Acres Motel – Chicago, Illinois

5600 Lincoln Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60645
75 air conditioned and soundproof units
Free Television
Aquacade swimming pool & playground area
Restaurant & Cocktail Lounge
24 Hour Switchboard
Conference Rooms, seating capacity 10 to 150
14 minutes drive to Downtown Shopping
18 Minutes drive to O’Hare International Airport
Courtesy car to surrounding area and O’Hare Airport
S & H Green Stamps
AAA Approved. Diners’ Club, American Express Accepted. Member of the Aristocrat Inns of America

The Acres was opened from 1956 to October 26, 2000 when it was ordered to be torn down as part of a plan to redevelop Lincoln Avenue.

The Great Chatsworth Train Wreck – August 10-11, 1887 – Chatsworth, Illinois

Wreck of Niagara Excursion - Chatwsworth, Illinois

Just outside of Chatsworth, Illinois on U.S. 24 lies a historical marker that reads:

The Chatsworth Wreck – Midnight, August 10–11, 1887 – One half mile north on the Toledo, Peoria & Western Railroad
occurred one of the worst wrecks in American rail history. An excursion train – two engines and approximately twenty wooden coaches – from Peoria to Niagara Falls, struck a burning culvert. Of the 500 passengers about 85 perished and scores were injured.

Summer 1887 had been extremely hot and dry throughout the Midwest. Central Illinois had been particularly bone dry, with no rain for weeks. On August 10, a control burn was ordered to stop the potential for a larger fire from passing trains. The fire was not more than likely not completely extinguished leaving it to burn a small bridge that spanned the creek. The bridge was scorched making it far too weak to support any significant weight. Unfortunately for the crew and 700 passengers heading eastbound that day aboard the Toledo, Peoria & Western on a Niagara Falls excursion, there were unaware the burnt trestle would lead to disaster.

The excursion line was very popular amongst middle-class, white travelers from the Midwest. For only $7.50, a vacationer could take a round-trip ticket from Illinois to the majestic splendor of Niagara Falls. The popularity of the trip caused the train to be especially long with 20 passenger cars, which required two locomotives.

Much of what happened next is shrouded in mystery. Some reports say that the train’s engineer saw the damaged bridge, but was unable to stop in time. Other reports cite a downward slope and high rate of speed combined with the damaged bridge causing the disaster. Either way, the first engine crossed safely over the burnt bridge with no trouble, but the second engine rolled, causing it to separate from the first engine and fly into the ditch.

Immediately the wooden passenger cars followed. Each one crashing first into the second engine then, smashing and slicing into the one before it. Eleven of the 20 passenger cars careened into the ditch. the only ones remaining on the track were the more opulent and heavier Pullman sleeper cars.

Harper’s Weekyl sketch of the accident

Either 81 or 85 passengers died in the wreck. As was word of the accident spread, hundreds of gawkers and onlookers descended upon Chatsworth to see the wreckage. Many of the visitors took souvenirs from the wreckage leading to erroneous and fictionalized accounts that the accident was staged to rob the dead. The August 12th, 1887 edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch was particularly susceptible to this rumor:

LATEST EDITION
DIABOLICAL!
Train Robbers Cause the Chatsworth Disaster.
Sensational Developments in the Railroad Horror.
More Bodies Believed to Be in the Wreck. Inquest on the Unfortunate Victims Now in Progress.
Seventy-Six Dead on the Coroner’s Official List.
The Temporary Morgues and Hospitals at Chatsworth Full.
Caring for the injured – An Official Investigation Begun by the State Board of Railroad Commissioners – A Foul and Sickening Stench at the Wreck – Indications That the Train Was Wrecked for the Purpose of Robbery – A Gang of Thieves Lurking Around the Scene of the Disaster Before and After the Accident The Dead and “Wounded Bobbed Clearing the Wreck Responsibility of the Railroad Company Preparing the Dead for Burial – Lists of the Dead and Injured.

The cause of the accident was a lack of care and transparency on the part of the railroad officials. Had they communicated the damage to the bridge, or even had a smaller train test the strength of the burned out trestle, then the eighty-plus human lives would have been spared.

Sunday, August 14th, four days after the accident the railroad company had gathered most of the debris, possibly including bodies, into an enormous flaming ball of wood, metal and flesh destroying what was left the wreckage and any details to be learned from the accident.

Chefs by the Dozen

Restaurants are often justifiably proud of their food and these twelve postcards showcase food and a chef standing near their creations.

