Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Heck of a Run: Only 1 Was Better Than No. 22-- Part 1: Ranking the Top Ten Bears Running Backs

From the February 14, 2016, Chicago Tribune, by Don Pierson.

Matt Forte played eight seasons with the Chicago Bears and now plays with the New York Jets.

"There is no shortage of renowned running backs in Bears history, starting with Red Grange, who brought credibility to pro football with a 1925 national barnstorming tour.  His pro rushing career never matched his output at University of Illinois because of injury, and he became more valuable on defense.

In 1934 rookie Beattie Feathers became the first NFL runner to surpass 1,000 but ended up with only 1,846 in his short Bears career.

"In the 1940s, George McAfee, whom Grange called "the most dangerous threat in football," made the Hall of Fame as much on his punt returns and defense."

Wonder Who is the #1 Bear Rusher?  --Cooter

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Me and "The Min"

Over the years, as boaters on the Chain of Lakes (since 1985), we often visited the Mineola Bar in the lower level.  I especially enjoyed their fish fries on Fridays which had a great salad/soup bar as well.  Plus, they had a lot of great specials on drinks.

And, that view looking eastward across Fox Lake was something to behold.

They had a historical display of artifacts from the hotel as well as old menus (I always like to see what the prices were in the past).  You just had to appreciate the huge history of that place.

I even deejayed a couple parties on the second level when they had a banquet hall there as well as part of the veranda open.

Sadly, the building itself was largely neglected with but little done to redo it or anything like that.  Eventually the Village of Fox Lake, the mayor in particular, got into a fight with owner Pete Jakstas, or "Mineola Pete" as he is called, and the end result was the closing of the bar and restaurant with the idea of the place being unsafe.  That was several years ago and even without any repairs the place still stands.

I sure wish the village would work out some sort of a deal with Pete to reopen the bar/restaurant as we really miss the place and expect at anytime to have it destroyed.

That Will Be a Huge Loss of History and Beauty When That Happens.  --Cooter

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Chain of Lakes' Mineola Hotel-- Part 6: Just Standing There Now

The building in the 1960s, after all those years of use was also in need of repairs and updating to appeal to visitors.

The Jakstas family continued to operate a restaurant and bar in the building until 2012 when the Village of Fox Lake ordered it closed due to safety concerns.  The Landmarks Illinois Commission named it as one of the most endangered historic sites in the state in 2013.

Over the last few years, there have been several groups involved in trying to save the Mineola, or "Min" as regulars referred to it.  There are some who would like to see it leveled, and others like me, who would like to see it saved.

It still stands, but for how much longer, no one knows.

The Mineola is at 91 North Cora Street in Fox Lake, right on the western shore of Fox Lake.


Friday, October 21, 2016

The Chain of Lakes' Mineola Hotel-- Part 5: Jakstas Family Running It

The ad also reported that there were no mortgages or outstanding bills and that the property could receive liberal terms for the purchaser.

Peter and Emma Jakstas responded to Mrs. Howard's desire to sell the Mineola and in 1943 purchased the property and successfully ran the resort through through the years.

In 1953 a hotel guest started a fire on the third floor, but fortunately the fire was contained.

Recognizing the uniqueness of the building and its importance in the history of the area, the National registry of Historic Places added the Mineola to its registry in 1979.

The Jakstas family continued to run the business over the years, but in 1963, closed the hotel part of the building due to a decrease to summertime visitors.


Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Chain of Lakes' Mineola Hotel-- Part 4: Hotel For Sale

The Howard family ran the Mineola Hotel from 1891 to the early 1940s when Mrs. Howard put it up for sale.

She place an ad which read:

"For sale or Rent-- On acct of age, wish to sell or rent my 85 room hotel fully equipped & now operating.  13 cottages, 52 Acres of wooded grounds, 1000 feet of shoreline, all sandy beach.

Suitable for Resort, Club, Sanitarium, School or Convalescent Home.

Will sell all or part.

50 Miles NW of Chicago.

Mrs. E. Howard, Fox Lake, IL.  Phone Fox Lake 127W.

Little Old Resort Owner Me.  --Minooter

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Chain of Lakes' Mineola Hotel-- Part 3: All the Modern Amenities and Capone Too

Edson C. Howard purchased the building in 1891 and turned it into a hotel.  At a beginning price of $2 a day, visitors could enjoy hunting, fishing and the beauty of Fox Lake (not to mention the nearby lotus beds).

The hotel had all the modern amenities of the time including indoor plumbing and both hot and cold running water.

The draw to the Chain of Lakes included not only the beauty and water activities, but also easy access to gambling and alcohol.  It is often said that Al Capone and his gang spent time at the Mineola.  Whether he actually did is not known for sure.

The Mineola (or Min as regulars often referred to it) was run by the Howard family and continued to prosper even through the development of the automobile and Prohibition.  However, in the early 1940s, Mrs. Howard put the place up for sale.


The Chain of Lakes' Mineola Hotel-- Part 2: Beautiful Veranda for CBOT Members

The Mineola's land was purchased in the 1880s for the purpose of building a private hunting club for use by members of the Chicago Board of Trade.

It was built entirely of wood and contained 100 rooms and at the time was recognized as the largest wooden building in Illinois.  Its wide veranda is believed to have been designed by architects Alphonse Howe and Charles Caskey who also designed the famed Grande Hotel on Mackinac Island.

The building itself is a frame three-story structure, 225 feet in length with a square tower rising three stories above the entrance on the second level.    Hipped dormers ran the length of the roof on either side of the tower,

The veranda ran the length of the building and was one of the best spots as guests could sit and relax while enjoying drinks and the view.


