Postville Courthouse first Illinois
Historic Site recognized in Route 66 Hall of Fame
Shirley Bartlemay recognized for
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[June 16, 2014]
LINCOLN - This past weekend, Logan
County was all about Route 66. On Friday the Route 66 garage sales
began and ran through Sunday. Saturday in Atlanta the Route 66 Rides
and Ribs brought in large crowds as folks came with their vintage
cars to enjoy a day in the small community, and take advantage of
some excellent food. In Lincoln, the Illinois Route 66 Association
stopped on their annual trek on the Mother Road from St. Louis to
Saturday evening the association enjoyed an evening together at
Lincoln College where they held their annual Hall of Fame Banquet.
This year the event held special meaning for Logan County as the
Postville Courthouse was one of three locations added to the
Illinois Route 66 Association’s Hall of Fame.
The Postville Courthouse has the added distinction of being the
first ever State Historic Site to be inducted into the Association’s
Hall of Fame.
A plaque commemorating the induction was accepted by Stu Churchill
who is the current volunteer director of the courthouse. Display
space will be afforded to the courthouse in the Illinois Route 66
Museum located in Pontiac.
During the presentation of the award, John Miller of the Association
read an abbreviated history of the courthouse relating its strong
connection to Abraham Lincoln. He also gave an account of the sale
of the original courthouse to the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn
Michigan, and talked about the rebuilding of the current replica on
the original site in the 1950’s.
Churchill took the podium to accept the award and thank the
Association for the recognition. He spoke briefly giving all the
credit for the success of the courthouse as a local tourist
attraction to former site director Shirley Bartlemay.
He noted that Shirley devoted endless hours to getting volunteers to
help keep the courthouse doors open. Bartlemay planned events and
attractions to bring more people to the courthouse on a regular
The courthouse was nominated two years ago by the Abraham Lincoln
Tourism Bureau of Logan County.
Saturday evening the bureau was represented at the banquet by
interim tourism director Robin McClallan, board member Tom O’Donohue;
and by Kathy Vinyard who was there representing Mayor Keith Snyder
and the city of Lincoln.
The bureau provided a “Come back again” gift basket filled with
items intended to entice Route 66’ers to return to the community and
explore all that is here. The basket was included among the many
raffle items that were given away during the evening.
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In addition, the city of Lincoln made arrangements for the
Tropics sign to be brought out of storage and put on display in
front of the Davidson-Sheffer gymnasium. With the arrival of the
sign at approximately 6:30, many of the travelers came outside
to take pictures of the sign and talk about their memories of
the Tropics Coffee Shop.
During the dinner, O’Donohue shared an interesting story about
the sign. Many locals know that of the two poles that supported
the sign, one was set at a significant angle. The story goes
that one post was supposed to be painted brown and set at an
angle so that when the sign was mounted it looked like the trunk
of the coconut tree that was part of the sign. When all was said
and done though, it was discovered that the wrong post had been
set at the angle, so the picture never quite came together as
After all who wished to go out go out and see the sign had done
so, it was taken back to its storage facility. The evening
progressed with a buffet meal provided by chef Warren Wendlandt
and his staff. At the end of the meal, attending Hall of Fame
members were honored with a roll call and asked to come to the
front of the room for the presentation of the new inductees.
This year’s inductees to the Hall of Fame included Hi-Way Tavern
in Edwardsville, Nelch and Son Concrete in Springfield, and the
Over the years, a number of Logan County attractions have been
inducted into the Hall of Fame. Logan County Route 66 Hall of
1990 – Ernie Edwards, Pig Hip Restaurant, Broadwell
2000 – Joe Edwards, Lincoln
2005 – Atlanta Public Library and Clock Tower, Atlanta
2009 – The Mill, Lincoln
2010 – Lewis “Zoo” Barrick, Lincoln
2013 – Palms Grill, Atlanta
2014 – Postville Courthouse, Lincoln
[By NILA SMITH]