McDonald's #1 Store Museum Des Plaines, Illinois

Postcard ©1995 McDonald's Corporation: Kummerlowe Archive

Des Plaines, IL
 -- 400 N. Lee Street 
Sited across the street from the Des Plaines Howard Johnson's Restaurant, Ray Kroc's first McDonald's Drive-In opened on April 15, 1955 and after many remodels was demolished in 1984. McDonald's #1 Store Museum is a recreation following the site's original blueprints. However the trapezoid single parabolic arch Speedee sign is original.

Above: Postcard caption-- "The McDonald's #1 Store Museum stands as a tribute to Ray Kroc and his dedication to the standards of quality, service , cleanliness and value that continue to guide McDonald's Corporation today."
Right: Circa 1955 advertisement for the Des Plaines Ray Kroc McDonald's displayed in the museum's basement. Photo August 23, 2001: Kummerlowe Archive
Photos August 23, 2001: Kummerlowe Archive

Above: As if to set the mood, the museum features four vintage 1955 vehicles on static display: a Ford Crown Victoria, Chevrolet Bel Air Sport Coupe, an Oldsmobile Super 88, and the Chrysler New Yorker St. Regis Hardtop. Note that McDonald's Drive-Ins of the Golden era never had planters with colorful flowers much less the somewhat elaborate landscaping as seen at the museum.

Below: An example of the reproduced advertisements on display in the museum's basement.


Above: A modern fence shields the museum with its classic cars and original 1955 Speedee sign yet allows hands-off viewing even while the site is closed.

Right: Coupled with original equipment, the recreated McDonald's rounds out its vintage effect with mannequins outfitted in 1955 style uniforms. Morevoer, the museum's basement offers a brief video as well as historical displays of photographs, documents, advertising, and other memorabilia.

Below: Reproduced, enlarged and backlit circa 1960s advertisements are displayed in the museum's basement.