Homepage of "Mr. Lincoln, Route 66, & Other
Highlights of Lincoln, IL"
A Long-Range Plan to Brand the First Lincoln
Namesake City as the Second City of Abraham Lincoln Statues
Lincoln Bicentennial Celebration in Lincoln, Illinois
Abraham Lincoln and the Historic Postville
including a William Maxwell connection to the Postville Courthouse
About Henry Ford and the Postville Courthouse,
the Story of the Postville Courthouse Replica,
Tantivy, & the Postville Park
Neighborhood in the
Route 66 Era
The Rise of Abraham Lincoln and His History and
Heritage in His First Namesake Town,
also the founding of Lincoln College, the plot to steal Lincoln's
body, and memories of Lincoln College and the Rustic Tavern-Inn
Introduction to the Social & Economic History of
including poetry by William Childress & commentary by Federal Judge
Bob Goebel & Illinois Appellate Court Judge Jim Knecht
"Social Consciousness in William Maxwell's
Writings Based on Lincoln, Illinois" (an article published in the
Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society, winter 2005-06)
Peeking Behind the Wizard's Screen: William
Maxwell's Literary Art as Revealed by a Study of the Black Characters in
Billie Dyer and Other Stories
Introduction to the Railroad & Route 66 Heritage
of Lincoln, Illinois
The Living Railroad Heritage of Lincoln, Illinois:
on Track as a Symbol of the "Usable Past"
Route 66 Overview Map of Lincoln with 42 Sites,
Descriptions, & Photos
The Hensons of Business Route 66
The Wilsons of Business
Route 66, including the Wilson Grocery & Shell
Route 66 Map & Photos Showing Lincoln Memorial
(former Chautauqua site),
the Historic Cemeteries, & Nearby Sites
Route 66 Map & Photos Showing Salt Creek &
the highway bridges, GM&O bridge, Madigan State Park, the old dam (with
photos & Leigh's memoir of "shooting the rapids" over the old dam), &
the Ernie Edwards' Pig-Hip Restaurant Museum in Broadwell
The Historic Logan County Courthouse, Past &
Route 66 Map with 51 Sites in the Business &
Courthouse Square Historic District,
including locations of historical markers
(on the National Register of Historic Places)
Vintage Scenes of the Business & Courthouse Square
The Foley House: A
Monument to Civic Leadership
(on the National Register of
the Route 66 Era
Arts & Entertainment Heritage,
the Lincoln Theatre Roy Rogers' Riders Club of the
Cars, Trucks & Gas Stations of the Route 66 Era
Churches, including the hometown
churches of Author William Maxwell & Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr
Factories, Past and Present
Food Stores of
the Route 66 Era
Hospitals, Past and Present
Hotels & Restaurants of the Railroad & Route 66
Lincoln Developmental Center
(Lincoln State School & Colony in
the Route 66 era), plus
debunking the myth of
Lincoln, Illinois, choosing the Asylum over the University of Illinois
Mining Coal, Limestone, & Sand & Gravel; Lincoln Lakes; & Utilities
Museums & Parks, including the Lincoln College
Museum and its Abraham Lincoln Collection, plus the Heritage-in-Flight
News Media in the Route 66 Era
The Odd Fellows' Children's Home
Memories of the 1900 Lincoln Community High School,
including Fred Blanford's dramatic account of the lost marble
fountain of youth
A Tribute to the Historians and Advocates of
Watering Holes of the Route 66 Era
The Historic 1953 Centennial Celebration of
The Festive 2003 Sesqui-centennial Celebration of
Lincoln, Illinois, including photos of LCHS Class of 1960
dignitaries & the Blanfords
Why Did the State Police Raid Lincoln, Illinois,
on October 11, 1950?
