Final Entry

Citizens of DeKalb this is the final post to my DeKalb project.  I wish I could have spent more time working on it as you have a neat little town with a wonderful history.  I barley scratched the surface of what DeKalb has to offer.

I have truly have enjoyed the time I’ve spent here.  Even more, I really appreciate the people I’ve met and the warm reception I was given.

Unfortunately, it’s time for to pack up the hound and move on to life’s next adventure.
Traveling Brody

I mean it’s time for the hound and I to pack up our things and move onto life’s next adventure.
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We’re bound for Florida as soon as Brody figures out how to start the car.
How Do I Start This Thing

It’s been awhile since I’ve regularly updated this project and yet this blog continues to see new traffic everyday. That truly is a testament that folks are interested in your town and it’s rich history. Truly, I hope someone else finds the same inspiration I had and continues to share the treats of DeKalb to the online world.

For my part, I’ve been apart from my kids for 10 years. They both went to Ft Lauderdale after college and neither have given any sign of leaving. Since I couldn’t talk them into moving to Chicago, I’ve given up and I’m moving to Florida.

I hate the weather there, I hate to congestion and density of people there but I love my kids a whole lot more. So off we go …

Brody start your engine.

Sunrise

I’ve been thinking about a new project on old abandoned silos so I get up early this morning to scout around.  Of course, DeKalb county is where I’d like to center this project, so if anyone knows where there are some really old silos still standing shoot me a comment on this thread.

In any case, pulling into DeKalb on Peace Road, this is what I see materializing from the East.

Wired

So, I immediately headed to my favorite spot to shoot in DeKalb and was rewarded with  this scene.
Coaling Tower at Sunrise

and this…
Coaling Tower at Sunrise

By the way, Lothson’s Chicken is one of the most searched posts on this site and since, when I did that post it was in disrepair, I figured I owed Janet a new photo…
Lothsons Karry-Out

Anyway, back to the point, here are samples of the kinds of silo I’m looking for.  What I find interesting is that even after the accompanying barns are long destroyed silos tend to remain to stand vigilant and watchful over the farmland they once supported.  Truth is, they’re too damn expensive to tear down but I find it romantic in a Don Quixote kind of way.

So, if you can help me out, let me know…

Silo

Silo

Note: I received a comment correcting me in that the first silo isn’t a silo at all but a water tower. Thank you John for the correction.

Visit to Galena

Signs of GalenaGalena, Illinois is another Midwest town with a lot of character and for the photographer is filled with eye candy.

If you’re not familiar with Galena, I did a photo capsule of the town a few years ago here.  It’s also easy to find information about Galena through web searches.  A complete photogallery of Galena is here.

But, if you like old, storied architecture like the DeSoto House Hotel, complete with Hauntings.  This is a place to visit.

DeSoto House Hotel

Galena has been highly commercialized as a tourist destination so if you like quaint little shops and restaurants, it has plenty to offer.

Signs of Galena Signs of Galena Wall Art

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Galena is also home to the largest Halloween parade in Illinois.

The Halloween Festival and Parade brings about 20,000 people to the town for the day but the participants take their costumes and parade floats pretty seriously and worth doing.

Galena Halloween Festival

They even have a working Blacksmith Shop run by a couple of very interesting guys.  Blacksmithing is a lost art and the gentlemen here are volunteers and any proceeds they earn goes directly to charity.  Pretty cool.

Galena Blacksmith

Yes, I know this is a DeKalb blog and again I apologize for not having updated it in awhile.  I’m also still looking for ideas, so feel free to comment if you have something cool.  On the other hand, now that Fall and Winter are coming my free time to travel will expand so you never know when I might start popping in.  Thanks for Looking.

