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The buildings at Jackson Boulevard and Michigan Avenue, the original beginning of 66: the SW Straus building, left, and the Railway Exchange, right
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This sign hangs at the SW corner of Jackson Blvd and Halsted St in Chicago's Greektown. The Athenian Candle Company sells Greek Orthodox religious items. Its location was the home of location of the Raklios restaurant chain in the 1920s-1930s
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About Windy City Road Warrior

Here's a little bit of background on your Author/Webmaster

Back in 1982, this building at 67 East Adams Street was home to a bar and deli named Bev & Bob's. My wife, Carol, and I went there the night we first went out. The building was built in 1904 by Richard Schmidt and Hugh Garden. It is now part of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra complex, home to their Rhapsody restaurant.

My name is David G. Clark. I was born and raised near Chicago in northwestern Indiana. My mother was from the northwest side of Chicago, and my father was from Joliet, so I guess Route 66 was in my blood!

I moved to Chicago in 1980 and by 1982 I was working as a parking garage manager on Adams Street (westbound 66). I met my future wife, Carol, who worked in the bank in the same building, and on our first night out after work we went to several watering holes along Adams. Ours was a Route 66 romance, even though we did not know it at the time!

Carol was a native Chicagoan, and when we fell on hard times in the early 1990s and could not afford to travel for vacation, we decided to start exploring Chicago as if we were tourists. What better way to save money on vacation than spending time in your home town, acting like a visitor? Thanks to our love of the Chicago Historical Society, the Chicago Architecture Foundation, and the Art Institute, we became well-versed in area history.

Olympia Lofts on west Adams Street, in Greektown. When we moved in back in 1998, we noticed the Historic 66 sign of the light standard across the street, which led us to discover the wonders of the Mother Road.

It was at the Chicago Historical Society that we bought Michael Wallis's great book, Route 66: The Mother Road, and Route 66: The Highway and Its People by Susan Croce Kelly and Quinta Scott. Both were released around 1992, which was the 66th anniversary of the Mother Road and the other original US Highways. But with all our varied interests, the books remained on the shelf while life went on.

In December 1998 we moved into our current home, a unit in a loft conversion condominium building located on Adams Street in the West Loop Community area of Chicago, in a neighborhood known as Greek Town. We noted with interest that a sign outside the building indicated that Adams was Historic US 66.

So now we were living on the Mother Road! Over the next sixteen months, I started looking into the books I had already owned for six years, and I did some web searches to find information. Swa Frantzen's marvelous website, www.historic66.com gave us the directions we needed to take our first road trip in March 2000, on St. Patrick's day weekend.

January 17, 2002, my hand-made signs mark the first time a 66 shield was seen in Chicago's Grant Park since 1977, 25 years earlier.

Many more trips followed, and as of May 2003 we could say that we had driven all of the road from Chicago to Los Angeles.

In January 2002, I realized by reading Tom Teague's Searching for 66 that January 17th of that year would be the somber 25th anniversary of the day when Illinois' last US 66 sign was taken down. The route had been decommissioned in Illinois and Missouri, and the last sign was at the eastern terminus, in Chicago's Grant Park. I decided to go out to Jackson Street near Lake Shore Drive and commemorate the anniversary by righting that wrong--by putting a 66 shield up again in Grant Park.

I turned that event into the frame for my first article for the publication of the National Historic Route 66 Federation, The Federation News. In the years since I have continued to publish articles with information from my research into US 66 and the history of Chicago and other nearby Illinois communities. In 2006, I self-published my first book, Exploring Route 66 in Chicagoland. In July 2007, my book for Arcadia Publishing came out: Images of America: Route 66 in Chicago. Future projects I hope to finish include a guidebook to US 32/34--the other routes that shared pavement in Chicago with 66. (US 34 still exists and runs from Lyons, Illinois to Granby, Colorado. It is one of the country's great "unsung highways.")

© 2004 by David G. Clark. All rights reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the express written permission of the author/webmaster. All photos and graphics by David G. Clark unless otherwise credited. The contents of this website are believed to be correct at the time of posting. Nevertheless, the Author/Webmaster cannot accept responsibility for errors or omissions, or for changes in details provided here.