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William 'Bill' Waldmire - Rochester

The Waldmire family's story, who hail from Rochester and Springfield, Illinois, is part of the culture of the capitol city. The family operated the Cozy Dog restaurant on south Sixth Street beginning in the 1940s. Bill eventually became a photographer for Illinois's governors. Brother Bob was a “hippie” artist who traveled historic Route 66 in his VW van promoting the fabled "Mother Road." In the process, Bob, and his art promoting Route 66, developed a national and international reputation.

Interview Links

Abstract

Interview Session 01 Audio

Waldmire family history in Springfield & Rochester, IL

Interview Session 02 Audio

Bob Waldmire, a world known local artist known for Route 66 art


Photos

Caption

Ed Waldmire, Bill’s father, in Galesburg, Illinois in the 1940s. Behind him is the Curb-O phone, which people could use to call in their orders. The practice was stopped when it created traffic jams.

Where:

Galesburg, Illinois

When:

circa 1940s

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

Ed Waldmire served the first cozy dog to his wife Mary Virginia at the Lake Springfield beach house in 1946. Don Stroud of Galesburg looks on. The Stroud bakery originally developed the batter mix.

Where:

Springfield, Illinois

When:

1946

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

A group of Rochester’s Dwight Eisenhower supporters worked on political signs for the retired general, now politician, circa 1952. (Far left boys are Bob and Bill Waldmire; Virginia Waldmire is 7th from the left, sitting)

Where:

Rochester, Illinois

When:

1952

Ownership:

Narrator's Photo

Caption

Robert Waldmire painted the Chain of Rocks Bridge, which spans the mighty Mississippi River near St. Louis, Missouri in October 1966.

Where:

St. Louis, Missouri

When:

October 1966

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

Robert Waldmire painted the Hawes Grain Elevator Museum in June 1967. The elevator is in Atlanta, Illinois, northeast of Lincoln.

Where:

Atlanta, Illinois

When:

June 1967

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith visited the Governor’s Mansion on October 7, 1976. The photo was taken by William (Bill) Waldmire, who was Governor Dan Walker’s photographer at the time. Mrs. Roberta Walker is second from the left.

Where:

Springfield, Illinois

When:

1976

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Robert Todd Lincoln Beckwith was visiting Springfield, Illinois on October 7, 1976, where he discussed this Lincoln themed artwork.

Where:

Springfield, Illinois

When:

1976

Ownership:

This image is considered to be in the public domain.

Caption

Bob and his “Kids:” a 1965 Mustang, the customized 1966 Chevy bus and a 1972 Volkswagen van. He took all of these on the road with him at one time or another as he traveled Route 66 during the 1990s and 2000s.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

Bob Waldmire made this sketch of the bus he designed and customized, and in which he traveled the length and breadth of Route 66, promoting the world famous highway in the process. The bus was a 1966 Chevrolet.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

Bob Waldmire’s bus, in which he traveled along Route 66, always drawing attention to the road and his personal story.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

This Bob Waldmire drawing was also used for a postcard. Pixar Studios approached Waldmire to use his VW bus for their movie ‘Cars.’ Bob, a vegetarian, broke off negotiations when he discovered that McDonalds would promote the picture.

Where:

Unknown

When:

Unknown

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

Bob Waldmire wrote and illustrated this story of his father, Ed Waldmire, in 1997. Ed was the inventor and distributor of the cozy dog. He figured out how to keep the batter on the corn dog, which Virginia decided to call a cozy dog.

Where:

Unknown

When:

1997

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

This obituary notice for Mary Virginia Waldmire was created by her son Bob Waldmire. She passed away in February 2002.

Where:

Unknown

When:

2002

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

The Old Log Cabin Inn in Pontiac, Illinois was painted by Bob Waldmire in June 2007. All of his paintings featured landmarks along historic Route 66.

Where:

Pontiac, Illinois

When:

2007

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

Robert Waldmire painted “Our Lady of the Highways” in June 2007. The shrine is located south of tiny Waggoner, Illinois. The statue of Our Lady of Lourdes overlooking old Route 66 is inscribed “Mary, Loving Mother of Jesus, Protect us on the Highway.”

Where:

Waggoner, Illinois

When:

2007

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

St. Paul Lutheran Church is located near Hamel, Illinois. Bob Waldmire painted the beautiful Route 66 landmark in June 2007.

Where:

Hamel, Illinois

When:

2007

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

Robert Waldmire painted “The Mill,” in Lincoln, Illinois circa June 2007 prior to the community’s restoration efforts to restore the famous Route 66 landmark.

Where:

Lincoln, Illinois

When:

2007

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

Arlene Waldmire’s (Bill’s wife) finished this work of art featuring a Phillips 66 service station in Elkhart, Illinois. It was delivered in July 2008.

Where:

Elkhart, Illinois

When:

2008

Ownership:

Narrator's photo

Caption

A photo of Bill Waldmire taken during his oral history interview in 2019.

Where:

Unknown

When:

2019

Ownership:

Narrator's photo



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