First Dairy Queen designated a landmark

The building that housed the first Dairy Queen restaurant, located along old Route 66 in Joliet, Ill., has been designated a local landmark by the city council, reported The Herald-News.

The two-story brick storefront at 501 N. Chicago St. (map and Google Street View image here) now houses a local church, but is little-changed otherwise. It was here in June 1940 the storefront sign touted “Dairy Queen: The New Frozen Dairy Product.”

Dairy Queen now boasts almost 6,000 restaurants in 21 countries.

“It was developed in Kankakee, but the first actual store with the Dairy Queen name was here,” said Bob Nachtrieb, a member of the Joliet Historic Preservation Commission that sought the landmark status. The Joliet City Council approved the landmark status Tuesday.

Nachtrieb’s version is confirmed in the company history on the Dairy Queen website.

People at the Dairy Queen corporate headquarters in Minneapolis think the landmark status is “a fabulous thing” and have requested that the official ceremony take place next year during warm weather, which will be more conducive to eating ice cream. […]

There will be a bronze plaque attached to the building storefront to commemorate its place in Dairy Queen history, said Barb Newberg, a planner for Joliet.

“That will make it more visible to the traveling public and tourists that may be traveling around the Route 66 corridor,” Newberg said.

The Joliet Area Historical Museum also is planning a display about Dairy Queen’s local history.

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