This week, Patti has chosen Street Art as the subject for the Lens-Artists Photo Challenge so I decided to revisit my trip to downtown Chicago for the Air & Water Show last summer. There is always so much to see in the city and you can bet you will come across some street art in one form or another. Thirty-three of these brightly-painted police dogs, placed mostly along the Magnificent Mile, helped to raise money for the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.
Today’s image for Becky’s September Squares ‘In the Pink’ photo challenge was taken at the Jeremy Rochman Memorial Park in Carbondale, Illinois.
This rather poignant figure is one of a series of Dungeons & Dragons characters in a park that was dedicated by a father to a much-loved son who was killed in a car accident at 19 years of age. For more on this touching tribute see Dungeons and Dragons in Carbondale. For more on Becky’s September Squares photo challenge go to Hello September!
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
This week, Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge requires a word with two m’s and here I have two for the price of one; monuments and memorials. Go to just about any place and you will see a memorial of some kind, whether it’s in a big city or small town. You only have to go to the local cemetery to see some remarkable examples of ornate memorials such as this one in Bluff City Cemetery in Elgin, Illinois.
And you don’t necessarily have to visit a cemetery to see an impressive memorial or monument. There are some that demand a place with much more prominence such as the 284ft-tall Indiana State Soldiers and Sailors Monument built on Monument Circle in the heart of downtown Indianapolis, Indiana.
Some memorials are smaller but no less poignant, such as this one in Port Huron, Michigan. The anchor was recovered from the “John S Martin,” a 225ft schooner loaded with iron ore, that sank on August 4, 1900 while trying to avoid the wreckage of the “Fontana” that had sunk several weeks before. The “Martin” collided with another ship, the “Yuma” and four crewmen from the “Martin” died as a result.
Many memorials are dedicated to those who have given their lives in the service of others, such as this one in Lexington, Kentucky.
And some are dedicated to those who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time but are no less worthy of recognition, such as the tornado memorial in downtown Marion, Illinois.
The 630ft Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri, is the tallest man-made arch in the USA. It was built as a monument to westward expansion, cost $13 million to construct and was completed in 1965. Let me tell you, the view from the top is astounding!
Easily recognizable is Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. These iconic sculptures of four US Presidents, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln are as much a testament to all those who were involved in its creation as it is to the people that it depicts.
Also in South Dakota, The Crazy Horse Memorial is a giant sculpture of the Oglala Lakota warrior Crazy Horse. Begun in 1948 this monument is under construction on private land and is still far from completion. If it is ever finished, it could possibly be the world’s largest sculpture.
From man-made memorials to a natural phenomenon, Devil’s Tower in Wyoming became the first declared United States National Monument, on September 24, 1906 by President Theodore Roosevelt.
For more on Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge go to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Letter M – Needs to have 2 M’s anywhere in the word
Another side trip that we took, as a result of our recent visit to Marion, Illinois, was to see the Jeremy Rochman Memorial Park in Carbondale. This park is a father’s touching tribute to his son, killed in an automobile accident in 1993, at the young age of 19 years. Jeremy “Boo” Rochman was a great fan of ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ and his love of this game was the inspiration for the park’s theme.
Everywhere you look, there are sculpted figures based on the characters in the game.
There’s an awesome castle for kids to explore, with all kinds of creatures lurking inside and outside the walls.
If you look carefully, you may see a fairy or a winged horse.
AND HERE BE DRAGONS!!
I managed to squeeze through a narrow opening in the castle to watch as this skillful artist added some colorful figures to one of the walls.
And while you’re walking around the park, don’t forget to look up in the trees. You never know what could be watching you from up above.
This private park at 31 Homewood Drive in Carbondale is open to the public from 9am to dusk. Admission is free but donations are gratefully accepted.
If you are ever in the Carbondale area of Illinois and you have some time to spare, I strongly urge you to pay a visit to this park. I get very emotional about memorials such as this and couldn’t help shedding a few tears, thinking about this young man, cut down in his prime, who might possibly have been looking down with a smile at all the young children (and adults) who were there enjoying this delightful fantasy world.