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Illinois properties listed in National Register of Historic Places       Send a link to a friend 

Route 66 sites, properties in Chicago, Hinsdale, Lake Forest, Will County and Litchfield make prestigious listing

[JUNE 2, 2006]  WASHINGTON -- Nine properties in Illinois, including four with connections to Route 66, were listed in the National Register of Historic Places in May by the National Park Service, a designation that places them on the nation's most prestigious list of places with historical significance.

"A National Register listing is an honor bestowed upon our most significant historic places," said Robert Coomer, director of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, which administers the National Register program in Illinois. "These properties make us justifiably proud of our heritage in Illinois."

The four Route 66 properties were formally listed on May 5. In addition, the National Park Service listed five other historically significant properties in Cook and Lake Counties on May 12.

Ariston Cafe, 413 Old Route 66, Litchfield, Montgomery County

The Ariston Cafe, constructed in 1935, reflects the influence of the Art Deco style. The original owners, Pete Adam and Tom Cokinos, were experienced in the restaurant business. Keenly aware of the importance of location, the partners saw an opportunity when Route 66 was established, and they hired contractor Henry A. Vasel to construct a building along the route.

By 1940, the traffic on Route 66 had become so congested that a four-lane bypass was constructed one block to the west. To link the business to the new highway, additional signage was installed at the rear of the building to advertise the cafe. The Ariston continues to be a popular restaurant for locals and Route 66 enthusiasts along this section of the highway.

Lou Mitchell's, 565 W. Jackson Blvd., Chicago, Cook County

Lou Mitchell's restaurant was established in 1923, and the existing building was completed in 1949. Route 66 through Chicago followed Jackson Boulevard west until it intersected with Ogden Avenue. Lou Mitchell's Restaurant is located in a busy commercial area one block west of Union Station and approximately 10 blocks west of Grant Park, near Lake Michigan.

William Mitchell, the original owner of the business, named the restaurant after his son, Lou. Over the years, Lou Mitchell's Restaurant has developed a large and loyal following.

Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket, 645 Joliet Road, Hinsdale vicinity, DuPage County

The Del Rhea's Chicken Basket was built in 1946 on the south side of U.S. Highway 66. In the 1960s, Interstate 55 was constructed directly south of the building and now forms its southern boundary.

Dell Rhea's Chicken Basket traces its history to a small lunch counter established in the late 1930s inside a gas station owned by Erwin "Irv" Kolarik. As Kolarik's restaurant business prospered, he opted to do away with the automobile repair side of his operation and transformed the two garage areas into dining room facilities. The Chicken Basket continued to grow in popularity, and in the mid-1940s Kolarik purchased adjacent land to build a brand-new restaurant. This 1946 building is the current restaurant, designed by Chicago architect Eugene F. Stoyke.

Alternate Route 66, currently Illinois Route 53 between Wilmington and Joliet, Will County

Designated as a national highway in 1926, Route 66 quickly became the predominant vehicular travel route between Chicago and Santa Monica, Calif. In Illinois, Route 66 extended from Chicago to Springfield to St. Louis, and by the 1940s the corridor carried more traffic than any other long-distance highway in the state.

Alternate Route 66 from Wilmington to Joliet begins in downtown Wilmington and continues to the Interstate 80 interchange in Joliet. Much of the highway is lined with farm fields, but residential development is increasing along the route. This road segment reflects the transportation history of the area and the state and is an excellent example of two-lane design standards from 1926 and later four-lane divided highway standards from 1945.

Bohemian National Cemetery, Chicago, Cook County, roughly bounded by Foster, Pulaski, Bryn Mawr and Central Park Ave.

The founding of the Bohemian National Cemetery in 1877 established a trend throughout Bohemian communities in the United States, resulting in the formation of other ethnic cemeteries in Baltimore, Md.; Omaha, Neb.; Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and Chippewa County, Wis. The initial 50-acre cemetery was designed by John V. Benes, a local building contractor and cemetery association delegate, who laid out the cemetery in a plan similar to the larger grid plan of the Chicago area.

