Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The Bells are a'Ringing

Recently Little Nick and I went thru Sublette and came across a couple items of note. We stopped by the fire house and found a big silver bell in a small grassy area in the road. Alas there were no markings of any kind on it. When we asked the man at the fire house what it was from we struck out. We were told to go across the street to the lumberyard, but they didn't know either. Maybe one of my followers can fill us in?

The second bell we came across had a plaque identifying it so we got luckier there. The plaque stated that this bell rang every morning from 1861 to 1957. For those math challenged (like me) that's Ninety Six YEARS!  Imagine the sound of that bell ringing every day not only for you, but for your Parents, and for THEIR parents.  That's a LOT of history. And on a side note it's interesting to note the bell was made at the foundry of C.S. Bell & Co.

If you ever have a chance take a minute to stop up in Sublette and take a second to reach out and touch something that's been around for 154 years. If you close your eyes you can almost feel the vibration of the clapper hitting the bell.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Along the Old Chicago Road

Recently little Nick and I went out and on the advice of a friend took the Old Chicago Road which runs out of LaMoille. Along the route we came across not one but Two markers for former church's. The first, the Knox Grove Evangelical church, had nothing but a weather beaten sign to mark where it once stood, not even a foundation remained as it appears to have been turned into agricultural use.

We had more luck with the second location, the site of the former St. Paul's Evangelical church. There we found the original cemetery, a nice wrought iron gated fence and a small building. There's a really nice polished granite marker there with a bas-relief picture of the church in its heyday. This cemetery unlike others we've seen is well kept and appears to be looked after.  As for the small building we heard several opinions what it was used for. A church school? A small chapel for the cemetery? A caretakers house? or...?

Many thanks to Mary Lee Twidell for suggesting the trip as well as providing the period photographs. One shows the church under construction, another shows the pastor, Reverend Leinhart circa 1922, the 3rd shows a confirmation class from the late 1930's. Can you spot Mary Lee's mother? Hint: She's the pretty one!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Home Grown Mystery

Right here in my little home town there sits an empty, forlorn building nearly forgotten. Certainly no one pays it much attention, if any at all, as they drive past it.  Some say it was a church, some say a woman's college. Some say it was a church and Then a college. Whatever its origins and subsequent reincarnations, it makes for an interesting stop off the beaten path. You'll find it in Princeton at the north end of town, corner of Church and "B" street.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

If you close your eyes, you can still smell the Cordite

Recently little Nick and I went up to LaMoille and came across a massive Civil war cannon that had formerly been on the Union gun sloop "Canandaigua". It had been dedicated in a special ceremony on Memorial day May 28th, 1897.

Following the war, the government announced that all 'condemned engines of war' might be had by ordering them and paying the freight. 135.00 was raised by the P.F. Hills post of the GAR and a cannon was ordered arriving on May 1st, 1897 by flat car. It is said it caused quite a bit of excitement.

The cannon is an 11 inch caliber Dahlgren muzzle loader, meaning it was loaded from the front. It's marked on the barrel as weighing 15,765 pounds and the date of 1862 is stamped on the side. Included with the gun were 50 cannon balls each one weighing 135 pounds.

Nick REALLY wanted to shoot it off (Which might have alarmed the guy cutting the grass next door), but they had plugged up the muzzle with concrete. Oh well. So if you're ever up in LaMoille and want to see this monster for yourselves it's about a block down behind the old high school, go thru the gates and drive to the end of the lane, can't miss it.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Calling all Train Enthusiasts!

My sidekick Nick and I went out today and found several Very interesting spots to document. Civil war cannon's, sites of former churches and schools, hundred year old school bells. But our first post is going to be an endangered piece of railroad history.  We stopped in LaMoille today to photograph a Civil war cannon that came off a union gunboat, but in driving around town we came across this boarded up depot/freight house and caboose.

We happened to meet Wanda from across the street and she informed us that the depot was slated to be torn down to make room for a new city park. In fact while we were there a grader was leveling ground and had already torn up the tracks that had run past the building.

She said her family had long ties with the railroad and she was spearheading an effort to save the old depot and restoring it to its former glory, perhaps turning it into a museum showcasing LaMoille's rich railroading history.  If this is something you'd be interested in supporting she could sure use your support. At the very least take a short drive to see this for yourself before it's possibly lost forever.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Now I lay me down to sleep

Recently my sidekick Nick and I visited the Lone Tree school south of Tiskilwa. Right across the road from the school is the Lone Tree cemetery. There's only a couple dozen graves there and it's a quiet, restful spot visited only by the wind and the stars.

One prominent marker has about a dozen names on it, all with the same last name. Are any of them Your relatives?

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Mysterious Heartland Interview

I was recently interviewed by the folks at "Mysterious Heartland". Check out their site, you might find something to enjoy there as well!