 

Ellwood Green Water Tower

One of the distinctions between PA (home) and Illinois is the population of water towers. Out here in the flat lands, water towers are needed to create sufficient water pressure to deliver potable water and to provide reserves for emergency service. Back home, we have hills and mountains to do that for us naturally. Plus there are an abundant number of rivers, streams and underground springs. Water pressure I’m sure needs assistance but not to the point that you find water towers anywhere near the number that dot the landscape here. Point is, when I came to Illinois, they were somewhat of a novelty to me. If fact, I’ve thought a couple of times of doing a photo project just on water towers. If I ever did, I’d start with this one….
Ellwood Green Water Tower

This is the Water Tower at Ellwood Green. Built in the 1890’s it is the only surviving structure of the stable complex where Ellwood bred and raised Percheron draft horses. The original stables were built in 1879. When Ellwood started raising cattle in Texas and stopped raising Percherons the Water Tank was removed and the top was replaced with coordinating limestone which gives it the appearance of a silo. The structure to the right is a multi=car garage that was built in 1912 for the Perry Ellwoods.

DeKalb Album Updated

Updated the DeKalb Album with some photos that I’ve collected but haven’t done a post about.  Aside from the Glidden Homestead which is already well documented elsewhere, if you see anything here that has a story please post a comment. I am especially interested in any historical citations or incidental facts related to the Barb Wire Factory. Otherwise, click on Photo Album in the Header and enjoy the full gallery.

Orignal Barb Wire Factory

Evidence of Masonic Affiliation

Double Decker

Cherub Bath

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Orignal Barb Wire Factory

St Mary’s Glass

One of the many treasures of DeKalb is St. Marys Catholic Church. Back on May 9th, I posted on St Mary’s at 4th and Pine in DeKalb. At the time I remarked I really wanted to return to photograph the inside.
Thanks to Father Anderson I was able to do that. Coincidentally, the day I arrived for the shoot was Father Anderson’s last day at the parish. Talk about timing.

My interest in photographing the interior of St. Mary’s was not about the architecture. While pleasing, St. Mary’s is not in the ornate class of many other churches I’ve seen.
St. Marys Dekalb IL

What peaked my interest was the Stained Glass. Some of the most exquisite samples I’ve seen.
St. Marys Dekalb IL

When you look at the windows from a distance you don’t really absorb the intense color and detail they have to offer. To that end, each of the shots  I took were photographed specifically to draw out the beauty that would likely be overlooked or under appreciated in the more casual view.  And since a Blog Post isn’t the best place to showcase photographs, please click on this link or the image below to view the complete gallery of St Mary’s in large scale. I hope you enjoy.

And, by the way, the church does offer a book; Stained Glass Treasures It’s available at the parish office.

St. Marys Dekalb IL
While the Stained Glass is the Visual Feature of St Marys I can’t go anywhere without looking for unique detail. I leave you with these…

St. Marys Dekalb ILSt. Marys Dekalb ILSt. Marys Dekalb IL

St. Marys

St MarysThe story of this church building began, in 1894, under the leadership of Father P.J. O’Connor. A bigger church, with room for 600 worshippers, was needed and in the Spring of 1899, the foundation was begun.

Fr. James Solon (1899-1940) completed the church in 1901. The church, which is still used today, is a strong Gothic structure covered with blue Bedford stone and 24 magnificent stained glass windows which were imported from Germany.

All of the windows in the church today are original except the Rose window above the altar. This window was destroyed in the 1973 fire and is a duplicate. The complete history can be found here.

At some point, I hope to photograph the interior as it is beautiful and the stained glass windows are truly magnificent. But, for now, here are a couple of images of the exterior.

 

St Marys

St Marys

Lothsons Revisited

A few weeks ago I did a post about this legendary Karry Out in a post titled Where Chicken is King
 
In that post I noted that I was uncertain as to the operating status of the restaurant at this time.   To her credit, Janet set me straight and here is proof.    Two “Open” signs and Janet hustling around behind the counter clinch it for me!
 