The Gambling Raids in Lincoln and Logan County,
During the Late Route 66 Era (1950-1960)
in this section tell about Leigh Henson's Lincoln years, moving away,
revisits, and career:
About Lincoln, Illinois;
This Web Site; & Me
A Tribute to Lincolnite Edward Darold
Henson: World War II U.S. Army Veteran of the Battles for Normandy and
the Hedgerows; Brittany and Brest; and the Ardennes (Battle of the
For Remembrance, Understanding, & Fun: Lincoln
Community High School Mid-20th-Century Alums' Internet Community
(a Web site and
email exchange devoted to collaborative memoir and the sharing of photos
related to Lincoln, Illinois)
Leigh Henson's Pilgrimage to Lincoln, Illinois, on
July 12, 2001
Review of Dr. Burkhardt's William Maxwell Biography
Leigh Henson's Review of Ernie Edwards' biography,
Pig-Hips on Route 66, by William Kaszynski
Leigh Henson's Review of Jan Schumacher's
Glimpses of Lincoln, Illinois
Teach Local Authors: Considering the Literature of
Web Site About
Leigh Henson's Professional Life
in this section are about the writing, memorabilia, and Web sites of
A Tribute to Bill and Phyllis Stigall:
Exemplary Faculty of Lincoln College at Mid-Twentieth Century
A Tribute to the Krotzes of Lincoln, Illinois
A Tribute to Robert Wilson (LCHS '46): Author of
Young in Illinois, Movies Editor of December Magazine,
Friend and Colleague of December Press Publisher Curt Johnson, and
Correspondent with William Maxwell
Brad Dye (LCHS '60): His Lincoln, Illinois, Web
including photos of many churches
Dave Armbrust's Memorabilia of Lincoln, Illinois
Fikuarts of Lincoln, Illinois, including their
connections to the William Maxwell family and three generations of
family fun at Lincoln Lakes
Jerry Gibson (LCHS '60): Lincoln, Illinois,
Memoirs & Other Stories
Dave Johnson (LCHS '56): His Web Site for the
Lincoln Community High School Class of 1956
Sportswriter David Kindred: Memoir of His
Grandmother Lena & Her West Side Tavern on Sangamon Street in the Route
Judge Jim Knecht
(LCHS '62): Memoir and Short Story, "Other People's Money," Set in
Hickey's Billiards on Chicago Street in the Route 66 Era
William A. "Bill" Krueger (LCHS '52): Information
for His Books About Murders in Lincoln
Norm Schroeder (LCHS '60): Short Stories
Stan Stringer Writes About His Family, Mark
Holland, and Lincoln, Illinois
Thomas Walsh: Anecdotes Relating to This Legendary
Attorney from Lincoln by Attorney Fred Blanford & Judge Jim Knecht
Leon Zeter (LCHS '53): His Web Site for the
Lincoln Community High School Class of 1953,
including announcements of LCHS class reunions
(Post yours there.)
Highway Sign of
The Route 66
Association of Illinois
State Historical Society
Internet Explorer is the only browser that shows this page the way it was designed.
Your computer's settings may alter the display.
April 24, 2004: Awarded "Best Web Site of the Year" by the Illinois State Historical
achievement: serves as a model for the profession and reaches a greater
Lights of the Lincoln Theater, est. 1923, Lincoln, Illinois
Note: For information about Lincoln's battle with Dutch
elm disease, scroll down the page to "Inside City Hall Today."
24.1: Sign Mounted on the Corner of City Hall,
Located in the Logan County Courthouse Square Historic District at Broadway
and McLean Streets
adapted from photo in Chamber of Commerce Community Profile, inside front cover. Its use here is courtesy of VillageProfile.com of Elgin, Illinois.)
A summary of the history of city government in
Lincoln, Illinois, is Chapter 5: "Government" in Paul Gleason's
Lincoln: A Pictorial History (pp. 90-93). The material
emphasizes the administrations of mayors from the 1860s to the 1940s. Local politicians in photos of those pages include Robert Madigan, William Randolph, Joe
Sapp (the latter two in Alvey's Drugstore conferring with Homer Alvey), and
Picture Postcard of City Hall, Constructed in 1886
24.3: Photo of City Hall Taken 10-01 by
Brad Dye, LCHS Class of 1960
On the homepage, I write
that Lincoln, Illinois, may be seen from different angles. The first
two sections of this page show different perspectives on City Hall and are
titled On Top of City Hall
Inside City Hall Today.
On Top of
The first perspective
concerns the unusual landmark of the telephone booth on top of City Hall. This phone booth was installed, I would guess, some time in the late 1950s
or early 1960s by the Civil Defense folks to allow patriotic citizens to scrutinize the horizon for tornadoes and Russian MIGS. The phone
booth is clearly visible in 24.3 above (wind from the west) and 24.4 below
(wind from the east). Fortunately, one of the participating patriotic
citizens is a contributor to this Web site project and offers his memory of
the rigorous Civil Air Patrol activities that his friends and he
24.4: A Landmark on Top
of Another Landmark: City Hall with
Famous Telephone Booth on Roof for Civil Defense Surveillance in the Late
Route 66 Era
(Photo by Fred Blanford, LCHS Class of 1959, February, 2003)
In February of
2003, Fred Blanford emailed his short series on present-day homeland
security to 160+ alums of Lincoln Community High School. The above
photo was included.
