Road News


New Mexico Historian Honored

A new program was recently created by the Albuquerque Historical Society to recognize local people who contribute to the city’s history. On June 17, 2018, they awarded their first History Accolade to Albuquerque writer and historian, Alan Carlson (on left in photo); A New Mexico Route 66 Association Board Member and regular contributor to Route 66 Magazine, Carlson was honored for his detailed and on going research into the history of local auto racing which began in Albuquerque more than 100 years ago.

A native of Albuquerque, Alan’s interest in auto racing began at an early age. His father, A. Victor Carlson, belonged to the Albuquerque Sports Car Club, and took Alan and his mother to races at Fort Sumner, New Mexico, La Junta, Colorado and the Los Alamos Hill Climb. He first attended local racing in 1961 at Albuquerque’s Speedway Park that closed down in 1981. When not spectating, he was the Trophy Car driver, a pit man, Judge and Assistant Pit Steward. In 1970, he owned a stock car driven by a friend, and Alan raced briefly in 1971 and 1976. Over the years, Carlson has always collected (he says some would say hoarded) souvenirs of his life, including the auto racing, in the form of photos, programs, ticket stubs, and newspaper articles.

Material for a presentation on early Albuquerque auto racing, in March of this year, came largely from a scrapbook, owned by the son of an owner of the first Post-WWII track, and archived Albuquerque Journal articles. It covered approximately thirty years, up to 1955, before Carlson had ever attended a race, and documents the early activities of the famous Unser family. To date, auto racing has not been a subject of his stories in Route 66 Magazine or Route 66 New Mexico Magazine. He has covered Route 66 Festivals in and out of New Mexico, Santo Domingo Indian Trading Post, Little Beaver Town, and iconic people such as Bob Audet (Mr. New Mexico Route 66) and Bob Waldmire. Auto racing did find its way into some of the 150 songs he has written as a hobby over the years.

Carlson enjoys finding and preserving this auto racing history. He hopes to get the city to eventually acclaim the early track owners, drivers and promoters with an Albuquerque Auto Racing Pioneers Hall of Fame or similar honor.

For a summary of Alan Carlson’s research on early Albuquerque auto racing, visit the Albuquerque Historical Society website at http://albuqhistsoc.org.

Alan Carlson receiving award


Sky Baskets

Old Route 66 (aka Santa Fe Avenue) in Grants, New Mexico, is now proudly sporting an outdoor art project that’s not only functional, but combines modern tech with antiquity.

On May 25, 2018, the Native Basket Array project (a first for New Mexico and probably the nation) was unveiled to an audience gathered along 66 on the New Mexico Mining Museum grounds. Unveiled were two of a series of large communication satellite dishes that are covered with the basket designs of the state’s Western Apache, and Chacoan Native American cultures The basket-like dishes are wrapped in a special material costing about $3000 each.

Seven or eight additional sites in Grants and Milan are slated to have basket-dishes installed in a cooperative effort between Connect 66 Internet, the neighboring towns of Grants and Milan, the Cibola Arts Council, and the Cibola County Chamber of Commerce.

Speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony, John Badal, head of Sacred Wind Enterprises, and owners of Connect 66 Internet, said the project promotes the arts and culture of the area and he believes it will promote tourism, improve the local quality of life and attract new businesses.

Robert Gallegos, executive director of the Cibola Arts Council, said the Basket Array enterprise developed from a discussion and collaboration about having an art project that also combined the reusing of Sacred Wind satellite dishes; the project just grew from there.

After the two Native Basket Array dishes were unveiled, the Arts Council announced a contest for the state’s artists to submit their paintings using authentic designs representing New Mexico pueblos or tribes. Winners would be awarded $1000 with their art being used on the future Native Basket Array satellite dishes.


4th Annual “Miles of Possibility” Route 66 Conference Scheduled for October 25-28 in Carlinville, Illinois

The Illinois Route 66 Blue Carpet Corridor is proud to present the 4th Annual Route 66 “Miles of Possibility Conference” scheduled to be held in Carlinville, Illinois, on Thursday-Sunday, October 25-28, 2018. The primary venue for the conference is Blackburn College, northeast of Downtown Carlinville at University and Nicholas Streets. The conference focuses on historic preservation, economic development, history, and marketing presented by an outstanding line-up of nationally-known Route 66 experts and Illinois tourism professionals.

CONFERENCE WEEKEND PACKAGE OVERVIEW

Conference attendees that arrive on Thursday, October 25, will have the opportunity to take local historic tours, both walking and via shuttle bus, on and around Route 66 leaving the Historic Square during the afternoon, visiting locations such as the Macoupin County “Million Dollar” Courthouse, the Macoupin County “Cannonball” Jail, the Sears Homes neighborhood, and more. On Thursday night everyone can meet up at the “Carlinville Crawl,” an evening enjoying food, beverages, and merchant specials at shops and establishments around Carlinville's Historic Square on Route 66.

