Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Atlanta, Illinois

Recently we had a chance to drive through Atlanta, Illinois, located along historic Route 66.
I found Atlanta to be a wonderfully charming town, even though many of the buildings were vacant at the time of our visit in October.
One of the things I loved about Atlanta was the restoration of several old murals painted on brick buildings. I've often lamented the fact that Peoria, IL has not done that sort of thing, despite there being remnants of several murals here and there.
One of the murals in Atlanta is the "J.M. Judy & Sons" grocery store mural. A sign under the mural reads: "During the 1890s, J.M. Judy operated his grocery store on the first floor of this, the Union Building. As the 70' x 15' mural attests, Mr. Judy also dealt in Queensware, a popular china pattern of the day, notions, and musical merchandise. Bill Diaz of Pontiac, Illinois created this design using a photo taken in the early 1900s of the original J.M. Judy & Sons mural that adorned this side of the building.
The "J.M. Judy & Sons" mural was completed in June 2002 during the "Rt. 66 Firecracker Walldog Jam" gathering of approximately 35 Letterheads in Atlanta.
The Letterheads are a group of generous and free-spirited sign painters from across the United States and Canada who are interested in preserving the art of painting outdoor signs and murals."

There are other restored murals in Atlanta including one for Reisch Beer. The Reisch Brewing Co. was located in Springfield, IL.
Reisch Beer Will Give You Health & Strength, claims the tagline at the bottom of this mural. Hmm, I wonder if Chubby's Bar & Grill has any stashed away in the cooler?

The next mural I saw, for the Palm's Grill Cafe, flanks another favorite roadside attraction, a muffler man.
This 19 foot tall Paul "Bunyon" hunk of manliness is cradling a hot dog in his arms now, but once toted an axe.
He used to hold down the fort at Bunyon's restaurant in Cicero, and after the restaurant was sold in 2003 he was moved to his current location.

The Atlanta Public Library & Museum is yet another site to behold. I found the building to be stunning with its unique architecture, Illinois’ only 8-sided, limestone Public Library & Museum. The library was built in 1906 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

I definitely plan to visit Atlanta again when I have some time to stop by for some lunch, pie and drinks and do some more sightseeing. It feels like the sort of town that knows how to serve up a true slice of Americana, and that's always tasty in my book.

Atlanta Public Library & Museum (other sites nearby)
100 SE Race St

Atlanta, IL 61723

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