July 24, 2014

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Leigh Morris
Pioneers discover Illinois is tornado country PDF Print E-mail

Few things in nature are more terrifying or sudden, and none more violent than a tornado.
A tornado, which is part of a thunderstorm, consists of a dark funnel-shaped cloud in which rotating winds can reach speeds in excess of 300 mph. About half of all tornadoes are classed as F1 on the Fujita scale with wind speeds of 73 to 112 mph. By comparison, an F5 tornado has wind speeds of 261 to 318 mph.
The first recorded tornado in Illinois history occurred on a Sunday, June 5, 1805, racing through what would later become known as Tornado Alley.

Winter of the ‘Big Snow’ cripples Illinois PDF Print E-mail

Long before the prophets of gloom and doom predicted climate change will usher in both severe and extreme weather, Illinois experienced both severe and extreme weather.
The autumn of 1830, for instance, offered ominous signs of things to come with snows accumulating in the second half of November. Settlers had never seen snow so early. Later they would remember it as the “Winter of the Big Snow.”
On Christmas Eve, the state was hit by the season’s first big snowfall. The six or seven inches of snow deposited on Dec. 24 was but a precursor of the real havoc that awaited Illinois.

Everything changed for the worse in 1982 PDF Print E-mail

Like most industries, Schultz, Baujan & Company struggled through the Great Depression. Prosperity began to return in the late 1930s with the sales records being set during the World War II years.
The post-war years brought massive change to the nation and the milling industry was not exempted. A wave of milling industry consolidations swept across the country. Employees and townspeople alike nervously wondered whether Schultz, Baujan & Company would be a buyer or would be bought. The answer came in 1953 when Colorado Milling & Elevator acquired the firm, changing the name to Beardstown Mills Co.

Schultz, Baujan & Company: an industry giant PDF Print E-mail

A year after Thomas Beard and Enoch March platted the original town, Beard did a little boasting in a letter to his father: “We now have three large stores and a steam flour mill capable of producing 75 barrels of flour a day.” From that beginning, Beardstown would grow to international fame as a miller.

Rebirth of an Illinois treasure PDF Print E-mail

Standing in the center of downtown Springfield is a building that once heard the voices of Abraham Lincoln, Stephen A. Douglas, Richard Yates and many others.
Sangamon County acquired the Old State Capitol building to serve as its county courthouse after the state moved out in 1876. Over the years, the county made significant changes to the building’s interior. In 1899, the county began construction of a new first floor. This would significantly alter the building’s appearance.

Illinois builds a magnificent Capitol PDF Print E-mail

It proved easier to select Springfield as the capital city than build a suitable Capitol building.
Architect John F. Rague, who moved to Springfield in 1831, designed the new Capitol and directed its construction. This building would become the crowning achievement of his career.

From Kaskaskia to Springfield via Vandalia PDF Print E-mail

When Illinois was admitted to the Union on Dec. 3, 1818, a small frontier settlement on the Mississippi River became the first capital city.
It was the French who settled Kaskaskia in 1703. It then passed to the British, who fortified the place. George Rogers Clark and his intrepid Virginia militiamen captured Kaskaskia in 1778. Clark immediately declared Illinois to be a county of Virginia with Kaskaskia as the seat of government. The name “Kaskaskia” was taken from the American Indian tribe which had been the principal member of the Illinois confederation.

When it comes to ice, we’re tops PDF Print E-mail

All but the newest arrivals to Central Illinois are certain this region receives more than its fair share of tough winter weather. And they are right.
When it comes to ice, Central Illinois is second to none. That’s what the scientists at the Prairie Research Institute of the Illinois State Water Survey (ISWS) discovered.
“Central Illinois has the distinction of being in the nation’s primary area for severe freezing rain (ice) storms,” the ISWS stated. Of course, this is not something the tourism, real estate or chamber crowd care to acknowledge let alone brag about.

Virginia, there is a Santa Claus PDF Print E-mail

This is a story about faith, love, beauty and romance.
In 1897, little Virginia O’Hanlon wrote the following letter to the New York Sun:
“I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Pap says, ‘If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.’ Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?”
Virginia’s letter was given to Francis P. Church, a childless editor who wrote the following magical editorial response to Virginia’s letter.

Printed in lipstick: ‘I killed her’ PDF Print E-mail

After an evening of bar hopping, the Army veteran and prostitute entered the Park Hotel at 12:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 21, 1946.
Ivan DeSilva and Lucille Riff registered as “Mr. and Mrs. I.V. DeSilva” and were given the key to room 14 on the second floor. Riff, a prostitute, had been banned from the Park Hotel by owner Emma Fosgate, but night clerk Dan Fitzgerald was new and did not recognize her.


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