Monday, June 29, 2015

Just wanted to give a shout out to Stan and his crew at Firehouse Pizza!

They fed us an Amazing lunch buffet today that can only be described as Scrum-deli-icious!  If you're ever in Washington or their other location in East Peoria I Highly recommend a stop. You'll only be sorry if you Don't stop!

Little House "In" the Prairie

We went down to Washington, ( Illinois, that is ) today and happened across this forlorn and run down farm on the outskirts of town. It's sitting with weeds and prairie grass literally 4 foot high around it. Poor Nick was almost swallowed up by the weeds. I kept waiting for something to jump out and grab him but the Velociraptor's must still be stuck on Isla Nublar.

I know it looks rough right now, but it's obvious a little carpentry work, some fresh paint and a new set of curtains and this place will be move in ready! As an added bonus there's even some leftover farm equipment and a sturdy farm truck that comes with the property.

So if you're ever down that way be sure to stop just in case Ma and Pa Ingalls are home and ready for some company.

Friday, June 26, 2015

We stopped to Make a Deposit

On a recent road trip we stumbled across a bank in Manlius. Unfortunately any thoughts of knocking the place over ended a Lonnnng time ago ( the bank closed in the 1930's ). But it is now a delightful little museum that we were privileged to be given a private tour by Kenny Rodgers. ( No, the Other one ).

 It's almost as if the bank manager had locked the doors and walked away the previous day. The building itself is architecturally interesting all on its own, inside is a scene out of time.  Tellers cages, bank vaults, even the managers office looks like it's never been changed. If you're ever in Manlius I highly recommend a stop to this little slice of history.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Are YOU an Odd Fellow?

Recently my side kick Nick and I visited the town of New Bedford Illinois.  We went in search of an abandoned Odd Fellows lodge we had heard about. We did indeed find it and the results are displayed herein.

The building appears to be used for storage nowadays but the bones are still there.The faded letters above the entrance are "F,L,& T" That stands for Friendship, Love & Truth.  There was an old book that had a vintage piece of paper in it that I'm including for your viewing pleasure. It was a pleasant drive on a comfortable day. In addition to the former grade school I blogged about earlier here is another sight worth the drive to go see if you like getting 'Off the Beaten Path'

Saturday, June 20, 2015

The Father of Bureau County?

I'm not sure how one would refer to Henry Thomas. It's widely acknowledged that he was the first settler of Bureau County. So from an abstract point of view, he could be considered the Father of the county. In much the same way that George Washington was referred to as the Father of our new nation.

On the Wyanet-Walnut blacktop, in a spot so forlorn you'd zip right past it if you didn't see the historical marker sign, is a marker commemorating the sight of Henry's cabin. The first known cabin in the county. It sits down an embankment and is surrounded by woods and weeds. Indeed, it looks like no one has stopped there in ages.

So on this father's day, let us pause for a moment in honor of the man who started the whole shebang in Bureau County, Illinois.  Happy Fathers day Henry.

A big Thank You to the various people from this site who suggested I take the time to stop and see this.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Remember the Maine!

That was the rallying cry at the beginning of the Spanish-American war. In 1898 there was civil unrest in Cuba. The native peoples were rioting against Spain, which at that time had claimed Cuba as a colony. To protect American interests, president William McKinley sent the U.S. battleship Maine to show the flag in Havana harbor.  On the evening of February 15th, 1898 a huge explosion blew the Maine in half killing 260 American sailors.

Was it a Bomb? A Mine? an Accident?  To this day no one can say for sure. But the sinking escalated an already deteriorating situation to the point where McKinley declared war in April of 1898. The short but decisive war not only increased America's influence in the region but freed Cuba from its masters and gave a young Teddy Roosevelt to lead his Rough Riders up San Juan hill.

Little Nick and I found this monument sitting quietly in a park in Geneseo, right on main street.  It consists of an actual naval shell recovered from the wreck as well as a stone and bronze obelisk marking the men that served and died during the war. Above the bas-relief of a soldier the inscription reads " Erected to the memory of those American soldiers and sailors who in the war with Spain gave their lives for country and humanity".  If you're ever in the area stop and reflect for a moment on a war that's rarely spoken of these days and set the stage for a young politician to rise to the highest office in the land.

Thanks again to my sidekick Nick for snapping these photo's.

