Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter: Motel Mascot

Back in the late summer of 2015, I had agreed to trade in my 2006 Volvo V50 wagon for a 53,000 mile 2004 Town Car Ultimate at Strieter Lincoln. As they were holding the car for me, I still was driving the V50 for a few more days. So I decided to go up to the lake, go to the Mt. Carroll downtown car cruise that Saturday, maybe do some swimming, and then head north into Wisconsin to see House on the Rock.

All in all, it was a nice weekend and cool to see House on the Rock since the last time I’d been there was on a family vacation in 1990. But on the way home I passed this motel and had to stop and check out this plane, sitting out front of the Don Q Inn, a themed motel in nearby Dodgeville, WI. You couldn’t miss it.

It was a Boeing C-97, a rather rotund looking aircraft. It was huge too. These were used for ferrying equipment for the military post-WWII. Civilian versions, the 377 Stratocruiser, were used as airliners as well, especially by Pan Am in the ’40s and ’50s.

My knowledge is limited on planes, but this was too cool not to check out and do a quick post. It was open for visitors, so I climbed up inside for a few more shots. I’d totally forgotten about these pics but somebody, I think it was CJ, linked to a restaurant that had a plane on the roof in the comments on another post, and that jogged my memory. So here you go.

10 Replies to “Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter: Motel Mascot”

  1. Gary

    Oh man, the Don Q inn is wild. The weird themed rooms, the barber chairs around the fireplace and my favorite as a kid- the underground tunnel to the restaurant. Oh, and the scratchiest bed linen I think I’ve ever slept on.

    Good times.

    Reply
  2. stingray65

    I suspect the plane may have been part of the Wisconsin Air National Guard – probably used as an air-to-air refueling tanker which was their last military use until the late 1970s. The Stratocruiser’s (great name) biggest claim to fame is the Super Guppy conversions as NoID notes above that were built to ship Saturn 5 Rocket sections around the country during the Apollo program, and later used by Airbus to ship around large aircraft parts between their far flung factories (imagine Airbus parts flying in a Boeing plane). It’s origins are also interesting, because it shares the same wing and engines with the B-29 bomber.

    Reply
    • John C.

      One this that should be remembered about this plane’s platform is how long it lasted. Most of us remember how the Soviets reverse engineered it as the Tupelov Tu 4. Then also remember how the same fuselage served with jets and swept wings as the Tu 16 Badger with the Soviets, the Red Chinese, the Indonesians, the Egyptians, and the Iraqis.

      Reply
  3. Mike O

    Tom,
    A while back you wrote a great one on supper clubs. I wrote down those supper clubs thinking I will have to check out the ones that are open the next time I had a free Saturday. Then I read this article and thought, excellent maybe it’s near one of your recommended supper clubs and I could stay the night. Looked it up on line and found out what you meant about themed. I originally thought it would be cool to take my 72 Mark IV out to one of the clubs, maybe E-Mail you to join me or even Jack if he was in the Chicago area for any reason. Now it looks like I should bring my wife. : )

    Reply
  4. CJinSD

    It’s nice to see one on display that’s complete. It’s also nice to see that there are still a few enclaves in this country that aren’t ruled by vandals. My hometown(aka the City of Hate) had an F9F Panther as an attraction in a public park, and the public soon had it looking like it had crashed and burned.

    Reply

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