Sep 072017
 








A large fire last month destroyed at least 150 cars and damaged several more, according to multiple news outlets. The fire occurred at Country Classic Cars in rural Staunton, Ill., located on historic Route 66.

According to its website, the business grew out of a hobby of a Midwestern farmer. An experienced mechanic, Russ Noel, grew the business to include an inventory of more than 600 collector cars. Besides the buildings that house the cars, there is also a service area, inside showroom and gift shop.

Noel said he typically has an inventory of a little over 600 cars. The fire destroyed 143 cars and a 50 x 530 feet warehouse that also housed an office and gift shop. Outside, six more cars sustained smoke damage.

The fire was traced to the warehouse to one of five cars located in the middle of the building; however, its cause remains undetermined.

Some cars are owned outright while others are taken on consignment. According to its website, the owner of a vehicle on consignment should retain insurance until the vehicle is sold.

Noel estimated he owned 95 percent of the cars that were affected, with the remaining cars affected on consignment.

He indicated that when a car arrives, their first step is to disconnect the battery, though it’s possible that step may have been overlooked, he said.

Most of the vehicles were removed from the premises with two weeks of fire, he said. Building debris removal was completed last month, as well. He plans to rebuild and estimated a start date of mid-September.

According to Jonathan Klinger, vice president of public relations for Hagerty, a collector car and boat insurer, Country Classics inventory includes a variety of cars. Typically, he said the nicer ones are kept indoors.

Klinger said that there are likely consignment agreements in place for those cars offered on consignment.

“Regardless if its consignment or an auction, it is universal industry practice that the owner of the car is going to sign some type of consignment agreement that states that you are still responsible for any property damage to the car. Meaning that they legally are not held liable for any damage that happens to the car while it’s in their care, custody and control,” Klinger explained.

Where the agreement states the owner should maintain insurance coverage, owners of damaged vehicles would submit a claim to their own insurer first, he said.

For the many cars owned outright by Noel, there may be agreed value policies in place.

Klinger explained that collector cars typically hold or increase in value, while standard cars depreciate in value. Thus, a policy on a collector car would typically be an agreed value policy where the value is pre-determined and agreed upon at the time of policy purchase, while a standard car would have a cash value policy where the value is determined at the time of loss.

Payout would be agreed value minus deductible, if one applied.

Noel couldn’t say what the total value of the loss is and Auto-Owners, Country Classic’s insurer declined to comment on the ongoing claim.

– by Denise Johnson – Claims Journal

Aug 312014
 

IL-route66-small








Shadows of the past already line Route 66, but the historic highway is about to gain nine more.

This year, a silhouette of Shirley Temple drinking a soda at an old Elkhart cafe and a figure of a Gillespie miner will appear among the collection of memorable stops along the Mother Road. The Illinois Route 66 National Scenic Byway has introduced iron silhouette statues depicting moments from history at nine Illinois communities along the highway.
Locally, Sherman in Sangamon County, Elkhart in Logan County, as well as Benld, Staunton and Gillespie in Macoupin County are preparing to install the interpretive statues.

Bill Kelly, executive director of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, said the initiative will allow tourists to create connections with the towns along the route through the visuals. The interpretive statues will help visitors imagine the dancers on the floor at the dance hall in Benld and visualize the children at a wayside park in Sherman.
“What they’re looking for is a unique experience,” Kelly said. “It strikes a mythic chord with people. … It’s the most famous road in the world, and people are looking for their own experiences.”

The Federal Highway Administration’s National Scenic Byway Program and the Illinois Office of Tourism funded the roughly $130,000 project. Each silhouette comes with an informational kiosk that gives a glimpse of the town’s history. Kelly said he’d like to see all of the exhibits on display by the end of 2014.

Memorable moments
While the grant money paid for the statues, the individual communities are responsible for installation costs. Many are still trying to determine display locations and ribbon-cutting days.
Elkhart, for its part, is trying to raise $500 to pay for the concrete that will help support its 300-plus-pound Shirley Temple statue.
Peggy Lee, an alderman in Elkhart, said the town’s exhibit focuses on the restaurant stops there during the 1930s and ’40s. The silhouette of Temple and a waitress commemorates the iconic actress’ stop at the House by the Side of the Road Cafe in 1938. She had used Route 66 on her way to Springfield for the “Little Miss Broadway” movie premiere.

