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History SKIP'S Drive In...Chicago Hot Rod Hangout Remembered* Pics*

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by BigNick1959, Jan 19, 2012.

  1. BigNick1959
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    BigNick1959 Member

    I took these pictures of Skip's Fiesta back in 1979 or '80. I was taking photography classes at the Art Institute of Chicago and they were part of an assigment. I came across these forgotten B&W negatives and a couple color slides and thought I'd post them to jog the memories of some of the "Vintage" Chicago members on the board.

    I myself was to young at the time to remember much of Skip's, but my brother (11 years my senior) assured me years ago that in the '60's it was THEE place on the Northwest side of Chicago. A steady flow of Rods, Customs, Bikes, Muscle Cars and full on race cars was normal fair on weekends and impromptu drag races were not uncommon. I was born to late I guess. When I got to photograph it, there wasen't much left, definitely no souvenirs to be had, although I would have liked to have scored the neon! I believe not to long after I shot these it was bulldozed to the ground and the lot sat empty for a time. Today on the corners of 1st and North avenues, on the very spot where once upon a time teenaged girls giggled, first generation greases talked about cars,bikes and chicks,and on the very place that some of Chicago's fastest street cars rumbled, now sits a McDonalds complete with play land!....YIPPEE! PROGRESS! :confused:

    If anyone has any more pictures or stories about Skip's please feel free to post them.

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  2. hudsoncustom
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    hudsoncustom Member
    1. Swindlers G.K.Y.

  3. pwschuh
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    pwschuh
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    Looks like a sad end to a cool place. Can just imagine it filled up on a Saturday night.
  4. superprojoe
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    superprojoe Member

    I head it was a jumpin' place back in the day!;)
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  5. hrm2k
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    hrm2k
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    Skips was near the end when I moved to Chicago in 1970 but I did get to see some cool stuff there. The warehouse style building on the east side of Skips was a Polk Brothers furniture store. It was the overflow lot when Skip's got full. I saw an Anglia gasser taken off the trailer in that parking lot. It made 2 passes down North Ave towards Harlem Ave. I couldn't believe my eyes. There were a boatload of very fast cool cars that cruised skips until the police started cracking down. Took less than a year for the cool cars to stop coming in.
  6. BigNick1959
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    BigNick1959 Member

    My brother told me he watched a blowen gasser and a dragster run each other on North Ave. that would have been about 1966/67. there wasent much around there back then but Kiddie Land, which is now also gone!
  7. Da Injun
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    Da Injun Member

    Nice photos....I know these have to be rare shots. A while back on God knows what website/forum someone was asking for photos of this place. All they could come up with was a small grainy shot. Thank you VERY much for posting.
  8. MemphisRaines
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    MemphisRaines Member

  9. BigNick1959
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    BigNick1959 Member


    Thanks! I'd love to see some photos of Skip's in it's hayday! Someone on here has to have at least one!
  10. farmergal
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    farmergal Member

    very, very cool....and sad
  11. DEEPNHOCK
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    DEEPNHOCK Member

    Born in Elmhurst, raised in Itasca....
    As a kid I rode with the older kids and used to set on the roof of their car watching the shenanigans go on...:eek::rolleyes:
    Fond memories, fer sure!
  12. Cub8556
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    Cub8556 Member

    Cool photos thanks for sharing. Im sure some more shots of it in its prime will turn up
  13. shooter54
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    shooter54 Member

    Love the pics, thanks for sharing. A sad end indeed.
  14. showrod
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    showrod Member

    I went to the first skips reunion / swapmeet and someone was selling the bricks from skips as it had just been knocked down. they had white and green paint on them.
  15. Those are sad words, brother. A piece of our culture and history gone forever.

