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McDonald’s will demolish its first franchise restaurant and museum in Des Plaines

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The suburban museum has been a popular tourist destination for many years

The Des Plaines museum was accompanied by classic American cars from 1955.
Flickr Creative Commons/Jerry Huddleston

As McDonald’s corporate HQ prepares to vacate its Oak Brook campus for its big move downtown, the company has announced that it will demolish what many consider to be its spiritual birthplace in suburban Des Plaines, Illinois. Designed as a replica of the first store opened by McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc in 1955, the famed ‘McDonald's #1 Store Museum’ will meet its doom as early as next month, reports the Chicago Tribune.

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The recreated store was built after the fast food giant tore down the original structure in 1984. Trimmed in neon lights and featuring the brand’s distinctive golden arches, the interior of the museum closed to visitors in 2008 after flooding made it difficult and expensive to maintain. According to a statement, the company hopes to donate the land to the City of Des Plaines.

Ray Kroc’s #1 store was actually the ninth McDonald’s restaurant to be built. It holds special significance as the first modern franchise McDonald’s and has served as a model for thousands of eventual successors. River North’s infamous “Rock-N-Roll” McDonald’s was designed as a super-sized architectural homage to the Des Plaines original.