Day One of Joliet Trip

Joliet was our destination this past weekend for a couple days of research, acquiring photos, driving some stretches of historic Route 66, and generally schmoozing with fellow Route 66 and history aficionados.

Joe Sonderman and I are working on "Route 66 in Illinois," our collaboration for Arcadia Publishing. We signed the contract earlier this summer with the goal of release next May. Since my two earlier Route 66 books for Arcadia covered two stretches of the Illinois road, namely that of Madison County and of the Springfield (capital city) area, and Chicago Route 66 expert David Clark covered that city in his Arcadia book, Joe and I determined from the start that our new book would not "recycle" material from the other three books. This would be a fresh look at the history and heritage of the route through Illinois with as many unpublished and utterly amazing vintage photos as we could ferret out up and down the state.We also agreed that as long as we were mentally ordering up what we hoped to find in photos, we also would like to find images with staff and/or customers out in front of the various mom 'n pop businesses!

So far we've not been disappointed! Previous research trips have been mostly very fruitful. As a historian, I think about all the old family photos "out there" that haven't surfaced yet...and they're there. We have a great start on the book and are looking forward to its release next year!

But back to Thursday...we couldn't leave until late afternoon due to Joe's work, so the timing was just right to be in Litchfield at dinner time! Nick Adam greeted us in the parking lot at the Ariston Cafe and escorted us in. Some good news in Litchfield - Nick told us that the Suhling sign in front of the Litchfield Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center would be coming down for restoration very soon and that an October relighting was anticipated.

Our intent for Thursday was mainly just to get up to Joliet so as to be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for a full day Friday at the Joliet Area Historical Museum and Route 66 Welcome Center and then the Will County Historical Society. And so the interstate it was...

Our accommodations were waiting at the Manor Motel at the Channahon exit. This 1950s gem of a motel underwent an extensive renovation a couple years ago on top of additions through the years. It's much larger than what it once was, and the decor of the rooms, interesting, sort of 70s, and very colorful. It was clean and comfortable and the management was quite accommodating to my special needs (I have MCS - multiple chemical sensitivity). And it was off to sleep to dream of vintage photos waiting to be discovered.


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