Posts Tagged ‘Weiss’

Weiss Duo Cover Triangle of Historic Highways

November 27, 2007

John and Lenore Weiss are well-known to Route 66 fans for the work they’ve done to help preserve, promote, and document that road, especially in Illinois. Lincoln Highway fans are starting to hear about them too, most noticeably leading the acquisition from IDOT of a 1928 concrete LH post, then John served as Master of Ceremonies at its dedication on Veterans Day 2006 at the Joliet Historical Museum. Their newest project merges 66, the LH, and even the Dixie Highway.

Weiss Book

Traveling the … Historic Three is a 74-page spiral-bound guide to traveling those three highways in a 110-mile, triangle-shaped route south of Chicago. John and Lenore freely give credit to the conceptual idea of combining these three roads into one road trip to Elaine Egdorf who administers Drivin’ the Dixie, a web site devoted to that road. The booklet has an intro, then tabs divide each section, and there’s a page of related organizations at the end. Narration is casual in the way a good friend would lead you on a tour, with instructions for when to turn, what to see, where to park, and recommended places to eat and visit. Lincoln Highway fans will be pleased to discover much that they may not have noticed until slowed down to a tour on the local level.

Lenore told me a little bit about their work:

The unique aspect of the triangular tour is that you can start at any of three locations and end up exactly where you started! With any road trips, folks travel say 100 miles, then they must return. This results in an extra 100 miles.

In this area, the Lincoln Highway and especially the Dixie Highway communities and businesses are not very accustomed to tourism. This is an interesting aspect when compared to those on Route 66. On the Lincoln, the town of Frankfort wants to get involved. On the Dixie, the town of Homewood is equally as excited.

Since we already had the Route 66 portion, and have lived on that particular section of the Lincoln Highway for 30 years, only the Dixie needed some real investigation. And that, too, was a rewarding experience.

And she notes that every time they drive it, as recently as last week, they keep discovering new things.

Above: John and Lenore Weiss with Route 66 tattoo man Jim Bush in the souvenir-filled gift shop at the Joliet Area Historical Museum, a must-stop for road fans.

Highlights at the intersections include the Art Institute of Chicago at Jackson Avenue and Columbus Drive in Chicago, where 66 and the Dixie launch; the Joliet Area Historical Museum where 66 and the LH meet, at Cass and Ottawa streets in Joliet; and the Arche Memorial Fountain where the LH and Dixie meet, built 1916 as part of a rest park for travelers of the two roads in Chicago Heights. As you can see, the three roads offer lots to see for fans of old roads. This and other books by the Weisses are available at gift shops such as the Joliet Museum or through the couple’s web site. An autographed copy of Traveling the … Historic Three is $9.95 + $4.60 postage and handling.

Kearney’s Covered Wagon Being Restored

October 27, 2007

John & Lenore Weiss recently stopped at the Covered Wagon in central Nebraska and talked with a contractor who is bringing the building, wagon, and oxen back to life. The once-busy attraction four miles west of Kearney was near the famous (and long gone) 1733 Ranch, where signs indicated the halfway point between Boston and San Francisco, 1733 miles each way. They sent two pictures that show the work underway.
Weiss Cvd Wagon 1
“The contractor remembers all of it very well!” says Lenore. “The new owner does want a 2-story building, so he is doing a fine job and will be using log siding. The oxen and wagon will be completely restored, but the oxen will stay the same colors. Inside the wagon will be an office or two, and the top of the wagon will be new canvas as well.”
Weiss Cvd Wagon 2
This is excellent news for anyone who has watched the site decline over the past 15 years, knowing the all-too-familiar fate of vintage roadside attractions. The attraction was built in 1932 by a pair of missionaries and later was run by Mr. & Mrs Boyd McClare and later Nicholas and Rose Ponticello. Kearney Planning Commission minutes from 2002 appear to approve the project that has just gotten underway.

Below are two views from its heyday, when postcards advertised that tourists could relax “and obtain worthwhile souvenirs at reasonable prices.” One of the unforgettable draws was a taxidermied two-headed calf. The two gas pumps look pretty sharp too.
BB cvd wagon pc 1

B cvd wagon pc 2

John and Lenore Weiss are known to Route 66 and now LH fans for their research, tours, and publications, including one that will soon be reviewed here that covers both famed routes plus the Dixie Highway.