-1979
Steven C. House, 2-13-1980
Stephen J. Fiscor, 1-31-1981
David M. House, 2-21-1982
Christopher Thull, 3-21-1985
Brent Harty, 9-22-1988
Lewis F. Harty, 9-22-1988
Steve Jurgena, 12-17-1988
Joshua S. Hardy, 10-3-1990
Randolph T. Harty, 10-3-1990
Clark L. Johnsen, 1-21-1991
James A. Thull, 1-18-1991
Stewart E. Johnson, 12-22-1992
Corey M. Wood, 8-17-1994
Joshua M. Nickles, 8-22-1995
Brian Paul Reid, 5-16-1995
David Hiscox, 5-19-1996
Scott White, 4-21-1996
Nathaniel J. Harty, 10-18-1997
Andrew P. Weick, 11-4-1998
Jason W. Horrocks, 2-3-1999
Chad J. Nickles, 12-16-1999
Brian E. Smith, 12-16-1999
Michael B. Weber, 12-16-1999
Sean R. Donham, 6-20-2002
Nicholas L. Thull, 2-20-2003
Travis J. Pence, 12-2-2004
Ryan D. Bishop, 8-19-2005
Benjamin M. Weber, 8-19-2005
Joseph R. Weber, 1-19-2006
Michael D. Reimer, 2-22-2006
Michael J. Arnold, 3-12-2006
Michael R. Smith, 3-12-2006
Adam J. Fischer, 2-17-2011
Austin Marburger, 11-24-2013
Jacob Cadwell, 11-24-2013
Timothy Francis, 11-24-2013

by Mary (Galer) Herschelman – The Journal News

Aug 162013
 






The National Park Service (NPS) Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program announced last week the awarding of six cost- share grants to assist with the restoration of significant historic properties along Route 66. The old Milan Motel, today known as the Kachina Country Trading Post, is one of the recipients, according to a press release from the National Park Service.

Grant funds will assist with the electrical rehabilitation of the trading post to address serious fire and other safety concerns. The private owner will match the $10,000 NPS grant with an equal amount.

The Milan Motel and Trading Post has a rich history on Route 66. The motel complex was built in 1947 by the Milan family, for which the town was named. The family also managed a booming carrot industry in the area, which became known as the “Carrot Capital of the United States.” Although a second story was added to the trading post in the 1970s, the motel and trading post retain much of their historic integrity today and are eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Plumbing and electrical system issues have forced the closure of the motel units, but the trading post remains open today.

Long-term goals are to restore the motel units to operating condition.

Others recipients include: Hilltop Motel, Kingman, Ariz.; Vic Suhling Neon Sign, Litchfield, Ill.; DeCamp Junction, Staunton, Ill.; Santo Domingo Trading Post, Santo Domingo Pueblo, N.M.; and, Whiting Bros. Gas Station, Moriarty, N.M.

The cost-share grant program provides financial assistance for eligible historic preservation, research, oral history, interpretative, and educational projects. Grants are offered through an annual, competitive grant-cycle.

Since the program’s inception in 2001, 114 projects have been awarded $1.6 million with $2.7 million in cost-share match, totaling $4.3 million in public-private investment toward the preservation and revitalization of the Route 66 corridor.

By Cibola Beacon

Oct 032012
 





Well, this is disappointing news. I (personally) thought this was a great idea to restore an old gas station into a local museum not only to show off Litchfield’s history, but also to celebrate the route which travels right trough it…

LITCHFIELD — Organizers of the Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center have their work cut out for them in their effort to win financial support from the city.

The Litchfield City Council on Tuesday effectively rejected their request for $20,000 to pay for display cases and other furnishings for the Art Deco-style museum, currently under construction at the former site of the Vic Shuling gas station along Historic Route 66.

The council split 4-4, and Mayor Tom Jones abstained. The money would have come from the city’s tourism fund, which is supported by a local tax on hotels and motels.

“The museum is nearly done (being built),” city administrator Andy Ritchie said. “We just hope it carries itself.”

Jones said he abstained from voting because he has “no opinion one way or the other.”

“I’m not opposed to the museum at all,” he said, but organizers shouldn’t have started building before they lined up money to furnish the museum.

Smaller request

After originally asking for $100,000, organizers pared the request down to $20,000 this summer. The city asked them to come back with a more detailed business plan. Representatives from the museum association met individually with city council members prior to a committee meeting last week, gave them a copy of the museum’s “very detailed business plan,” and briefed them on its contents, Ritchie said.

Lonnie Bathurst, a local businessman who chairs the museum’s steering committee and helped develop the business plan, said the aldermen who voted against using money earmarked for tourism promotion to help the museum aren’t seeing the bigger picture.

Travelers along Route 66 spend millions of dollars each year in communities from Chicago to Southern California, Bathurst said.

“We happen to be lucky enough to be on there. We’re just not capitalizing on it in the biggest way possible,” he said. “A museum of that size and cost and magnitude, in terms of its quality, would compare to maybe only half a dozen others along the whole length of the highway.”

While it’s possible for the museum to get off the ground without city support, Bathurst said, “it would be much easier to have the city behind it going forward.”

“I don’t think we’re finished in our efforts with the city council,” he said.

Fundraising continues

Organizers also hope the city will devote a half-percent from the 3 percent hotel tax to help cover the museum’s operating expenses, but they haven’t made a formal request.

