200 North Main Street | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428

Steak 'n Shake Collection

Processed by: Brigid R. McBride, July 2013


Contents

  1. Collection Information
  2. Historical Sketch
  3. Photographs
  4. Scope and Content Note
  5. Box and Folder Inventory
Collection Information

Volume: 1 box
Dates: 1929-1970
Restrictions: None
Reproduction: Permission to reproduce or publish material in this collection must be obtained in writing from the McLean County Museum of History
Provenance: Corporate Papers donated by Suzie Zeigler
Location: Archives

Historical Sketch

Steak n Shake was founded by Gus Belt in Normal in 1934. He converted a gas station / chicken restaurant into the first Steak n Shake with counter seating. The restaurant was so popular, the chain expanded around Central Illinois and eventually into other Midwestern states throughout the 1930s. Gus Belt died in 1954 and his wife Edith continued to run the business until she sold the company in 1969 to Longchamps, Inc, which sold its interests in 1971 to the Franklin Corporation under the direction of Robert Cronin. Cronin and the Franklin Corporation sold the company to E.W. Kelly and Associates in 1981. Steak n Shake is still a functioning company under the direction of Kelly and Associates with 475 restaurants in 22 states.

Photographs
  • 1948, BHS Seniors Jack Rossie and Betty Nev. at the Steak 'n Shake on Monroe

  • Monroe St. location (find address), date unknown

  • Hannah St. Location, date unknown

  • Steak 'n Shake at 609 S. Hannah St., April 1993. Final cruise night for Twin City Cruisers and Central Illinois Classic Chevy Club, before this location closed for good.

Scope and Contents Note

This collection contains newspaper clippings, menus, newsletters, and a book containing business records. 

Box and Folder Inventory
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(all folders must be closed for "Show/Hide All" to function properly)

Folder 1: Newspaper clippings (Pantagraph unless noted)
1.1

Advertisement for Belt's tire service, May 31, 1929

1.2

Advertisement for Belt's Better Tire Service Inc. ("The Spare Tire" vol. 1, no.8), October 14, 1929

1.3

"Hamburger Stand Grows into Big Business," December 3, 1940

1.4

Advertisement, meat shortage due to World War II, June 6, 1945

1.5

Advertisement for reopening of Main and Virginia Ave., Normal, restaurant, February 6, 1946

1.6

Advertisement, June 19, 1947

1.7

Double-page advertisement (locations of restaurants in Illinois and Indiana), 1953? (original and photocopy)

1.8

"Steak n Shake President Dies," August 21, 1954, p. 3

1.9

Advertisement (restaurants closed due to death of Gus Belt), August 23, 1954, p. 3

1.10

"Belt Leaves Half of 1.5 Million Estate to Wife," Pantagraph?, no date

1.11

Founder's Day celebration advertisement, February 23, 1955 (original and photocopy)

1.12

"Steak n Shake Meat Grinding Now Entirely Centered Here," August 25, 1957

1.13

Advertisement for silver anniversary of company, December 1959 (original and photocopy)

1.14

Advertisement for "Another big fish fry" May 18, 1934

1.15
Folder 2: Miscellaneous
2.1

Menu, undated.

2.2

Letter (with envelope), detailing reopening of Main/Virginia restaurant, Feb. 22, 1955

2.3

2 mileage charts, Bloomington and principal cities of North America (undated)

2.4

Placemat, American Bicentennial, 1776.

2.5

Foldout pocket menus, 1980

2.6

2 paper hats (undated)

2.7

2 order forms (undated)

2.8

Business card, Mel Callahan, publicity director (includes photo)

2.9

City Directory workup for Augustus H. Belt, compiled by Museum Library volunteer Milan Jackson, August 2012

2.10

City Directory workup for Steak-N-Shake (Bloomington-Normal), compiled by Museum Library volunteer Milan Jackson, August 2012

2.11

Advert for Steak n Shake in The Community Players program for "Time for Elizabeth", December 1949

Folder 3: Newsletters
3.1

Food for Thought newsletter, August 1955

3.2

Food for Thought newsletter, July 1956

3.3

Food for Thought newsletter, September 1956

3.4

Steak n Shake News, July-August 1976, vol. 1, no.1

3.5

Compact disc; images from Food for Thought newsletter

Folder 4: Items from Scrapbook
4.1

1969 Annual Report

4.2

Handwritten draft of letter to Mr. Chester Thomson from Ray Smith (franchise operator of the Second Street Steak n Shake (Rockford, Illinois) complaining of the failure of Steak n Shake to aid the franchise, no date

4.3

Minutes of Special Meeting of Executive Committee of Steak n Shake, Inc, October 15, 1968; concerning the franchise agreement made with Ray M. Smith of Second Street Steak n Shake, Rockford Illinois

4.4

Steak n Shake, Inc. Notice of Annual meeting of Stockholders, January 15, 1970

Scrapbook 1954-1969
5.1

Contains records of the Second Street Steak n Shake franchise, including by laws, records of minutes, incorporation and organization papers, franchise agreements, assignments of lease, articles of incorporation, stock information, merger papers, and stock certificate.