"Earlier this year when I
received a package of negatives from Mike Hamilton [LCHS, Class of 1958] -- a
few stirred some memories that gave rise to what I thought to be a possibly
humorous series I could send out. I worried, however, that some might
mistake my intent in these tense times in which we live.
I will preface this all with the statements: In the
'60's I was inducted into the military service, served the prescribed time
and when Honorably discharged -- even received a couple of "atta boys" for the
record. Any ambivalence I had at the time had more to do with the way the
campaign was being conducted than with the necessity for it -- leaving the
decision as to the wisdom of the campaign to those with greater knowledge
than I. At this time I am again ambivalent but the necessity seems
considerably more apparent. With this series of notes + pics -- I do not
intend to make a political statement -- only tweak you all to remember what
were obviously "better times."
My initial hesitance was finally overcome when I read
yesterday's newspapers. In our youth (the '50's) part of Homeland Security
was in learning the RULE--Duck and Cover. This RULE -- with all of the modern
hi-tech science improvements that have been added since then IS NOW -- Duct
and Cover with Visqueen. With the old rule -- no special equipment was
required -- you had everything necessary with you. With the new rule, everyone
needs to go to the local purveyors (a boost to the sagging economy no doubt)
and purchase the materials necessary. The local merchants here were caught
off-guard and thus do not have "emergency packets" made up -- so you must be
ready to determine: 1) what grade duct tape you require -- home; utility;
contractor's; or industrial and 2) which model visqueen you require -- will
the simple "damp protection membrane" be sufficient or should you use the
gas barrier or radon barrier models? I think I may (without further
instruction) opt for the Zedex Hi-performance or Zedex Housing
Grade -- believing you still "get what you pay for" in home protection.
The city government has not been idle. They had
previously upgraded our warning system for alerting the local population as
to the danger level. The lanterns were exchanged for flashlights and they
passed a resolution to seek bids for a six month supply of batteries.
The "warning level system" remains the same -- One if by land -- Two if by sea.
See attached pic for "Old North Church" substitute. [Editor's note:
the "Old North Church" tower substitute -- from which Paul Revere got his
clue -- is the tower on Lincoln's city hall, clearly visible in the photos
Civil Defense. Most
everyone will remember the yellow and black stickers that advised of a
building's suitability for "shelter" purposes -- they had been "hardened"
(like the concrete-blocked the basement windows of the courthouse) and
provisioned with "emergency supplies."
The Eisenhower Interstate System incorporated the
concept of making portions of the nationwide highway system suitable
for emergency aircraft landings -- or so I have been told.
One initiative in which I participated was the Civil
Air Patrol, which involved volunteers spending time on the roof of City Hall
watching for airplanes -- and when one was spotted (with the use of government
developed books with silhouettes at various altitudes) calling to an office
(told it was in Springfield -- long distance before any of the current
unlimited time/distance stuff) and reporting the kind, altitude and heading
of each airplane spotted. This was considered a part of "Civil Defense" and
the scout troop where I participated, encouraged us to participate in the
program. Mike Hamilton was also one of the participants. If I am not
mistaken -- the attached pic is of Hank Spellman scouring the skies for
In all of the time I participated -- we didn't have a
phone booth. The phone was located on a shelf inside the door to the
stairway by which we accessed the roof. This was not just a summer activity.
Note the character of Hank's coat. It got pretty cold up there some days.
You may also note his "supplies" bag against the wall. This could include
snacks and a thermos.
Of course, our participation did come in for some
criticism when one summer day we "bracketed" the wrong car stopped at the
stoplight below -- with water-filled balloons. Hey -- the frontline troops in
Homeland Security need a little R&R every now and again too."
--Fred Blanford (1941--2008), LCHS Class of 1959.
24.5: Patriotic Duty: Civil Air Patrolman Hank Spellman, LCHS Class of 1959, on
City Hall Roof Before Phone Booth Installation
(Photo by Mike Hamilton)
"When duty whispers low, 'thou must,' the youth replies, 'I can." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Inside City Hall Today
"The Lincoln City Government has sought to maintain
the high quality of life which residents have become accustomed to through
cooperation with local organizations, 'chamber of Commerce, Main Street,
Logan County Government, businesses and prudent financial and development
Lincoln has an alderman/ward type of government
with a mayor-council system. The daily operations of the various
municipal offices and department, includes Street and Alleys, Wastewater
Treatment, Engineering, Building and Safety, Police and Fire Departments"
(Chamber of Commerce brochure, p. 1).
