Saturday, August 08, 2009


We were in Grand Haven, Michigan last weekend for the Coast Guard Festival. We heard about Dan Bylsma being in the parade and it would be the first time we took the T-bird to Grand Haven. During previous trips we took my car (2002 Mazda 626) as it was much more comfortable and I could help with driving (my husband got nervous when I drive his T-bird on the highway, especially when surrounded by 18-wheelers). Instead of our usual route taking I-44 East from St. Louis, then I-55 North, following I-70 East thru Illinois , connecting at I-265 North into Indiana, taking I-69 North and then I-94 East into Detroit (where my husband's brother and sisters live), we decided to get our kicks on Illinois Route 66 as part of the trip to Michigan. We started out the same way from I-44 East to I-55 North, then got off I-55 and stopping at Mt. Olive, Litchfield, Waggoner, after Springfield, we got back on the highway following I-80 East, then I-94 East and finally US-31 North, as we were tired and did not wish to get into Holland, Michigan too late. All the hotels in Grand Haven/Springlake areas were completed booked by the time we decided to make the trip. Holland was the nearby town (I used to work there), so we made our reservation there.
This monument was created to honor Mary Harris Jones, the famous labor activist, who fought for coal miners' rights. The miners who were killed in the 1898 Virden mining riot were denied burial in the established cemeteries. The local union purchased the land to provide burial plots and named the site Union Miner's Cemetery. The monument was dedicated on October 11, 1936 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Russell Soulsby and his father, Henry, started this Shell Station in 1926. Back then the road was still unpaved. Russell and his sister, Ola, took care of the business until 1991 and the only thing they sold in all the years was Shell gasoline. Soulsby's Service Station ranks as one of the oldest filling stations still standing on Route 66.
Russell Soulsby learned about electronics in the Navy during WWII and started a TV repair business in the 1950's, which allowed him to survive the opening of I-55.
On our way back from Michigan, we got off I-55 and back onto Route 66 starting from Joliet, making stops in Dwight, Odell, Towanda, Normal, Shirley, Atlanta, and switched back to I-55 after Lincoln to make a quick drive back home to St. Louis.

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