Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Jerome A. Pohlen  

Pen Name: Jermone Pohlen


Audience: Adult;

Born: Colorado

-- Jerome A. Pohlen on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Pohlen currently resides in Berwyn, Illinois, and is an editor at Chicago Review Press.

Biographical and Professional Information

Pohlen is a travel writer and editor. His "Oddball" series of books (''Oddball Illinois, Oddball Wisconsin, Oddball Indiana, and Oddball Colorado'') have been called "the definitive guides to offbeat destinations." He is currently at work on three new editions to the series featuring strange places and unique sights to be found in Minnesota, Florida and Ohio. Reviewers have called his series of books "irresistible, hilarious, well-written and informative".Pohlen works for Chicago Review Press as an editor. He also writes and performs travel essays built around interviews he would tape during his research for his "Oddball Books" for the ''Eight Forty-Eight'' show on WBEZ, Chicago’s NPR affiliate. He has written for the ''Chicago Reader'', and a little-known magazine called ''Crime Wave''. He has also written about 20 educational books and science kits, few of which are available in trade outlets (or Amazon), but are still sold through teacher book clubs, catalogs, and stores.A lifelong politically active citizen, Pohlen was the youngest delegate at the 1982 Colorado Democratic Convention, has served in the Peace Corps, and has run for Congress.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

Oddball Illinois: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places (Oddball series)
ISBN: 1556523718

Chicago Review Press. 2000

Giant fiberglass wieners atop a hotdog stand. Wild green parrots that live in the city. A double-decker outhouse. A museum dedicated to surgical science. Statues that weep. Find out where these and other eclectic sites are located in Oddball Illinois, an offbeat travel guide that’s a mix of Fodors and News of the Weird. There is more between Chicago and St. Louis than cornfields and plenty of fascinating places in the Windy City that aren’t on Michigan Avenue. Oddball Illinois won’t point out the hottest club in Chicago, the quaintest small-town bed & breakfast, nor the most scenic hiking trail in Illinois. This book will, however, tell about the locations of America’s One and Only Hippie Memorial, Scarlett O’Hara’s green drapes, Popeye’s Hometown, and several places the local Chambers of Commerce would just as soon be forgotten. Behind all the odd sights is some wonderfully interesting history and a chance to see some underappreciated sites throughout the state.

Oddball Colorado: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places (Oddball series)
ISBN: 1556524609

Chicago Review Press. 2002

A high-altitude alligator farm. A UFO watchtower. A monument to a headless chicken. While other travel guides tell you about tackling Pike’s Peak, skiing the back bowls, or rafting down the Arkansas River, this quirky regional resource offers unusual travel destinations and little-known historical tidbits. Imagine regaling coworkers with unique Rocky Mountain adventures, like spending an evening at a drive-in movie . . . in a queen-sized bed, or visiting a vapor cave clad only in a towel. How about seeing a two-headed dragon made of car parts, or watching cliff divers while eating Mexican food?

Oddball Wisconsin: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places (Oddball series)
ISBN: 1556523769

Chicago Review Press. 2001

Chatty Belle, the World's Largest Talking Cow. The Mendota Monster. Apostles on Parade. The UFO Capital of the World. Romeo, the clown-stomping elephant. Car-washing octopi. Other travel guides suggest the same old scenic driving tours, homey bed-and-breakfasts, and the best fall foliage—Oddball Wisconsin offers offbeat travel destinations and little-known historical tidbits. Where was Liberace born? What is a hodag and where do you catch one? Who invented the hamburger? And will a Polka Hall of Fame ever be built? This is the guide to the real Wisconsin, birthplace of the snowmobile, the typewriter, and the ice cream sundae, home to Jimmy the Groundhog and home of the Rudolph Grotto and Wonder Cave—the state where people proudly wear the moniker “cheesehead.”

Oddball Indiana: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places (Oddball series)
ISBN: 1556524382

Chicago Review Press. 2002

Square Donuts. The World’s Largest Stump. Oscar the Monster Turtle. Johnny Appleseed’s grave. The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender, and Reproduction. While other travel guides tell you about yet another cozy bed-and-breakfast and bike trails through Brown County, Oddball Indiana offers wacky travel destinations and little-known historical tidbits. Why is Nancy Barnett’s grave in the middle of a country road? Where can you go to communicate with your dead Aunt Clara? Who invented Alka-Seltzer? How did David Letterman get fired from his first broadcasting gig? This is the guide to the real Indiana, birthplace of corn flakes, Dan Quayle, and Wonder Bread, for those who want to laugh, not lounge, on their vacation.