Council at Work
24.7: Arbor Day
above are from lincolndailynews.com. The caption of 24.7 reads "Donnie Osborne, Lincolnís street superintendent
(left), and Alderman Dave Armbrust, chairman of the forestry committee,
present to Mayor Beth Davis an official sign and a plaque naming Lincoln a
certified Tree City USA."
[Photo by Joan Crabb].
Note: Mr. Armbrust is a distinguished member of the LCHS Noble Class of 1960 and a
contributor of numerous vintage business ads and picture postcards that
appear in this online community history Web site. Many of them are available
Some historical background for the Arbor Day Foundation Award helps to show
its significance. Late in the 19th and early 20th Centuries, Lincoln,
Illinois, gained a reputation as being a city of magnificent shade trees
(several places in this Web site mention references to this distinction in
the writings of William Maxwell). Many lawns and houses in Lincoln
were shaded by elm trees, which lined nearly every street. Nancy
Lawrence Gehlbach reports that as early as 1913, Lincoln, Illinois, had been
nicknamed "The Forest City of Illinois. Her article titled "Pity Our
Beautiful Trees" in Our Times, vol. 7, issue 1, spring 2002, pp. 8-9,
is the most complete account of the elm trees of Lincoln and the Dutch elm
disease that killed them.
Illinois: the Forest City of the Late 19th and Early 20th Centuries
(Picture postcard image provided by Mike Hamilton, LCHS Class of 1958)
The plight of dead elms created two problems: the need for removal and
the need for replacing with some hardier species of shade trees. Ms Gehlbach's article says that 1946 and 1947
saw about three dozen dead elms trees removed each year from city property. "In April of 1949 -- with an estimated 400 dead elms on city property and
hundreds more on private lots -- Lincoln citizens passed a forestry tax of
.05 per cent so the city could remove dead trees and spray uninfected tress
with DDT" (p. 8). Treatment, however, generally proved ineffective. From the early 1940s to the 1960s,
Lincoln's countless elms disappeared. Elm Park,
across from the GM&O railroad depot, was left with unsightly stumps that were
removed in 1949 by Eagles lodge members (p. 8).
The photo below showing removal of dead elm trees in Lincoln has been
provided by J. Richard (JR) Fikuart, LCHS Class of 1965.
Richard (JR) Fikuart writes (August, 2003):
"Attached is a photo my Grandfather [Joshua] Fikuart took of the crew
felling the elm trees around our house. It was probably taken from our
back porch [across Ottawa Street from the First Presbyterian Church]; the
high school is in the background. There were 7-8 elms around our house at
227 Pekin. All of them were lost. I believe Josh took this picture
around 1947 - 1948. I was born in 1947 and never did get to enjoy the big
trees, but the large walnut trees in our backyard were unaffected. I
think they are still there though my family talked about selling them from
time to time because they were so 'messy.'
Grandfather and I used to watch the chimney swifts from the porch swing.
Each night they circled the yellow chimney on the school and then, one by
one, would drop out of sight into the stack. Grandfather peeled yellow
delicious apples with his pocket knife and sliced them for me to eat as we
watched. It was quite a ritual. (We also used to collect 'dog turds'
from the backyard. We placed them in a bushel basket with a slotted lid. Grandfather and I had rubber band gun design competitions and used the
resultant weapons to shoot the flies that gathered on the lid.)
Respond to J. Richard (JR) Fikuart at
24.9: Removing Dead Elm
Trees at Mid 20th Century in Lincoln, Illinois
(Photo by Joshua Fikuart @1947? '48? or maybe even '49?)
Note: The photo shows a piece of machinery improvised by
resourceful Lincolnites. The bed of a truck has been equipped with a
crane and winch to hoist logs for loading into a nearby truck bed (at left
of photo). I see a crew of indeterminate number. Are the men in
front of the truck -- one a walking blur -- members of the crew or
also shows the 1900 yellow-brick Lincoln High School and its parking lot. Beyond the parking lot is the athletic field that was across from the school
on Broadway Street. In the center background is the Immanuel Lutheran
Church, and at the far right background is the spire of St. Mary's Roman
loss of so many shade trees, Lincolnites Carl Hembreiker and Violet Scully
were instrumental in beginning effective tree plantings that continue today
and have led to the Arbor Day Foundation Award cited above. The recent
award symbolizes Lincoln's city fathers and mothers' commitment to continuing a
tradition that has helped to distinguish this community.
