July 31, 2014

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A most curious little Illinois railroad

By Leigh Morris
Our Place in History
When electric interurban railway fever swept the country at the dawn of the 20th century it often would transform otherwise shrewd men into irrational and even giddy investors.
Such seems to have been the case with Charles V. Chandler of Macomb. A civil war hero, philanthropist, political leader and respected banker, Chandler was not the sort of man who would jump into a highly speculative venture. Then he caught interurban fever.
Chandler decided to build a 20-mile railroad from Macomb south through the small town of Industry to the settlement known as Littleton. Chartered on Oct. 26, 1901, the Macomb & Illinois Western Railway officially opened for business on Jan. 1, 1904.

 
Summer reading program is ‘Frolicking in the Forest’

By Susan Carson
Virginia Happenings
Don't forget that the Virginia Public Library's Summer Reading Program is underway. Each Wednesday afternoon from 2 to 3:30 p.m. they are hosting a good time full of reading, crafts, games, treats and prizes. The first week is June 18, "Frolicking in the Forest" and week 2, June 25 is Down on the Farm; Moo! Oink! Neigh! Let's Pin the Tail on the Donkey and have fun making sheep.

 
If I knew then what I know now...I’d be head of tourism

By Roy Roberts
Trivia Too
Beardstown, it is a great town, but if I knew then, what I know now, it would really be great. That is, if I had moved in with the settlers around 1830, or even a few years later. AND, like I say if I knew what I know now, I would be the chairman of the committee to save the beautiful Indian Mounds that were in Beardstown when it was founded by Thomas Beard.
If the mounds were there today, Beardstown would be one of the most popular tourist locations in the state, business would be good for everyone, it would be different.
The territory where Beardstown now stands was once the home of a mysterious and unknown race who left the mounds as the only evidence of their existence. A guess is that the mounds were built as much as 10,000 years ago by the first Indians who lived here. The largest mound was located about four blocks down West Main Street, it was a sepulchral mound, conical in form, eighty feet in height, (that is about the height of an eight story building) and about 500 feet in diameter at the base. It is thought that the mounds were built with clay brought from the bluffs at Bluffs Springs as it was similar to the soil in that location. Much different than sandy Beardstown. However, if it was thousands of years ago, and after many floods, it is possible that Beardstown wasn’t always the island as it was at times of floods during the 1700’s and 1800’s.

 
Highway crews put ruts on hillside; destroy flowers

By Kay Brown
The Garden Gate
It’s Monday morning, and the temp is already 81. I’m certainly not looking forward to this week of higher temps. I haven’t turned on the air yet, but this just might be the week.
I had company all weekend and did more cooking than I have for the past two weeks. For last Friday’s Farmer’s Market, I cut cabbages to sell, and only sold a few. I cooked a big slow cooker of cabbage, potatoes, carrots, and kielbasa for my company along with a pecan pie out of the freezer that was left over from the Friday before.
For Father’s Day, I made lasagna, salad and French bread. Everybody enjoyed the meal, except my daughter-in-law who is still not feeling well. Pray that she gets better soon...thanks!

 
Clean up the Potomac River and present-day predators would be extinct

By Frieda Mae Crump
Coonridge Digest
Greetings from the Ridge.
My knowledge of entomology is right up there with my grasp of brain surgery and ballet but I recently found myself in a conference at which our featured speaker was a well-known bug expert. Okay, I take that back. There are no well-known bug experts, but if the occupation ever gets scandalous or sexy then this guy will be featured on the front page of Time.
His topic for the day was a little rascal that has plagued various parts of the Midwest for the past three years, the Buffalo Gnat. In some places the buggy buggers are called Black Flies, Turkey Gnats or White Socks. The guy told us there are over 1,800 species of the irritating critters but gave no hint as to who counted them. Unfortunately only 11 species have gone extinct leaving the other 1,789 to crawl inside our ears while we’re mowing the yard. The male flies dine on nectar while the females crave the blood of mammals. In this case, mammal is spelled “Y-O-U.” If nothing else, it’s a setback for female equality.

 
A tribute to Kathleen, a good friend

By Kay Brown
The Garden Gate
This is a tribute to my friend; gone but not forgotten. I got to know Kathleen when we were both in the earlier theatre group. She was friendly, but not too talkative about her life. We both loved flowers and to garden, loved antiques, so could talk on that subject, and found out we shared the same birthday. I didn’t know for a long time she had a son, or a sister or a cousin.
She shared with me that her husband came from an Indian reservation before they were married, but not until just a few years ago when he got sick, did she tell me about his passion for jazz, how they had performed together in California, and my husband played with him several times along with his cohorts.

 
Interurban fever burns hot, then fizzles

By Leigh Morris
For the Star-Gazette
Among the most ambitious interurban schemes never to get off the ground was the Springfield & Western Railway.
Organized on Nov. 13, 1905, to build an electric interurban from Springfield through Beardstown to Quincy, the company reorganized the following March with even grander plans. It now would go from Springfield to Pana to Decatur to Vandalia as well as the Springfield-Beardstown-Quincy line.
Electric utility and interurban magnate William B. McKinley built what was arguably the nation’s greatest interurban railroad – the Illinois Traction System (later renamed the Illinois Terminal Railroad). At its zenith, the IT ran from St. Louis to Springfield to Peoria. Another line ran from Springfield to Decatur and up to Champaign and then into Danville. A third main line went from Decatur through Bloomington and on to Peoria.

 
WHAT DO YOU THINK?

By Don Chipman
For the Star-Gazette
Hero or Deserter?
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a captive of the Taliban for five years, has created a storm that continues to reach a crescendo even as we write this article across this broad land.
It all began innocently enough when it was announced that an American soldier held captive by the Taliban for five years was being released and set free.
Then the other shoe dropped. Sgt. Bergdahl was released after the administration allowed the five most dangerous captives at Gitmo to be included in the exchange.

Fact or Fiction?
First–What ever happened to “We never will negotiate with terrorists.” Period. Sound familiar? Fact or Fiction?
Second–It later became a sensational story about his release when it was disclosed that Sgt. Bergdahl walked away “under the wire” on his own volition, leaving behind his weapon and flak jacket. Fact or Fiction?
Third–Simply “walking away” from your post is more than being AWOL. In a combat zone this will be (and should be) treated as desertion. The Department of Defense should act accordingly after a full investigation. Fact or Fiction?
Fourth–Susan Rice did it again–when she stated this was an extraordinary day with the release of an American soldier who served his country with “Honor and Dignity.” Well it turned out to be an extraordinary day indeed. Fact or Fiction?

 
75th Alumni reunion celebrated in peace and quiet of Houston Library

By Roy Roberts
Trivia Too
It was the 139th Annual Alumni Banquet, and it was very special for the class of 1939. I was one of 103 who graduated that year and as I told those attending the alumni, we were told by an older class, to go forth and multiply. That we did.
Right now we have the record of the most descendents. None of the 103 married a classmate so that gave us a head start as we soon had 304 children. Those 304 children gave us 902 grandchildren. From those grandchildren, we are proud of the 2,432 great-grandchildren and they are still coming. Christine and I have 10 now with four more expected before fall.

 
Observations of classmates at reunion

By Kay Brown
Kate’s Garden Gate
After watching Dr. Wayne Dyer on PBS, I got to thinking about the classmates who come back for Alumni and the Friday night parties. Dr. Dyer was talking about our ego and that in order to get rid of it, we need to become compassionate.

 
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