When city members gathered in front of
the Best Western
to cut the ribbon on the wagon's new home yesterday, Ladd was
beaming as he introduced city, county and state officials to say a
The previous site of the wagon
was on Woodlawn Road and Lincoln Parkway, and many felt it was an
inappropriate spot. Abe's new home is on a special pad surrounded by
split rail fencing that gives the wagon a much more presentable
The wagon also has been reinforced to take the
pitch out of the wagon and to relieve pressure on the wheels.
Paresh Patel, owner of the Best Western, says
he has had international travelers driving Route 66 stop and ask
about the wagon. Patel said a pair of Japanese men recently stopped
as they made the drive from California to Chicago in the car they
had shipped over for the journey.
Bill Kelly, executive director of the Illinois
Route 66 Scenic Byway, told those gathered that this summer the new
Route 66 signs would be finished and one of the new signs would be
added at the site. The signs, in chrome, relate to the cars of the
fabulous '50s when Route 66 was the "Mother Road."
Larry Van Bibber, who donated the funds to
purchase the wagon in 2007, said he decided to purchase the wagon
for the city to help attract tourists.
Mayor Keith Snyder made a reference to a joke
around town about the position of the wagon at its old location and
the direction it was facing. "As a city, we're just happy that Abe's
got a new home here. Nobody has to worry whether he's going in or
out of town," Snyder said.
Tiffany Tebben from Pekin was on hand representing U.S. Rep. Aaron