The photo below shows a contemporary view of the same intersection --
College Avenue and Tremont Street -- as seen in the 19th Century view of
24.8 above, when most of the trees were elms:
Illinois: The Forest City Lives in 2003
(Photo of College Avenue and Tremont Street provided by Fred Blanford, LCHS
Class of 1959)
The photo at
right further demonstrates the effectiveness of Lincoln's political leaders. Second from the left is former
state Senator Robert Madigan of Lincoln, LCHS Class of 1960. He also
graduated from Millikin Univeristy.
caption of the photo at right says, "Sen. Bob Madigan was at the Logan County
Safety Complex this morning to distribute new portable defibrillators to
45th District sheriff departments. Pictured: Mason County Sheriff Richard
Walker, Sen. Bob Madigan, Woodford Sheriff Bill Myers, Tazewell Sheriff
Robert M. Huston, DeWitt County Deputy T.H. Collins and Logan County Sheriff
Senator Madigan had a
distinguished career in public service that began with his role as city
clerk in Lincoln. He entered the Senate in 1987 and resigned in 2001
to serve on the Illinois Industrial Commission. He is now retired.
Robert Madigan and
(Photo and story from lincolndailynews.com, June 1, 2001)
Note to Lincolnites: As a state
Senator, Bob Madigan was
a key sponsor of legislation in the mid 1990s that gave Illinois public
school teachers the opportunity to take early retirement. In 1994, I
thus retired from 30 years of teaching English at Pekin Community High
School in order to begin a second career teaching technical communication at
Southwest Missouri State University (SMSU). My second teaching career
created the opportunity for me to teach myself how to design, write, publish, and
promote a Web site. At MSU, where the central mission is promoting
public affairs, I got the idea to combine my interests in Web site
development and public service. The result is this Web site.
24.12: City Officer and Assistant
(Photo and text below are adapted from
Lincoln/Logan County, Illinois. Use of this content is courtesy
of VillageProfile.com of Elgin, Illinois.)
Lincoln Police Department involves
∑ Community policing activity
∑ A DARE unit and K-9 unit
∑ Participation in multi-county drug
∑ Neighborhood Watch
∑ Citizen Police Academy
∑ Violence Education Gang Awareness
Charitable activity such as "Children
Ought to Have Presents at Christmas"
24.13: Central Fire Station at
(Photo and text below are adapted from Lincoln/Logan County,
Illinois. Use of this content is courtesy of VillageProfile.com of
The Lincoln Fire Department has
∑ A fire insurance rating of 6
and a 100-foot aerial ladder truck
∑ Three fire engines and a rescue squad
∑ Trained Emergency Medical Technical Service
Two jaws of life
∑ A defibrillator
∑ Safety house education program
∑ Training in hazardous material handling
Above text adapted from
Chamber of Commerce brochure titled Lincoln/Logan County Illinois. Information is courtesy of www.VillageProfile.com of Elgin, Illinois.
24.14: Plaque on the
City of Lincoln Warehouse
24.15: Name Plate above Garage Doors Reads "City of Lincoln Warehouse"
The above photos were
taken by Stan Stringer in the summer of 2002. These photos show the
City of Lincoln warehouse, built in 1938 and 1939 by the Work Progress
Association (WPA). The building is located on Hamilton Street across
from the Logan County jail. This is the kind of curious structure that is
somewhat transparent to many past and present Lincolnites because we have
seen it countless times and have just taken it for granted as part of the
Stan writes, "As a kid of
4 and 5, I watched the building being built from the front window of our
house on Pekin Street. I liked the color and thought it quite pretty. Regrettably, the tile bricks are beginning to fragment, and so I think
this landmark will end up being razed."
Respond to Stan Stringer at
24.16: City Garage
Fred Blanford, 2-03)
Edward Madigan Post Office
Before the facility pictured
below was constructed in 1910, postal services were housed in various
buildings in the courthouse square area. According to Stringer,
Congress in 1907 appropriated $75,000 for a post office building in Lincoln. "As a site for the new post office, the government on Nov. 7, 1907, closed a
deal for what was known as the Sheer corner, cornering on Broadway and
McLean Streets. The work of excavation for the building began in the
spring of 1910. The building is a one story structure with a large
basement, fronts 65 feet on McLean street and 80 feet on Broadway" (p. 583).
To honor Lincolnite
Edward R. Madigan, former Congressman and Secretary of Agriculture under
President George Herbert Walker Bush, Congress passed legislation on July 9,
1996, to designate this post office as the "Edward Madigan Post Office
Building" (Federal Register Internet Library Services Web site address
in Sources Cited).
