Fran is retiring from Western Illinois University at the end of August after working there over 28 years. Like most of us she is looking forward to retirement and hopes to do some traveling. Happy trails Fran!
As would be expected a lot of the discussion centered around family matters and lore. Their grandparents came over from Czechoslovakia early last century and he was an accomplished musician. They have a picture of him playing on board the ship they came over on and he was a member of a band. One story is that he was paid to play and that paid for their trip to the U.S.
I photographed a copy of an old photo that shows him playing on board ship as they arrived in New York. It is hard to make out which one he is, but we think he's on the lower left side of the photo.
He could play several instruments and this is the one he played in the photo above. Fran bought it at the auction of her parents estate after their death. Fran's father had kept the horn and she wanted to make sure she had something to remember her grandfather by.
If you had noticed the time on the clock in the photo of Gerry and Fran, you would have seen how late it was when we left. After the visit we drove around the McDonough County courthouse and were impressed by how nicely it was lit up by floodlights. I stopped in the middle of the road (no traffic at that time of night) and snapped a few pictures. What a beautiful building it is.
The courthouse was built in 1872 and renovated 1978-79 and restored to the original brick & stone construction. Architect Elijah E. Myers designed the building in the Second Empire style; the courthouse is one of the few remaining Second Empire buildings in the county.
Second Empire is an architectural style, most popular between 1865 and 1880, and so named for the architectural elements in vogue during the era of the Second French Empire. As the Second Empire style evolved from its 17th century Renaissance foundations, it acquired an eclectic mix of earlier European styles, most notably the Baroque often combined with mansard roofs and low, square based domes.
The style quickly spread and evolved as Baroque Revival architecture throughout Europe and across the Atlantic. Its suitability for super-scaling allowed it to be widely used in the design of municipal and corporate buildings.
Now we have modern courthouses being built with no character at all. What a shame.
Friday we departed the Argyle Lake State Park and drove down RT 67 south toward our next destination of Gillespie, IL. There were some very rough sections of the highway and I was down to 40mph trying to keep it from shaking the motor home to pieces. The Illinois river was at flood stage when we drove over the Beardstown bridge and south of town there were sandbags alongside of the highway in the "bottoms". We survived the trip and arrived at our campground around 3pm.
Once we were setup our niece Jeanie called and wanted to know if we wanted to go out for dinner. We were tired, worn out and ready to eat out rather than prepare a meal in the motor home so we decided to take her up on it. The agreed upon restaurant was a nice Chinese one in Litchfield, IL. It started out as the 4 of us and wound up being 12 people for the meal. My brother & Sue, nieces Vonda & children; Jeanie and Curt; nephew Rick and Stephanie joined us. We had a great time visiting with them and even the food was good.
We decided to take the morning off on Saturday and catch our breath and then it will be non stop visiting with friends and relatives in the area. I am looking forward to seeing everyone and catching up on their lives. Oh, did I mention I have 7 nieces and nephews in the immediate area? Let the good times begin.
That was our last couple days in hot & humid Illinois.