“The owner of the cafe roped off the place where she had eaten, and no one ever sat there again,” Lee said.
Benld’s statue features dancers from the Coliseum Ballroom, which burned in 2011. During the Route 66 era, the ballroom was known as the biggest dance floor between Chicago and St. Louis, as well as a hot spot for gambling and bootlegging. The dance floor welcomed large crowds and, at the height of its popularity, hosted musicians such as Duke Ellington, Fats Domino, Chuck Berry, Ray Charles, and Ike and Tina Turner.

In Sherman, the statue of two children sitting at a picnic table highlights something many have forgotten. John Swinford, village administrator, said Sherman is home to one of Route 66’s last remaining wayside parks. While the space today is empty land with a flag pole, the park once welcomed crowds needing a place for lunch as they traveled the famed highway.
“It’s nostalgic, kind of, with two kids sitting at a picnic table as you might have found back in the day,” Swinford said. “Just to kind of point to the fact to remind people how it used to (be) before there was Kentucky Fried Chicken and McDonald’s on every corner.”

‘Part of road’s DNA’
The silhouette of a miner in Gillespie identifies how the town began.
Councilman Dave Tucker said towns like Gillespie popped up around mines. His town only had four years on Route 66, a fact hardly noted in town history or old newspapers. Most people in Gillespie walked to work and didn’t use the highway. Yet Kelly noted that the coal that came from these pop-up towns used the Mother Road extensively.
“Coal is part of the road’s DNA,” Kelly said.

The Staunton statue portrays the Illinois Traction System, also known as streetcars.
Bill Bechem, who served on a committee for developing the Staunton statue, said both streetcars and the highway took a hit with the evolution of transportation. Streetcars eventually became obsolete with the use of personal cars, just as the interstate highway system robbed Route 66 of its travelers.
“My thoughts were that the streetcar was kind of a rise and decline that was similar to Route 66, and both suffered when Interstate 55 came,” he said.

While nostalgia for Route 66 has declined locally, international tourists still embrace the old pavement. Swinford said it’s not uncommon to see a visitor taking a picture of their feet standing on the old concrete. It always amazes him that European tourists leave behind structures more than 1,000 years old to take pictures of 80-year-old pavement.
He hopes the statues along the Illinois corridor bring a little more tourism but also a little more local awareness.
“There are a great number of people in this community that just don’t remember or know how much of Route 66 they have,” Swinford said of Sherman’s wayside park. “Some people don’t even recognize that park was part of Route 66. That really is America’s Main Street, and it is such a vital part of our town.”

By Maggie Menderski – The State Journal Register

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

Nov 082012
 

 



My good friend Rich Henry sent me an Email asking to help reach out to support a clause close to his heart…

Big Red is helping support and promote the House Rabbit Society, St Louis, Mo, chapter in selling their annual calendar for 2013. He did not want me to mention, that he is the September bunnie on it (see picture). All proceeds, other than mailing costs, will go directly to the Missouri House Rabbit Society. It is a very nice, heavy quality calendar.

Price, including shipping within continental United States for one calendar is $15.00. Save on shipping on mulitiple calendar orders. Pickup at Henrys Ra66it Ranch for $10.00 each. If requested on a calendar for no extra charge we will add a personal touch to it. For more info, questions, or to order e-mail us direct at Route66@midwest.net.

Please do not respond thru the group e-mail to us. They make excellent presents, whether Christmas or otherwise.

The House Rabbit Society is a non-profit 501,C3 organization. Their goal is to save abandoned rabbits and find forever homes for them. For more info on the HRS go to http://www.rabbit.org. Most of our bunnies here at Henrys Ra66it Ranch are rescues with a few being children born of rescue parents.

Thank-you, Rich, Big Red and rest of Queen Montana’s legacy

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…