Homepage of "Mr. Lincoln, Route 66, & Other Highlights of Lincoln, IL"

Site Map


A Long-Range Plan to Brand the First Lincoln Namesake City as the Second City of Abraham Lincoln Statues

The Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration in Lincoln, Illinois

Abraham Lincoln and the Historic Postville Courthouse,
including a William Maxwell connection to the Postville Courthouse

About Henry Ford and the Postville Courthouse, the Story of the Postville Courthouse Replica,
Tantivy, & the Postville Park Neighborhood in the
Route 66 Era


The Rise of Abraham Lincoln and His History and Heritage in His First Namesake Town,
also the founding of Lincoln College, the plot to steal Lincoln's body, and memories of Lincoln College and the Rustic Tavern-Inn

Introduction to the Social & Economic History of Lincoln, Illinois,
including poetry by William Childress & commentary by Federal Judge Bob Goebel & Illinois Appellate Court Judge Jim Knecht

"Social Consciousness in William Maxwell's Writings Based on Lincoln, Illinois" (an article published in the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, winter 2005-06

Peeking Behind the Wizard's Screen: William Maxwell's Literary Art as Revealed by a Study of the Black Characters in Billie Dyer and Other Stories

Introduction to the Railroad & Route 66 Heritage of Lincoln, Illinois

The Living Railroad Heritage of Lincoln, Illinois: on Track as a Symbol of the "Usable Past"


Route 66 Overview Map of Lincoln with 42 Sites, Descriptions, & Photos

The Hensons of Business Route 66

The Wilsons of Business
Route 66
including the Wilson Grocery & Shell Station

Route 66 Map & Photos Showing Lincoln Memorial Park
(former Chautauqua site),
the Historic Cemeteries, & Nearby Sites

Route 66 Map & Photos Showing Salt Creek & Cemetery Hill,
the highway bridges, GM&O bridge, Madigan State Park, the old dam (with photos & Leigh's memoir of "shooting the rapids" over the old dam), & the Ernie Edwards' Pig-Hip Restaurant Museum in Broadwell

The Historic Logan County Courthouse, Past & Present

Route 66 Map with 51 Sites in the Business & Courthouse Square Historic District,
including locations of historical markers
(on the National Register of Historic Places)

Vintage Scenes of the Business & Courthouse Square Historic District

The Foley House:  A Monument to Civic Leadership
(on the National Register of Historic Places)

Agriculture in
the Route 66 Era

Arts & Entertainment Heritage,
including the Lincoln Theatre Roy Rogers' Riders Club of the 1950s

Business Heritage

Cars, Trucks & Gas Stations of the Route 66 Era

including the hometown churches of Author William Maxwell & Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr

Factories, Past and Present

Food Stores of
the Route 66 Era


Hospitals, Past and Present

Hotels & Restaurants of the Railroad & Route 66 Eras

Lincoln Developmental Center
(Lincoln State School & Colony in the Route 66 era), plus
debunking the myth of Lincoln, Illinois, choosing the Asylum over the University of Illinois

Mining Coal, Limestone, & Sand & Gravel; Lincoln Lakes; & Utilities


Museums & Parks, including the Lincoln College Museum and its Abraham Lincoln Collection, plus the Heritage-in-Flight Museum

with Distinction

News Media in the Route 66 Era

The Odd Fellows' Children's Home


Memories of the 1900 Lincoln Community High School,
including Fred Blanford's dramatic account of the lost marble fountain of youth

A Tribute to the Historians and Advocates of Lincoln, Illinois

Watering Holes of the Route 66 Era

The Historic 1953 Centennial Celebration of Lincoln, Illinois

The Festive 2003 Sesqui-centennial Celebration of Lincoln, Illinois,
including photos of LCHS Class of 1960 dignitaries & the Blanfords

Why Did the State Police Raid Lincoln, Illinois, on October 11, 1950?

The Gambling Raids in Lincoln and Logan County, Illinois,
During the Late Route 66 Era (1950-1960)


Pages in this section tell about Leigh Henson's Lincoln years, moving away, revisits, and career:

About Lincoln, Illinois;
This Web Site; & Me

A Tribute to Lincolnite Edward Darold Henson: World War II U.S. Army Veteran of the Battles for Normandy and the Hedgerows; Brittany and Brest; and the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge)

For Remembrance, Understanding, & Fun: Lincoln Community High School Mid-20th-Century Alums' Internet Community
(a Web site and email exchange devoted to collaborative memoir and the sharing of photos related to Lincoln, Illinois)

Leigh Henson's Pilgrimage to Lincoln, Illinois, on
July 12, 2001

Leigh Henson's Review of Dr. Burkhardt's William Maxwell Biography

Leigh Henson's Review of Ernie Edwards' biography, Pig-Hips on Route 66, by William Kaszynski