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So, of course, I had to go in and get some of the best chicken on earth.   It was wonderful to meet Janet in person.   She was nice, gracious and never stopped bustling around cooking fresh batches of chicken while I was there.
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Now, I am the first to admit I don’t like chicken.   Actually, for a number of years I loathed poultry of any sort.   That’s a different story from another time in my life.   But, to this day, I am very critical about chicken preparation.   I find most places cook the absolute life out of their chicken.   Way too dry and way too tasteless.   For all you chicken lovers out there, sorry!   But, most of you are just digging the seasoning, not the actual chicken.   Ok, the grilled, boiled, healthy types you can chime in.
 
Seriously though, I really did enjoy my Karry-Out from Lothsons.   Truly a place where Chicken Is King.

What Time Are You Open

Merchants of DeKalb, want to increase your revenue?  I have 2 tips for you.
1)  Be Open for Business when your customers want to shop.
2) Get together and develop some consistent store hours.

What Time R U Open

What you have now is one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen.

Before I go any further, let me explain, I don’t really care what hours you’re open or even why you choose the crazy business hours some of you keep.

I’m guessing most of you own your own businesses and you are entitled to be open whenever you want.

But, I will make an observation that can’t be refuted,  The inconsistency impacts business for all of you. It thwarts people who would otherwise go Downtown after work to walk around and browse.

In other words, each of you have made yourself a “Destination” location and yet few of you carry the core merchandise staples that destination locations like Grocer’s, Drug Stores, etc. offer.

I’m just saying, there’s a lot of retail growth around the fringes of DeKalb.  Mainstream retailers that are actually open during the hours and days that people are available to shop.

In the long term, if you want to “Revitalize Downtown”, a phrase I hear a lot, it isn’t going to work under the current paradigm.

You can make downtown DeKalb as pretty as you want, but if the majority of merchants aren’t open at the same time, you won’t attract business.

Some of it makes sense, most of it doesn’t.  In my mind, the restaurants and bars have more latitude than retail merchants.

What Time R U OpenLothson’s is strictly a carry out place. Whatever hours Janet chooses to be open has no impact on anything else. Lothson’s is truly a destination location.

What Time R U Open
The Lincoln Inn falls into this classification as well. There are plenty of places to eat dinner downtown, but only one that I am aware of that caters to Breakfast.

Bill is happy with his morning and lunch trade and it actually compliments the other restaurants that cater to after work traffic.

Then there is the more ludicrous!
What Time R U Open

 

If you plan to go to Andy’s, you’d better be a local and a hardcore Andy’s fan.

I have heard from a number of people that Andy’s is open most everyday.

For a little while anyway!
But, certainly not the hours that are posted.

If I can ever catch this place when it is actually open, I hope to learn more as I still have unanswered questions about the fate of McCabes. But, from some of what I’ve heard, that may end up being a story that’s not worth sharing.

I guess the attitude of the local merchants can best be described in this next image.
What Time R U Open

There is a certain arrogance or level of entitlement that emanates from a message like this. I don’t think that’s the intent but the message exists never-the-less.

Listen, I realize I took a hard position on this. I bear no malice towards any of the merchants. You all have a much greater entrepreneurial spirit than I possess.

Individually, there’s nothing wrong. Collectively, the impact is that these inconsistencies create confusion and thwart a more vital downtown business district which impacts all of you.

Perhaps worse, it conveys that you put your interests ahead of your customers. This is very, very dangerous strategy in a world that is rapidly migrating to online shopping. Online, stores are always open for business.

What Time R U Open
I will leave you with two additional comments.

First, (tongue in cheek), it appears the city of DeKalb is aligned with it’s merchants, judging strictly by some of the inconsistent parking hours around town.

What a conundrum this must be for town counsel. Allowing willy-nilly shop keeper hours has a direct impact on tax revenue, yet forcing restrictions, risks merchants taking down their shingle.

Second, the images used here and in the slide show below are just a representative sample of the diversity of days and hours businesses are open. I got tired of taking photos, long before I ran out of examples.

Thanks for looking.

 
 
 
 

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