The exhibit depicts child star Shirley Temple
sitting at a table with a waitress passing by carrying a food order
that appears to be a hamburger and french fries. The silhouette
statue done in heavy steel, gives remembrance to the day that little
Miss Temple stopped in Elkhart for lunch after attending a movie
premier in Springfield.
The premiere was for Temple’s latest movie “Little Miss Broadway”
and the year was 1938. According to the marker placed beside the
silhouette, Temple and her entourage stopped at the House by the
Side of the Road Café’ and enjoyed a meal. On that day, the young
star was very well received by the café owner and graciously agreed
to autograph a menu from the café.
After she had left, the owner placed a cardboard likeness of the
little girl at the table along with the signed menu and roped it off
so it would not be disturbed.
On Friday, Elkhart Village board member and local events liaison
Peggy Lee said that the silhouette statue was a very exciting
addition to the community. Lee said that in developing the statue
she and others from Elkhart worked with a team contracted by the
Illinois Route 66 for the statue. She said it was a great
experience. She noted that there had been very few problems with the
construction, except that when it was first drafted, Temples's hair
looked more like Little Orphan Annie than Little Miss Broadway. But
that was quickly corrected to make the silhouette as historically
accurate as possible.
Before cutting the ribbon, Lee spoke to those in attendance and
expressed gratitude to everyone who had been involved in the
creation of the exhibit. Those people included the Village of
Elkhart for their work in doing the sidewalk in front of the
exhibit. Lee said that in order for them to be in compliance with
the exhibit, the village needed to create a sidewalk that was
handicapped accessible. She also thanked Whitmore’s for the concrete
work, US Granite and Marble for the landscaping rock.
In addition, she acknowledged the Federal Highway Administration,
the Illinois office of Tourism, and the Illinois Route 66 Scenic
Byways for their contributions to the exhibit, and Paul Lee for
Lee said there would be three free showings of the Shirley Temple
movie Little Miss Broadway in the main room of City Hall, after the
ribbon cut. She expressed gratitude to Jean Phillips and the Elkhart
Christian Youth Group, who helped with the cost of the movie and
provided the concession stand. The Elkhart Library also provided
funding for the movie and a Shirley Temple display set up inside
City Hall; she expressed gratitude to the library for their
More thanks went out to Gwen Rosenfeld who provided the history for
the exhibit and to Ann Olson who lent out her projector so the movie
could be shown.
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Finally, she said there were several people and organizations
that offered financial and other support. She offered thanks to
the Elkhart Historical Society, Jo Gehlbach, Dorothy Gleason,
Elkhart Needs and Goals, George Yard on behalf of Glen E. Yard,
and John P. Williams on behalf of the Williams family trust, and
an anonymous donor. She also thanked Lincoln Kroger and Lincoln
After Lee had finished speaking, Bill Kelly of
Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway spoke briefly. He noted that the
project to place similar silhouettes throughout the state of
Illinois began in 2011. Kelly said that altogether there would be
nine such wayside exhibits depicting different stories tied to Route
66. He said these are of great value to motorists touring Route 66
because the exhibits tell the stories of the Mother Road. He said
the draw of the iconic highway is that there are so many stories to
tell, and that is what tourists what to learn about.
He also noted that Elkhart is the only one of the nine that features
a movie star.
Bob Albert was on hand representing the Lincoln/Logan County Chamber
of Commerce. He spoke briefly congratulating the town on its new
tourist attraction. He then presented the scissors to Elkhart Mayor
Lyle Fout who snipped the ribbon.
When the ceremony was finished, everyone was invited inside to view
Beside the statue is a Route 66 byways display that features
information about Temple, the movie, the café where she ate, as well
as Ward’s Gas Station, and the Tierney Shell Station and roof top
For those who may be unfamiliar with Elkhart, City Hall is located
at the far end of the business district, just two blocks or so from