Rides & Destinations: Iron Horse Social Club & Museum

Pay a visit to the Iron Horse Social Club & Museum in Savanna, Illinois, on the Mississippi River.

  • Iron Horse Social Club & Museum
    Photo by Dain Gingerelli
  • Iron Horse Social Club & Museum
    Photo by Dain Gingerelli

The Skinny
Iron Horse Social Club & Museum, 314 Main St., Savanna, Illinois, 61074, and other historic Mississippi River towns.
How to Get There:
From the north take US 20; from the east take US 52; from the south or west take I-80 to US 61/30; from a flyover plane, parachute down.
Best Kept Secrets:
To the north lies Galena, Illinois, which boasts many historic Victorian houses, and a few doors from the Social Club you’ll find another bike-themed bar, Hawg Dogs.
The yellow, diamond-shaped road sign warning “Watch For Motorcycles”; it’s posted right next to the cemetery — creepy.
More Info

Illinois, Iowa and Wisconsin are sometimes listed among America’s various flyover states, stretches of real estate generally viewed from above. You get in a plane, and then you sit back to enjoy the ride, taking time to peek out the window as the plane inches its way across this great country. Your whole journey can be summarized in a simple phrase: flyover.

Or you can ride a motorcycle. That, of course, opens options to let you be more intimate with where you are and where you’re headed to, and also to experience the sights, sounds, even the smells of your surroundings. The result is pure motoring nirvana, because the ride justifies the destination, and the destination justifies the ride.

There’s another level of nirvana to be had while enjoying a two-wheel tour, and that’s socializing with people you otherwise might never meet. One such place to mingle with the locals is situated in Savanna, Illinois, home of the Iron Horse Social Club & Museum.

Savanna itself is a stone’s throw from the mighty Mississippi River. A motorcycle ride in and of itself along the famous Great River Road is worthy enough of time spent in the saddle, but since this ride is also about socializing with new and interesting people, let’s stop in Savanna so we can pay our respects to the Iron Horse Social Club & Museum.

The place’s name is slightly misleading because, in reality, this is a Midwest bar that also functions as a motorcycle museum — and as a tattoo parlor and wedding chapel. Yeah. Welcome to a rather unusual social club that was started back in 2001 by Jerry Gendreau, who also happens to be a motorcycle collector.

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