John and Lenore Weiss are well-known to Route 66 fans for the work they’ve done to help preserve, promote, and document that road, especially in Illinois. Lincoln Highway fans are starting to hear about them too, most noticeably leading the acquisition from IDOT of a 1928 concrete LH post, then John served as Master of Ceremonies at its dedication on Veterans Day 2006 at the Joliet Historical Museum. Their newest project merges 66, the LH, and even the Dixie Highway.
Traveling the … Historic Three is a 74-page spiral-bound guide to traveling those three highways in a 110-mile, triangle-shaped route south of Chicago. John and Lenore freely give credit to the conceptual idea of combining these three roads into one road trip to Elaine Egdorf who administers Drivin’ the Dixie, a web site devoted to that road. The booklet has an intro, then tabs divide each section, and there’s a page of related organizations at the end. Narration is casual in the way a good friend would lead you on a tour, with instructions for when to turn, what to see, where to park, and recommended places to eat and visit. Lincoln Highway fans will be pleased to discover much that they may not have noticed until slowed down to a tour on the local level.
Lenore told me a little bit about their work:
The unique aspect of the triangular tour is that you can start at any of three locations and end up exactly where you started! With any road trips, folks travel say 100 miles, then they must return. This results in an extra 100 miles.
In this area, the Lincoln Highway and especially the Dixie Highway communities and businesses are not very accustomed to tourism. This is an interesting aspect when compared to those on Route 66. On the Lincoln, the town of Frankfort wants to get involved. On the Dixie, the town of Homewood is equally as excited.
Since we already had the Route 66 portion, and have lived on that particular section of the Lincoln Highway for 30 years, only the Dixie needed some real investigation. And that, too, was a rewarding experience.
And she notes that every time they drive it, as recently as last week, they keep discovering new things.
Above: John and Lenore Weiss with Route 66 tattoo man Jim Bush in the souvenir-filled gift shop at the Joliet Area Historical Museum, a must-stop for road fans.
Highlights at the intersections include the Art Institute of Chicago at Jackson Avenue and Columbus Drive in Chicago, where 66 and the Dixie launch; the Joliet Area Historical Museum where 66 and the LH meet, at Cass and Ottawa streets in Joliet; and the Arche Memorial Fountain where the LH and Dixie meet, built 1916 as part of a rest park for travelers of the two roads in Chicago Heights. As you can see, the three roads offer lots to see for fans of old roads. This and other books by the Weisses are available at gift shops such as the Joliet Museum or through the couple’s web site. An autographed copy of Traveling the … Historic Three is $9.95 + $4.60 postage and handling.