Near the Schererville Fire Department in Schererville, Indiana, and crossing Turkey Creek, is a newer bridge with "Old Lincoln Highway" cast in its walls.
Crossing into Illinois we made a short side trip to the Rail Fan Park in Park Forest/Matteson, Illinois. There is a 35 foot high observation deck which allows viewing of a Double Wye intersection of the Canadian National (CN) railroad. This is one of only two "cloverleafs' in the US and is the only one viewable by the public. I have been told about 20 to 25 trains pass by here every day. At the entrance to the park is a 1953 EJ&E caboose and some track signals. It is a nice setup with informational signs and easy access for train lovers.
Next stop, Plainfield, Illinois. The Lincoln Highway and Route 66 share 3 blocks of road in this village. They are doing a great job of restoring and beautifying the downtown area.
The Opera House Block is a Queen Anne style building which was built in 1899. The pressed copper turret is very beautiful. The top floor was originally used as an opera house. By 1915 a motion picture theater was added. It was known as the "Alamo Theater" until 1923. By 1927 it had been converted to a dance hall known as the "Blue Goose Dance Hall".
The Plainfield United Methodist church Main part was built in 1867. The spire was 125 feet tall. In 1952, after a remodel, a stainless steel cross was added to the spire so that the "cross could be seen from all directions."
The Masonic Block Building was built in 1892. This Queen Anne style building was built by Masonic Lodge #536 for their meetings.
The park is a great place to stretch your legs and chase some ducks. From the website:
Riverbank became a showplace in the state with its model farm, extensive greenhouses, windmill, Japanese-style and other ornamental gardens, arbors and grotto, and pools and ponds. In 1907, the Fabyans contracted Frank Lloyd Wright to redesign the farmhouse into a larger and modernized home they called "The Villa". While the Fabyans lived on the estate they employed more than 60 people in positions as maids, gardeners, chauffeurs, scientists, and farmers. They even employed a sculptor to create numerous stone and concrete fountains, statues, and furniture, as well as cages for the various wild animals the brought to Riverbank. Many of these structures remain in the preserve today.
Our final stop for the day was in DeKalb, Illinois. It was once known as "Barb City" because barbed wire was said to have been invented here. The Egyptian Theater was opened in 1929 and is still showing movies. It is one of five Egyptian themed theaters of over 100 from the 30's to survive and the only one east of the Rockies. From the website:
The Egyptian’s facade is covered with light sage terra cotta and features a 20 foot tall stained glass window bearing the ancient sacred scarab, holding up the sun god Ra while standing on the earth.
On each side of the stained glass window are two huge pharaohs guarding over the entrance of the theatre. The front of the theatre is shaped like the gate of a great temple. The current marquee is the fourth marquee to adorn the theatre and was commissioned in 1982 during the theatres last large scale renovation.
The DeKalb Theater opened in 1949 as the "Theater of Tomorrow". It was renovated in 2008 by the Debutante's School of Cosmetology and Nail Technology to serve as their school. In 2013 the Art Deco marquee was remodeled and is now functional once again.
Stores in the old buildings cater to the students of Northen Illinois University which is nearby.
A collection of DeKalb history in a mural.
Nice old building which is said to have been built in 1897 as a family residence for Isaac Elwood's daughter.
This is the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Clock in DeKalb, Illinois and on the Lincoln Highway. The World War 1 (WWI) Memorial was dedicated in 1921
Get out and explore. You never know what gate you will unlock.
If you missed any of our other travels on the Lincoln Highway you can find them here: