Starved Rock Country Magazine_ Spring 2019

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State of the

ART How the region is becoming an Illinois art hub


for 5

Four restaurants to check out for Cinco de Mayo


City woman makes her home — and a refuge for animals — in Starved Rock Country

Additional copies at 801 E. U.S. Highway 6, Utica 61373

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Wheel your way through the scenery on 2 bicycle tours

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why wait for the weekend?

Our lodge is rockin’ on the weekdays, too. Visit us at m ek we for our mid getaway deals!

Enjoy the romance without the distractions. Midweek is quieter and less crowded, making it the perfect time to relax on our veranda, perched high above the scenic Illinois River Valley in beautiful Starved Rock State Park— voted the #1 attraction in Illinois. Built in 1939 by the Civilian Conservation Corps and listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, Starved Rock Lodge welcomes you with a friendly staff, comfortable accommodations and delicious dining options. So book a weekday reservation today. We’ll save a chair for you. W H E R E





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Spring l Vol. 7 No. 1 March 2019 / 27,000 110 West Jefferson Street, Ottawa, Illinois 61350

the heARTLAND of starved rock country 32 40

The Who, What, and Where of the Arts Cover Story: Your introduction to artists, what they make, and art celebrations around the region

Noticing a Pattern in Ottawa The Studio: When you spot the many mosaics in downtown Ottawa, Susan Burton is behind them



Mural, Mural on the Wall Must See: Get a dual dose of art and history on a walking tour of Streator’s 18 murals





MAPPED OUT: Find your way in Starved Rock Country






A Taste of Mexico in Illinois Good Taste: Restaurateurs share their culture by bringing authentic flavor to the region

Come Along for the Ride Must Try: If you enjoy bicycling, the Z Tour Bike Ride is the event for you

Each Office Independently Owned & Operated

ON THE COVER When people think of where to go for visual and performing arts, they may think of the city. But don’t be fooled by the rural setting of Starved Rock Country — the region has plenty to offer for both nature and art. Turn to page 30 to learn how the region is becoming a premier art hub in North Central Illinois. Learn about our artists, galleries and art events, such as the monthly Second Friday art show at the historic Westclox building in Peru (shown on the cover). Photo by Tom Sistak Starved Rock Country

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2771 N. Columbus St. Ottawa • 815-434-3337 Email: Spring 2019 3

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Princess enjoys some time with 2nd Hand Ranch & Rescue owner Nancy Johnson before a new family arrives for adoption day.

Home on the Ranch Settlers: Nancy Johnson has lived in Minnesota, Greece and Chicago ... but Starved Rock Country is the home she chose for herself and her family of rescue animals

We e offer: •S State approved boating cllasses free to the public •B Boat safety checks •V Visitor Center for the Illinois and Michigan Canal, a National Heritage Corridor N • Listed in Illinois Wildlife and Nature Viewing Guidebook N •S Special programs for groups •T The best view of Starved Rock State Park R • Bookstore with Canal and River History Items


18 Boyce and the Boy Scouts Past Tense: The founder of the Boy Scouts of America has roots in Starved Rock Country

27 What’s With the Hamburger Man? Offbeat: Have you seen the statue of the hamburger man? There’s a story behind him

51 A Neon Blast to the Past Sign of the Times: If you’re in La Salle, look for the beacon of Rudy’s

52 From Delia, With Love Made in SRC: Cordelia Murphy puts care into her craft, which includes graphic design and custom soaps

58 Where You’ll Find One of a Kind Treasures: Clarks Run Antiques prides itself on high-quality antiques as well as original artwork — buyers will find unique products at the Utica shop

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Starved Rock Country magazine is published quarterly or seasonally four times per year. Shaw Media 110 W. Jefferson St. Ottawa, IL 61350 815-431-4019 Email photo or article submission queries to Copyright 2019. Reproduction or use of editorial or graphic content in any manner, without permission, is prohibited. Spring 2019 Edition / 27,000 copies

PUBLISHER Dan Goetz EDITOR Tammie Sloup ASSOCIATE EDITOR Derek Barichello PHOTO EDITOR Tom Sistak GRAPHICS AND DESIGN Julie Barichello PRODUCTION Rhonda Dillon CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Brent Bader Derek Barichello Annette Barr Dan Churney Stephanie Jaquins Mike Murphy Tammie Sloup Charles Stanley Steve Stout CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Annette Barr Tom Sistak CONTRIBUTING ARTIST Charlie Ellerbrock

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Table has been set for arts hub I

f you’re a frequent reader of Starved Rock Country magazine (and we hope that you are!), you’ll notice our cover is a bit different than past editions. Often, we like to showcase the outdoor beauty of our region through photos of animals in the wild, or a kayaker on a glimmering river, or an ice climber picking his way up one of Starved Rock’s towering ice falls. But our beauty is not limited to the outdoors. In recent years, we’ve noticed a movement happening — an arts movement. Not just in the form of art galleries, but in how our region is accepting and cultivating the arts in Starved Rock Country. This is happening through events, workshops, public projects and displays, and several umbrella organizations budding and experienced artists can utilize for guidance and support. Those entrenched in the arts community tell us they’re excited about what’s on the horizon. “People are beginning to realize the talent we have around here,” said Ottawa resident Laurie Ragan, of Laurie Ragan Fine Art. Ragan, a painter, is just one of the many artists who call Starved Rock Country home. And she, along with many of her contemporaries, are noticing a shift in the local art scene in the past few years as more events and opportunities have allowed artists to showcase their work. Julie Jenkins, a visual artist from Peru and co-founder and secretary of North Central Illinois ARTworks, agrees artists are finding more chances to display work. “I think the arts scene is getting a lot bigger. Economic growth and development can be achieved through the arts,” said Jenkins. “The arts are broader. It’s not just visual arts.” The Starved Rock Country Community Foundation manages The Arts of Starved

Rock Country fund, which helps promote artistic endeavors and holds events to honor artists. President Pamela Beckett said they’re in the midst of creating an arts-centric website that would not only create a comprehensive calendar of artistic events in the area but also spotlight every noteworthy artist in the area as well as available venues. In our cover story, we’ll introduce you to some area artists, as well as galleries and arts-centric events to check out. We’ll also take you on a tour of the Streator Walldogs project — in which artists from around the world traveled to Streator for a weekend last summer and painted — along with local artists — more than a dozen murals depicting the city’s history. The table has been set, and we’re eager to see how the arts culture blossoms in Starved Rock Country. In this edition, we’ll also introduce you to a new feature dubbed “Signs of The Times.” During an editorial brainstorming session, a writer suggested a feature on a historical and eye-catching sign in the area. The other writers at the table piggy-backed on that idea, tossing out suggestions for interesting signs we might consider. So, in each edition, we’ll feature one of these signs, with the first being the neon beacon for Rudy’s Liquors in La Salle. (When you see the sign, try to guess how many light bulbs are on each side.) As we start our seventh year of this magazine (holy cow!), we are proud to help market this region for not only day and weekend trips, but also a place to consider opening a business or calling home. As a transplant from the Chicago suburbs myself, I can say Starved Rock Country is worth a visit ... or two ... or three.


AMMIE SLOUP Editor Starved Rock Country Spring 2019 5

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| Se ttlers |

“Meant to Be Here” I Was Just Story and Photos by Annette Barr


hen Nancy Johnson discovered a five-acre lot in Bureau County in 2003, she knew she found a place to build her dream house. However, it was several years later following a battle with cancer that she realized she had actually found her home. Born in Minnesota, Johnson spent a year living in Greece with her mother and her mother’s boyfriend

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before making Chicago, specifically the Rogers Park neighborhood, her home when she was just entering double digits. By age 15 her mother died and Johnson became an emancipated minor. In 1981, on the day she turned 16, she got a job at Nightingale-Conant, a producer of audio programs aimed at self-help and personal development. She stayed there 16 years. Starved Rock Country

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OPPOSITE PAGE: Nancy Johnson and Spatz, a bottle-fed goat who has made 2nd Hand Ranch & Rescue his home since he was 6 weeks old, take a rest on the deck at Dana’s Retreat. The small cottage is being constructed on the ranch to honor Dana Deutsch, Johnson’s close friend and a fellow animal rescuer who lost her battle with cancer last spring. Visitors will be able to stay at the cottage and connect with nature. RIGHT: Johnson holds Know, a black fox, in the soon-to-be remodeled fox enclosure.

It was in 1996 when Johnson and her then-husband moved to Ottawa to work at Skydive Chicago. “We fell in love with the Illinois Valley,” Johnson said. “I was just meant to be here. It’s just a great community.” While active in the community and the Ottawa Garden Club, she made a trip to Hornbaker Gardens in Princeton following her divorce in 2003. That is when she discovered the timbered lot that would become her home and 2nd Hand Ranch & Rescue. “It all started because back in 2006 I found a baby squirrel here and couldn’t find its mother,” Johnson said between sips of hot tea with cream and sugar. She had grown up seeing her own mother nurse baby birds, injured squir-

rels and the occasional kitten back to health, so it wasn’t much of a leap to take on the task herself. In 2008 she became licensed with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and in 2011 2nd Hand Ranch & Rescue became a licensed nonprofit. The ranch serves as a sanctuary to senior pets, farm animals and some wildlife unable to be released. Others are rehabilitated and returned to the wild. Some pets find a second chance

Pumpkin is a rescued fur-farm fox. He and Know, a black fox, are not wild or native to the area. The two are permanent ranch residents. Starved Rock Country

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with a new family through adoption. In the midst of caring for her growing brood on the ranch and commuting daily to DeKalb for her job with the Illinois Department of Agriculture as the Gypsy Moth Program Manager, Johnson became sick. It was 2015 and the diagnosis was cancer ­— NonHodgkin’s Lymphoma. Unable to work and keep up with daily chores, and spending six days at a time in Peoria for treatment, Johnson needed help. Friends and volunteers stepped up and took care of the ranch and its inhabitants. A fundraiser brought in $25,000. Cops 4 Cancer, an organization made up of police officers from throughout the Illinois Valley, paid her mortgage a few times. She was able to finish treatment without owing any bills. And that’s when Johnson knew she belonged in Starved Rock Country. “Then I truly knew that this was home. … Even with being sick we kept on going. It was like having a wake but you’re alive,” Johnson said reflecting on that year. “I didn’t know I had such an impact in the community. It was like an ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’ moment.” Vickie Scoma, from La Salle, first met Johnson when she was fighting cancer. Later Johnson helped Scoma with a dog she rescued that needed emergency vet care and surgery. “She just has that spirit that makes you feel like instant friends,” Scoma said. “Nancy brings a much needed Spring 2019 9

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‘I wouldn’t be here without the Illinois Valley. ... I’m alive because of this community.’ awareness to this community about the importance of education, compassion, and advocacy when it comes to animals. She works tirelessly to defend and protect helpless creatures who don’t have a voice. She gives of herself to the point of exhaustion and never gives up or considers anything impossible. She is a wealth of knowledge and expertise when it comes to rescue and wildlife rehab and she is a friend to every living creature. She teaches us that every creature deserves kindness and respect and she makes this world a much better place just by being herself. She is a gift in every way imaginable.” Walking amongst the ever growing collection of outbuildings on the ranch, Johnson is accompanied by a goat named Spatz who seems to take his job

Winkin’ is one of three African guinea fowl who call the ranch home. as resident good-will ambassador quite seriously. “I would be in the hospital and I would get photos of people weeding the garden, taking care of the animals, and I knew I was part of the community,” Johnson said with a warm smile. “You would

never see this in Chicago — ­ the taking care of your own. I wouldn’t be here without the Illinois Valley. … I’m alive because of this community.” For more information about 2nd Hand Ranch & Rescue visit S R and find them on Facebook. C




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| Go od Taste |

My Oh Mayo A plate of nachos from Jalapeño’s in Peru.

4 restaurants fit for the fiesta on Cinco de Mayo


Story by Derek Barichello, Photos contributed and from Starved Rock Country file

Esther’s Sueño, which transtrip to Esther’s Sueño in lated mean’s Esther’s Dream, is Ottawa is like walking an apt name. into someone’s kitchen Esther came from Mexico to at home. the United States as a bride at Owner and cook Esther age 16, settled in Ottawa and Granados is there to greet you has five children living there. and take your order. She worked at a factory in A Mexican food carryout with Ottawa, and when it shut down a couple of tables for dining, it’s she had trouble finding a new run from the kitchen of a forjob. mer union banquet hall. Her daughter Angie encourPhotographs line the walls near aged her to open a restaurant. the tables, along with assorted “She was a great cook at knick knacks. home; that’s where she always Esther’s entrance is tucked Enchiladas prepared by Esther Granados, of Esther’s Sueño. was the happiest — the whole behind the building at 519 W. family knew that,” Angie said Madison St. That may help in a previous article for The Times newsThe menu features tacos, burritos, fajiexplain why after 17 years, Esther’s is paper. tas, quesadillas and enchiladas. The best still being discovered by local folks — Esther’s startup was aided by patronvalue is $1 tacos every Friday, but a full although once found, its location and age from her former coworkers at the stomach can be easily accomplished for delicious Mexican food prove like a trip factory. less than $10. to Grandma’s house. 12 Spring 2019

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Esther Granados (above) sits outside her restaurant, Esther’s Sueño, which is tucked away behind the building at 519 W. Madison St., Ottawa. The inside of her restaurant (shown below) feels like a home, and diners can watch as Esther prepares food made to order.

While working at the factory, she would make up tacos, burritos and enchiladas at home, which she brought to work in a cooler with wheels. Many of those coworkers became her first restaurant customers. After five or six years, Esther was well established and a bigger location was suggested by her family, but Esther has stuck with her unique locale. She likes to keep the menu fresh, buying her ingredients from across the street at the Handy Foods supermarket. If produce items are on sale, chances are some of it will end up in the kitchen, which is how customers find themselves trying new things. Cinco de Mayo has special significance at Esther’s Sueño. The celebration is not Mexico’s independence day, as often thought — that’s Sept. 16. Starved Rock Country

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This meal at La Michoacana includes one pastor taco, a homemade tamale, a carnitas taco, a scoop of ice cream and a bottle of soda.

A frozen margarita from Jalapeño’s It actually commemorates the Mexican army’s victory over French troops at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862. In the U.S. and elsewhere it also has become a day to spotlight Mexican cuisine, culture and music. At Esther’s, the holiday also commemorates when the eatery opened 14 years ago. Esther’s has traditionally hosted a DJ for the holiday, selling her tacos for $1. There are plenty more Mexican restau14 Spring 2019

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The dining room is festive at Jalapeño’s.

Esther’s Sueño Address: 519 W. Madison St., Ottawa — entry around back Phone: 815-422-9484 Payment accepted: Cash

rants in Starved Rock Country to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Here are three other unique options:

Jalapeño’s Jalapeño’s in Peru is a welcome destination for a variety of diners. Whether it’s date night, a family outing or a group gathering, Jalapeño’s spacious restaurant fits seemingly any occasion. The atmosphere is casual with several TVs and a bar, serving up raspberry, lime or pina colada margaritas. Lines are common on weekend dinner Starved Rock Country

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La Michoacana in La Salle serves authentic Mexican food, including traditional frozen Mexican desserts and ice cream.

A trio of tacos at La Michoacana

La Michoacana has many taco varieties.

hours, but they move fast. Customers also pay at the counter, which may make the entryway feel busier. While the Address: 4387 restaurant Venture Drive, Peru is comfortPhone: 815-220-1638 able, its food is the Website: real draw. Jalapeño’s


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Diners enjoy a meal inside La Michoacana in La Salle.

staff cuts their vegetables daily and uses fresh ingredients to prepare dishes. Enrique Delgado moved from Peoria and opened the restaurant in 2003 to bring authentic Mexican food to the area. His parents still live in Mexico, which is where he takes his inspiration for his dishes. The menu features burritos, enchiladas, seafood, chimichangas, carnitas, tamales and fajitas, among other entrees. The menu also caters to vegetarians.

You’d be hard pressed to skip the chimichangas, which are deep fried flour tortillas, filled with beef tips and beans, topped with nacho cheese and red sauce. Don’t stop at dinner: try Jalapeño’s fried ice cream, or an apple banana chimichanga, which is a flour tortilla fried with cinnamon and honey, and served with a scoop of ice cream. If Delgado catches you before you’re walking out the door, he will greet you with: “See you tomorrow.” Spring 2019 15

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Mr. Salsa’s Mexican Restaurant Address: 309 E. Walnut St., Oglesby Facebook: Phone: 815-883-9299 be the most apt translation. Sanchez calls the experimentation the restaurant does with the frozen dessert “the art of paletas.”

Mr. Salsa’s

Mr. Salsa’s in Oglesby is a local favorite known for both its drinks and food.

Sweet stuff La Michoacana Paleteria y Neveria is a mouthful to say. That’s fitting for a restaurant and ice cream parlor serving authentic Mexican eats at an inexpensive cost — you’ll probably be leaving with a full belly after Address: 836 Second getting a St., La Salle full Website: mouth’s worth of food. Phone: 815-220-1840 Part of the reason owner Arnie Sanchez opened the restaurant was because he noticed people were looking for a more unique alternative to typical fast food restaurants. “Now people are looking for some-

La Michoacana

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thing more ethnic,” he said. “We’re all tired of burgers. We want something different.” Everything at the La Salle restaurant, from the ice cream to the paletas, to the food, sauces, salsa and seasoning, is made from scratch. Speaking of the paletas, the traditional frozen Mexican desserts are one of the most popular items at the eatery. Made with all natural ingredients, paletas are essentially a popsicle or ice cream bar made in-house using special equipment brought in from Mexico. That equipment allows the restaurant, located at the corner of Second and Joliet streets, to experiment with new flavors and types of paletas, which can be ice cream-, water- or yogurt-based. Paleta has many translations into English including spatula, trowel, shoulder blade and an artist’s palette. For La Michoacana, the latter might

Ask the regulars at this Oglesby TexMex destination and they’ll affirm: “This is the best Mexican restaurant around.” On the east side of Oglesby’s downtown, Mr. Salsa’s has a neighborhood atmosphere and is family owned. A small bar serves as the hub for margaritas or cervezas. Leather cushion seating also gives the restaurant a supper club feel. There are a number of house specials on the menu, each one characterized by a generous portion. A featured entree is the carne asada a la tampiquena, which is a traditional Mexican steak, served with a cheese enchilada. Mr. Salsa’s also features menu items for those who might not like Mexican cuisine, such as fried chicken, burgers S R and gyros. C

Mr. Salsa’s serves traditional Mexican comfort food, like these tacos. Starved Rock Country

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The Ottawa Historical and Scouting Museum includes this replica of W.D. Boyce’s home office in Ottawa created from a family photograph. Boyce is seated at the desk and on the settee is his daughter Sydney. Sydney married Dickinson Bishop, a Titanic sinking survivor, and they resided in Ottawa.

| Past Tense |

The Man Behind the Boy Scouts Founder of Boy Scouts of America Has Ottawa Roots Story by Charles Stanley, Photos by Tom Sistak


An assortment of W.D. Boyce’s personal possessions are on display at the museum. 18 Spring 2019

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very Boy Scout and Scout leader has heard the tale of how more than a century ago an American businessman, lost in a London fog, was approached by a uniformed English boy who took him to his destination. Intrigued by his young guide, the American went on to found the Boy Scouts of America in 1910. But from there, for many, details that may tend to slip back into the fog are that the American was William D. Boyce and he

came from Ottawa, Illinois. Boyce’s legacy is strong at the Ottawa Historical and Scouting Heritage Museum. “When you’re looking for something that nobody else in the country has, we’ve got Boyce,” said Mollie Perrot, the museum’s executive director. “He lived here and he’s buried here.” Although his two Ottawa homes are gone, artifacts, photos and documents tell of Boyce’s life and adventures. Boyce may be a two-dimensional figure elsewhere, but

while he lived Boyce was larger than life. For example, the reason he was in London to begin with when he met that English Scout was to arrange for a “balloonograph” expedition to Africa where aerial photography was to be conducted from a gas balloon. Boyce could indulge in such fancies due to the fortune he amassed as a publisher of popular periodicals of the day. By 1916, his fortune was $20 million — which translated to more Starved Rock Country

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than $460 million today. William Dickson Boyce was born to a Pennsylvania farm family in 1858. By the time he moved to Ottawa from Chicago, he was a renowned explorer, world traveler and successful businessman. What brought him to Starved Rock Country was in 1900, Boyce decided to open a paper plant in nearby Marseilles. Seven months after it was finished, however, the plant was destroyed by fire. Hiring his plant workers as a construction crew, the resourceful Boyce rebuilt the plant. In 1902 Boyce bought the palatial home of former Ottawa Mayor Frederick Sherwood. The four-story house built on a 38-acre estate had 16 bedrooms and 15 fireplaces. It was Boyce’s home until it burned in 1908 and was rebuilt on a more modest scale. Boyce was remembered as a tough but shrewd businessman. The 2003 book “W.D. Boyce and American Boy Scouting” by Janice Petterchak, tells a story by the late Marseilles Fire Chief John Armstrong. It recounts how a distracted Boyce told Gordon Coffeen, an installer from the Marseilles Telephone Company, where to put his new phone by pointing to the floor of a far corner of his office. Boyce was furious when he later discovered he had to lay on the office floor to make a call. Boyce complained to phone company manager E.H. Spicer who told him, “Just a minute, Mr. Boyce, my man put that phone exactly where you told him to put it.” Boyce reflected for a moment and asked Spicer, “Does that man always do exactly as he is told?” When Spicer said he did, Boyce offered Coffeen a job and kept him on the payroll until he died. On a personal level, Boyce could be generous. His practice of distributing one-pound boxes of candy to Ottawa and Marseilles schoolchildren earned him the nickname “The Candy Kid.” Before long, Boyce had a falling out with Boy Scout administrators. In 1915 he started the Lone Starved Rock Country

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This life-size statue “The Boy Scout” was unveiled in 1941 at W.D. Boyce’s grave in the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery.

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W.D. Boyce

Scouts of America for boys who had rural homes and could not attend troop activities. It also was based on a British counterpart. After nine years the Lone Scouts were merged into the mainstream Scout movement. Yet, despite their differences, Boy Scout executives never lost sight of Boyce’s contributions. In 1926, when the national scouting organization gave out its first Silver Buffalo Awards for distinguished service the first three were to Lord Robert Baden-Powell, the British general who founded the Scout movement, the unknown Scout who inspired Boyce, and Boyce himself. When Boyce died in 1929, Chief Scout Executive James West came to Ottawa to deliver the eulogy. The museum is not the first tribute to Boyce. A duplicate of the life-size 1937 statue “The Boy Scout” by Robert Tait McKenzie was unveiled on June 21, 1941, at Boyce’s grave in the Ottawa Avenue Cemetery. Also, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America, five vintage-style gas lights were installed around the war veterans fountain in the center of the Washington Square park in downtown Ottawa. At the dedication on Oct. 8, 20 Spring 2019

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This 10-foot table of Circassian walnut came from a tree W.D. Boyce spotted while flying over the Himalayas. He had the tree cut down and shipped to an organ factory in Ottawa where it was made into the table. It was donated to the museum in 2017 by Jan Ferracuti. The enlarged photo to the rear shows the table in its original setting in Boyce’s Ottawa mansion. 1960, an estimated 15,000 scouts and leaders were on hand and the London fog meeting was reenacted. The gas lights were removed when the center of the park was remodeled to honor the 1858 debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas. But the 1960 dedication was a glorious sight. The Boy Scouts paraded from Washington Square to the Boyce’s Grave accompanied by more than a dozen cars filled with aging former Lone Scouts. The Ottawa Historical and Scouting Museum is located at 1100 Canal St. Hours are Thursday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for youths through age 17. Special rates for groups of more than 10 and 25 are offered. For additional information call 815-431-9353 or visit ottawascoutingmuseum. S R org. C

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| Must Try |

Costumes, Live Music, Scenic Routes

All Part of the Z Tour Story by Mike Murphy, Photos contributed


ny bicycle tour loves to have plenty of local riders. And in Princeton, that includes the mayor. “I participate every year. My wife and I do the 30-mile ride,” said Joel Quiram, the city’s chief executive. “It’s so well-run and well-organized. They run it so well and the weather usually cooperates. It’s a great day.” The name of the event is the Z Tour Bike Ride, set for Saturday, July 20. Now in its ninth year, the event will start and finish at the corner of Zearing Park Drive and South Euclid Avenue. To many bicyclists, the Z Tour can be a bit of a surprise, said Ryan Crouch, a Princeton resident and 22 Spring 2019

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Z Tour Bike Ride The ninth annual Z Tour Bike Ride will be Saturday, July 20, starting and finishing in Zearing Park, at the corner of Zearing Park Drive and South Euclid Avenue, Princeton. Start times will be 6 to 9:30 a.m. A $30 pre-registration rate will be available through June 25, and will be $35 from June 25 to July 19. The fee will be $40 in person, July 19 and 20; A “Me + 3” program offers $25 in Princeton Area Chamber of Commerce gift certificates for four riders who register together. Additional information is available at tour. org,, or by calling Lauren Widmer at 815-875-2335.

member of the event’s steering committee. “Most people are surprised how hilly it can be. It isn’t all prairie and cornfields.” “Some people like the challenge of the hills, but we also have family routes that are easier,” said Lauren Widmer, director of the Zearing Child Enrichment Center, the ride’s beneficiary. Rich Brooks, another committee member, moved to Princeton from Madison, Wis., a noted bicycling hub. He said the Z Tour has developed its own reputation. “We hear very often this is the best ride in Illinois. It’s very safe and wellmarked. They like the good food and Starved Rock Country

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Ottawa Bike Hike in its 30th year

An Elvis impersonator greets bicyclists along the route of the Z Tour Bike Ride in Princeton. Rest stops along the route have different themes, such as rock ‘n’ roll or Tour de France. water at the rest stations. But most of all, they say it’s a beautiful ride,” he said. Founded in 1974, Zearing Child Enrichment Center is a day care center dedicated to providing a nurturing, safe and developmentally appropriate environment for children.

“It isn’t all prairie and cornfields,” says Z Tour steering committe member Ryan Crouch. The route includes plenty of challenges, such as hills. The tour also includes easier routes for families. Starved Rock Country

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“Safety is kind of a big thing here at Zearing. We needed some extra funding and needed to update our safety and security measures,” Widmer said. The Z Tour was born, and last year each route traversed Main Street en route to the finish. Bicyclists will repeat that stretch this year. “You see everything that Princeton has to offer on Main Street,” Quiram said. The tour’s five routes — all of them new — will range from 10 to 100 miles. “The shortest route is 10 miles and very easy. You have an option to go up and down hills. It’s a rider’s course,” Brooks explained, noting the 10-mile ride is geared to families but offers an optional and more challenging two-mile addition. For those who like off-road bicycling, the Z Tour is offering the Adventure Route. It’s a 62-mile route of paved roads, the Hennepin Canal towpath and gravel roads intended for low-maintenance, high-adventure, off-road riders. The route offers two rest stops with a hydration station. “There is a group of riders who like to ride on gravel. The Adventure Route is for them,” Crouch said. Participants also can have some fun when they pull up at Z Tour rest stops. Each one has a different theme, and have included Americana, Jimmy

Sunday, Oct. 6, the Starved Rock Cycling Association will stage the 30th annual edition of its Pumpkin Pie Ride. Participants still can enjoy pumpkin pie at the conclusion of the ride, although this year’s ride will start and finish in a new location. Marquette Academy’s high school campus, 125 Paul St., Ottawa, will host the ride. It’s one block north of the previous location, the Ottawa YMCA. In 2018, the event attracted around 350 bicyclists amid inclement weather. “If the weather’s good, we get over 600 people,” said Don Dirks, a cycling association officer. “Most people like the way we run it. Last year people had a good time, even with the rain.” Early birds can begin pedaling around 7 a.m., with the last bikes out at 10 a.m. The ride will include 100-, 63 to 65-, 40- to 50- and 25- to 30-mile rides with different types of terrain. Cookies, soup, barbecued beef, water and sports drinks will be available at rest stops. “They come from all over Illinois. We get a few out-ofstaters — not a lot, but a few,” Dirks said. To register, or receive additional information, visit, email, or visit the group on Facebook.

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Buffett, rock ’n’ roll and the Tour de France. “Our staff and some organization members dress up. They do get into it and the riders seem to like it,” said Nicole Sampson, Zearing assistant director and organizer of the rest stops. Rest stop snacks have included tortilla rolls, sandwiches, fresh fruit, salty and sweet snacks and sports drinks. Breakfast will be offered at the start and a meal at the conclusion. Riders can get started the night before when Princeton Tourism sponsors a free “Down on Main Street” concert. Running 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, July 19, the event will offer Z Tour pre-registration as well as food and drink vendors, children’s activities and the live music. “Z Tour has been a game changer for Princeton. It brings in hundreds of people,” said Kim Frey, Princeton Tourism executive director. Princeton businesses participate by selling bike equipment and Z Tour apparel, dressing up windows and participating in a bike decorating contest. Additional Z Tour communities will include Tiskilwa, Wyanet and a return

Another perk to riding the Z Tour is soaking in the natural beauty surrounding Princeton.

to Lake Thunderbird. Last year at the tour, about 650 riders participated in windy weather. The previous year the ride drew 800, according to Widmer.

“We keep it simple. We keep our prices low. People like to see their money is going to something good. And they love S R our little town,” she said. C

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Starved Rock SRCspring19.indd 27 Country

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Starved Roc Starved Rock Country

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Woody ... Burger Boy ... Hamburger Hank

| Offbeat | MEET WOODY. Offbeat features the unusual or just plain odd things you’ll find in Starved Rock Country. We seek them out and tell you the story behind them. This is the background of Woody, the statue outside The RootBeer Stand in Oglesby.

Story by Stephanie Jaquins, Photo by Tom Sistak

Whatever you call him, statue a favorite among passersby


reminder of the good ol’ days stands tall — about 8 feet tall — on Route 351 in Oglesby. Painted in orange and brown clothing, a 300-pound hollow ceramic statue of a man serving a root beer in one hand and a hamburger in the other stands in front of The RootBeer Stand. At the statue’s old home, Woody’s Drive-In in Streator, he was called Woody. Now some people call him Hamburger Hank, after Hank Moore, who opened the Oglesby restaurant. And some just call him Burger Boy. He has no official name, but people love him no matter what you call him. “It’s unbelievable. When I got this off of Mrs. Wood, in Streator, she said you’re not going to believe how many people take pictures of that guy out front. And I said, ‘Oh, not in Oglesby.’ But it’s unreal. Starved Rock Country

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It goes on all year long,” said Ron Moore, owner of the restaurant at 225 N. Columbia Ave. Few can resist this photo op. He’s seen motorcycle riders, wedding parties, high school students on their way to a formal dance and families stop to take pictures with the smiling, bald man wearing a short brown tie. “I think it just reminds (people) of the old days, you know what I mean? It’s like back in the ‘60s when you’d see these things popping up,” he said of drive-in restaurants. “It’s the kind of place we are. We started back in the ‘50s. You don’t see them anymore. That’s why it gets a lot of attention out there. I’m always surprised.” Drive-ins started in the 1920s following the mass production of the Ford Model T. The first drive-in, called Kirby’s Pig

Stand, opened in 1921 in Dallas, Texas. Drive-in restaurants hit their peak in the 1950s and ‘60s. Moore recalls at least six drive-ins once called Starved Rock Country home. Woody’s in Streator closed in 2005, but the family made sure their mascot, Woody, found a new home. “She said, ‘listen, you guys are the only ones left. We’re closing the restaurant. If you want Woody, come on down and get him. You guys can carry on the tradition at your place.’ ” A friend of Moore’s operated a furniture store in Oglesby, so they took a furniture truck to Streator and loaded him up. He’s called Oglesby home ever since. This symbol of a bygone era fits right in with Moore’s diner menu, homemade S R root beer and car hop waitresses. C Spring 2019 27

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Map out your trip around Starved Rock Country

Route 34

Illustrations by Charlie Ellerbrock


North 39th Road

Depue Lake

Turner Lake


Illinois River


Starved Rock State Park Matthiessen State Park

Route 251

Interstate 39

Ve r




ve r

Streator East 15th Road

Henry d Roa nty Cou 0 East 170

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Route 18

The Z Tour Bicycle Ride in Princeton (Read more on page 22)

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Grand Ridge


County Road 750 East County Road 1300 North

Lake Senachwine

Route 23


Hulse Lake

County Highway 89

Route 29

H County

County Road 500 North

ock ad uffalo Rark B eP t a t S Dee Bennett ig Ro


La Salle Peru

Route 71

Goose Lake


Route 6 Koen

Route 23

Illinois River Road National Scenic Byway Spring Valley

Route 178

Spring Lake


East 8th Road

Interstate 39

Interstate 180


North 33rd Road

Route 17

Visit the HegelerCarus Mansion in La Salle. For more information,

Shop for antiques at Clarks Run Antiques in Utica (Read more on page 58)

Open Space Art Gallery and Studio (Read more on page 36)

Starved Rock Country

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Interstate 80

dro We


Route 251

Route 52



North 42nd Road


ay hw H ig

County Highway 26

ty un Co

ad t y Ro Coun East 1950

4 e3 ut

East 12th Road


Route 92

Route 23

Route 34


ive r


Fox R





r ive xR Fo Road



North 42nd Road

R 1st

The Illinois River Area Chamber of Commerce Invites You to the Communities of Marseilles and Seneca

7 te ou

Newark Road

North 41st Road Newark

Sheridan Route 52

County Highway 25

County Highway 15


Middle East Conflicts Memorial Wall, Marseilles The Seneca Area History Museum, Seneca Illini State Park, Marseilles The LST Memorial, Seneca The I&M Canal Hiking and Biking Path, Marseilles & Seneca

Interstate 80 Route 6

Marseilles Illin

i Sta te P a



a Can


hi Mic

i Illino



La Salle County Nuclear Station Cooling Lake

See more at, call us at (815) 795-2323, or, stop by the Caboose at 135 Wasington St., Marseilles, IL 61341

er s Riv

Interstate 47


oi Illin


County Highway 6

East 27th Road

County Highway 5

Route 18 East 24th Road

ate 5


Route 17

Int ers t


dro We


ut e7



Be a runner or a spectator for the Starved Rock Country Marathon (See page 62)

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Starved Rock Country: North Central Illinois’ Art Hub

The Scene of

ARTS 30 Spring 2019

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Read about the region’s art offerings, pgs. 32-47 Starved Rock Country

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Talent, collaboration and venues helping arts community Story by Brent Bader, Annette Barr, Stephanie Jaquins and Dan Churney; Photos by Tom Sistak and Annette Barr


hen thinking of the arts, thoughts may turn to an urban community with thriving galleries, large theaters and concert halls. However, creative pursuits in the arts are not limited geographically. “People are beginning to realize the talent we have around here,” said Ottawa resident Laurie Ragan, of Laurie Ragan Fine Art. Ragan, a painter, is just one of the many artists who call Starved Rock Country home. And she, along with many of her contemporaries, are noticing a shift in the local art scene in the past few years as more events and opportunities have allowed artists to showcase their work. “Events such as the Art and Wine Walk (in Ottawa) are making us more visible as artists and taken more seriously. This is our job. And we love it. We wouldn’t do it over and over again if we didn’t,” Ragan said. Julie Jenkins, a visual artist from Peru

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A variety of paint brushes are within reach for visual artist Julie Jenkins, who serves as cofounder and secretary of North Central Illinois ARTworks.

and co-founder and secretary of North Central Illinois ARTworks, agrees that artists are finding more chances to display work. “I think the arts scene is getting a lot bigger. Economic growth and development can be achieved through the arts,” said Jenkins, who teaches art at Parkside School in Peru. “The arts are broader. It’s not just visual arts.” From theater productions at Stage 212 in La Salle and at Engle Lane Theatre in Streator to a monthly Films at the Factory movie showing at the ARTworks Center in the Westclox building in Peru, there is an increasing number of opportunities to experience art in Starved Rock Country. Eureka Savings Bank in La Salle recently had 65 pieces of art from local artists on display, with 47 pieces being purchased to remain in the bank. “They are giving back to the arts community. They’re supporting it,” Jenkins said regarding the shift in a desire for local businesses to hang art created by Starved Rock Country

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Julie Jenkins (above) works on an abstract painting in her home studio in Peru. area artists as opposed to mass-produced prints that can be purchased at a big box store. “I still think that we have a long way to go. We’re educating the community.” A desire to support the community and foster an appreciation of culture while creating art is a passion for Ottawan Jeremy Johnson of My Abstract Art and Apparel. Johnson turned to his artwork while coping with health issues. “This is literally coming from my soul. This is a blessing. I chose to paint this way because of the way it makes me feel,” Johnson said. “I didn’t make it through a brain tumor and seizures just to make great art. I literally just want to help others.” Jenkins said that it is through creating opportunities to experience art, such as projects like Silo Pathways, a series of public art installations, that the art public can grow a deeper understanding and appreciation for art throughout Starved Rock Country. Starved Rock Country

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Art is displayed throughout the historic Westclox building in Peru during one of the Second Friday events sponsored by North Central Illinois ARTworks and Music Suite 408. The second Friday of each month highlights music, art exhibits and workshops.

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Artist Jeremy Johnson in his home studio in Ottawa.

“It’s not just like you slap paint on and go. There are decisions you are making. And you’re problem solving. You’re constantly questioning the process until you feel like it’s completed,” Jenkins said.

Organizations spark arts surge in SRC


Catherine Engles performs a flute selection during the Illinois Valley Symphony Orchestra Young Performers program at the Fine Arts Factory in Peru. The space is devoted to music, art, photography and other activities enriching the arts in Starved Rock Country. 34 Spring 2019

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wildfire of creativity is spreading through Starved Rock Country. Chris Coughlin has seen firsthand the increase in artistic creation and expression in the area as the current president of North Central Illinois ARTworks. One such example is the vintage wall erected in Streator’s Heritage Park. What once gave off a dilapidated appearance now gives the illusion of showcasing businesses from the 1920s, complete with illumination so it appears there’s activity behind the windows. Like kindling, it helped sparked another mural on the nearby Monroe’s Tap and Coughlin is hopeful such an effort continues to spread across Starved Rock Country. The volunteer group formed almost a decade ago as an outlet for a collective of visual artists but later expanded to nurture artists across a variety of mediums.

Today, they operate out of office space in the former Westclox building, 400 Fifth St., Peru, and are surrounded by artwork created by the community. “This center was their dream,” Coughlin said of the group’s early vision. The group first operated out of a gallery in Utica and then started opening up “phantom galleries” across the county. The galleries would usually be set up inside vacant buildings to create a sense of life and to make the property more attractive to a potential tenant. The galleries worked and as the artists began accustomed to seeing their pieces on display for the public, they started reaching out in 2014 to others on different artistic paths, including music, theater and dance to become an overarching arts advocacy group working toward educational outreach and art space development. Coughlin came from the insurance world and recalled thinking the idea was “almost impossible,” but it’s one that’s worked out recently. The group signed up roughly 80 students for arts education in 2016 and that number ballooned to more than 750 last year. Coughlin said as schools reduce arts programming, parents look to bring their kids to other third-party groups and organizations such as NCI ARTworks, which is also considering after-school programs. Still, their education programming transcends age. “We believe that arts education is birth to death. It’s children, adults, seniors, it’s everybody,” Coughlin said. “As long as you’re alive, you have something to learn about the arts.” Even professionals are learning more about their crafts through working together on items such as the silo pathways project, which is dedicated to “substantial” works of public art. It includes Streator’s Heritage Wall mural as well as a giant ear of corn on a silo in Mendota. But as the number of artists increases, it becomes difficult to set them all apart and ensure there’s enough of a market for all of them. That’s where the Starved Rock Country Community Foundation can help. They manage The Arts of Starved Starved Rock Country

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The Fine Arts Factory, located in the historic Westclox Factory in Peru, is home to the Paintbox Gallery, which features monthly art shows.

Rock Country fund, which helps promote artistic endeavors and holds events to honor artists. President Pamela Beckett said they’re in the midst of creating an arts-centric website that would not only create a comprehensive calendar of artistic events in the area but also spotlight every noteworthy artist in the area as well as available venues. Rick Brooks has a hand in cultivating artists in Princeton and said it can be difficult to find the right market for so many. “A lot of people have artistic tendencies and want to do art but there’s been very little in coordination bringing together resources on a regional basis,” Brooks said. “It’s been great to see more crosscommunity collaboration.” “It also attracts people to want to live Starved Rock Country

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here,” he later added. “Not just to come here (to visit) but live and stay here. I’m seeing more and more people who grew up here come back.” The collaborations include the artists working together as well. Coughlin said she was worried that artists would be less productive on their individual ventures when working on larger pieces, such as the silo pathways project. “Instead they became more productive and began exploring other mediums,” Coughlin said. The art wave has been embraced by local businesses and the group which first saw itself holding phantom galleries in vacant buildings is now being asked to present work in restaurants, banks and more, which has excited both the commu-

nity and artists. “It’s just very refreshing to walk into a commercial space and see this really lively variety of art,” Coughlin said. “That’s definitely come alive in the past six months.” Coughlin hopes NCI ARTworks can continue fanning the flames of creativity in the community and looks forward to seeing what local artists will create next. “More is better. I believe in our area to build arts and culture we need to embrace a philosophy of more is better,” Coughlin said. “We don’t need to compete or feel this is a race of any kind. Anything you can do to make more art, more music, more theater, more dance, more artists visiting our area — anything we can do to make more happen, I’m all for it.” Spring 2019 35

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Art Galleries


here are a handful of art galleries throughout Starved Rock Country. Here’s a tasting of some of those venues. OPEN SPACE ART GALLERY & STUDIO u Perhaps the newest art venue to find a home in Starved Rock Country is Open Space Art Gallery & Studio, 223 W. Madison St., Ottawa. The owner, Amanda Weygand, opened the studio in October to bring together a community of artists under one roof to act as a support network to further their craft. Weygand describes herself as a mixed media artist with her artistic prowess being divided into multiple mediums from photography, sculpture, oil paintings, collage work and more. While she hopes to display some of her work in the gallery in the future, she sees her role as being that of a curator and offering a space for others to showcase their talent. She also hosts workshop classes, whether it be an artistic professional wanting to look for additional assistance or a couple looking for a unique date night idea. For more information on galleries and events, visit or openspaceartgallery. The hours are 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

Artist Marisa Boyd arranges shapes from a closed eye drawing for a new, larger creation at Open Space Art Gallery and Studio in Ottawa. Artists can utilize the studio visit-by-visit or with a membership.

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t WHITE TRASH GALLERY In the fall of 2013, Peggy Clydesdale opened White Trash Gallery at 139 Gooding St., La Salle. Clydesdale, who brands herself “White Trash Peg,” grew up in lowermiddle class Wenona, Illinois, and boasts “I’m authority,” when it comes to her moniker. She paints primarily portraits of pop culture figures. Her gallery serves as a stage for local and aspiring artists. She’s hosted shows to bring attention to their work and nab them some sales. Some of the material is politically or sexually provocative, which may be unusual for the rural area, but Clydesdale said she doesn’t believe it’s her place to censor the work. “The people who come like seeing that kind of art here,” Clydesdale told Starved Rock Country in 2016. “I think they want something that’s thought proStarved Rock Country

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Contributed The Liberty Arts Festival in Morris takes its name from the city’s Liberty Street. The event features a downtown Art Walk, which displays artwork on a closed city street.

voking or avant garde.” While the gallery doesn’t have regular hours, a doorbell is near the entrance for patrons. Clydesdale says she’s often working in the studio, and sometimes has the door already open for guests. For more information, visit PRAIRIE ARTS CENTER The Prairie Arts Center, 24 Park Ave. E., Princeton, hosts different artists in its gallery each month. In March, the center is hosting a gallery for Christine Duray. She creates lifelike pieces of art with the use of ink, pencil or paint. Focusing primarily on musicians, her art has crossed over onto T-shirts, calendars and most recently phone cases. Her artwork can be viewed from 1 to 4 p.m. on weekends throughout March. Carlotta Ruklick-Dodels’s paintings will be on display throughout April. She describes her art as decorative, commerStarved Rock Country

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cial in the style of Art Deco, but she has experience in painting many types of art. In May, the Center is featuring Jacqueline Hughes, a self-taught textile artist. She has always loved sewing and loves to teach all types of sewing and fabric art. She has been called a “nontraditional” quilter, but prefers “textile artist.” Look for her artwork under the name “JacquelineJoAnn.” For more than two decades, the Prairie Arts Center’s purpose has been to strengthen and support the participation in the arts in North Central Illinois, including drama, music, art, literature, history and preservation of architectural buildings. For more information on the center and its art galleries, visit its website at THE EXIBIT FINE ARTS CENTER & GALLERY This Morris art gallery grew out of the six founding members’ desire to keep arts alive in their community after watching budgetary cuts take away arts in the schools. The Exibit Fine Arts Center & Gallery, 315-A Bedford Road, Morris, opened in 2013 with the goal of educating the young, inspiring the adults and enriching the community, according to its website. The gallery provides a base for artists from all walks of life to showcase their work. The gallery also offers art classes

and studio opportunities. The nonprofit’s hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. For upcoming events, check the gallery’s Facebook page at theexibitfineartscenterandgallery.

Art events on the easel in Starved Rock Country


rt showings are on the palette from one end of Starved Rock Country to the other. The Liberty Arts Festival in Morris has been growing since its inception in 2015, going from 30 featured artists its first year to more than 70 now. The three-day summer event takes its name from Morris’ main drag — Liberty Street. Julie Applegate, executive director of the Morris Downtown Development Partnership, said the Arts Festival was originally part of the city’s patriotic festival every July, but proved popular enough to stand on its own. The 2019 festival will run Thursday, July 18 to Saturday, July 21. Highlights include Creator’s Village, a children’s’ oriented hands-on art event, as well as the Art Walk, a display of works that are judged and given awards. To the west of Morris in Ottawa, there is Art in the Park and the Wine and Art Walk. Art in the Park takes place during Spring 2019 37

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Ottawa’s annual Riverfest in mid-summer. Per its name, the fine arts event is in the city’s Washington Square park, showing the work of 35 artists, local and distant, with some recruited from as far away as Peoria and Effingham, said Sharon Danielson, president of the Ottawa Art League. Art in the Park began 40 years ago. Top prize is $150. The Ottawa Art League also stages the Wine and Art Walk. The 2019 event is 2 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, at Jeremiah Joe coffee shop in the downtown. Moving west is Princeton, with its downtown Art District, a place of striped awnings and old-style lamp posts. The district hosts events the first Friday night of every month, with wine tasting, sales and special deals, as well as food and music when available. A wine walk is also held in autumn. The district is in the 900 block of North Main Street at Princeton’s northern end, made up of about a dozen businesses with a yesteryear feel. The district is becoming a destination, in part, because it is only minutes from Interstate 80, and only a short stroll from an Amtrak train depot. The depot S R dates from 1911, with trains stopping eight times per day. C 38 Spring 2019

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July 11-21 July 27-Aug 4 July 14-26

Art lovers should be sure to add the Princeton Art District to their itinerary.


July 7-31

July 3-6

June 21-28


Mary Poppins

i DO


i Do


For more information and to purchase tickets visit or call the Box Office at 815-879-5656 Starved Rock Country

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Susan Burton, with one of her mosaic artworks.

| Th e St udio |

Make S Story by Charles Stanley, Photos by Tom Sistak


osaic sculpture — art created from arrangements of small pieces of glass, stone and tile — is becoming more prevalent in downtown Ottawa. In recent years, the creation of such work has been directed by local artist Susan Burton. This summer will see the placement of some of the most ambitious mosaic artworks — three round two-byeight-foot pillars along the Canal Street Art Walk from Madison Street to the Illinois & Michigan Canal. The Art Walk is along the route of a former sub route of the canal, where cargo boats were powered by tow lines harnessed to mules. Titled the Towpath Pollinator Pillars with themes of butterflies, flowers and bees, members of the public had the opportunity to participate in their creation at public sessions. Public involvement has been a hallmark of the mosaics programs. 40 Spring 2019

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e Splash in Ottawa Burton, a native of Marseilles, received a degree from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale in Interior Design with a double minor in Art and Architecture. As an artist she has worked in various mediums. “I used to teach stained glass, but then about 10 years ago began using the glass scraps to do mosaics,” Burton said. “In the mosaic world nothing is ever broken. That’s one of the things that’s nice about it.” Five years ago she connected with the Ottawa is Blooming Committee to employ mosaics as part of its efforts to excel in the national America in Bloom competition. The first project was to apply mosaics to the concrete trash containers in downtown Ottawa. Burton said Ottawa Mayor Bob Eschbach was hesitant about the concept. But after he saw the completed prototype gave the go-ahead. Due to the weight of the containers, volunteers worked on the street, drawing community attention to the transformations. Starved Rock Country

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Susan Burton (above, standing) teaches a mosaic jewelry workshop to (seated, from left) Vicki Stacy, Tina Miller and Pamela Beckett. She instructed the students how to arrange small fragments to create a larger piece of art (as seen at left) at Open Space Art Gallery in Ottawa.

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“It was a good example of how you can take something absolutely hideous and turn it into something beautiful,” Burton said. In subsequent years, additional mosaic sculptures have included totem poles and a huge butterfly to symbolize the plight of the endangered monarch butterfly. At the city’s Jordan block space at Main and La Salle streets is the large Botanical Paint Palette. “It’s a piece of art that’s really very interactive,” Burton said. “We put lights on it at Christmas and for the annual Wine and Jazz Fest in June we add wine bottles. Other times we can fill in the holes with plants in different color schemes.” Burton does work and training at her Art Farm in rural Marseilles and now the new Open Space Art Gallery

Students work on mosaic jewelry under the instruction of artist Susan Burton. MORE ONLINE: Follow Burton’s work at or on Facebook,

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Starved Rock Country

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The Botanical Paint Palette is an interactive piece of art in downtown Ottawa. The spaces in the palette are filled with various seasonal plants and decorations. and Studios in downtown Ottawa. Her students find mosaics

both absorbing and calming. “People get hooked on them because it’s like a puzzle fit-

ting the pieces together,” she said. “They have to concentrate, yet it’s totally relaxing.

Plus, most of the students are amazed at the creativity they can tap into with this medium.” Although a teacher, Burton still considers herself a student of mosaics. She continues to take classes through the Chicago Mosaic School. In turn, she passes along her learning to students and those interested in mosaic art for public use. “It’s one of the oldest art forms on the planet, next to the cave paintings,” Burton said. “So I kind of get a kick out of it when I’m making a presentation and someone will ask ‘Will it last?’ For the most part it’s going to be around for a long, long time.” For more information about the Open Space Art Gallery and Studios visit or call 815S R 293-7099. C


Start your adventure at the I&M Canal Visitor Center

Gift Shop & Cafe Healthy fresh breakfast, lunch & tea. Housemade scones, soups, and desserts. Locally roasted coffee and specialty teas.


Located in historic downtown LaSalle

Starved Rock Country

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754 First St. • 815.220.1848 visit us at

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emember A Walk to

| Mus t See |

Murals make Streator sparkle Story by Mike Murphy, Photos by Tom Sistak


hortly after the Streator Walldogs Festival was completed last summer, Tara Bedei and her husband, Curt, took evening bicycle rides around town to visit the 18 murals that had been completed during the five-day event. “Every night there were people looking around and checking out the murals,” said Curt Bedei, a member of the Walldogs steering committee, fest marketing director and a graphic artist who helped paint some of the murals. Gavin Finefield, another committee member who coordinated the festival, called the bike rides by Curt and Tara, a Streator City Council member and committee chairwoman, a “victory lap.” Committee members had much to celebrate following the five-day festival that drew 260 artists who painted the murals on the sides of several downtown buildings. Now Streator wants to share its art with people inside and outside Starved Rock Country. They are encouraging people to come to town, take a walk and view the amazing murals. “Visitors are interested. Today we had people from Texas who were looking at the murals downtown,” said Tara Bedei recently. Organizers began the project in 2014, four years before a single paintbrush was put to use. The Walldogs is an international orga-

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The World War II Canteen mural is one of 18 Walldogs murals included on a walking tour in Streator (see map on opposite page for mural sites).

Tara Bedei, chairwoman of the steering committee that brought the Walldogs Festival to Streator, stands beside the Clyde Tombaugh mural. 46 Spring 2019

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nization of sign and mural artists, which annually stages a festival where hundreds of artists descend upon a town to paint several dozen murals in one threeto five-day festival. Streator’s Walldogs fest coincided with the city’s 150th birthday, attracting artists from 31 states and 11 foreign countries. More than 600 volunteers helped run the five-day event. “It brought a group of individuals who were interested in their community,” said Streator Mayor Jimmie Lansford of the volunteers. “The end result really unified and installed a sense of pride in the community. It brought the community together.” Mural subjects include: Clyde Tombaugh, a Streator native and discoverer of the dwarf planet Pluto; Streator native George “Honey Boy” Evans, cowriter of the song “In the Good Old Summertime”; the city’s history as a railroad hub; and the Roamer, a luxury car manufactured 100 years ago in Streator. Mural enthusiasts have come from as far as Australia to see Streator’s murals. Last fall, Tara Bedei led a tour for members of the Bloomington-based McLean County Antique Club, who brought about

Take a Walk The Walldogs group recently updated its walking tour guide that showcases a map of where each mural is located, as well as photos and description of the artwork. The tour guides can be found at several downtown locations, or printed or downloaded on the Walldogs website. a dozen vehicles to town and toured Streator. “Part of their day was doing a walking tour of the murals,” she said. Kay Fulkerson, owner of K’s Secret Garden gift shop, 215 E. Main St., is delighted with the mural project. She owns the downtown building; Fine Field Pottery, a studio owned by Finefield, is a tenant. “It was exciting,” said Fulkerson, who has lived in Streator much of her life. The murals have increased downtown foot traffic and had a positive impact on her store. Each mural’s content was so detailed Fulkerson felt the out-of-town artists knew more about the city’s history than many Streator residents. Starved Rock Country

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That could change, since local teachers are including the murals in their lesson plans. “People are more interested in our area to talk about and discuss history,” Fulkerson said. Local schoolchildren even made contributions to the mural fest. Artists Rachel Brisbois and Julie Jenkins designed two murals that a whopping 300-plus kids helped paint. They are on display in the northeast corner of City Park, adjacent to the new splash pad. Eighteen-month calendars, featuring each Walldogs mural and the student paintings are being sold at K’s Secret Garden or are available online at “It’s fun to find people and ask them what brought them to Streator,” Fulkerson said. The Walldogs artists have long left town, but additional murals will be added in the future. “Our motto is ‘we’re not done yet,’ ” Finefield said. “We’d like to see if we can add one or

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A Walldogs mural artist works on the Edward Plumb mural on the north wall of the historic Majestic Theatre in downtown Streator in summer 2018. two more every year or so. There’s a lot more history to be shared,” Lansford said. Much of that already can be shared

immediately by taking a walk — or bike ride — around downtown Streator. For more information, visit streatorS R C

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Baldwin House Comfortable Lodging Is Our Specialty

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Baldwin House is the perfect choice for special occasions, vacations, stay-cations, reunions and more! Fully furnished, centrally located in Streator and near Starved Rock State Park, Baldwin House offers the quiet comfort of days gone by. Call for details and reserve the classic Baldwin House for your visit to LaSalle County!

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fiNE fiELD POTTERY 215 E Main Streator, IL

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MAY • Streator Grade School Band • Streator Food Truck Festival • Park Fest

JUNE • Jammin’ at the Clock Kick-Off • POCO-A-POCO Summer Music Camp • American Legion Band • Streator 4TH Events

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Streator Tourism • 204 S. Bloomington St., Streator 815.672.2055 888.485.9895 Visit us at

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Rudy’s Bright Neon Beacon Story and Photo by Annette Barr

| Sig ns Of Th e Ti m es | SIGNS OF THE TIMES features eye-catching and historic signs sprinkled throughout Starved Rock Country. But what’s the story behind these striking signs? What makes them unique? This feature shares the historical significance of these signs and how they’ve become deeply rooted in our communities.

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The bright lights of the arrow serve as a guide. Pull over. Stop by on your way home. Maybe it was a long day on the job. Perhaps there’s cause for celebration. Regardless, the neon sign at Rudy’s Liquors promises a nip and a tote, a little now and more to tote home. In 1965 Rudy Faleskin added the neon sign to the Tap Room at 285 Chartres St. in La Salle when he added a liquor store to his drinking establishment. The bar was opened in 1906 as Ajster’s Tap. As a child, Rudy lived across the street. His mother would give him two pennies and Rudy would visit the tap and buy a hunk of cheese, cut from a large wheel. It’s the appreciation for the history of Rudy’s that keeps Patti Hall, owner since 1982, maintaining the bright neon beacon. “It’s uniquely us. Even the younger generations are more nostalgic because things are changing so rapidly,” Hall said. As much as Hall loves the sign and preserving history, she acknowledges that maintaining the sign, including more than 100 bulbs in both sides of the arrow alone, can be costly and difficult as parts become more scarce. “I can’t help but wonder if there will be a time when we can no longer do it,” she said. However, for now, the sign S R will continue to offer passers-by a nip and a tote. C Spring 2019 51

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The Art of Story by Tammie Sloup, Photos by Annette Barr


ordelia Murphy has always needed to keep her hands busy — whether it was through sports or creative outlets. Sometimes, as a kid, that creativity would spill over during dinnertime. “My mom says I used to draw pictures in my spaghetti sauce,” Murphy said with a chuckle. Murphy, a lifelong resident of Ottawa and 2016 Bradley University graduate, recently sat at Jeremiah Joe coffee shop in downtown Ottawa on a crisp January night, recalling how her small business of handmade bath and body and graphic design products has steadily grown in the past year.

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OPPOSITE PAGE: Cordelia Murphy, creator of The Delia Co., stands in front of her line of bath and body products sold at Say I Do & More in Ottawa. Starved Rock Country

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Cordelia Murphy combines ingredients to make bath bombs.

Body butter

The business, The Delia Co., is still small — her workshop for the bath and body products is a tiny counter in her kitchen and her dining room — but Murphy has attracted an ever-growing customer base. “It’s all natural and locally made,” she noted. “There’s no added preservatives — no weird names or acronyms you can’t pronounce.” Murphy’s bath and body products also reflect the seasons and holidays. For instance, throughout January and February, she was marketing romantic fragrances such as strawberries and cream, and strawberries and champagne. A kit that included aloe vera hand soap, moisturizing whipped body butter, foaming salt scrub and more was one of her specials. She also offers candles, lip and beard balms and massage oils. Customer favorites include the eucalyptus mint body butter and aloe vera-activated charcoal soap. And what sets her products apart from others? The customization, Murphy says. For instance, customers can request goat’s milk be used in a product, or if they 54 Spring 2019

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Custom wedding invitations and fan-shaped programs created for a summer wedding. prefer, their items be unscented. “There’s been a few sleep-

less nights,” said Murphy, who also works as a marketing specialist at Ottawa

Dental Laboratory. “It’s been a whirlwind but it’s worth it.” After graduating from Bradley a few years ago, Murphy was looking for a creative outlet and found herself watching how-to videos about soap-making. “There was a lot of experimentation ... with color consistencies, fragrance, and so on,” she said. “I started with soap, and thought, ‘Why can’t I make moisturizer and body butter too?’ ” Soon after, her fiance helped up her game. “His Christmas present to me was supplies,” Murphy said with a wide smile. She expanded her hobby to include bath bombs, scrubs and oils — giving them away to family as gifts. And having earned a graphic design degree at Bradley, she soon realized that not only can she create these bath and body products from scratch, but she can package them with her original designs. Soon, Murphy was toting her goods to the local farmers market every weekend it was open on Ottawa’s Jackson Street, and found a following at that venue. “I love local; I love Ottawa,” she added. When the owner of Say I Starved Rock Country

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Massage oils

Do & More, a one-stop event planning business in Ottawa’s downtown, was looking for a vendor to create wedding stationery, she reached out to Murphy. Today, Murphy’s creations have a display area at Say I Do & More and she recently was invited to sell her products at another downtown

Bath bombs

Ottawa business, A Mess of Things. You can also find her products on Facebook, Instagram and Etsy under The Delia Co. At this point, the venture still feels like a creative outlet for Murphy rather than a business. And Starved Rock Country has proven to be an ever-

growing market that she is proud to call home. “Home is really where your heart is,” she said of living in Starved Rock Country. “All these people I grew up with have always supported each other. “I want to support and give back to my community, S R and to help build it.” C

Where to find The Delia Co. Say I Do & More 203 W. Main St., Ottawa Browse products online on Facebook, Instragram and Etsy MADE IN SRC spotlights locally-made products and the people who create them. These stories can include large, established companies as well as those just starting out and working out of their homes.

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LOCATED 5 MILES NORTH OF I-80 ON 251 THEN 1.5 MILES EAST ON N. 35TH RD. Spring 2019 55

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Welcome to Downtown Morris Located just 60 minutes southwest of downtown Chicago, downtown Morris, Illinois offers the amenities of its more metropolitan suburban neighbors along with small-town hospitality and charm. Come to downtown Morris and enjoy a fun day shopping for unique gifts, enjoying our restaurants and tea room, and enjoying outdoor activities. Make memories and have fun with your friends or your family as you shop, dine and enjoy!

B rianna L ynn’s BOUTIQUE

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Ponds ~ Nursery ~ Landscaping Commercial & Residential 1565 W. Rte 6 Morris IL 815-942-2235 Great Selection of Unique Annuals, Perennials, Roses, Shrubs, Trees and Garden Decor SM-CL1633120

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Uncork a Great Time at Clarks Run

Wine & Beer Tasting Room • Live Music Now Serving you at 2 Locations

Clarks Run Antiques

215 N. Division St. • Utica • 815.667.7190

Quality unique crafts, antiques and gifts. TASTING ROOM Enjoy Wine & Beer Selection Hrs: Monday - Saturday 10 to 5 Sunday 10 to 4


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Utica’s Best Kept Secret

• Gifts & Wine • Bourbon and Specialty Drinks Rent our upstairs room for special events. Bachelorette Parties, Birthdays, or Showers Hrs: Mon 12 to 6 • Sun, Wed & Thurs 12 to 7 Fri & Sat 12 to 9 • Closed Tues.