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In 1902, the purchase of an additional 60 acres resulted in an expansion of the cemetery. This expansion was designed by August Petrtyl, a classically trained artist and illustrator who owned a decorating firm in Chicago. Petrtyl's plan featured curving roads and organically shaped lots, while continuing the east-west road system of the original plan into the new area.

In 1905, the association commissioned famed landscape architect Jens Jensen to prepare plans for additional acreage to the north. Incorporated into the evolving plan of the cemetery are a Late Gothic Revival main gatehouse, a Classical Revival administration building, a Renaissance Revival crematorium and secondary support structures, along with numerous mausoleums, public monuments and grave markers representing a variety of architectural styles.

The Bohemian National Cemetery brings together a remarkable blend of historical circumstances, immigrant American pride, and important art, architecture and landscape design.

Meekerville Historic District, Chicago, Cook County -- 303 Barry Ave.; 325, 303-341, 344 Wellington Ave.; 340 Oakdale Ave.

Historically, the area between Belmont Avenue on the north, Lincoln Park on the east, Diversey Parkway on the south and Sheridan Road on the west was called "Meekerville," after Arthur Burr Meeker Sr., the area's first resident. Meeker was an employee of meat packing magnate Philip D. Armour.

Meeker's tract was eventually subdivided, and the first residents represented some of Chicago's elite, including the first- and second-generation wealth of the Armours, Montgomery Wards, Florsheims, Cudahys and Oscar Mayers. The houses in the district were designed by Chicago architects Charles A. Platt, Howard Van Doren Shaw, Mayo & Mayo, Rissman & Hirschfeld, E.H. Frommann, and Frederick Lindquist.

The Meekerville Historic District is an intact cluster of surviving period revival houses from the 1910s and 1920s that signify an important social aspect of Chicago's upper middle class and their migration, in the early 20th century, north along Lake Shore Drive.

Deerpath Hill Estates Multiple Property Designation, Lake Forest, Lake County -- 301 and 380 Chiltern Drive, 965 Castlegate Court

Deerpath Hill Estates is an English Garden development in Lake Forest. Beginning in 1926, developer Henry K. Turnbull and his architect, Stanley D. Anderson, developed the first planned subdivision in Lake Forest, based on "City Beautiful" concepts. Their design of curving streets and romantic cul-de-sacs followed the original 1850s plan of east Lake Forest by Almerin Hotchkiss and influenced by Olmstead and Vaux.

Deerpath Hill Estates is the first organized and developed subdivision in Lake Forest where the developer controlled all aspects of the development -- street design, house placement and design, and landscaping. It consists of three sections platted between 1926 and 1930. The Great Depression and financial difficulties halted construction until after World War II. The final development occurred between 1950 and 1961. Three properties within Deerpath Hill Estates were listed in the National Register.

The Frank Hibbard Estate House at 301 Chiltern Ave. was originally constructed in 1903 as part of a 21-acre estate consisting of a house, gardener's cottage, tennis court and tool shed. As part of the development of Deerpath Hill Estates, Turnbull acquired the Hibbard Estate, subdivided it and developed it into the Second Addition to Deerpath Hill Estates. The house was remodeled by Stanley D. Anderson in 1929 in the Spanish Colonial Revival style with an Arts and Crafts interior.

The 380 Chiltern Drive House is a French Norman style house and is the only Stanley D. Anderson-designed house that was newly built in the Second Addition. While the Hibbard Estate House reflected the large-scale estate homes of the area, the 380 Chiltern House represented the home sites envisioned by Turnbull and Anderson as part of the Deerpath Hill Estates development and the coming suburbanization of the area.

The 965 Castlegate Court House is located the southwest corner of Castlegate Court and Burton Drive. This is a 1930 Colonial Revival house, designed by an unknown architect, with a 1941 addition designed by Stanley D. Anderson. The house at 965 Castlegate is the only house built by developer Henry K. Turnbull that is outside of the physical limits of Deerpath Hill Estates.

[Illinois Historic Preservation Agency news release]

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