Friday, October 26, and Saturday, October 27, feature daytime sessions that include presentations, panel discussions, and workshops. The final session on Saturday afternoon will feature the premiere of an original one-act play about the lives and work of women along Historic Route 66. One ticket to the play will be included with your conference registration. Single play admission tickets will be available for purchase closer to the conference.

Confirmed speakers so far include: David Clark, Roamin' Rich Dinkela, Nick Gerlich, Jim Hinckley, Geoff Ladd, Jerry McClanahan, David Schwartz, Joe Sonderman, and Paul Taylor. In addition, panel discussions will feature well-known tourism professionals and other “name” Route 66 personalities. Carlinville area historians will share their knowledge and stories. Brett Stawar, President and CEO of Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau, will give the keynote address.

On Friday evening, enjoy dinner with Route 66 friends new and old at the banquet, and then the concert/dance with the Robert Perry Band With the Original Mojos! Great food, cash bar, and the best oldies band in the area all in spacious Woodson Center on the Blackburn College campus! One ticket to this event will be included with your conference registration. Additional banquet/concert tickets can be purchased via the registration link. In Downtown Carlinville on Saturday evening, view Carlinville's traditional Halloween Parade with the special parade theme of “Get your kicks on Route 66!” Then, enjoy pizza at a Halloween costume party with special guest DJ at Reno's on the Historic Square.

TOURISM PROFESSIONALS ONE-DAY SPECIAL OVERVIEW

Tourism industry staff and Route 66 business owners may opt for the Friday one-day “Essentials of Route 66 Tourism!” Enjoy the welcome breakfast and tourism-focused keynote, followed the rest of the day by the Tourism Track--high-level, detailed coverage of the key issues, strategies, challenges, tools, practical solutions, and opportunities facing Route 66 municipalities, counties, and businesses. Learning won't stop with the last Friday session; attendees of “Essentials of Route 66 Tourism!” Enjoy the welcome breakfast and tourism-focused keynote, followed the rest of the day by the Tourism Track--high-level, detailed coverage of the key issues, strategies, challenges, tools, practical solutions, and opportunities facing Route 66 municipalities, counties, and businesses. Learning won't stop with the last Friday session; attendees of “Essentials of Route 66 Tourism” will take home with them a special resource package.

SPECIAL SUNDAY TOUR

The Haunts of 66 (a morning after tour) will be guided from Carlinville and back in search of mobsters, miners, murderers, ghosts and ghost roads, spirits and their haunts near the Mother Road. Presented by InSites To Go, with the Windy City Road Warrior. 9 am-Noon. And, yes, you can show up wearing last night’s costume!

The conference is sponsored by Illinois Route 66 Blue Carpet Corridor, Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Bureau, Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway, and Carlinville Tourism. Host hotel is the Magnuson Grand Hotel and Conference Center (magnusongrandhotel.com) at Raymond, Illinois; other lodging choices are listed on the website. Register via a link on the conference website (route66milesofpossibility.com). For more information contact Conference Coordinator Deb Young at carlinvilletourism@gmail.com or call the Great Rivers and Routes Tourism Information Center at (800) 258-6645.


Old Joliet Prison

Get Ready to Break into the Old Joliet Prison

The Great Joliet Prison Break-In fundraiser will be taking place on Saturday, August 25 from 5:00pm to 11:00pm. Ticket holders will be able to step onto the historic prison yard and listen to the music of The Blooze Brothers, M&R Rush, Petty Cash and Hot Mess. while enjoying the tastes of various options from food trucks and beer vendors. The event is the grand opening and first major event of the “Old Joliet Prison,” which closed in 2002. The prison is featured in many movie and television projects, including The Blues Brothers and Prison Break.

We anticipate this event will be a celebration of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers who have selflessly supported the Museum’s efforts to stabilize, secure and showcase this historic site to visitors from around the world,” stated Joliet Area Historical Museum Greg Peerbolte, “The Great Prison Break-In will not only be an incredibly memorable experience, but will help to raise funds for the important work to preserve the Old Joliet Prison.”

The City, Joliet Area Historical Museum and many other community partners are undertaking an effort to open the prison for public tours and access.  According to Economic Development Director Steve Jones, “the funds raised from this event and other partnerships will allow the City to stabilize the site and preserve this historic facility.”

The Blooze Brothers has been one of Chicagoland’s most in-demand show bands. They honor the music and the spirit of the original Blues Brothers, from Dan Aykroyd’s love of traditional blues and soul to John Belushi’s love of classic rock. The group has played their music at the House of Blues, Navy Pier, Soldier Field, America’s Got Talent and at a US Presidential Inauguration.

M&R Rush began in the early 70’s, winning a few “Battle of the Bands” and building a following. The next thing you know, they were signed to the same Chicago-based management company as Styx. The group disbanded in 1987, but reformed in the early 2000’s. In their history, the band has performed shows with talents including Paul Rodgers, Blue Oyster cult, Pat Travers, REO Speedwagon, Survivor, Kansas, Starship (featuring Mickey Thomas), Head East, Uriah Heep, Foghat, Jim Peterik, the legendary Temptations, The Buckinghams, The Cryan Shames and more!