Like both locations on facebook for our upcoming events and entertainment

754 First Street • Downtown LaSalle, 61301 • (815) 545-6656 HOURS: THURS-FRI 12-6 • SAT 10-6 • SUNDAY 12-4

6,500 square foot wonderland of vintage, white, rusty, shabby, industrial and mid-century finds • Salvaged doors, windows, trim, beams, barn wood • Stockist for four lines of milk, clay, lime, & chalk-based paint including Pure & Original Starved Rock Country

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Steve and Pam Shanley, owners of Clarks Run Antiques, are ready to greet customers this spring at the new wine bar they recently completed inside their Antique Mall in Utica. The stylish lounge will offer tastings and bottles of select wines from Illinois and around the world.

| Tr e asure s |

Antiques andWine Bar A Winning Combination Story and Photos by Steve Stout


estled in the heart of Utica, Clarks Run Antiques has become more than a store of vintage keepsakes and retro furniture. It has grown into a museum of treasured memorabilia. And now, a visit can include a taste (or glass or bottle) of wine.

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Married for more than 37 years, Steve and Pam Shanley loved their life together living, working and raising three children in Ottawa. But they also shared a strong affection for the quaint village of Utica, where they often came to visit near Starved Rock State Park or to enjoy a night out in one of the town’s restaurants. In 2012, after years of dreaming, planning and construction, the couple opened what has become one of the most successful antique businesses in North Central Illinois. And their business vision for Utica continues to expand. Clarks Run Antiques is open daily at 215 N. Division St., adjacent to the Route 178 alignment that runs through Utica. The Shanleys reside above the shop in a spacious living area. ADDRESS: 215 N. “We are Division St., Utica very proud to say our place PHONE: 815-6677190 is not a flea market or HOURS: 10 a.m. to pawn busi5 p.m. Monday to ness,” Saturday; 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday explained Steve. “Our WEBSITE: shop only feaclarksrunantiques. tures highcom and on quality Facebook at antiques antiques offered from more than 70 experienced, professional vendors along with original pieces from talented area artists. Our investment in the Utica community has really paid off for us.” Steve said the shop rents space to antique vendors who pay $1.75 per square foot, or $50 for a showcase per month. “Our rustic store continues to attract many of Northern Illinois (and beyond) dealers who are filling our retail spaces with unique items,” he said. “The inventory is constantly changing.” On the shop’s rows and rows of shelves, the business features furniture, jewelry, clothing, glassware and one-ofa-kind vintage collectibles. Pam said attention to detail has helped the business succeed in attract-

Clarks Run Antiques

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Steve Noe, of Braidwood, searches for treasures at Clarks Run Antiques in Utica. The popular shop, which is open daily, showcases thousands of unique vintage items from vendors across the Midwest.

ing antique lovers from around the Midwest. “We set it up for people to enjoy the hunt, touch and feel of merchandise in order to have the excitement of a great find,” Pam said. “We have expanded our

facilities to now include new items such as shirts, sweatshirts, home accessories and unique gifts for any occasion. “Our business has become more than a simple antique store,” said Pam. “With our opening of Clarks Run Creek wine Spring 2019 59

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During a recent Wine Walk in Utica, Clarks Run server Calab Coss fills glasses for (from left) Erin Gaston, Missy Ferrari and Haley Gaston, all of Dwight. The three friends were among thousands who attended the annual winter celebration of wine in the village.

shop in Utica’s downtown area (143 Mill St.) and the new wine bar we are finishing here in the Division Street store, we are realizing our dream of becoming a destination location beyond the local state parks.” The wine store features Illinois, domestic and international selections and has regular tastings along with live entertainment. Pam admitted antiquing is in her blood — ­ her parents were dealers. “I grew up going to backyard sales, antique shows and auctions,” she said. “My parents (now deceased) would have loved this place. Since we opened, we have attracted more dealers offering unique antiques, which has brought many more customers to our doors. We’re not your old, dusty, cluttered antique shop. We have top quality gift and craft items to enhance our customers’ experience. Stop by and see for yourself. We have something S R for everyone.” C

Reddick Mansion Spring Events

Sunday, March 24th

Children’s Painting g Party

Saturday, May 18th

Golf Tournament at Pine Hills Club

Saturday, June 22nd

Historical Photo Scavenger Hunt

Mansion Tours: Friday-Monday from 11-3:00pm Please call for other arrangements and group tours. SM-CL1632018

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One of the most expensive and ornate private homes in the Midwest when completed in 1858, the Mansion was built by businessman, politician, and philanthropist William Reddick. Home to the Reddick family for nearly 30 years, the mansion anchors Washington Square, site of the first Lincoln-Douglas debate.

100 West Lafayette St. Ottawa, IL 61350 815-433-6100


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Shop, Explore Beautiful

Cozy neighborhood wine bar. Eclectic vibe. Wines rotated seasonally. Craft beers. Handcrafted cocktails & spirits. Clever plates.

724 LaSalle Street, Ottawa, IL


Largest Selection of Gourmet & Imported Cheeses 1219 Fulton St., Ottawa


Mon-Sat 8:00am to 7:00pm • Serving Lunch & Supper


620 Court Street, Ottawa | Open 11am daily

815-324-9032 Starved Rock Country

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Things To See & Do

Plan your trip in Starved Rock Country

MARCH 9 CHIEF WALKS WITH THE WIND, Tribute to Chief Walks with the Wind and Native American history. Includes stories, songs and ceremonies shared by Jerry Savage (the grandson of Sam Sine, who was known by many as “Chief Walks with the Wind“), Great Hall, Starved Rock Lodge,

10 MAPLE TAPPING AT THE ROCK, Discover maple syrup’s beginnings from Native American and pioneer use to present day. Participants will identify a maple 62 Spring 2019

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tree and tap it for maple sap,

21 ILLINOIS VALLEY QUILTERS GUILD, National, regional, local speakers, workshops, show and tell, retreats, contests, challenges, Epworth United Methodist Church, Ottawa,

22-23 MASTERS WALLEYE CIRCUIT TOURNAMENT, fishing competition on Illinois River, Spring Valley, 580-716-4291,

23 DONUTS AND DRIPS, shopping event in downtown

Morris, with shops featuring treats and yummy drinks. Shop, sip and snack the morning away,

APRIL 18 ILLINOIS VALLEY QUILTERS GUILD, National, regional, local speakers, workshops, show and tell, retreats, contests, challenges, Epworth United Methodist Church, Ottawa,

27-28 STARVED ROCK STATE PARK SPRING MEGAHIKE, hike all 13.4 miles of park trails, reservations requested, 815-220-7386,

MAY 3 GIRLS NIGHT OUT, Grab your friends and make plans to go to downtown Morris for shopping, drinks and treats, 815-941-0245, shopmorrisil. com.

4 MIDWEST MOREL FEST AND MASHUP HOMEBREW TASTING, Jordan block (Main Street, between Columbus and La Salle streets), Ottawa, morel hunting seminar and guided morel hunt, plus hunt and homebrew festival, 815-434-2737, pickusottawail. com. Starved Rock Country

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18 EARLVILLE CRUISE NIGHT, downtown Earlville, 815246-9545 or 815-246-8822,

25 STARVED ROCK COUNTRY BREW FESTIVAL, featuring over 60 unique American craft beers, live music and local food, downtown Ottawa,

24-26 STREATOR PARK FEST, City Park, carnival, vendor booths, flea market, food, live entertainment, parade, 815-672-2685, search Streator Community Center on Facebook, or enjoylasallecounty. com.

❍ Garden Center ❍ Arboretum ❍ Botanical Gardens

Open April 10 thru October 10.


WILDFLOWER PILGRIMAGE, guided hikes, Starved Rock State Park,

11 STARVED ROCK COUNTRY FULL AND HALF MARATHON, plus Run Starved Rock Country 5K, Ottawa, 815-434-2737, starvedrockcountry

18 FOOD TRUCK FESTIVAL, Streator City Park, truckfest.html. Starved Rock Country

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• 4-Season Building • Seats up to 350 • Covered Patio • Brides & Groom’s Rooms • Outdoor Wedding Ceremony Site

and SM-CL1626554


HIDDEN CAVES & FORGOTTEN GRAVEYARDS TOUR, by Awesome Ottawa Tours, explore the hidden Red Crown Caves then visit three forgotten graveyards of Ottawa. This is a driving/hiking tour. Limited availability, all tours begin at 1 p.m. and last approximately three hours, GUIDED HIKES of Starved Rock State Park, Starved Rock Lodge, Utica, 800-868-7625, ext. 386, 3 FRENCH HENS, country market, May 11, June 8, July 13, Aug. 10, Sept. 14, Oct. 12, Canal Port, Morris, http://3frenchhensmarket. HISTORIC TROLLEY TOURS of Starved Rock State Park and surrounding area, Starved Rock Lodge, Utica. 800-868-7625, ext. 386, WATERFALL AND CANYON TOURS, Starved Rock Lodge, Utica, 800-868-7625, ext. 386, MULE-PULLED CANAL BOAT RIDES April to October, Lock 16 Visitor Center, 754 First St., La Salle, 815-220-1848,

Princeton, Illinois • 815-659-3282 Spring 2019 63

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O tt a


wa, Illi March 2019


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This woman finds a perfect spot to sit, relax and enjoy the pleasant weather all while watching the Illinois River gently roll by at Allen Park in Ottawa. Photo by Tom Sistak

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SINCE 1848


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