The Des Plaines Theatre, 1476 Miner Street (U.S. Route 14) in Des Plaines, Illinois, opened in 1926 with this beautiful light bulb-lined marquee, just down the street from the Sugar Bowl. In 2019, Onesti Entertainment took over management of the theater and began restoration. As my longtime readers know, I grew up in Des Plaines. I remember when this theater played movies for 50 cents on Tuesday (I must have watched Jurassic Park there a half-dozen times), and I saw my first live concert there. I’m glad it’s finally getting restored after being closed for years.
The Sugar Bowl Restaurant, at 1494 Miner Street (U.S. Route 14) in Des Plaines, Illinois, was opened by Mr. and Mrs. Files as a soda fountain and candy store in 1921. They added a glorious neon sign in 1957.
It still retained some of its old features as a candy store when I visited as a kid in the late 1980s (I remember browsing the knickknacks and candy they sold), but owner Ted Vlahopoulos renovated the interior to look more like a traditional restaurant in 1997. Thankfully, Steve Morakalis and George Prassas kept this wonderful sign when they reopened it in 2009.
It’s unfortunate this vintage motel sign, at 3912 N. Hackbarth Road (off U.S. Route 14) outside Janesville, Wisconsin, is partially hidden behind bushes and looks to be missing its neon lights. Check out the sign for “color TV”! Luxurious. In the mid-twentieth century, many motor inns adopted a “populuxe” style to appeal to travelers on a budget, promising comfortable accommodations at an affordable price.