Tim Boyle / Staff

The replica of Ray Kroc's first McDonald's franchise store was rebuilt and turned into a museum

Aric Jenkins
November 21, 2017

More than 36,000 locations later, McDonald’s is tearing down what it calls its “No. 1 Store.”

The McDonald’s on North Lee Street in Des Plaines, Ill. is actually the ninth store in the burger chain’s history, but it's the first to be franchised by Ray Kroc – the businessman who transformed McDonald’s into the global fast food giant it is today. Now, the store – which was rebuilt as a museum after the original was torn down in 1984 – is being demolished for good next month, according to Chicago Tribune.

The decision was made due to a lack of tourists visiting the museum in recent years, as well as a series of floods that made the property difficult to keep up.

“We have decided to permanently close the replica of McDonald’s first franchised restaurant and hope to donate the land to the City of Des Plaines,” McDonald’s said in a statement, the Tribune reported. “The re-created restaurant … has not regularly welcomed visitors since closing to the public 10 years ago. This combined with the building’s location and the feasibility to reopen and maintain it led us to this decision. This property in Des Plaines will always have a special place in our company’s history.”

McDonald’s will apply for a permit this week to demolish the building, according to the Tribune.

The museum welcomed thousands of visitors in its heyday. They came to see the vintage replica of the store that opened in 1955. Even after flooding in 2008 prevented tourists from entering the structure, visitors could still peer into the windows and see a mannequin crew posing with original grills, fryers and milkshake mixers of the era.

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