Did you know Chicago was named for a wild garlic plant? The only president born in Illinois was Ronald Reagan? The ferris wheel, processed cheese, the game of softball, the fly swatter, the upright silo and the automatic dishwasher were all invented by Illinoisans?
You’ll find these stories and hundreds more in Roadside History of Illinois, an entertaining and revealing tour of the Prairie State’s historic places.
We first heard about the author, Stan "Tex" Banash, from his daughter, longtime Elmhurst resident Dina Kwit. She said her father will be signing his book at Costco, 1901 W. 22nd St., Oak Brook, this Friday.
Tex, a native Illinoisan, describes the state’s diverse history as he guides readers along its roadways. Some of the routes he traces have a history of their own, like the Old Cumberland Road, the Trail of Tears, Lincoln Highway and U.S. Route 66, for example. The text is enhanced with 120 historical and modern photos, along with a map for each region.
Tex was born in Chicago and raised in Niles. He received his bachelor of philosophy degree in political science from Northwestern University in 1968 and his master of arts degree in urban studies from Roosevelt University in 1972. He has authored three books, as well as articles and book reviews for a variety of national magazines. Stan and his wife, Laura, live on Chicago’s far northwest side in a rustic, Old West-style home landscaped with native plants from the western plains.
Wayne Temple, chief deputy director of the Illinois State Archives, says Roadside History of Illinois and Banish's wealth of research fills the "vital need for a new 'biography' of the Land of Lincoln." Former U.S. Sen. Adlai Stevenson also recommends this "diligently recorded" look at Illinois history.
To meet Tex and learn a little more about our home state, head over to Costco in Oak Brook Friday, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.