24.17: Rare Sepia-Tone Picture Postcard of the 1910 US Post
Office, Named the Edward Madigan Post Office Building in 1996
24.18: Edward Madigan Post Office and
IOOF Building in 2002
Henson photo, 6-02, an evening shot, so no cars in the way)
Scene on the Post
Office Steps from William Maxwell's Time Will Darken It
All of Chapter 10 of
Time Will Darken It takes place on the Lincoln Post Office steps. There, Nora Potter encounters Attorney Austin King as he emerges from "the
revolving door." She prolongs their conversation because she is in
love with him, although he is married. "Though he was glad to see her
now, if he had had a chance to choose where they met, it would not have been
in so public a place as the steps of the post office." Several people
he knows pass by, and he suggests they talk in his office. She says in
his office she would "just rattle on and on," but that is exactly what she
does on the steps.
begun the conversation by denying her love for him, but then drifts into a
rambling account about "how wonderful you are." She even begins to
describe in detail a dream she had of him the night before. Austin
stands quietly listening: "his eyes rigidly on her face, he heard very
little of it." He was hoping she would realize he had work to do.
24:19: Steps of the
Where Nora Potter Prolonged Her Conversation with Attorney Austin King
12-01; it was a dark and cloudy day during Christmas season when I took this
Mrs. Jouette's "shiny black surrey" stops in front of the post office. She asks "the sad-faced girl [sitting] beside her" who is standing on the
steps and is told it is Austin King.
Mrs. Jouette says in disbelief, "It can't be," but is assured it is.
"Seeing the old lady's lorgnette trained upon him,
Austin lifted his hat and bowed. The bow was returned, but without any
accompanying smile of pleasure, and old Mrs. Jouette turned her attention to
the courthouse lawn" [across the street in the opposite direction] (pp.
To suggest the implications of this
scene, let me cite some passages in the first chapter of Part V: The
Province of Jurisprudence," which is a few chapters after the one summarized
above. Nora and Austin become subjects of local "history" -- meaning
gossip (p. 247). In addition to townspeople's conversations in the backyard, church,
and bedroom, on the front porch, and over the telephone, there were the
bridge club meetings:
"With their hats on and their shoes pushed off
under the card table, their voices rising higher and higher, their
short-range view of human events becoming crueler and more malicious as they
doubled and redoubled one another's bids, made grand slams, and quarreled
over the scoring. No reputation was safe with them, and only by being
present every time could they hope to preserve their own. The innocent
were thrown to the wolves, the kind made fun of, the old stripped of the
dignity that belonged to their years. . . . They say was the phrase
invariably used when a good name was about to be auctioned off the block. They say that before Dr. Seymour married her she was running around
with. . . .," etc. (p. 248).
"By December the historians had gathered
together all the relevant facts about Austin King's young cousin from
Mississippi, knew that she was madly in love with him, and were not
surprised when he took her into his office" [to study law] (p. 249).
"When they met as a group, they slipped all pity
off under the table with their too-tight shoes, and became destroyers,
enemies of society and of their neighbours, bent on finding out what went on
behind the blinds that were drawn to the window-sill" (p. 249).
This passage shows
explicit, even harsh, satire -- curiously untypical of its author, who
is often described as sympathetic to his characters.
To what extent will the historians' work affect Nora, Austin, and their families? All of
Maxwell's novels are worthy of being made into film, but none have
been. The author was opposed to his novels being made into movies. So, the alternative is to read them, and your local library probably has
some. Or, buy them at
24.20: Rare, Colorized
Picture Postcard of the
Courthouse Square from the Post Office Steps
I was amazed
and delighted when I found the picture postcard above. It shows, by a
happy coincidence, a view very similar to that Austin would have had of the
courthouse square as he stood on the post office steps and looked past Nora. The cars in the photo suggest the scene is from just a few years after the
scene in the novel in which horses and buggies are mentioned. Time
Will Darken It is set in 1912; the above scene is apparently later in
the 1910s. The three-story, red-brick Gillett Building appears in the
A Former County Government Service and
Its Lost Facilities
In September of 2002, the State of Illinois closed the Lincoln Developmental
Center, and this loss was a shock to Lincoln and all of Logan County.
Perhaps this closing shows less willingness of American society to finance
social services or perhaps it shows that social change involves finding new
ways to meet the needs of special groups of people who are less fortunate
than most or perhaps it is both.
One of the social
services whose responsibility traditionally fell to county governments was
taking care of destitute people. These institutions were called "poor
houses" or "poor farms," and Logan County had one, as the following photos
Fred Blanford first
called our attention to this institution, as he sent two photos and text. I present the photo below before the two photos and text supplied by Fred
because I believe the first photo predates the others.