Leigh Henson's Review of Jan Schumacher's Glimpses of Lincoln, Illinois

Teach Local Authors: Considering the Literature of Lincoln, Illinois

Web Site About
Leigh Henson's Professional Life


Pages in this section are about the writing, memorabilia, and Web sites of other Lincolnites:

A Tribute to Bill and Phyllis Stigall:
Exemplary Faculty of Lincoln College at Mid-Twentieth Century

A Tribute to the Krotzes of Lincoln, Illinois

A Tribute to Robert Wilson (LCHS '46): Author of Young in Illinois, Movies Editor of December Magazine, Friend and Colleague of December Press Publisher Curt Johnson, and Correspondent with William Maxwell

Brad Dye (LCHS '60): His Lincoln, Illinois, Web Site,
including photos of many churches

Dave Armbrust's Memorabilia of Lincoln, Illinois

J. Richard
(JR) Fikuart
(LCHS '65):
he Fikuarts of Lincoln, Illinois, including their connections to the William Maxwell family and three generations of family fun at Lincoln Lakes

Jerry Gibson (LCHS '60): Lincoln, Illinois, Memoirs & Other Stories

Dave Johnson (LCHS '56): His Web Site for the Lincoln Community High School Class of 1956

Sportswriter David Kindred: Memoir of His Grandmother Lena & Her West Side Tavern on Sangamon Street in the Route 66 Era

Judge Jim Knecht
(LCHS '62): Memoir and Short Story, "Other People's Money," Set in Hickey's Billiards on Chicago Street in the Route 66 Era

William A. "Bill" Krueger (LCHS '52): Information for His Books About Murders in Lincoln

Norm Schroeder (LCHS '60): Short Stories

Stan Stringer Writes About His Family, Mark Holland, and Lincoln, Illinois

Thomas Walsh: Anecdotes Relating to This Legendary Attorney from Lincoln by Attorney Fred Blanford & Judge Jim Knecht

Leon Zeter (LCHS '53): His Web Site for the
Lincoln Community High School Class of 1953
including announcements of LCHS class reunions

(Post yours there.)


Highway Sign of
the Times:

The Route 66
Association of Illinois

The Illinois State Historical Society

Illinois Tourism Site:
Enjoy Illinois



     Email a link to this page to someone who might be interested. Internet Explorer is the only browser that shows this page the way it was designed.  Your computer's settings may alter the display.)

April 24, 2004: Awarded "Best Web Site of the Year" by the Illinois State Historical Society "superior achievement: serves as a model for the profession and reaches a greater public"

Marquee Lights of the Lincoln Theatre, est. 1923, Lincoln, Illinois

 You can go home again. Email Leigh Henson at dlhenson@missouristate.edu

Leigh Henson's Review of Pig-Hips on Route 66
by William Kaszynski

     "People such as Ernie Edwards are hard to come by these days, and their historical knowledge is valuable. . . . Best of luck with all of your Route 66 endeavors!" -- William Kaszynki's letter to Leigh Henson of January 16, 2007

     Note: Ernest L. "Ernie" Edwards, Jr., passed away on April 11, 2012. Link to announcement and tribute by Geoff Ladd, director of the Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County, Illinois (PDF).

     Pig-Hips on Route 66, 2nd ed. (Lincoln, IL: Lincoln Printers, Inc., 2006, 96 pages, 5"x7") is a biography of Route 66 icon Ernie Edwards of Lincoln and Broadwell, Illinois.

     For several decades, Ernie owned and operated restaurants and gas stations on Route 66 in Lincoln and Broadwell. He invented the pig-hip sandwich. Ernie says this sandwich was made from fresh ham (not cured), and he claims that the ham came only from the left hip--never, never the right hip. Ernie claims this distinction was part of the secret of the Pig-Hip's success (sandwich and restaurant). The other part of the sandwich secret was his special sauce. Ernie's sandwich motto was--"it made its way by the way it's made." Ernie Edwards was one of the first to be inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Route 66 Association of Illinois (1990).

     This book review follows the conventional pattern of describing what a book does and evaluating how well it does it. For information about purchasing Pig-Hips of Route 66, scroll to near the bottom of this page. Also, for more information about the Pig-Hips Restaurant and my account of Ernie's 90th birthday party on June 10, 2007, access http://findinglincolnillinois.com/rte66atsaltcreek.html#pig-hip.

