Friday, June 17, 2016

Closing the Book on Illinois

            As promised earlier in the week, today I will finish telling you about our trip to Illinois in April.
             The Old Illinois State Police Headquarters of District 6. Built in 1941, the building is shaped like a pistol, which maybe at the time sounded like a good idea, but in the year 2016, um, probably not. It closed down in 2004, and is a pretty cool empty building now
            Down the road, between Pontiac and Chenoa, somewhere near Ocuya, we ran across this potter’s field, The Livingston County Poor Farm Cemetery. So quaint yet sad. Sad too that it wasn’t listed in any of the books or maps I had. People should know of these kinds of places to be able to pay tribute to the poor, these were probably hard working people who just didn’t have any money. So sad.
            Drove to downtown Chenoa just to see the pharmacy and the blue shoe sign. The lady working in the pharmacy was not real cordial, but I suppose she gets tired of people just walking in to nose around. We should have bought something, but like I say, she just wasn’t very friendly. People in those businesses need to try harder, considering it was the only business in town. 

              After Chenoa, we decided it was time to head back home. On our way to the Walmart in Morris, we drove through El Paso and passed this amazing building, The Elms. 
              The Elms restaurant was open for business from 1946 until 2004. At some point in that time it also contained a hotel. Prior to being a restaurant, it was the home of James H. Wathen, one of the founders of El Paso and mayor in 1869 and 1870. He never married and died in 1902 as one of the town’s wealthiest residents. What a shame that this grand house has fallen into this sorry state. 
             Stopped next at the WWII Canteen Monument in Streator. It is a tribute to the citizens who met the trains filled with returning servicemen, offering them their first home-cooked American meal. 
              Drove through Marseilles again, after our first day in the area when we stumbled on the Middle East Conflict Memorial there. Found some other memorials in town as well as the old train depot.
             This is the Norway Store in the little town of Norway, the first Norwegian settlement in America. 
             It didn’t look like much on the outside, but inside the building is a complete fully-stocked grocery store and little café, with cute Norwegian décor hanging around. 
             Last, the Norsk Museum, which we didn’t get to go into because it wasn’t open for the season yet.
             That would be it for our April vacation to north-central Illinois. Oddly enough, I was once again in Illinois just a few weeks ago. I bet you can’t wait to see those pictures!

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