During our visit to Marion in southern Illinois a few weeks ago we got to see the old jail cells at the Williamson County Historical Society Museum, housed in the former county sheriff’s residence in Marion.
The jail on Van Buren Street was built in 1913 and was in use until 1971. It was capable of holding 87 inmates which included facilities for housing 6 women prisoners. The county sheriff’s residence was in the same building and was separated from the jail by 13 inches of concrete and two steel doors. Some of the more notable prisoners housed there were those involved in three violent conflicts during the 1920’s.
In 1922, eight of the men who were arrested for their part in the Herrin massacre, a deadly riot between union and non-union coal miners in which 23 people were killed, were kept at the Van Buren Street jail. Union supporters supplied them with food and entertainment during their incarceration.
Later in the 1920’s the jail was again in the spotlight when the Ku Klux Klan took control of the Marion Law Enforcement League and hired S. Glenn Young to conduct bloody raids on local bootleggers. This action sparked violence among Williamson County residents which escalated until state troopers were called to the jail to restore order and prevent prisoners from being lynched by angry mobs.
When the Shelton Brothers Gang and their rivals, Charles Birger’s Gang, both heavily involved in bootlegging, became embroiled in a deadly war in the 1920’s, many of the gang members were kept at the Marion jail. Fourteen received life sentences for murder and Rado Millich, one of Birger’s gang, was the last man to be hanged in Williamson County in October 1927. The execution took place in an alley just outside the jail. Birger only spent one night at the jail after being arrested for murder. He was released when he claimed that he had acted in self-defense.
It was quite a warm day in September when we took a tour of the cells and it was easy to imagine the stifling conditions that must have prevailed in the heat of summer in these cramped quarters. In the early days of the jail it was agreed that the sheriff’s wife would cook meals for the prisoners which would be passed through barred windows from the kitchen to the cellblock.
The cells were only a small part of the museum but easily the most memorable. It is said that some of the members of the Historical Society have reported hearing strange noises while working in the museum and standing in these grim surroundings it’s easy to imagine. I wouldn’t want to be there alone at night that’s for sure!
During our visit to Marion, recently, we took a tour of the Williamson County Historical Society Jail Museum and Library. From the basement to the attics, every inch of the building is used to display interesting artifacts from a bygone era. I was also on the lookout for doors and there were several that caught my eye.
The museum is housed in the former Sheriff’s residence which was also the local jail (more of this in a future post) and not only can you see the original cells but also re-creations of a local bank, grocery store, doctor’s office and school room, amongst other things. As I said, they utilize every scrap of space and we were amazed at how much they had managed to cram into four floors. It was one of the most interesting historical museums that we have ever visited. After spending some time at the museum we drove on to Carbondale where we stopped at a gas station for a fill-up and I couldn’t resist getting a shot of some restaurant doors nearby.
Our reason for visiting Carbondale was to see the Jeremy Rochman Memorial Park, a father’s touching tribute to a 19-year-old son who was tragically killed in a car accident. Jeremy was a great fan of Dungeons and Dragons and the park is filled with characters from this popular game (the subject of another future post.)
For more on Norm’s Thursday Doors go to https://miscellaneousmusingsofamiddleagedmind.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/thursday-doors-october-12-2017/
The first thing I thought of when we arrived in Marion, Illinois, was that I had to find doors. Not just any doors but ones that might make a good picture, so off we went to Tower Square Plaza to see what we could come up with. The Marion Cultural and Civic Center on Market Street looked like a good place to start. After a fire destroyed the former Civic Center in 1997, a new facility was erected in 2004, incorporating parts of the old building that had survived the fire. The ornate doorway was rather difficult to capture since it is so closely enclosed by the entryway but I gave it my best shot.
The red doors of the First United Methodist Church on Main Street really caught my eye.
The Marion Carnegie Library, made possible in part by an $18,000 grant from the Andrew Carnegie Foundation, was opened to the public in 1916. At that time it had 1,162 books and 680 borrowers.
Not nearly as grand are the green doors that can be found on the side of the old Post and Press building, built in 1907, that used to house The Marion Daily Republican newspaper.
After spending the morning looking around the downtown area in Marion, we went on to visit an interesting place called Mandala Gardens, more of which I’ll be featuring in an upcoming post.
For more on Norm’s Thursday Doors go to https://miscellaneousmusingsofamiddleagedmind.wordpress.com/2017/10/05/thursday-doors-october-5th-2017/
The subject for the Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post is windows. Since joining the ‘Thursday Doors’ crowd, I’ve stepped up my efforts to look for doors and also windows and during a recent trip to Marion, Illinois, we discovered several of both that were worth a shot or two. This was our first visit to Marion and we spent one morning looking around the Tower Square Plaza area where there was a mix of new buildings along with several old places that looked like they’d seen better days.
This was certainly true of the building that once housed The Marion Daily Republican newspaper. I noticed that the sparrows had found a conveniently broken window frame, giving them access to the interior.
The windows at the Lewis building and the former Sheriff’s residence, now home to the Williamson County Historical Society Jail Museum and Library, are in better shape.
Part of our trip to Marion included a visit to Mandala Gardens, more of which I will write about in a future post.
For more on the Weekly Photo Challenge go to Windows
I’ve gone from doors to steps with Ailsa’s Travel Theme challenge. Arriving at the top of the steps; sometimes steps can be quite a challenge, such as these seen here at Copper Falls State Park in Mellen, Wisconsin, especially after a long hike, to which my husband can attest. He did just that, a few weeks before knee replacement surgery this spring.
Going up the steps at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina.
Coming down the steps at Glensheen Mansion in Duluth, Minnesota.
Beautiful steps at the old Dole Mansion in Crystal Lake, Illinois.
For more on Ailsa’s Travel Theme challenge at Where’s My Backpack go to https://wheresmybackpack.com/2017/09/19/travel-theme-steps/
This week, Cee is looking for four-letter words starting with D for her Fun Foto Challenge. While I have plenty of duck, deer and door images, I decided, after sifting through the photo files, to go with dome. These may not, in the grand scheme of things, be quite as elaborate as some of the world-famous domes I could mention, except for the first one and I’m not even sure if that could technically be considered a dome, but I work with what I’ve got.
The Baha’i House of Worship in Wilmette, Illinois.
The dome of the State Capitol building in Springfield, Illinois.
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, Missouri.
The dome of the Old Courthouse in St. Louis, Missouri.
The State Capitol building in Salt Lake City, Utah.
The State Capitol building in Madison, Wisconsin.
The dome of the State Capitol building in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter D – 4 letters words that start with D
It’s always reassuring to know that you have a well-equipped, fully functional, up-to-date fire house nearby. The fire house in downtown Mount Prospect is at the ready and waiting to serve at a moment’s notice. I had reason to be grateful for that, one winter when I slipped and fell on some ice. The prompt attention that I received from the paramedics who were dispatched from there was excellent. Over the years, and at more than one location here in Illinois, we have had occasion to dial 911 and have always received help within minutes.
Nowadays, emergency assistance is usually only a phone call away, but back in the days when Franklin Hose Company No 3 was in existence things might not have been quite that easy. The fire house was built in 1887 and was located at the corner of Main and Irwin in Green Bay, Wisconsin. It was operated by volunteers and was disbanded in 1891. The building was moved to its present home at Heritage Hill State Historical Park in 1975.
For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Fire Trucks, Fire Houses, Fire Hydrant