1: Front Cover Photo Montage

2: Photo from Back Cover (view looking north)

     Mr. Kaszynski's book is a highly informative, entertaining account of Ernie Edwards' life and times. Kaszynksi is an established, published authority on the history of Route 66 (see Works Cited below), and he uses that knowledge to provide background and context for Ernie's life, which has been extensively tied to "The Mother Road" in the Lincoln-Broadwell area of Logan County, located in central Illinois. The book is based on extensive interviews with Ernie and is dedicated to Tom Teague, one of the most ardent proponents of the movement to preserve Route 66 and celebrate its history. Also, the back of the title page credits Bob Olson "for additional background material and the Logan County Genealogical and Historical Society." Moreover, the book benefits from "technical assistance by Michael Kaszynski and Yvonne Jones." This biography includes 20 photos and illustrations from Ernie's collection.

     I thank Mr. Bobby Olson for giving me a copy of this book and for having Ernie autograph it:

3: Thanks, Ernie, for the Autograph and Especially for the Great Stories

4: Pig-Hip Logo and Map of Central Illinois

     Pig-Hips on Route 66 is divided into the following chapters:

  • Introduction

  • Chapter One: The Early Years

  • Chapter Two: A New Roadside Sandwich

  • Chapter Three: Wartime and the Postwar Boom

  • Chapter Four: Decline and Rebirth of Route 66

  • Chapter Five: Retirement

     Pig-Hips on Route 66 has the following photos and illustrations:

  • Pig Hip logo and map of central Illinois, p. 6

  • Two photos of Ernie as a steeplejack high above ground on skyscraper superstructure, p. 25

  • Photo looking south on Rte. 66 approaching Broadwell, IL, with Harbor Inn in distance, p. 29

  • Harbor Inn menu, p. 30

  • Photo of Ernie and brother, Joe, in front of their new filling station in 1937, p. 31

  • Photo of Pig-Hip Restaurant in 1939, p. 32

  • Photo of TIZ-IT Restaurant at 4th and Washington Sts., in Lincoln in 1940s, p. 42

  • Model of second TIZ-IT Restaurant on Rte. 66 bypass in Lincoln, p. 51

  • Photo of TIZ-IT and Cities Service station at "Four Corners" after sale to Joe Eimer, p. 52

  • Photo of Pig-Hip Restaurant and Cities Service station next door in Broadwell, p. 56

  • Photo of Pioneers' Rest Motel next to Pig-Hip in the late 1940s, p. 56

  • Photo of Joe Edwards with Jeep wrecker and child's car wrecker model, p. 57

  • Model of Chicago St. storefronts showing TIZ-IT Restaurant in Lincoln, p. 60

  • Photo of Pig-Hip Restaurant and Phillips 66 service station in 1960s, p. 78

  • Display ad for the Pig-Hip Restaurant from the Lincoln Daily Courier in 1981, p. 83

  • Photo of Frances and Ernie Edwards in their Pig-Hip Restaurant, p. 85

  • Photo of Pig-Hip dining room as seen today in the Pig-Hip Restaurant Museum, p. 89

  • Photo of Ernie in front of his Pig-Hip Restaurant Museum, p. 91

  • Roster of Pig-Hip employees from 1952 to 1991, pp. 93--96

     This review next summarizes each chapter, and the conclusion provides an overall evaluation.

Introduction: (pages 9-12)

     From the beginning, Kaszynski puts his expert knowledge of Route 66 to good work. The Introduction is a precise, four-page summary of the origins of Route 66--one of the best to be found anywhere. Even before 1900, groups of citizens called for action to "Get the Farmer out of the Mud," and this activity was known as the Good Roads Movement, but road development in the early twentieth century was left to counties, cities, and towns. The author describes the various plans for developing highways among states, including the beginning of the highway numbering system. Beginning in 1916, the Federal government began to play an effective role in road construction. In 1924, Cyrus Avery, active in promoting highway development, "advocated a route from Chicago to St. Louis, through Oklahoma City, New Mexico, Arizona, and eventually to Los Angeles." A U.S. 60 had been established to run from Virginia to Los Angeles, so after some debate Avery's route was numbered 66.

     Along these highways, countless "mom and pop" businesses developed: "they offered their own down-home experience while advertising along the nation's early highway" (p. 11). These businesses included gas stations, tourist camps and cabins, as well as eateries. Kaszynski describes his book as reporting "the saga of one such mom-and-pop restaurant, whose history spans the years from the late 1930s through the 1990s. It was a family-run business owned by Ernest L. Edwards, Jr., in central Illinois in a small town called Broadwell [located seven miles south of Lincoln, the county seat of Logan County]. The 'Pig-Hip Restaurant' outlasted hundreds of other cafes, burger stands and diners that faded and then vanished from the roadside scene. It is also a story of Highway 66 (its pre-war term) and the people of the 'Prairie State' who lived along its route" (p. 12).