  1. The Bakery Restaurant – Chicago, Illinois
The Bakery Restaurant - Chicago, Illinois

2. Diplomat Restaurant and Country Club – Hollywood-By-The-Sea, Florida

Diplomat Resort and Country Club - Hollywood-By-The-Sea, Florida

3. Silver Slipper Chuck Wagon – Las Vegas, Nevada

Silver Slipper Chuck Wagon - Las Vegas, Nevada

4. The Lord Fox – Foxboro, Massachusetts

The Lord Fox - Foxboro, Massachusetts

5. Severance Lodge – Centre Lovell, Maine

Severance Lodge - Centre Lovell, Maine

6. Passport Restaurant at the Holiday Inn – Ardmore, Oklahoma

Holiday Inn - Ardmore, Oklahoma

7. Polynesian Room at the Sheraton-Yankee Clipper – Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Polynesian Room at the Sheraton-Yankee Clipper - Fort Lauderdale, Florida

8. Clift Hotel – San Francisco, California

Clift Hotel - San Francisco, California

9. Hotel Bethlehem – Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

Hotel Bethlehem - Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

10. Candlelight Buffet at the Secor Hotel – Toledo, Ohio

Secor Hotel - Toledo, Ohio

11. Alpen-Haus – Kingston, Ontario

Alpen-Haus - Kingston, Ontario

12. Lakewood Terrace and Motor Inn – Tacoma, Washington

Lakewood Terrace and Motor Inn - Tacoma, Washington

The Red Shell Game

Let’s not gamble with America!

This is a 4 page pamphlet given out in 1948 to stem the “RED TIDE”. It was distributed on “Freedom Day” in September of 1948 in Chicago, Illinois. Due to the success of that (whatever that means) it is highly recommended that it be distributed throughout Gary, Indiana.

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Greetings From….

Today’s offering is a baker’s dozen of Curt Teich large-letter Greetings From….postcards. Curteich was the largest producer of color and quality linen postcards for more than 5 decades.

Teich postcards are easy to date, as there is a code on all codes that tells you when it was published. There is a handy dating guide available on pdf.

The Curt Teich archives are located at the Newberry in Chicago, Illinois and contains hundreds of thousands of the company postcards, letters and ephemera.

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Greetings from Portland, Oregon

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Greetings from South Bend, Indiana

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Greetings from Lake Tahoe

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Greetings from Santa Claus, Indiana

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Greetings from Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin

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Greetings from St. Petersburg, Florida

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Greetings from Chicago, Illinois

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Greetings from Santa Cruz, California

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Greetings from Nevada

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Greetings from Lincoln, Nebraska

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Greetings from Hannibal, Missouri

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Greetings from Egypt, Illinois

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Greetings from Cincinnati, Ohio

Found Photo Friday: Out With The Old…In With the New

Found Photo Friday finally returns with one of my favorite series of photos.

These two images were taken on Thornwood Avenue in Wilmette, Illinois. You can see the houses across the street on Google Street View.

The first photo, taken in the Fall of 1964, shows a woman and her daughter standing in drab weather, next to the family’s old, rusted 1955 Cadillac.

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The second photo is much sunnier. Taken in the Spring of 1965, the woman is adorned with spring colors and gets a chance to show her new pride and joy, a 1965 Pontiac.

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Bagels and Yox

This is a flier for the number one entertainment for the American-Jewish people, “Bagels and Yox.” This particular run was to open on Sunday, May 11, 1952 at the Blackstone Theatre in Chicago, Illinois.

I can’t find too much information on this particular run of the show. I did find a 1951 review of the play in the New York Times theater section. The Blackstone Theatre is still around but is now known as the Merle Reskin Theatre.

Dr. Pott’s: Archaeology & Disco in the Cincinnati Suburbs

Come with us on archaeological expedition and DISCOver the story of an archaeology themed disco located within the Holiday Inn Riverfront in the Cincinnati suburb of Covington, Kentucky.

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1963 Holiday Inn Cincinnati Riverfront postcard 

The Holiday Inn Riverfront had opened in the 1960s with a modest Holiday Inn restaurant attached to the side. Over the next 15 years people ate, people chatted, and people moved on through without giving the restaurant much of a thought. The basement featured a conference room and a small bar, but no real entertainment.

By the late 1970s, tastes had changed and a new dance craze had taken over the country and Cincinnati was no different.

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By the end of 1979 the area was home to a number of disco clubs and disco-themed restaurants including:

  • Amanda at 311 Delta. Ave.
  • Bentley’s at 36 W. 5th
  • Lucy’s in the Sky at Eighth at Linn on the Top Floor of the Holiday Inn Downtown
  • Tomorrow’s at Fifth and Race
  • Rookwood Pottery at 1077 Celestial St. in Mt. Adams
  • Max and Erma’s at 123 Boggs Lane
  • Lighthouse Ltd. at Vine and Calhoun
  • Spanky’s in the Holiday Inn North at 2235 Sharon Rd.
  • The Conservatory at 640 W. Third in Covington
  • Past-Times Saloon at 2640 Glendora
  • Badlands at 419 Plum St.
  • Trumps at Princeton Pike and Kemper Rd.

