Sunday, January 21, 2018

Going down to the depot

In this case however, the abandoned Savanna Army depot. On a recent outing with Lil Nick and Tom Anderson, we found ourselves driving along the Mississippi river road and soon came to Savanna, IL. We stopped in town for a few minutes as there is a wonderful Railroad museum there, housed in a vintage railroad car "The City of Savanna". The museum was closed that day but we snapped a few photo's before moving on to our next stop, the old Army depot.

The Savanna Army Depot first came into existence in 1918 when the government bought 18,000 acres of land near the river for an artillery testing range. Soon the sound of cannon's and howitzers could be heard booming as various filed pieces were tested, tinkered with and improved. Even after the first world war ended, a vast network of warehouses were built to house munitions against the time America might go to war again.

Along with the warehouses, factories were built for the manufacture of ammunition and barracks to house the soldiers, workers and officers to run the base. Then came world war two, and the depot went from a sleepy 139 employees tinkering away to an astounding 7,195 employees during it's peak in 1942. During this period even more warehouses were built along with dozens of reinforced concrete and earthen bunkers to house artillery shells and explosives.

By the early 60's the focus had changed for the depot and instead of manufacturing ammunition they start destroying old and outdated inventory and experimenting with new types. Even this slowly dwindled away until the year 2000 when the depot closed for good. Today the depot is a mix of industrial parks and decaying, abandoned buildings. Much of it is marked No Trespassing as there is still old munitions on site but you Can drive thru the old base because about half of the land was donated to the state to become a wildlife and nature preserve and as long as you stay on designated roads you're okay.

If you ever find yourself up that way it might be worth taking a few minutes to drive thru the open area's and snap a few photo's. Be sure to stop at the river overlook, it's worth the stop all by itself. 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Galena's Grant Park

A few weeks ago Tom Anderson, Lil Nick and I took a trip up to sunny and WARM Galena for the day. We stopped at the historic Galena train station, the home of U.S. Grant and finished the day at Grant Park.  It's a beautiful stretch of ground overlooking the river with a great stone and iron walkway from the park to the business district of town.  There's a couple of pavilions for concerts and a great statue of the parks namesake.

There's also some military displays throughout the park , a few historic cannon including one that was at Fort Sumter at the start of the civil war and one captured during the Spanish-American war. If you have a chance to get up there I highly recommend it.