     Undoubtedly, the endurance and fame of this restaurant--and is world-renowned pig-hip sandwich-- is directly related to Ernie's long, vigorous life. When his biography was published in 2006, Ernie was in his upper 80s, and he was actively involved in developing and promoting his Pig-Hip Restaurant Museum--and still is as of the publication of this book review. Let me add that the book also describes Ernie's several other businesses in Broadwell and Lincoln as well as his various civic activities.


Chapter One: The Early Years (pages 13--23)

     Ernest L. Edwards, Jr., was born on August 5, 1917, in Murphysboro in southern Illinois 75 miles southeast of St. Louis. His parents were Naomi Star ("Toots") Meyers, and his father was Ernest L. Edwards, Sr. Father and son were descendants of Ninian Edwards, a former governor of Illinois and husband of a sister of Abraham Lincoln's wife. This chapter has accounts his parents' experiences as they moved from one Illinois town to another: from Murphysboro to Jerseyville to Granite City then back to Jerseyville and then to Salem before moving to Lincoln in 1934.

      Ernie's parents played a key role in leading him toward a career in small business. Ernie's father typically worked in factories. His mother tried various business activities to supplement the family income, for example, operating a small neighborhood grocery and selling toys. Ernie's father "had worked for others much of his life but found self-employment to be the most rewarding. He firmly believed that in order to get ahead, you had to take control of your own destiny and become an entrepreneur. He didn't want Ernie to start out working in a factory as he had done and encouraged him to try some type of self-employment" (p. 16).

     As a kid, while working at several typical jobs such as delivering newspapers, Ernie showed an interest in starting his own businesses. He operated a newspaper stand but became curious about the food service business. In the fifth grade, his first job was working for a guy who had Ernie making and selling ice cream on a stick. In 1930, at the age of 13, Ernie and another kid in Jerseyville "opened a confectionary and sold ice cream." A couple of years later, Ernie and his father operated a hot dog stand at the county fair in Jerseyville. There, Ernie began to create his own distinct food product:

"Most hot dog vendors boiled or grilled their frankfurters and Ernie figured that he'd try a difference [sic] method of cooking them that might appeal to customers. He called them 'electrocuted hot dogs' [bold mine] and invented a way to cook them using electrical current. He built a simple device by wiring six sharp metal pegs mounted on a board about a foot across. A toggle, similar to an ordinary light switch, was added to the board and when flipped to the 'on' position carried electric current to the metal pegs, which cooked his hot dogs in approximately two minutes. He placed a glass cover over the unit to prevent being burned by hot grease and added a red blinking light to the top of his stand to advertise his unique product. . . . Ernie's hot dogs were very popular and he did a steady business throughout the duration of the fair" (p. 18).

     After that success, Ernie traveled to Springfield several years to operate his own popcorn stand at the Illinois State Fair. This chapter has a wonderful, detailed account of Ernie meeting a farmer in bib overalls from southern Illinois who raised popcorn and introduced Ernie to a popcorn variety unlike that used by the competition. Ernie began selling it with good success. You just have to read this account to believe what this new variety was and what oil Ernie used to pop it. One of Ernie's life-long talents has been the catchy names he gave to the food he sold. In his youth, Ernie's nickname was Chick, and at the State Fair he made a sign advertising "Chick's French Fried Popcorn." The farmer who introduced Ernie to this new popcorn variety later sold out to the Jolly Time Popcorn Company.

     Ernie was a teenager in 1934 when his family moved to Lincoln. During high school, Ernie's main job was delivering newspapers. Chapter One ends with Ernie's high school graduation.

     One kind of information appearing in Chapter One that appears in all of the other chapters is Ernie's experiences in seeing or meeting famous and nearly-famous people. In Chapter One the reader discovers how the youthful Ernie had met Frank Phillips, the founder of the Phillips Petroleum Company; and in his early years Ernie twice met Henry Ford. These kinds of stories add a strong "human interest" appeal to Ernie's biography.


Chapter Two: A New Roadside Sandwich (pages 24--48)

     This chapter describes the founding of the Pig-Hip Restaurant in Broadwell and covers Ernie's life between high school graduation and the beginning of WW II (late 1930s).

     This chapter opens with a story of how Ernie began working at Bea's Ice Cream in downtown Springfield, IL. The owner, a Mr. Segalty, also hired Ernie to get a job at the Icey Root Beer Company in Springfield for the purpose of spying to find out how the three little old lady owners made their popular "steakburger," "rumored to be the best burger in the entire country" (p. 24). Ernie's espionage succeeded, and the book describes the special way the steakburger was prepared. When Ernie decided to quit working at Bea's, he sincerely believed that he was due at least twice the $20.00 that Segalty paid him, so Ernie "punched Segalty in the nose as he left" (p. 36).