Monday, October 17, 2016

The Chain of Lakes' Mineola Hotel-- Part 1: Built in 1884

From the September 28, 2016, Hi-Liter "Looking back at the Mineola" by Sandra Landen Machaj.

"Once the Grand Dame of Fox Lake it now sits deserted on those same shores.  Built in 1884, it has had a long journey from largest hotel on the Chain of Lakes, to a restaurant and bar and finally as an empty building in disrepair fighting to avoid demolition, a long journey since its glory days."

Tjhis pretty well sums up its history.

If you've ever seen a picture of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, this is essentially the Mineola, only smaller.  We never went to it as a hotel, but have had many fun times in the bar and restaurant over the years.  It was located on the lower level and is now all boarded up.  there was even a short time when they had banquets on the main level and, of course, there was that great veranda with that gorgeous view of the length of Fox Lake.


Friday, October 14, 2016

Looking Back to 1916: Not a Fair Fight

From the August 24, 2016, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

"A rather amusing feature connected with the arrest and return to Fond du Lac, of a man arrested on the charge of wife abandonment was seen by a good many around the DeKalb depot this morning.

"The man arrested was a small-sized young man, who would weigh about 125 pounds and who would not be able to resist arrest by a man of but a few pounds more weight than he.

"The officer who came down from the north after him was a man about six foot three inches in height and weighing about 325 pounds and apparently able to lick his weight in wild cats."

The Fight Was Over before It Began.  --DaCoot

Looking Back to 1916: Home Quarantined

From the August 24, 2016, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1916, 100 years ago:  "The Otis Hinkston home in Shabbona Grove is quarantined on account of a case of scarlet fever having developed.

Dr. Moore of Shabbona is attending the case.

Something You Don't Hear Much These Days.  --Cooter

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Looking Back to 1916: A Problem With Horses

From the August 24, 2016, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

"A little excitement was caused at the Sixth Street crossing of the Northwestern (Railroad) in DeKalb this morning about 9:00 o'clock when the horse that John Crego was driving  hitched to a top buggy became frightened as one of the traces came lose and dropped around his hind feet.

"The horse plunged and reared up and started to make a quick getaway but Mr. Crego was able to get it stopped and Officer Rowe who was at the depot, ran over to the horse and held him while the driver got out and quieted the animal.

The Problem With Horses.  --Cooter

Looking Back to 1916: Horses Losing Out to Automobiles

From the August 24, 2016, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

"The hitching posts and rails which have been located on the south side of Locust Street between First and Third streets for a good many years have been removed on account of the  paving which is going to be laid there making it undesirable to have rigs hitched along the street anymore.

"These same railings have been set on the north side of Girard Street between Fifth and Seventh streets and considerable hitching space is afforded at this new location."

Horses Losing Out.  DaAutoer

Looking Back to 1916: Price of Haircuts Goes to 35 Cents!!

From the August 24, 2016, MidWeek (DeKalb County, Illinois) "Looking Back."

1916, 100 Years Ago.

"Beginning with tomorrow morning the barbers of DeKalb will get 35 cents for every haircut.  This is according to the price agreed upon by the barbers of the city some short time ago.

There will be a falling off of their business for a couple weeks perhaps, but in time the men will become accustomed to the price and will pay it without objecting.

Prices Going Up (INFLATION) Even Back Then.  --HairyCooter

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Complete List of All-Time Greatest Cubs Team-- Part 14

These are the greatest all-time Cub players according to voters in the Chicago Tribune.

FIRST BASE--  Mark Grace

SECOND BASE--  Ryne Sandberg

SHORTSTOP--  Ernie Banks

THIRD BASE--  Ron Santo

RIGHT FIELD--  Andre Dawson

CENTER FIELD--  Hack Wilson

LEFT FIELD--  Billy Williams

CATCHER--  Gabby Hartnett

STARTING PITCHER--  Fergie Jenkins

RELIEF PITCHER--  Bruce Sutter

MANAGER--  Frank Chance

Pretty Good Line Up If You Ask Me.  --DaCubber

Greatest Cubs Team of All-Time-- Part 13 : Grace and Sandberg

From the September 11, 2016, Chicago Tribune.


Grave batted .308 and drove in 1,004 runs as a Cub.  In 1995, he led the National League in doubles with 51 and won his third of his four career Gold Gloves.

Grace batted .647 in the 1989 playoff series against the Giants with five extra-base hits and eight RBIs.  Known for his good eye, Grace had 946 walks versus 561 strikeouts with the Cubs.


Sandberg was the NL MVP for the division-winning Cubs team in 1984, batting .314 with 19 home runs. 84 RBIs and a major league-best 19 triples.

This 10-time All-Star, nine-time Gold Glove winner and Hall of Fame inductee also led the NL in home runs with 40 in 1990 and had back-to-back seasons with exactly 100 RBIs in 1990 and 1991.


Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Greatest White Sox Team of All-Time-- Part 21: The List

Perhaps with this team, it might have been the Sox in the American League Playoffs instead of you-know-who.

FIRST BASE:  Frank Thomas

SECOND BASE:  Nellie Fox

SHORTSTOP:  Luke Appling

THIRD BASE:  Robin Ventura

RIGHT FIELD:  Harold Baines


LEFT FIELD:  Ron Kittle

CATCHER:  Carlton Fisk



MANAGER:  Al Lopez

Great, Great Sox Names, All.  --Soxer

Greatest White Sox Team of All-Time-- Part 20: Lopez


  The skipper of the 1959 AL champions, Lopez posted a career winning percentage of .564 over 11 seasons with the Sox.

Lopez had five seasons with 90 or more victories as manager of the Sox and his 840 career victories are the second-most in team history.

Well, That's the List.  --CootSox