Wenona, Illinois: F-84F Thunderstreak

Old fighter jet on display in a parking lot.
Address:
4 Cavalry Drive, Wenona, IL
Directions:
Southwest of town. I-39 exit 35. Drive east on IL-17. You'll immediately see the jet on the right, just past the exit motel.
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Visitor Tips and News About F-84F Thunderstreak

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F-84F Thunderstreak.

F-84F Thunderstreak

This jet has been in several locations over the years. If memory serves me, it was sold or given to the village by the Illinois Air Guard as surplus equipment, and was in the village park and relatively new to Wenona back in the late 1960s or early 1970s. I was there with other kids crawling all over it. The jet engine had been removed, and the intake and exhaust had been covered with tin, but some kids had removed the covers and we could crawl nose to tail through the thing. There were still pools of hydraulic oil inside the fuselage!

I think when someone was able to pry open the canopy, the city fathers decided to move it to the west end of 3rd Street, along Route 51. Should kids be allowed to crawl on it? While there is something to be said for not just seeing an item like this, crawling through it is quite hazardous. It's too bad the canopy has been blackened out, as seeing the gauges was terrific for an 8-year-old.

There was no seat in the cockpit.

[TommyK, 08/08/2020]

F84F Thunderstreak.

F84F Thunderstreak

Previous tip lists this as gone, but it's not. It's still in Wenona, off of an Interstate 39 exit, sitting in the parking lot of a gambling hall. The jet is now painted olive drab instead of its previous camouflage colors. The concrete under the wheels is sinking/tilting, bird poo is oozing from nose machine gun ports, and the wing tanks are dented from people standing on them.

[Eric Goggil, 08/18/2018]

Thunderstreak jet.

F-84F Thunderstreak

There is an F-84F Thunderstreak jet parked just of I-39/US Hwy 51 in Wenona. It is the swept wing version of the F-84 Thunderjet. This was the first USAF jet fighter able to carry atomic weapons and was used by the Strategic Air Command to escort heavy weapons. The prototype of the F-84F first flew on June 3, 1950. I don't know the history of how this plane got there, but there is a Wright Brothers Buffet and Grill just south of the parking lot where the plane is located.

[Paul Sisul, 11/12/2006]
WWII Fighter Plane

There is an old WWII fighter plane just outside of Wenona on I-39 next to the Pizza Hut. It used to sit right on the edge of town next to a grocery store off of old Rte 51, until the store closed and the interstate was built. Somehow I don't think they flew it to its new location....

[Peg Clydesdale, 05/21/2004]

Ron Renken reports: "The plane in Wenona, Illinois is actually a F-86 Sabre Jet, used in Korea. It is not a WW2 plane -- they started building them in 1948. As a kid I would spend hours playing on that jet while my Dad was hanging out at the gun shop down the street. You used to be able to look through the cockpit and see all the controls, but the cockpit has since been painted black. The grocery store it used to sit next to was an awesome cheese store back in the '70s!"


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