     As Ernie worked at his next job, an auto body store next to Bea's, he discovered openings at Pikeman's Steeplejacks across the street. For a year and a half, Ernie worked as a steeplejack in Michigan, Kansas, then in Carbondale and Murphysboro, IL.

     Afterward, Ernie's dad offered to help him start his own business. Ernie's dad, who owned and operated a shoe repair business, thought the same kind of business would be good for Ernie, but Ernie had his heart set on selling food. In 1937, Ernie found an old restaurant on Route 66 in Broadwell for sale, its owner rumored to be a moonshiner. It was known as Wolf's Inn. With a loan of $150 from his dad, Ernie at the age of 24 bought Wolf's Inn and renamed it the Harbor Inn because the wallpaper had images of boats and anchors. The Harbor Inn was open for mid-day plate lunches that included ham and beans with corn bread and beef and noodles. "He started selling cold beer by the bottle before he found out that he needed a liquor license. He quickly applied for and was granted a state and Federal liquor license. He was (and still is) the only person in Broadwell with a liquor license" (p. 29).

     Kaszynski provides a concise but detailed summary of how millions of Americans were traveling to find better jobs and lives during the Depression (pp. 27-28). The author notes that some people burned corn rather than coal because it was cheaper. At his mother's suggestion, Ernie decided to build a small "filling station" next to the restaurant. Ernie bought some cheap lumber, and then he, his dad, and brother built the station, selling 7 gallons of Mobile gas for $1.00 in 1937. Soon, Ernie was approached by and struck a deal with the founder of Cities Service, who lived in Bloomington, IL.

     The Harbor Inn was becoming popular. Ernie tried catering for a short time, but abandoned it as being too involved. While Ernie's brother, Joe, worked the filling station, their mother helped Ernie with the restaurant. They began to experiment with new menu items to give variety to the locals who often ate chicken at home and wanted other kinds of food in restaurants. Ernie's mother, Naomi, had worked for Ray of Ray's chili, and she began to make her own chili for the restaurant. Naomi also encouraged Ernie to try making ham sandwiches.

     At the Kroger store in Lincoln, the manager, "Pop" Hanlan told Ernie that fresh ham was cheaper than cured ham. Ernie, of course, chose the cheaper fresh ham. Pop also had a great story of why the ham from the hog's left hip is more tender than the ham from the right hip. This story is just one of many that make this book a must-read for Route 66 fans and others interested in the history of American popular culture in the 20th century. Kaszynski also relates the story of how one of Ernie's old farmer customers ("a lean tough old buzzard and looked the spitting image of Abe Lincoln himself") was the key to naming the "pig-hip" ham sandwich. These stories became "a boon to Ernie's business for the remainder of his life" (p. 33).

     The book describes how the pig-hip sandwich was prepared from 20-pound fresh hams that were baked for a certain number of hours at a specific temperature. "One of his most popular items, naturally, was the 'Pig-Hip' Special, which came with a Pig-Hip sandwich, French fries and Jell-O salad and cost 65 cents" (p. 35). Anther popular sandwich was a steakburger.

     As indicated in the photo caption below, Ernie's new ham sandwich was so popular that he changed the name of his restaurant:

5: A Classic Early Scene on Route 66

     Next, Chapter Two describes Ernie's decision to abandon the idea of franchising in favor of establishing a second restaurant. In 1940, he bought the Spanish Gables, a tavern at the southwest corner of Fourth and Washington Streets in Lincoln, across from the Postville Park. Right after he bought this property, Ernie found himself in trouble with Gus Belt, the Bloomington entrepreneur who was just starting his Steak 'n Shake empire. Belt was unhappy that he lost out on buying the Spanish Gables and threatened to take Ernie to court for using a black and white color scheme in Ernie's new place. Before long, Belt realized that his case was groundless and apologized to Ernie. Belt's slogan "In sight, it must be right" resulted from his restaurant's kitchens being open to the customers' view, and Ernie decided to come up a slogan of his own for his Pig-Hip sandwich: "They made their way by the way they're made." Someone suggested Ernie name his new restaurant the TIZ-IT, and he liked this name because it is spelled the same forward and backward (anagram).

6: This Building Endures as a Private Residence

     Kaszynski identifies many of the other eateries, gas stations, and tourist cabins found in the neighborhood of the TIZ-IT (although he does not mention my Grandfather H.F. Wilson's grocery store on Business Route 66 near the corner of Washington and Fifth Streets). The rest of this chapter tells how Ernie furnished his restaurants, which suppliers he used, and how he treated his employees with respect and fairness. Kaszynski provides information about the history of Route 66 in the 1930s and describes several highway and train accidents of this period as recalled by Ernie.


