New plaque commemorates the birthplace of the horseshoe sandwich in Springfield

The Visit Springfield tourism bureau on Thursday commemorated the birthplace of the horseshoe sandwich with a new plaque at the historic Leland Hotel building at Capitol Avenue and Sixth Street (aka Route 66) in Springfield, Illinois.

For the uninitiated, a horseshoe sandwich consists of thick slices of toast, a hamburger patty or another type of meat and french fries, plus cheese sauce over everything. A ponyshoe is a smaller version.

Joe Schweska invented the dish in 1928 at the Leland Hotel, which no longer exists as a lodging establishment.

The Springfield State Journal-Register covered the unveiling:

Visiting Springfield marketing manager Amy Beadle said the idea for the plaque came from tourists asking if the Leland Hotel was still serving horseshoes.

“I got to thinking; knowing this is the Leland building, and no it’s not a hotel and no you can’t eat there,” Beadle said. “What can we do to promote another experience for people who are interested in the horseshoe—that prompted the idea that we need a marker.”

In partnership with the Illinois Commerce Commission, the agency that currently occupies the historic building, the plaque on the east side of the building states the date the first horseshoe was created and the history behind the cultural dish. […]

“It’s really special to see this tribute to my grandparents creating the recipe,” Jan Militello, the granddaughter of Schweska said surrounded by cousins and other family of the culinarian. “It’s amazing to see how it has become such an icon of Springfield.”

Here are photos from the ceremony by Visit Springfield:

Visit Springfield earlier this year also launched a Springfield Horseshoe Passport Program as part of the Springfield Horseshoe Trail. The free passport lists 20 local businesses, including several along the Route 66 corridor.

The newspaper reported that 1,300 passports have been distributed to people from 20 states, with more than 1,000 check-ins at the participating restaurants.

(Image of a horseshoe sandwich in Springfield, Illinois, by David Clow via Flickr)

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