Or should that read ‘on and by the river?’ I’m not quite sure what constitutes being ‘on the river.’ Anyway, be that as it may and not withstanding, we spent the day in St. Charles, mostly on and by the river, the river being the Fox River as you can probably tell by the statue of the foxes overlooking the river from Main Street bridge.
There are some noteworthy and historic buildings on the banks of the river near Main Street. The St. Charles Municipal Building was designed in 1940 by architect R. Harold Zook, who is also known for designing the art deco-style Pickwick Theater in Park Ridge. On the opposite side of the river is Hotel Baker which was built in 1928 on the site of the old Haines Mill and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Along the river walk we came across some interesting sculptures, the first being ‘Reflections’ by Guy J. Bellaver. Bellaver also created ‘Ekwabet’ which means ‘watching over.’ The statue was dedicated by the city and named by members of four bands of Potawatomi at a ceremony in 1988. The statue replaced an earlier tribute to the Potawatomi, erected in 1915, that was destroyed by vandalism in the 1960’s. There was also a fascinating piece made, appropriately in the shape of a fox, entirely from recycled (no pun intended) bicycle parts by Francis J. Gagnepain IV.
Walking under the bridge, just south of Pottawatomie Park, we came in sight of the James and Joann Collins Pavilion and Tower. Always up for a challenge, my daughter and I climbed to the top where we got a slightly limited view of the river.
We left the river for a few hours to visit a giant Flea Market held at the Kane County Fair Grounds but returned later for a ride on one of the paddle boats. We took a leisurely cruise past the golf course and a couple of nature preserves towards Elgin. Any boat ride on the Fox River in this area is somewhat restricted as there is a dam both in St. Charles and Elgin.
You don’t see one of these on the river every day! I must admit we were all rather alarmed when we first noticed this car driving down the ramp and straight into the water but quickly realized it was one of those fancy amphibious vehicles. It went past us several times, drawing a rousing cheer from everyone on the boat, sometimes at a sedate Sunday-drive pace and sometimes with all the power and panache of a speedboat.
As we pulled back in at the boat dock, we got another view of the gingerbread tower and pavilion at Pottawatomie Park. And as we walked back to our car, I got a nice parting shot of a cormorant perching on a light pole high above Main Street Bridge. All in all, a lovely day on and by the river.