Chapter Three: Wartime and the Postwar Boom (pages 49-72)

     This chapter opens with a concise account of the shortages at the beginning of WW II that led to the failure of many businesses, including gas stations. In 1942, there were two lanes added to Route 66 because of its strategic military status. "A portion of the Pig-Hip's property was in the path of the new road. Ernie's house was sold and moved to Elkhart [south of Broadwell] and his restaurant and small filling station also had to be demolished. . . . Ernie built a new restaurant with the funds he received from the government on a short stretch of road that was added to the west of the military lane in 1943 and kept running the TIZ-IT by day and the new Pig-Hip by night" (pp. 50-51). Before Ernie went into the Army in 1943, he sold the TIZ-IT, whose location had changed to the intersection of the Route 66 bypass and state Routes 121 and 10, to Joe Eimer for $5,000.00. Eimer also owned the Maid Rite in Lincoln and renamed the TIZ-IT the TIZ-RITE. Ernie sold the Pig-Hip to his parents in case he did not return from the war.

     Before he went into the Army, Ernie and his wife, Loeta, took three vacations to California and back on Route 66 in their 1941 Ford convertible. During the war, Ernie was an Army cook in the South Pacific and then Japan.

7: Former Landmark at the Four Corners

     [Note: The arms were mechanical and waved.]

     After the war, the Edwards family expanded its business activity. Ernie's mother, using money that her son, Joe, had sent back during the war, made it possible to build a cement-block gas station near the Pig-Hip. This building had a grease room and a single-bay garage. Ernie bought a wrecker, and Joe bought an Army surplus Jeep the he modified to serve as a wrecker. The new gas station also had a mechanical hoist. Joe operated the station. Ernie's sister, Bonnie, and her husband, Doo, built some tourist cabins that were later enclosed, and this motel was the Pioneer's Rest. Another business expansion for Ernie was that he established another TIZ-IT: this time in downtown Lincoln, first on S. Sangamon and then on S. Chicago Street in the block north of the garment factory.

     Toward the end of Chapter Three, Kaszynski reports on the various famous and near-famous people who patronized the Pig-Hip. These included big-band leaders such as Guy Lombardo and Wayne King, other entertainers, sports celebrities, politicians, and the local legendary bootlegger known as Coonhound Johnny. Some of my favorite pages in this book are those that tell of Ernie's recollections of Coonhound Johnny, who convinced Ernie to install pinball machines for a time. More than once, Ernie drove Coonhound and his infamous friend, Al Capone, to the state capital, Springfield, where the gangster apparently had business with state officials, including members of the legislature. Ernie's chauffer service took place after Capone was released from Federal prison in 1939 (pp. 65-66). (Mr. Kaszynski generously gave me permission to tell these stories in this Web site, and a link to them appears below in Works Cited.)

     This chapter includes a priceless account of how Ernie met Colonel Harlan Sanders and remained friends with him for many years. Sanders stopped at the Pig-Hip Restaurant when he was traveling the Midwest to sell franchises. The two men prepared chicken dinners for one another that day, and you will have to read the account to decide which guy liked the other's chicken better.

     After the war, Ernie's life became more complex. He opened another TIZ-IT (the third) at 110 S. Sangamon Street in downtown Lincoln, and it succeeded because of "a steady clientele of workers from the Lincoln Garment Factory and the Stetson China Company" (p. 60). Ernie owned this third TIZ-IT until 1953 (p. 68). After the war, Ernie and his wife became parents, and Ernie was more aggressive in advertising his restaurants and selling souvenirs. He also had to deal with a few burglaries and robberies. He became an active member of the Illinois Restaurant Association and a Justice of the Peace in Broadwell.


Chapter Four: Decline and Rebirth of Route 66 (pages 73-86)

     During the 1960s and early 1970s, post-war prosperity continued, and the Pig-Hip Restaurant attracted old and new customers. Locals typically ordered more food and drink than travelers. Ernie says that in the 1970s and 1980s, he "noticed a different sort of customer": they came in groups, and "Ernie learned they were traveling between Chicago and St. Louis to collect welfare in both states" (p. 84).

     During this period, Ernie made some improvements to the Pig-Hip. An indoor toilet was added after Illinois Governor Kerner's sister complained about having to use the outhouse. There was remodeling and then more remodeling after fires in 1965 and 1970.

8: Three Route 66 Edwards-Related Businesses in their Prime

     The construction of Interstate 55 reached central Illinois in the mid 1970s. I-55 at Broadwell closely parallels old Route 66, and the overpass and freeway exit allowed easy access to the Pig-Hip Restaurant, which was thus spared the decline in patronage suffered by many other businesses. The reduction in traffic on old Route 66 also brought a decrease in the number of vehicle accidents.

