Belvidere Oasis

Belvidere oasis, © 2013 Celia Her City

On the way back from Madison, we stopped at the Belvidere Oasis to take a break from all the tiresome construction on the Illinois Tollway.

When we were little, we thought these oases were the height of cool!  Yes, out in the middle of nowhere, we would see these mod-looking buildings stretching like bridges right across the tollway.  If conditions were right, we would actually get to stop and go inside.  Here is a beautiful picture of one of the Illinois oases at night.

Even now, I find it enjoyable to look down on the road where I’ve been traveling, the traffic streaming on beneath my feet while I eat my lunch.

The oases were an inspired creation of the 1950s, their over-the-road design making them accessible to motorists traveling in either direction on the tollway.  Besides the Belvidere, there are two other oases that I’ve seen: the Des Plaines Oasis (also on Interstate 90) and the Lake Forest Oasis on the Tri-State (I-94), which goes to Milwaukee.

The oases had become dated over the decades.  About ten years ago, they were remodeled and greatly improved.  They were stripped down to the studs and rebuilt along a more open atrium design, with many more windows for enjoying the views.

Are there oases like this anywhere else, I’m wondering?

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