Lendales as it was
in the 50's

Above and to the right are pictures taken at "Lendales" (The Red Wheel) on August 23, 1991, for the 35th Reunion of the Class of 1956.

Class of 1956 Reunion
held in 1991 at Lendales
now the Red Wheel
Lendale's opened in 1947 when Leonard "Len" Herzog and Dale Faulkner opened up a combination soda fountain, grill and drug store. The business was an immediate hit, especially with teens. Lendales maintained its popularity through most of the 1950's and 1960's. The restaurant was sold in 1964 and again in 1967 when it became the short-lived Sierra Restaurant. In 1968 the restaurant was sold again and became the Red Wheel restaurant.

The Blissful World of a '50s Teen

(News-Gazette article January 17, 1993 written by R. Stan Marsh)

Nearly every day I pass the remains of a place that represented a time when life seemed a simpler, livelier existence.
And despite the changes in name and decor over the years while it still stood, the memories remain.
The summer of 1991 saw a brief revival of that place and time for the Champaign High School class of 1956. For one more evening, it became the inveterate Lendale's, rivaled in popularity as a teen hangout only by Urbana High's Tiger's Den.
Lendale's, subsequently redecorated and renamed the Red Wheel at the corner of Prospect and Springfield, is gone now, the victim of a fire later that summer. And upon reading in The News-Gazette recently that the owners will not be replacing the building, I realized how fateful it was that our class officers had decided after 35 years to bring the old hangout back to life just once more.

It was quite a gathering. Not only the class of '56, but the classes of many before and after happily jammed the place and joined in the celebration of its memory.
Vintage cars from a local club filled the parking spaces; class members chided each other's relaxed middles and lost hair and passed around aging yearbooks for all to see how much better looking everyone had grown. Hair graced my head then - lots of it. I had forgotten just how much, even after my parents shamed me into cutting off my D.A. before having my class picture taken. A lot of combing and Butch Wax pampered that hair. That's probably why it's all gone now.

The guy responsible for the Lendale's revival, Bob Kennedy, has lived in Boston now for many years. It was fitting that he should be the instigator, inasmuch as it was he, along with friend Gene O'Neill, who probably most used the place as a launching pad for the devilment restless kids could get into in those days. Bob was there, the rascal in him tempered with the years, but still evident in his smile and the glint in his eyes.
As Bob and I talked of times past, I had to chuckle at the mention of his "heap." It was a '51 Ford from which he had removed most of the chrome and had leaded in the holes to give its lines a smooth, unencumbered look. And it had been adorned with half-moon head lamps, glass-packs and full disk aluminum hubs (SEE PICTURE). Pretty cool, I used to think, though modest compared to what some of the other guys had done to their cars. And it was his. I admired that. He could tool off any time he wanted - true independence - every teen's dream.
But as the evening and conversations wore on, it occurred to me that most of my generation was nothing short of anachronistic. We were white, middle-class kids whose parents had survived the traumas of a depression, two terrible wars and a crazy senator who was bent on evangelizing anti-communism. They wanted better for us and were determined to provide it through education and material things, and did.
Meanwhile, along came the likes of Elvis and every cool guy's hero, James Dean. To the chagrin of our justly worried parents, these miscreants directed our lives in a largely confused patchwork of giddiness. Our lives were sadly lacking in any real sense of responsibility for, attachment to, or recognition of the forces of political and social change that were sweeping our lives into the troubled times ahead.
We were wonderfully spoiled, relatively without care or worry, unpressured to mark today's personal progress for the sake of tomorrow's success. We were only marginally aware of the racial, social and global strife that was all around us, strife that would engulf us and another generation throughout the turbulent sixties and seventies.
We deal with the consequences still. Yet those days of the fifties, selfish as they were, are remembered fondly. It will perhaps be one of the few times a majority of people within a generation can honestly say, for better or worse, we pretty much had it all.


Menu favorites were some of the following:
Cherry Cokes---.10, French Fries---.18, Milk Shakes---.23, Hamburger---.25
(Maybe this is what people mean by "the good old days")