Thursday, July 21, 2011

History in Our Backyard

Sorry to break up the "Route 66" series with this post, but I just wanted to make a few observations as they relate to the theme and purpose of this blog.

Those of us who grew up in Illinois probably learned a little bit about Illinois history in elementary school or junior high — especially as that history relates to Abraham Lincoln (certainly most schools wouldn't dare teach us about the Illinois life of a conservative president like Ronald Reagan ... but I digress...)

Many of us (myself included), however, don't realize much more about the rich history that lies in our backyards. That's exactly the history I want to explore in this blog. Forget the big museums and the tourist trips. I want to look at the roads less traveled. The more obscure sites that really tell the story of Illinois' history.

For example, the town I live in — Morris — was built by those working on the historic Illinois & Michigan Canal. I happened upon a book about our county's history — and learned about a number of fascinating anecdotes and historic sites here in my backyard that I absolutely have to investigate. Those stories will be told here.

Just this past week, I learned about our neighboring town of Seneca, and it's connection to helping us win World War II. As it turns out, during World War II, Seneca — which is now small rural town of about 2,000 residents — housed 27,000 workers who worked at the "Prairie LST Shipyard" constructing Landing Ship, Tanks for our Navy. There's a blog post coming on that history.

And much, much more. If you have any suggestions of other off-the-beaten-path historical sites we should visit, please let us know in the comments.

Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy our blog.

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