Posts Tagged ‘Plainfield IL’

Plainfield's Windmill gas station & diner

April 12, 2012

The Plainfield Patch features the story (and photo below) behind a diner and gas station best known for the windmill that marked the roadside business. The Windmill was along the Lincoln Highway southeast of town. It was also just off an alignment of Route 66 that shared three blocks with the Lincoln Highway.

John and Mabel Powell leased land at the southwest corner of Lake Renwick around 1925 for their whimsical building. The windmill served as the entrance to the diner and also had a canopy over gas pumps. The upper floors were an apartment for the Powells and their son Robert. The Depression led to the business closing around 1935 and it was leased to James Lyon, who removed the gas pumps and enclosed the canopy to provide a large saloon. Operating as The Palomar and later The Mill, the business survived into the mid-1950s.

Bill & Karen's new Lincoln Highway trip

September 3, 2011

Long-distance travelers Bill and Karen post wonderful stories and photos about their 2-lane trips. The Ontario couple last drove the Lincoln Highway in 2009 and have used my books to track down every highlight and report back lots of updates. This year they picked up the LH near Downingtown, Pa., on Day 34 of their trip and traveled west  to Plainfield, Illinois, by Day 50. Travel along at

Bill writes: We concluded our Lincoln Highway road trip at the same spot in Plainfield Illinois where we started the journey on July 7, 2009. It also marks the spot where we concluded our Route 66 road trip in 2008.  This spot is where the two roads share the same 3 blocks…. All we need to do now is to drive from Times Square NY to Exton PA and we will have completely driven the Lincoln Highway from beginning to end.

Plans for Rt 66 and Lincoln Highway crossroads

March 22, 2011

Plans are underway to create a ‘gateway park” in Plainfield, Illinois, at the crossroads of the Lincoln Highway and Route 66 — now US 30 and SR 159. The Plainfield Patch reports that “Michael Bortell told the Plainfield Village Board Monday that he plans to apply for a $5,000 matching grant from the National Park Service to fund a redevelopment study for the .925-acre site, which is one of the most historic in the village.” A gas station at the triangle-shaped property was removed last year when Illinois 59 was widened. The historically significant Corbin-Bingham-Worst house would become a visitors center with parking and park land. Another house and two garages would be demolished.

Bortell says the project:

would not only celebrate the only place in the country where two of the most famous cross-county roads intersect but would preserve the land on which the village’s first industrial business, the Dillman Foundry, was built in 1848.”

As for the house, it belonged to one of the first families to settle in Plainfield within the first 20 years of the town’s establishment and was home to Plainfield’s second doctor, Oliver J. Corbin.

Bortell admits that part of his motivation is to keep yet another historic house from being torn down, with nothing built in its place.

Note that another crossroads of the two famous highways can be found in Joliet, Illinois.

Photo by Bill and Karen McKibbon from their excellent travel blog

Lakeview Motel burns, may be demolished

November 1, 2010

A fire has left the future uncertain for a vintage motel on the Lincoln Highway south of Plainfield, Illinois. About two thirds of the Lakeview Motel, 15824 S. Joliet Rd. at Renwick Rd., was damaged at a loss estimated at $350,000. The Plainfield Patch reports police believe the blaze started in an unoccupied room and quickly spread into the roof of the 19-room motel. The longtime maintenance manager thinks an unhappy tenant may have been the source, and said, “Out of 19 rooms, 10 of them are pretty much gone.” A photo the paper ran from before the fire (by Kevin Whaley) shows the c. 1950 motel.

The Herald-News reports that even before the fire, the village’s building inspector says multiple code violations made the buildings a dangerous place to live. He has since condemned the motel, house, and mobile homes but the owner would rather rebuild than demolish. The inspector said he’ll give the owner 30 days to figure out how to proceed: “I think people deserve better…. And it’s a prime corner. There’s a lot of potential on this corner.”

Like most mid-century motels, tourists are no longer the primary customers. One online reviewer cried “WHAT A DUMP!!!!!!: This place does not belong in Plainfield. A drug den, where there is nothing but losers & transient people there. Not even safe to park vehicle there. Should be torn down…” but a response said, “It’s not the greatest place on earth, but some people are not as fortunate as others [and] have to stay wherever they can afford and at least they have a roof over their head and not sleeping on the corner.”

"Traveling the Lincoln Highway" in Plainfield

September 7, 2010

“Traveling the Lincoln Highway” will be presented tonight at the Plainfield Public Library by Dave Clark, known to Route 66 fans for his Windy City tours and books. “Travel back in time as you take a virtual tour of the first automobile trail marked from coast-to-coast. The story of the Lincoln Highway combines nostalgia and history highlighting modern sites in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa.” A display on the Lincoln Highway is set upon on the library’s main floor. The library is at 15025 S. Illinois St. Plainfield, (815) 436-6639 or