CHICAGO: It has been closed to visitors for a decade with few noticing. But, when McDonald’s announced it would demolish “Store No. 1,” a small midwestern US community rallied to save the structure. Built on the site in a Chicago suburb of the first McDonald’s franchise restaurant, it is actually a replica of the original. Coming to the proposed rescue is another institution commemorating a distinctly American endeavour: the automobile.
The Volo Auto Museum, located in a small community near the border of two midwestern states, Wisconsin and Illinois, has asked the fast food giant to give the replica to the museum. Museum chief Brian Grams told AFP on Friday that he has not yet received a response from McDonald’s. “With the holiday, I would expect a delay. Finger crossed I hear something early (next) week!” he said by email. The company announced Tuesday that it would demolish the time capsule of a past American era because frequent flooding had shuttered its doors for a decade and it was unfeasible to reopen.
The museum wants to pick up the structure from its current location, and move it nearly 30 miles northwest (48 kilometres) to its grounds in Volo, a small city of 4,300 people. It would then be exhibited along with 400 “classic, antique, muscle and Hollywood” automobiles. “Our interest is in preserving this American icon,” Grams said, trumpeting an online poll with 97 per cent of respondents supporting the idea. “If, for some reason, it does not work out that we can move the entire structure, we certainly hope to come away with some artefacts.”
The 1985 replica was built on the site of the first McDonald’s franchise restaurant, erected in 1955. The replica is loaded with memorabilia and an original sign outside still advertising 15-cent hamburgers.
Company founder Ray Kroc created the modern McDonald’s franchise, after purchasing the brand from Richard and Maurice McDonald. — AFP
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