Gardner, IL - Points of Interest
Home of the historic 2 cell jail and Christiansen Memorial.
The Gardner two-cell jail was built in 1906 and is a popular
photo opportunity for travelers. A memorial adjacent to the
jail honors Rev. Christian Christiansen for his contributions
that helped prevent the construction of Nazi atomic bombs.
5650 Route 53
Constructed in 1928 out of a church from Gardner and a
mining office from South Wilmington, the Riviera has hosted
many famous customers, including Gene Kelly, Tom Mix, Al
Capone, and his brother Ralph. A freezer in the basement
with a heavy iron door was supposedly built to hide gambling
machines and booze during Prohibition in case of a raid. The
unique bar in the basement provided comfort before air
conditioning and is decorated like a cave. In its heyday, this
classic Route 66 roadhouse featured a zoo, picnic area,
swimming hole, and gas station. Tragically, the Riviera
burned to the ground on June 8, 2010.
Historic Streetcar Diner
5650 Route 53
A historic Kankakee streetcar from the early 20th century was
moved to Gardner in 1932 to serve as a diner along Route
66. In 1937, the streetcar became a cottage and playhouse.
It was moved behind the Riviera in 1955 and was moved to
Gardner after the Riviera burned down. It was restored by
the Illinois Route 66 Associationand inducted into the Route
66 Hall of Fame in 2001.
|The original fire house was located on Liberty Street. The old
fire bell in mounted and stands in front of the new fire house.