Oddball Minnesota: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places (Oddball series)
ISBN: 1556524781

Chicago Review Press. 2003

Land of the world’s largest prairie chicken, birthplace of Spam, and home of the world’s oldest rock, this is Minnesota, where summers are short, winters are long, and back-road wonders abound. This entertaining guide wastes no time with descriptions of scenic lakes, pristine bike trails, or quaint cafés. Instead it directs travelers (and residents) to the spot where Tiny Tim strummed his last notes on the ukulele to the Cold Spring chapel where two grasshoppers bow down to the Virgin Mary and to the McLeod County Museum, where the mummy on display could be from Peru or outer space. While ordinary tourists are fighting off mosquitoes in the Boundary Waters, oddball travelers can size up the world’s largest ear of corn and admire the fourth Zamboni ever built. And one last thing: there aren’t 10,000 lakes in Minnesota there are 14,215. For travelers who are in search of the unusual, there is no better reason to park the bike and hiking boots in the garage, fill up the gas tank, and hit the road to Minnesota, where weirdness awaits.

Oddball Florida: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places (Oddball series)
ISBN: 1556525036

Chicago Review Press. 2003

This entertaining guide directs travelers to the off-the-wall and offbeat destinations in Florida, home of gator wrestlers, school bus demolition derbies, Hemingway wannabes, the Fountain of Youth, the Nudist Hall of Fame, and a utopian community based on the premise that the earth is not round, but concave. Additional oddball attractions include a graveyard for roosters, the world’s largest strawberry, the world’s smallest police station, and museums dedicated to seashells, hamburgers, oranges, teddy bears, sponges, air conditioning, and one very old petrified cat. Documenting local oddities and forgotten history, this travel guide covers Florida in six regions with maps and detailed directions for each site as well as phone numbers, hours, websites, and various photographs.

Oddball Texas: A Guide to Some Really Strange Places (Oddball series)
ISBN: 1556525834

Chicago Review Press. 2006

This amusing travel guide to the Lone Star State doesn't waste travelers' time telling them where to find antiques in the Hill Country, take breathtaking hikes through Big Bend, or gaze upon the Alamo. Instead, it guides television fans to a modern replica of the Munsters's mansion, leads the nonsqueamish to the world's only Cockroach Hall of Fame, and points the curious towards a small town filled with hippo statues. Among other things, Texas is home to Goliath-sized roadside attractions, and directions are provided on how to reach the World's Largest Six-Shooter, World's Largest Rattlesnake, and World's Largest Wooden Nickel. The accompanying photographs and maps instruct visitors on how to get to these and other extraordinary spots, including the Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the Celebrity Shoe Musuem, Alley Oop's Fantasyland, and the Birthplace of Fritos. A dose of wacky Texas history is also included with answers to questions such as Did a UFO really crash into a windmill northwest of Fort Worth in 1897? and What does an Abilene Kinko's have to do with the early retirement of Dan Rather?

Progressive Nation: A Travel Guide with 400+ Inspiring Landmarks and Left Turns
ISBN: 1556527179

Chicago Review Press. 2008

Nearly every progressive movement in American history can be traced back to a person who said "This must change" and then set out to change it. This inspiring travel guide to over 400 markers of progressive politics in the United States celebrates those individuals, their accomplishments, and the movements and communities they inspired. Visit the battlegrounds and celebrate the victories of the civil libertarians, feminists, African Americans, gays, lesbians, environmentalists, labor organizers, and media activists who have worked to create a just, peaceful society that respects all of its citizens. With enthusiasm and humor, Jerome Pohlen guides travelers to such landmarks of change as
  • The home of abolitionists Levi and Catharine Coffin, Grand Central Station on the Underground Railroad
  • Alice’s Restaurant Church, the namesake of Arlo Guthrie’s song protesting the draft
  • The courthouse where Susan B. Anthony went on trial for attempting to vote
  • The site of the Haymarket Riot in Chicago, where laborers protested working conditions
  • The former camera shop where Harvey Milk launched his campaign to become America’s first openly gay elected official
Each entry features a listing of books, films, and Web sites for further information, making this an essential lefty resource. For adventurous travelers, family vacationers, and those who want a more complete picture of American history, this book will inspire them to do more than just cast a vote.


Parent`s Choice Award, National Parenting Publications Award.

Speaking Engagements

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