The McDonald's Store No. 1 in Des Plaines, Illinois -- a replica-museum of the first-ever McDonald's opened by Ray Kroc in 1955 -- is slated for demolition sometime this month, according to a statement released by the golden-arched fast-food giant. Although many will mourn the departure of the building, the announcement comes in no way as a surprise to those familiar with the museum.
For years, Store No. 1 has been a popular destination for tourists from around the world, with thousands of visitors consistently visiting the iconic restaurant and its mock-up crew, equipment, and memorabilia. Opened to the public in 1985, by 2008 the museum began to see a decline in the volume of visitors as repeated flooding threatened the infrastructure of the building, forcing McDonald's to close off access to the interior of the restaurant.
Now, according to the released statement, McDonald's plans to donate the land back to the City of Des Plaines, following the permanent closing and demolition of the replica. According to the McDonald's statement:
"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."
The Des Plaines replica is actually the ninth McDonald's restaurant in the country, but is generally considered to be the origin of the beloved McDonald's that we know and love now. And the store is also the first one that Ray Kroc opened in collaboration with the McDonald's brothers. He also introduced a number of particularly innovative changes to the chain under his leadership, which led to a controversial and complicated claim to who actually founded the McDonald's chain.
Overall, the company considers the location to be the first of the 36,000 restaurants around the world today, and plans to save any valuable historical memorabilia prior to the structure's demolition.
With its business model, McDonald's is arguably a paragon of how to run a company successfully -- so it should come as no surprise that it decided the cost of upkeep was no longer worth the returns it was receiving.