Just want to give a shout out

To the folks at Harris Pizza

And to the folks at United Camera Repair

The camera is fixed and working fine again so thanks to the repair shop for their excellent and quality workmanship!

And special thanks to the good folks at Harris Pizza!  Little Nick and I had a couple of meals there and we did NOT leave hungry. Their pizza's are HUGE, the toppings plentiful and the prices reasonable.

If we ever go back to Rock Island for more photo adventures ( And you Know we will ) We'll know just where to go to rest, relax, and be refreshed. I highly recommend both fine establishments.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Rust In Peace

We recently had occasion to go up to Rock Island to get my camera repaired. ( A shout out to Jim L. Buzard for recommending the shop to me ) and upon leaving that afternoon we came across a unique little place that deserved a stop.

Off Black Hawk road across from Trinity Health center we spied a couple of restored gravity fed as pumps out in front of a building adorned with Ford motor company logo's. We stopped to check it out but the place was unfortunately closed. The sign in the window suggested they were only open certain hours of the day or perhaps by appointment, so we confined our photo taking to the outside of the building.

And there was plenty to photograph! In addition to the two restored pumps thee was gas related memorabilia scattered throughout the property as well as several restored early Fords inside that we could see thru the windows. But what caught our eye was the display behind the building itself. An old Ford jalopy, sitting in a place of honor next to an unrestored gravity pump. There was a tombstone in front of it that read "FORD: The car that changed the world. Oct. 1, 1908-June 1, 1927. Father: Henry Ford".

Is this a museum of some sort? A man's private collection? The paper in the window with hours suggests some sort of institution open to the public, but we cannot say.  You'll have to decide for yourselves. Special thanks to Nick Bouslog for providing some of the photo's.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A Witness to History

As you drive along route 6 in Bureau county you come to the village of Mineral. If you turn on county road 10 and follow it for 3.5 miles you will come to the Witness Tree.  At 250 or more years old this tree has stood as a witness to every remarkable achievement in the America's.

It was here when the Continental Congress wrote the Declaration of Independence, It was here when the railroads made their way from sea to shining sea. It was here when the first shots were fired at Fort Sumter. It was here when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. It was here when Man first walked on the moon. It has been standing before there was even an America.

The Witness Tree sits on what used to be the old Sauk Fox trail, a native american trail that went form Rock Island on the Mississippi thru the Detroit and on to Canada. This tree was allegedly the meeting place for Chief Shabbona and the Fox and Sauk tribes.

When the railroad was being built near Mineral this tree was used as a reference or 'Witness' point from which it now gets its name. If you're ever in the area it sits by the side of the road in a quiet little glen all it's own and is definitely worth a moment to look upon its wonder. A big shout out to Carolyn Diller for suggesting I go pay it a visit.

Friday, June 5, 2015

We appreciate your patronage....

And hope you continue to visit us here at Off The Beaten Path. We encourage you to leave comments on the photo's to let us know how we're doing. If you have memories of the building or site in question feel free to make a comment about that as well. We WANT your input! And as always if you know of a place we can come visit and photograph let us know so we can save it's story from being lost to the dustbin of history.

Schools out for the summer

On our travels we sometimes go to see one thing and end up finding another. We had heard about an abandoned Odd Fellow's lodge in the tiny town of New Bedford and went for a look.  Well, we did indeed find the old lodge but right around the corner was an abandoned grade school!

It was a charming red brick building that replaced the original school in 1934 and it has a simple look to it with Art Deco touches. Looking inside the windows takes one back in time. The high ceilings and use of woodwork helps cement the image of a mid century small town school. There's even some figures left on the old blackboard as if the teacher had written up a lesson and left it for some future class to work out.

The basement looked kind of creepy and one can almost picture being sent down there for detention ( And to scare the willies out of you ! ). As a final touch there's a huge rose bush right by the door that someone planted years ago perhaps to give the place a woman's touch?  If you're ever in the area stop and pay homage to this relic of higher education.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

For this post Nick and I went all the way to Norway

Norway Illinois, that is.  On the outskirts of town there's a small monument and cemetery marking the first settlers. There's even a plaque donated by the King of Norway. It's just up the road from the airplane memorial and in the same vicinity as the Lindbergh crash site so you can hit all of them at once.  If you have a chance it's well worth the trip to see this.