     A great story in this chapter tells how Ernie acquired the huge restaurant sign of the former Ramada Inn on the Route 66 beltway in Lincoln and mounted it on top of his house (photo #2 above). The sign remained there for several years and became a landmark to travelers on I-55.

9: Pig-Hip Partners

     In later years, Ernie sometimes refers to himself as "the Old Coot on 66," and here is the story behind that nickname:

"In 1983, another well-known celebrity with national recognition entered the Pig-Hip. Ernie did not recognize the man and went about his usual business, served the man his meal and returned to his easy chair behind his L-shaped glass counter. The man saw a framed picture of Emil Verban on the wall and struck up a conversation, asking if Ernie knew Verban. Ernie replied, "Sure, he lives just up the road, he's my best friend. I've known him all my life." The man said, "Well, he was a pretty good ball player in his day." Ernie nonchalantly remarked, "Well, no, not really, he got to be in the majors because so many people were out for wartime service." A few days later, the man (who turned out to be columnist Mike Royko), wrote an article for the Chicago Tribune about the sorry nature of the Chicago Cubs and its long-suffering fans. He mentioned his encounter with 'the old coot in the rocking chair' at the Pig-Hip Restaurant in Broadwell. He was not being derogatory, of course, and ended with, 'When you're a Cub, not even your best friend will stick up for you!' Ernie liked the column so well that he started referring to himself as 'the Old Coot on 66' ever since" (p. 84).

     Within a few years of the decommissioning of Route 66 in 1985, its fans began a movement to revive interest in the Mother Road. In 1989, Ernie joined other Illinois residents such as Tom Teague, Springfield artist Bob Waldmire, and Bob Borowiak in forming the Illinois Route 66 Association.


Chapter 5: Retirement (pages 87-92)

     "By 1990, the Pig-Hip was busier than ever despite the demise of Route 66" (p. 87). Yet, at 74 Ernie was finding it much harder to do everything necessary to run the business, and his aging equipment always needed repair or replacement. The Pig-Hip Restaurant officially closed on September 9, 1991, and the owner of the Pioneer's Rest Motel, Ethel Epperheimer, closed it as well. In the fall of 1993, Ernie and Fran had the contents of the restaurant auctioned. The gigantic restaurant sign, originally part of the Ramada Inn complex on the Route 66 beltline in Lincoln, was sold for $35.00. Its removal caused $75.00 worth of damage to their house. At the time of the publication of Ernie's biography, the sign found another home on a former stretch of Route 66: at a Mexican restaurant at the corner of South Grand and Dirksen Parkway in Springfield, IL. After the auction, however, Ernie and Fran have continued to sell souvenirs.

10: "The Old Coot on 66"

     After the Pig-Hip closed, it continued to have people stop to see it, including famous people such as Arnold Palmer and former President Carter as well as tourists from around the world. Some who stopped were children of parents who had patronized the Pig-Hip many years earlier. In the last few years, Ernie has established the Pig-Hip Restaurant Musem (Ernie says he won't correct one of his typical misspellings) and gift shop. Ernie has managed to retrieve or duplicate some of the furnishings and decor of the restaurant. The Illinois Route 66 Association has assisted with the development of the "Musem" (see link below in Works Cited).

"Ernie maintains that he lived a fascinating life and would not trade it for anything. His parents, sister and first and second wives are all buried in the same cemetery plot. In addition to running a restaurant for 54 years, Ernie was Broadwell's justice of the peace for 30 years, a Mason for 52 years and was a member of the local American Legion, VFW, the Blue Lodge, the High Twelve, served on the school board for twelve years (as president for eight), the Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, the Broadwell town board for a few years, some Democratic Party organizations, the National Restaurant Association and the Illinois Route 66 Association. He is also involved with the Route 66 Corridor, which receives some federal funds since its enactment by Congress in 1999. Recently, these funds helped repair the furnace for the Pig Hip" (pp. 90-91).

Roster of Pig-Hip Restaurant Employees (1952-1991) (pages 93-96)

     When you buy this book, you might be surprised to discover that you knew someone who worked there. I was amazed to see that my childhood playmate and high school classmate, Janet Sue Elkins, LCHS noble Class of 1960 Homecoming Queen, worked there in 1960 (p. 94).