Dan Petrella – The State Journal-Register

Aug 272012
 

 


LITCHFIELD — The Litchfield City Council earlier this month discussed allowing the city’s tourism coordinator to work out of the new Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center, but postponed a vote on the issue until organizers present a detailed business plan.

Organizers of the museum, which is under construction on the former site of the Vic Suhling gas station on Historic Route 66, still are putting together a plan that will include a request for funding from the city.

City administrator Andy Ritchie said the council wants to be sure tourism coordinator Carol Burke won’t end up running the museum if volunteer staff members don’t show up as scheduled.

“We’re just making sure the tax money for the city tourism coordinator is being used for city tourism,” Ritchie said.

The history

In addition to wanting the tourism coordinator to work out of the new museum, organizers asked the city for hotel-motel tax money to help pay for furnishings and displays in the Art Deco-inspired building.

Organizers initially requested $100,000. After whittling that down to $20,000, the city council in July said it needed more detail on how the money would be spent .

Delaying the decisions is not a sign of “malice” or “a negative thought process” about the museum, Ritchie said.

City officials support the project, but also need to make sure they’re being good stewards of taxpayers’ money, he said.

In fact, Ritchie took a 2,402-mile bike trip along Route 66 this summer to raise money for the museum. He started from Santa Monica Pier in California and, after 30 days of riding, arrived in Chicago on June 10.

The trip has raised about $15,000 so far, and Ritchie said he’s still collecting on some pledges.

What’s next?

Martha Jackson, president of the nonprofit Litchfield Museum & Route 66 Welcome Center Association, said the group hopes to present its business plan and funding proposal to the city council at its October meeting.

The museum, which Jackson dreamed up as a way to share local artifacts her husband, the late Dave Jackson, gathered while working at the Litchfield News-Herald newspaper, is expected to open this fall.

An exact date has not been set, Jackson said.

By Dan Petrella -The State Journal-Register

Jan 252012
 



Bill Thomas remembers the response when he suggested developing the Logan County village of Atlanta, population 1,635, as a Route 66 tourist attraction.

“Fifteen years ago, that was laughed at,” Thomas said.

Nobody’s laughing today.

Communities throughout central Illinois — from Atlanta to Williamsville to Litchfield — are benefiting from efforts to market their ties to the famous road — and to attract some of the thousands of visitors who trace its path from Chicago to the West Coast each year.

In Atlanta, sales tax revenue jumped 43 percent last year during the peak tourism season of April to August compared to four years ago, before the opening of the Atlanta Museum and the reopening of the 1930s-era Palms Grill Cafe. Both buildings in the 100 block of S.W. Arch St. are owned by the Atlanta Public Library.

The two endeavors were Atlanta’s first efforts to generate revenue from the steady trickle of Route 66 travelers who drive through the town every summer.

Atlanta had long been a favorite stop with its library packed with memorabilia, a 19-foot-tall fiberglass Paul Bunyan-like statue holding a super-sized hot dog and advertising murals painted on the brick buildings lining Route 66.

Today, visitors can take a walking tour of the community, eat at the Palms Grill and trace where their corn flakes come from at the J.H. Hawes Grain Elevator Museum, housed in a restored 1904 grain elevator.

The increase in foot traffic led to the opening of two new businesses: the Route 66 Gift Shop, which sells memorabilia and vintage items, and the Arch Street Artisan Shop.

“The city really got behind this push,” said Mayor Fred Finchum, who served on the village board when Thomas first proposed the idea. “It took a while to wrap our minds around it. But we thought, what we’re doing to try to bring people in isn’t working.

“What else can we do?”

Atlanta leaders are still asking that question, but today they are looking at historical aspects of their community tourists might be drawn to.

Packaging the past

This spring, Atlanta will begin preparing a walking trail and signage around a quarter-mile of the original Route 66 pavement north of town. Officials also plan to open a coal-mining exhibit next to the grain elevator museum.

The community also has purchased an 1891 residence that served as a rooming house for Route 66 travelers in the 1940s, before motels were readily available. The city plans to offer the same service to modern travelers, although the Atlanta Route 66 Rooming House isn’t expected to open until 2013.

Copyright 2012 The State Journal-Register.

Mar 072011
 



Nearly 150 Denmark students stopped in Litchfield Thursday night and Friday morning, with 20 identical Four Winds recreational vehicles parked at the Walmart parking lot.

The back of each RV read, “Goin’ Places with Smiling Faces.” The students are currently attending Aarhus School of Architecture in Denmark, and are traveling Route 66 across the United States as part of a group project.

When they arrived in Litchfield on Thursday night, they had been traveling for three days from Chicago, and their trip will end in Los Angeles after 30 days.

A total of 31 RVs will make the trip along the Mother Road including 142 students and eight teachers.

Students will be taking pictures of farm buildings, grain elevators, signs, cars, trucks and more as part of both group and individual projects.

They will also focus on the hospitality of various stops along the way, and each student will be responsible for a book about his/her experiences when they return home to Denmark.

Following their stop at Walmart, the group camped for the evening in Honey Bend before continuing their trip

May 162010
 

Here are a few pics from the day we were out repairing/restoring the Litchfield Drive In (Litchfield IL) in preperation for their 60th Anniversary. It was about 45 degrees out and the wind was a constant 25-35 MPH – so painting was a breeze seeing it was blowing everywhere else but the actual thing we were painting!

It was great to have the concession stands open for us to eat quality ‘drive in’ food and we ate alot! The owners and managers were great people and look forward to seeing a movie there.