This week, Cee has chosen Books and Paper as the subject for her Fun Foto Challenge. I love old books and the second-hand book stores that sell them! Some of my favorite places to visit in London were those shops that sold used classics and hard-to-find books. Now, when we visit historic houses and museums, I’m always interested to see just which books they have in their displays, from places like the Stephenson County Historical Museum and the Williamson County Jail Museum in Illinois to the grand library at the Biltmore Mansion in North Carolina.
Pictured above is an ornate photo album on display at the Historical Museum in Marion, Illinois. Below are books that are an important part of my own family history. Both are prayer books and each has an interesting story attached to it. The book on the left was given to my father in 1912 by his uncle who was serving on HMS Black Prince at the time. Shortly after this, he transferred to HMS Indefatigable. Both ships were destroyed by enemy fire during the Battle of Jutland in 1916 with heavy casualties. Uncle William was one of those who died. The book on the right was given to my grandfather by a young girl while he was serving with the Royal Field Artillery as he was riding through a village in Belgium during WWI. She ran out of the crowd and pressed the prayer book into his hand. My mother always thought of her as an angel who had given him a gift that protected him through the worst times of the war and brought him safely back home.
This week, the topic for Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is Barns or any Dilapidated Buildings. I don’t know why, but we very rarely seem to visit places that are not kept in at least reasonably good condition. In future, I will make a point of looking out for the less well-cared-for places. I did manage to find a couple of images that fit the bill, however, so here they are. The first was taken on our trip to Marion last year and features the old Marion Daily Republican building.
One of the things that I used to enjoy about visiting the Farm at Spring Valley Nature Center in Schaumburg was seeing and photographing the old barn. That was many years ago and the barn was already falling apart which, I suspect, added to its mellow charm. They eventually tore it down and replaced it with a garishly-painted new one which, although showing up well in subsequent pictures, couldn’t hold a candle to the old building. Looking at some of these later images, I’m wondering if they perhaps saved one of the old doors, possibly on its historical merits, painted it and incorporated it into the new building. How else could you explain its obvious state of dilapidation.
For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to Barns or Any Dilapidated Buildings
Every city, town or village has a story to tell and Marion in southern Illinois is no exception. Whenever we visit somewhere that is new to us we like to explore and find out as much as we can about the place, not only about the present but also the past, and the best place to learn about the history of Marion is undoubtedly the Williamson County Historical Society Jail Museum and Library. Every floor in this building is packed with interesting memorabilia and artifacts. The jail itself has a story of its own which can be seen here in Jail Time
The past and present are defined by the mix of buildings in the Town Square vicinity, some of which date back to the early 1900’s. While many of these buildings have been well-maintained, some, like the old offices of the Marion Daily Republican newspaper have fallen into disrepair.
The Marion Cultural and Civic Center has undergone extensive renovations but I was happy to see that they had preserved the old entryway inside the new lobby.
This memorial in the Town Square tells another story about the terrible destruction that Marion suffered during a tornado, one of the largest in Illinois history, that touched down in 1982, killing ten people and causing close to $100 million in damages.
It’s interesting to see the different styles of architecture in this city of some 17,800 inhabitants, from the stark lines of the First Baptist Church to the more ornate exterior of the Carnegie Library and even a touch of whimsy as evidenced by a mural painted on the side wall of a local artist co-op that tells its own story.
For more on The Weekly Photo Challenge at The Daily Post go to Story
Cee’s ‘alphabet with a twist’ photo challenge this week is calling for things beginning with i and I may be giving away my family’s cockney roots here when I tell you that this is a song that my grandparents and parents used to sing to me when I was a child and which I passed on to my kids and grandchildren.
“Any old iron? Any old iron?
Any, any, any old iron?
You look neat. Talk about a treat!
You look dapper from your napper to your feet.
Dressed in style, brand-new tile,
With your father’s old green tie on.
But I wouldn’t give you tuppence for your old watch chain,
Old iron, old iron.”
As I mentioned in a previous post, we have spent a lot of time at historical museums and farmhouses and these are just a few of the items that I assume would have been made of cast iron.
The first two images were captured at Kline Creek Farm in West Chicago, Illinois. The next one was taken in the farmhouse kitchen at Spring Valley in Schaumburg.
And the following pictures were taken at the Historical Museum in Marion, Illinois.
For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter I – Needs to start with the letter I
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/