Conclusion of This Review

     Pig-Hips on Route 66 is major addition to the history of Route 66. Most likely, only crusty old English teachers like me will notice a couple of errors in language usage (e.g., "off of" should just be "off," and state capitol in reference to Springfield should be capital) and inaccuracy of fact. Toward the end of Chapter 1, there is reference to the bank closings of 1933, followed by a misleading statement: "later that year, Ernie met Henry Ford again. Ford came to Lincoln to buy the old Postville Courthouse. . . ." The correct year of Ford's purchase was 1929. Another misleading statement says that "the Chicago and Alton line ran next to Highway 66 and still exists today" (p. 38). The railroad tracks do exist today, but to the best of my knowledge have been part of the Union Pacific and Amtrak systems for the last 30+ years. A third example of fact error refers to Werth's Standard service station that was located on the southwest corner of the intersection of U.S. 66 and Illinois Routes 121 and 10 (the "Four Corners"). The erroneous sentence says, "Today Werth's is an oil changing and lubrication business and a place behind it that was once Looby's is now called the Blue Inn" (p. 65). The spelling should be Blu- Inn (building now demolished), and this restaurant was located near a Standard service station owned by Wayne Wallace. Wallace's station was "kitty corner" across the intersection from Werth's. The Blu-Inn was positioned not behind Wayne Wallace's Standard station but about 200 feet to its north side.

     Let me repeat for emphasis that these few fact errors certainly do not detract from the overall appeal of the book. As my Lincolnite good friend, Fred Blanford, likes to say, "memory is an imperfect tool." Fred also likes to quote his late father-in-law, the charismatic Lincoln dentist Dr. James "Jimmy" Coogan: "Why let a few facts get in the way of a good story?"

     The only thing the reader of Pig-Hips on Route 66 will regret is that there are not more stories and more photos. Since Ernie's biography includes references to pinball machines in his establishments, I hope he will not mind my expressing an interest in knowing more about his dealings with them. Specifically, one of the stories I would have liked to see in Ernie's biography relates to the most bizarre trial ever held in the Logan County Courthouse--the pinball machine trial of 1950-51 that followed the controversial state-wide State Police gambling raids ordered by legendary Illinois Governor Adlai Ewing Stevenson II. The State Police raided many businesses in Lincoln, Illinois, on October 11, 1950, and confiscated several truckloads of gambling machines. After several weeks of a trial of certain business owners for having illegal gambling equipment, Judge Frank S. Bevan "allowed Assistant Attorney General Baird Helfrich to set up a pinball machine in open court to demonstrate its operation as he presented witnesses for the State. The machine, which was tagged as seized from the Tizit [sic] Restaurant, Lincoln, of which Ernest Edwards is proprietor, was installed in the courtroom by four state highway policemen who had made their fourth trip to Lincoln to testify on their pinball investigations" (Courier, January 10, 1951, p. 1). Ernie was apparently not one of the proprietors charged or called to testify, but it would be interesting to know his story of whether the courtroom pinball machine was from the TIZ-IT and if so how that came to be and why Ernie was not called to testify.

     Soon after this review was published, the Pig-Hip Restaurant and Museum were destroyed by fire (March  5, 2007).

11: Pig Hip Historical Marker

(Photo courtesy of Geoff Ladd)

Places to Purchase Pig-Hips on Route 66

Abraham Lincoln Tourism Bureau of Logan County
1555 Fifth Street
Lincoln, Illinois 62656

Cozy Dog Drive-In
2935 S. Sixth St.
Springfield, IL 62703

Works Cited and/or Suggested

   Ernie Edwards remembers Coonhound Johnny and Al Capone,

     Henson, Leigh. The Gambling Raids in Lincoln and Logan County, Illinois,
During the Late Route 66 Era (1950-1960)

      Kaszynski, William. Route 66: Images of America's Main Street (McFarland, 2003.

     _______ . The American Highway: The History and Culture of Roads in the United States (McFarland, 2000). Note: These two books of Mr. Kaszynski are available at Amazon.com.

     Luciano, Phil. "Still Kicks on Route 66," a feature article on Ernie Edwards and the Pig-Hip Restaurant in the Peoria Journal Star, March 3, 2003.

     "Route 66," on Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U.S._Route_66

     Teague, Tom, "He's Got a Million of 'Em: Ernie Edwards Serves up Some Stories from the Road," an article from the Illinois Times, http://www.illinoistimes.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A2547


  Email comments, corrections, questions, or suggestions. 
Also please email me if this Web site helps you decide to visit Lincoln, Illinois: dlhenson@missouristate.edu

"The Past Is But the Prelude"


The founding fathers of this town asked their attorney, Abraham Lincoln, for permission to name this new community after him, and he agreed.  On the first day lots were publicly sold--August 27, 1853--, Abraham Lincoln, near the site of the train depot, used watermelon juice to christen the town as Lincoln, Illinois.  It thus became the first town named for Abraham Lincoln before he became famous.