The glut of clubs did not stop entrepreneur Jeff Ruby from opening a new club in the basement of the Holiday Inn Rivermont. A short bio about Jeff Ruby from his website:

Ruby took a job in 1970 with Winegardner and Hammons’ Holiday Inn in downtown Cincinnati. There, he turned a 12th floor bar into the “Den of the Little Foxes” (a lá the Playboy club) at Lucy’s in the Sky disco and made it the place to be for those who wanted to see and be seen. His success at Lucy’s quickly propelled him to the post of Regional Director of all seven Holiday Inns in Cincinnati.

Ruby had a complicated history with nightclubs. Ruby had helped Lucy’s in the Sky in the Holiday Inn Downtown to success. However, it wasn’t all great. Ruby was in attendance at the Beverly Hills Supper Club on the evening on May 28, 1977 when an inferno swept through the sprawling club. 165 people died but somehow Ruby had managed to escape. That event did not deter him from wanting to open a new nightclub.

In a December 1978 interview Ruby said that he believed “there’s still a (dance) market for real people,” and he wanted to have a “clientele less chic and more down-to-earth than some of the discos around town.” Ruby would

Through his Holiday Inn connections he met Robert Fields, who had opened clubs in several Holiday Inns including Peary’s Explorers Lounge in Anchorage, Alaska and Runway 22 at Chicago-O’Hare, the new club would contain a theme very close to Fields’ heart.

Archaeology had been a hobby for Fields since childhood. During his teen years he told his father that he wanted to be an archaeologist but his father had told him that he couldn’t do it because he would never make any money. Fields was determined to prove that he could be successful and still share  his passion.

Fields’ design featured an archaeological themed nightclub/disco replete with 700-100 Peruvian textile fragments in the walls near the bar, replica Aztec pottery and a central room that resembled an Aztec temple. The new club would hold 350 people and featuring local bands and hottest disco tracks available.

The new place would be called Dr. Pott’s. The logo featured a character with a bow tie, pit helmet and coat eerily similar to Howard Carter, the famed archaeologist who discoverd King Tut’s tomb in the 1920s.

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Cincinnati Enquirer – December 14, 1979

Dr. Pott’s opened on December 15, 1979. Featuring celebrity host Jim LaBarbara and the both live and recorded disco sounds of  Mason-Dixon Dance Band, the opening night celebration was a major success.

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Cincinnati Enquirer – December 15, 1978

Throughout 1980, Dr.Pott’s became THE place to party, find “romance” and dance the night away. However, not everybody was allowed to join in the fun. On January 29, 1980 country music stars The Gatlin Brothers were denied entry because they were wearing faded denim jeans.

 

By the middle of 1981 the disco craze had faded and the music itself became a joke. Ruby and Dr. Pott’s continued to book live entertainment but disco was a thing of the past. By 1986 the club, struggling to maintain a crowd, tried once again to capitalize on a fad and became a comedy club. The Dr. Pott’s/comedy marriage would only last a short time and a new comedy club called Cassidy’s would open in the same location.

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Cincinnati Enquirer – October 5, 1986

Dr. Pott’s success was short-lived and all the memories of the archaeology-themed restaurant would be forgotten. However, Jeff Ruby would not fade away. After forging a business partnership with Cincinnati Reds legends Johnny Bench and Pete Rose,  Ruby would go on to numerous bigger and better things. His website gives a brief timeline of the successes to come:

 

After opening The Precinct in 1981 he followed with The Waterfront in 1986, Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse in 1999, Carlo & Johnny in 2001, Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, Louisville in 2006, and Jeff Ruby’s Steakhouse, Nashville in 2016. Consistency and quality are hallmarks of a Ruby restaurant – a fact supported by the 3 decades of success at The Precinct, Cincinnati’s longest continually-running fine dining restaurant.

Today, managing the growing Ruby brand is a family affair as each of Ruby’s children is deeply involved in the company. Daughter Britney Ruby Miller serves as Corporate Director of Operations, and sons Brandon and Dillon fill roles as General Manager of The Precinct and Assistant General Manager of the Nashville location respectively. Together, the family owns 5 eateries in 3 states with another 2 steakhouses in development.

*In addition to the Beverly Hills Supper Club Fire, Ruby would survive a 1987 accident that left him in critical condition with a fractured skull and a blood clot on the surface of his brain. He slipped in and out of a coma for nearly two weeks. Chances of survival were around 10% and yet Ruby managed to check himself out the hospital 33 days later.