24.21: The Main House of the Logan County Farm
(Photo from Lincoln Evening Courier, Centennial Edition, August 26,
1953, p. 10)
The Same Building Some Years
24.22: Logan County Poor Farm Main House in 1905
(Photo provided by Fred Blanford)
Fred wrote in May of
Shooting in the dark here. Logan County still owns some farm
that is commonly referred to as the "County Farm." My recollections of
the thing do not include any buildings. If I had to use a shorthand
phrase to denote how my fuzzy memory recalls just what it was -- I would
probably call it the "Poor House." To make clear a point another had
confused when I was discussing this with them -- this is not the "farm"
that was a part of LSS&C. If I am not mistaken, this [poor
farm] is down the road
(West) of the Scully Home out North of town.
It apparently existed then (and the farm rent may be used for a similar
purpose today??) to provide some "aid" and "meaningful employment" for
persons in the community that had fallen on hard times. In my lifetime,
I do not recall it as being a residential program -- however one of the
"outbuildings" that is not shown in this clip would have had little
utility for a farm -- looking more like a dormitory facility. The
attached [24.22] I have characterized as the "Main Building" which may or may
not have held administrative offices, kitchen, and dining hall. If you
have never heard of the County Farm -- that indicates good fortune for
you -- as those who have may have had relatives that once needed the
service it existed to provide. As recent news has advised all of us,
there are still places in the world where potable water is not as near
as the kitchen tap and dinner is more problematic than just deciding
what and how soon. This "farm" was what they today call
"infrastructure" for providing for those in need.
Should Leigh decide to include some information in his soon to be opened
site, I will see that he is provided further and more authoritative
information on this subject. I may or may not send along other crops
from the larger photo -- partially dependent on whether Leigh is
interested in further info.
The pic attached is from the center portion of a panoramic photo that is
displayed in the Logan County Treasurer's Office. Mary Ellen Bruns (the
Treasurer) was kind enough to allow me to scan the photo. It was
provided to the County courtesy of Betty Verderber (I believe), and my
understanding is she or someone who helped see to its display is
relative to one of the Committee Members (James Burns) listed on the
matting for the photo.
I recently found a postcard that was dear in my memory. Whether or not
I email it soon may depend on how soon the "thunderbumper" that roused
me this morning allows me to resume my night's sleep.
24.23: Another Building of the Logan County Poor Farm
(Photo provided by Fred Blanford)
A little more information/speculation to go along with another segment of the panoramic picture of the County Farm. The caption on the matting indicates the picture was taken in 1905. From other information I have gathered, the Committee Member listed on the caption, James Burns, was also a County Board Member on or about that time. The caption further identifies Edward F. Spellman (not our former modern-times mayor Edward L. Spellman) as the "Supt."
In my (probably I could safely say "our") lifetime(s) I have seen residential housing "progress" (?) through the post WWII "built to govt. specs. -- VA financed" minimalist abodes -- on to the urban sprawl "3 bdrm ranch" -- to the current seemingly outsized homes in modern developments. Even by current standards, the building pictured in the first crop is very large. Much larger than the "four up/four down" larger homes of the time -- it was a substantially built brick two and a half stories. Rather bodacious for a farmer. The crop attached will show a portion of the main building on the right to help visualize the cluster of buildings that made up the farm. While not quite as clear, the right wall of this building gives me the impression of being another brick structure. A two story building with basement -- it would appear to be unnecessary for operation of an ordinary farm. I have opined it may have been residential quarters for the participants. It is the mid-sized building of the three two story structures that make up this cluster.
I am told the rental from the tenant that currently farms the ground for the landlord/county -- goes into the county aviation fund -- or whatever takes care of airport expenses -- with aid of the sort provided then -- now being provided by federal/state government grants and individual donations.
A remarkably similar structure (today some refer to these as "cookie cutter" buildings done for the govt. and to govt. specs.) exists in Menard County and is on ground formerly constituted as their County Farm. Additionally -- a relative of the informant had "gone there" to reside in her later years (after that one had been converted for nursing home use) and had indeed lamented "going to the poor house." That structure apparently still exists today although other uses have been found for it -- believed to be sometimes used as housing for "Summer Stock" actors employed at the nearby New Salem for their summer presentations.
I am reliably informed (at least the main building) still existed down to relatively recent times. One source recalls seeing it while on "road trips." I might discount this report because of the beer consumed on these trips and the age of the tripees -- but a further source has informed me of the identity of the last tenant (definitely not an aid case -- they were farming the ground and occupying the building -- a common practice in Logan County) and I will rely on Linda Barrick to get further information on this aspect from her co-worker.