PettyCash is a high-octane stage show appropriate for old rockers, baby rockers, and everything in between. The combined years of musical experience in this band equals roughly 1,000, so you’re guaranteed to see some shredding too!

The band “Hot Mess” is a cover band that excels in classic and hard rock hits, and some original tunes of their own. The band features Mayor Bob O’Dekirk on the drums.

Tickets can be purchased online at jolietprison.org for $40.00 per person (ticket and processing fees are included in the price). Patrons can purchase their tickets for $35.00 per person (ticket and processing fees are including in the price) in person at the Joliet Area Historical Museum 204 N Ottawa St, Joliet, IL 60432) or the Joliet Regional Chamber of Commerce & Industry Main Office (63 N. Chicago St, Joliet, IL 60432) during regular business hours.

ABOUT THE JOLIET AREA HISTORICAL MUSEUM
A 501(c)3 not-for-profit entity which operates a vibrant, 10,000 square foot modern museum facility in Downtown Joliet at the historic intersection of Old Route 66 & Lincoln Highway. The Museum also facilitates tours, programs and educational interpretation at the Old Joliet Prison Historic Site. Find out more about the museum at jolietmuseum.org.

ABOUT THE CITY OF JOLIET
The City of Joliet is the third largest city in the state of Illinois, located just 45 miles southwest of Chicago’s Loop. Home to 149,386 residents, in addition to thriving businesses and attractions, the City of Joliet is easily accessible by rail, auto and bus transit. A perfect place to live, work and play, Joliet is constantly striving to promote growth and diversity. For more information on Joliet visit www.cityofjoliet.info or call 815-724-4000. The City of Joliet’s Media Releases are always available on our website.


Route 66 Closer To Becoming A National Highway

On Tuesday, June 5, 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed HR801, a bill to designate Route 66 a National Historic Trail. The Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership suggested the idea for the bill to Congressman Darin LaHood [R-IL] in 2016 and he introduced legislation in February 2017. It was unanimously passed out of the Natural Resources committee in January 2018.

Following the vote, Congressman LaHood noted, “For nearly a century, Route 66 has been a crucial transportation artery for the heartland of America. Towns across the nation and throughout my district have seen the Mother Road bring tourism, employment, a higher quality of life, and civic pride to their communities. We appreciate the support of this legislation, because it will allow visitors from around the world to experience the history of Route 66 while our local businesses and tourism industries receive the economic benefits.”

The National Trust for Historic Preservation is another partner that helped in the process of advancing legislation to designate Rt. 66 a National Historic Trail. Pam Bowman, director of public lands policy, National Trust for Historic Preservation, said: “No highway symbolizes Americana, freedom and the open road like Route 66. Congress took an important step toward bringing a vital national designation to the historic buildings, panoramic scenery and urban and rural communities along the ‘Main Street of America.’ We look forward to working with our partners to ensure enactment of the legislation and the designation of Route 66 as a National Historic Trail this year.”

In 2015, the Route 66 Road Ahead Partnership met with Rt. 66 stakeholders across the country. One of the ideas that garnered the most support from those meetings was making the Mother Road a National Historic Trail. Bill Thomas, Chairman of the Road Ahead Board of Directors also commented on the bill, “With passage of HR801 in the House, we are one step closer to ensuring our efforts to preserve, promote, and develop Rt. 66. Much remains to be done to ultimately gain National Historic Trail designation for the Mother Road, but we should take a moment now to thank everyone who helped get us to this point and ask for their continued support as the process shifts to the Senate. I’m confident Rt. 66 will become our country’s newest National Historic Trail soon, and look forward to continuing to work to achieve that goal.”

Established in 2015, with the support of the National Park Service and the World Monuments' Fund, The Road Ahead Partnership’s mission is to revitalize and sustain Route 66 as a national and international icon through partnerships focused on promotion, preservation, research and education, and economic development.


Son of “Mr. Hub Cap” Dies

Fred Sivert, whose late father, Harold, opened Mr. Hub Cap in Albuquerque over forty years ago, died May 30, 2018, at age 70. Born in Akron, Ohio, he was a truck driver by profession, like his father. Fred was a Mopar enthusiast since his early days in Ohio, helping pioneer drag racer, Arlen Vanke. He stayed positive during his lengthy illness, bonding with his grandchildren and joking with nurses during his last days. His wife, Denise, kept the hubcap business going.

Mr. Sivert is also survived by his brother, Steve and sister, Susan; children, Matthew and Jessica, and stepson, Steven Rechnitzer. Fred never stopped seeking ways to improve the horsepower of his nostalgic drag car. See Mr. Hub Cap story in Spring 2018 issue.

Fred Sivert