Route 66 News

“Route 66 in Illinois”

Illinois Route 66 presentation

The “Route 66 in Illinois” presentation by Joe Sonderman and Cheryl Eichar Jett — who co-wrote a book by the same name — during the Miles of Possibility conference in Edwardsville, Illinois, contained a few tidbits of information even veteran roadies might not have known, such as:

Geoff Ladd of the Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, sitting in the audience during Sonderman and Jett’s presentation, elaborated a bit on the problems that beset the The Tropics neon sign in Lincoln after the city took it down in April 2014 when the land changed owners. The plan was to keep the sign in storage until it could be restored.

Ladd said the sign initially was kept in the city garage until city officials determined pigeon debris was inside the long-neglected sign. The mayor ordered the debris out, and workers in the process ripped out one side of the sign into “50 to 60 pieces,” Ladd said.

The city then moved the sign outdoors to near the local landfill, where it sits exposed to weather. Local media outlets found out about the city moving the sign to the landfill, and furor ensued.

Ladd said the city of Lincoln now is considering setting up a crowdfunding site to restore the sign. “They want the public to crowdfund to fix their mistake,” he said.

On a different note, Ladd elaborated on the relationship between longtime Pig Hip owner Ernie Edwards and Route 66 artist Bob Waldmire. “Ernie and Bob were best friends,” Ladd said, “and Ernied loved to catch Bob smoking pot.”

(More stories from the Miles of Possibility Conference will be posted in the coming days)

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