    Thanks for sharing the pics.
  16. crimson ghost
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    crimson ghost Member

    Great pics !!
  17. JeffB2
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    JeffB2 Member

    I worked at a Skip's Fiesta in Urbana,Illinois in 1962 it was my first job,I worked the fountain and car hopped sometimes, pay was 63 cents an hour back then my '53 Ford cost $25 and gas was about 25 cents a gallon.The car hop gals wore short hula skirts in the summer,I quit and moved down the road to Marty K's drive inn for 75 cents an hour.
  18. jimi'shemi291
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    jimi'shemi291 Member

    THANKS! Cool thread. Sad pix.
  19. jcmarz
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    jcmarz Member

    Never been east of the Miss. but I remember model car kits that had showed on the cover the car (in the kit) with Skips in the background.
  20. twisted sister
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    twisted sister Member

    heard lots of stories about skips from my dad when him and his buddies use to go there with their cars in the mid to late 60's. awsome photos!!!!
  21. HotRodChassis
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  22. greg32
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    greg32 Member

    Went there a lot, it was great. We still got Dukes drive in at least.
  23. fordflashback
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    fordflashback Member

    Great shots, thx for posting them!
  24. OG lil E
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    OG lil E Member

    As soon as I saw this post, I remembered reading about Skip's in one of my magazines a long time ago. So, today when I got home from work, I started digging through my collection and I managed to find the article. Originally it was in a Hot Rod magazine, and from what I can gather from re-reading the article, it was the July '81 issue. I can't verify this, as most of my old Hot Rod's went away a long time ago.

    The magazine I found this article in is a Hot Rod Magazine Custom Cars annual. I bought every one of these I could find back when they were published and I've managed to hang on to them all this time. This issue was printed back in 1982. Man, that was 30 years ago!

    Anyway, it has a write up about the return of the cruise night at old burger joints in Southern California, and a small part printed about Skip's. According to this article, it was demolished about a year before this was published, so I'm guessing that was sometime in 1981.

    It really is sad that more of these places haven't been saved. But that's progress, I guess.

    The opening of this article has a great couple of paragraphs that pretty much sum it up for me, and anybody else who appreciates old drive-in restaurants and the dying great American past time of cruising..........

    "Last year near Chicago, the bulldozers rolled over a major piece of American cruising history called Skip's Fiesta. There were no protest marches, no parades to mark the passing of the crumbling institution in Proviso Township, which was long the nucleus of Chi-town street machining.

    After all, the shapely car hops and the cruisers and the cops from five Illinois police departments had all disappeared a full decade earlier, leaving behind only one odd-shaped building, a bunch of broken glass, and billions of memories. The drive-in's legend will probably stand out forever in Chicagoans' memories, but that dilapidated little building just couldn't stand up to the bulldozer, a fate it shares with hundreds of other neon-lit hangouts of the Fifties and Sixties." E

    Attached Files:

  25. BigNick1959
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    BigNick1959 Member

    Thanks for the post OG lil E, that paragraph pretty much lays it down for me to. I do remember ,and think I still have that magazine, it came out after I had shot my pictures for school.

    At the time I was working in a gas station on Harlem ave. with a guy named Eddie "GO-GO" Gogolewski who had a real nice 56 Chevy. Anyway we were going to shoot some pictures of his car in front of Skip's but the bulldozer beat us to it!. I wish now I would have gotten off my ass and did that photo shoot! I guess time and bulldozers wait for no man!!!
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  26. GSX-PKV
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    GSX-PKV Member

    Great memories of Skips for me. We used to cruise between Skips and Bon Bons (later named Be Be's) on Harlem Ave in the late 60's. We'd drive back and forth almost every night in my 66 Fairlane GT convertible or a buddies car. We'd try to pick up girls walking down Harlem Ave (usually with no luck) Sometimes after Skips, we'd go around the corner to some batting cages and try to hit baseballs on the roof of the Polk Bros. warehouse :)

    Skips Fiesta burger was a multi layer burger that I'm pretty sure was later copied by McDonalds.

    Those were great days... except that most of us eventually got drafted and sent to VN...

    Thanks for the pictures!
  27. sololobo
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    sololobo Member

    Looks like a kind spot in it's day. Sad to see these emporiums of burgers and fries lay in a state of ruin like this. ~sololobo~
  28. dkendall
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    dkendall Member Emeritus

    I made a few pass' thru Skips in this back in the day.

    Attached Files:

  29. Francisco Plumbero
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    Francisco Plumbero Member

    It is now the Menard's.

    That 71 Merc' Marquis is cool, I had one in 84 that had the 429 4V with the skirts. Brown with power everything. 2.6 to the gallon but gas was 90 cents. You can't find living room furniture comparable to the interior as comfy as that old car had.

    Would rust if it drizzled though.
  30. BigNick1959
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    BigNick1959 Member


    Menards is were Kiddie Land and the go kart track used to be. They put that Menards up in like 6 weeks!

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