I appreciate hearing from all. The anecdotes add to the lore -- as I know it, but I believe there may be a wider audience that would also appreciate the individual remembrances. I would encourage responders to address their comments to "all." I would liken my experience with recollections to an item I purchased for our kid many years ago. It was called the Mouse Trap Game or some such thing. In any case, you started a ball rolling and it would "trip" subsequent actions/reactions in a rather Rube Goldberg sort of progression. One remembrance uttered may well "trip" another in others -- and on and on.
Again --feedback -- I am informed one participant tried to respond "to all" and had the mailing refused by her server for "too many addressees." I am also aware that some servers (or programs) don't accept the initial mailings -- deemed "not business mail." I suspect these are "anti-spam" efforts in some instances -- and applaud same. However -- I do correspond with many on the "master list" on a one-to-one or one-to-some basis -- and suspect that you folks do too. Having trouble with responding to all -- then select a few you are closer with -- and respond to those only. This is an "opt-in" group. Folks don't want your email or mine -- they can fix it. As for all the others -- some are shy -- some may think (mistakenly so) their remembrances are not relevant or that they are wrong or weird or who knows. Pass on your thoughts or remembrances -- and let the recipients sort it out.
I think Leigh is trying to put together a "community" of folks from Lincoln that like to chat about . . .
. I just deleted a line and half of what I can only describe as "stream of consciousness" words. How do you succinctly describe a chat? I will leave it at that. Until later--the good Lord willing and the creek don't rise--do take care. fred
L. (May) Wilson, LCHS Class of 1948, Remembers the Logan County Farm
June of 2007, my Aunt Mary emailed me her recollection of the Logan County
"My aunt and uncle were
Sam and Ethel Hasenmyer. They were administrators of the County Farm when I
was about 12 years old. I spent a lot of time there as a kid. The grounds
were beautiful. There was a long lane leading up to the main grounds. The
grass was kept well manicured, and the white fences on either side were kept
painted. The farm was huge. They still had work horses, and I loved to watch
The main house was where my aunt and uncle lived.
The two upper rooms were for the family. None of the residents lived there.
They lived in the other two houses. They usually had only one room.
The men who worked the farm with my uncle ate in
the basement of the main house. There was a huge kitchen, and I helped
serve one day. When you went in the side door of the main house, you had
about two or three steps to go down, and then you were in a huge
kitchen. There were huge stoves and sinks and always someone washing dishes.
Going right thru the kitchen was a large room with a large table for the men
who came in. To the left was the serving area, with serving windows. The men
came thru and picked up their food. I was scared to death of all these old
men. (I faintly recall having to take an elevator up to the third floor, but
some in my family said I was imaging it.) We would take meals to the
residents who could not come to the dining hall.
In the summer of 1941 or
'42, we had a picnic in
honor of the graduation of my cousin from the Air Force Academy. It was held
at the County Farm. My cousin and I hid in the grass at the end of the
lane waiting for him to come. We had a huge gathering of family that
day. Good memories."
Respond to Mary L. Wilson
Arbor Day Foundation Award story and photo at
Federal Register contains
databases to search for documentation on the naming of the Madigan Post
Gehlbach, Nancy Lawrence.
"Pity Our Beautiful Trees." Our Times, vol. 7, issue 1, spring, 2002.
Gleason, Paul. Lincoln, Illinois: A Pictorial
History. St. Louis, MO: G. Bradley Publishing Co., 1998. Material from Mr. Gleason's books is copyrighted with all rights
Gleason's material used in this Web site is with permission from the G. Bradley Publishing Company, 461 Des
Peres Road, St. Louis, MO 63131. Call 1-800-966-5120 to inquire about purchasing Lincoln,
Illinois: A Pictorial History (1998) (200 pages of rare photos and text) or Logan County Pictorial History
(2000) (also 200 pages of rare photos and text). Please visit
Chamber of Commerce
Community Profile and Membership Directory. No date or place of
publication. Photo and textual information courtesy of Village Profile.com,
Inc., 33 N. Geneva Street, Elgin, IL 60120. Please visit the Web site
of this remarkable company at
Madigan presentation of defibrillators at
Maxwell, William. Time Will Darken
It. NY: Vintage Books, Inc., 1948. William Maxwell's
books are available at
Stringer, Lawrence B. History of Logan
County Illinois (1911). Reprinted by UNIGRAPHIC, INC., Evansville, IN: 1978.
Email comments, corrections, questions, or suggestions.
Also please email me if this Web site helps you decide to visit Lincoln, Illinois:
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