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A Route 66 guidebook with broad shoulders June 28, 2006

Posted by Ron Warnick in Books.

The newly published “Exploring Route 66 in Chicagoland” by David G. Clark, aka the Windy City Road Warrior, is not just a guidebook of the Mother Road in Chicago, but a history primer of that great city.

The book is about 150 pages, filled with dozens of black-and-white photos, maps, driving directions, a walking-tour guide, and listings of attractions and restarants along Route 66 in Chicago.

But I wasn’t anticipating all the history and detail. The book not only provides historical capsules of the buildings and places along Route 66, but also of the streets themselves — Odgen Avenue, Jackson Boulevard, Adams Street and Joliet Road.

And Clark isn’t content to concentrate on after Route 66 was commissioned in 1926. No, his research plunges even into the 1800s, when the City of Broad Shoulders was a mere pup of a town.

Here’s an excerpt on the Adams Street chapter that should give you a taste of Clark’s book:

Intersection: Wabash Avenue. Two storefronts to the north on Wabash (right) we see the current home of Miller’s Pub. From 1952, when it was purchased by the Gallios brothers, through the 1980s, we would have found Miller’s Pub at 23 E. Adams, on the left where a parking garage now stands. In its prime, it was a celebrity hangout for the like of Jimmy Durante, Tony Bennett, Jackie Mason and Bill Veeck. Once, when I was new to Chicago, I saw Bob Keeshin [sic] eating there; if you do not recognize the name — he was better known as Captain Kangaroo.

Although the new Miller’s Pub is not technically “on” 66, it is still so close as to make the distinction nearly meaningless. And to this day, the restaurant follows a marvelous tradition of serving fine food at modest prices. It’s a great place to revel in the Chicago of yesteryear and enjoy gazing at the autographed photos of celebrities that line the walls. Since Miller’s was on Adams Street before, during AND after Adams was officially U.S. 66, I feel strongly that it should be recognized as a Route 66 icon as well as a Chicago Landmark.

The $19.95 price of the book (plus shipping) is worth it along for the restaurant and lodging listings alone, which are much more complete than any Route 66 guidebook I’ve seen regarding Chicago.

I haven’t been in Chicago in several years, and “Exploring Route 66 in Chicagoland” made me re-appreciate the magnificence of the Windy City. Here are page samples of the book. Here’s the Web page to order it.

Highly recommended.

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