Thursday, May 1, 2014

Marion, Illinois

In my last posting I stated that I would not write anymore on Southern Illinois.  However, we have done more touring of the area in the past couple of days, so I have found additional items which I want to pass on to you our readers.  Marion is the town where our rig is parked .  Our first trip into Marion brought us to the town square, which is dominated by a clock tower.
Williamson County Courthouse once stood where the tower is located, and the square use to be called the Courthouse Square.  The courthouse went into disrepair and was demolished.  The tower was designed as  a memorial to the courthouse, and the square is now dubbed the the Tower Square Plaza.  As we walked around the square we noticed a statue of the current mayor, Robert Butler.  He has been in office since 1963 and is the longest serving mayor in Illinois.  The success of this small town can be seen in some of the newer buildings which surround the square, one of which is the Marion Cultural and Civic center.  It is a state-of-the art facility built in 2004. The charm of this town is in the fact that it also has preserved some of its older buildings, some of which we saw in a driving tour of the older section of town.
Yesterday we returned to downtown Marion where the Williamson County Historical Society Museum is located.  The large brick building in which the museum is housed was constructed in 1913.  It use to serve as the county jail until 1972.  The jail also served as the sheriff's residence, sixteen sheriffs and
their families lived here.  The front portion in which they lived was considered to be an elegant home of the late nineteenth century.  Pictured below is the living room which features a crimson loveseat circa 1850 and a red satin lamp in the "Gone With the Wind" style.
We had a tour guide for the house and jail.  He had a lot of interesting history to share with us regarding some of the jail's famous inmates.  They were:  members of the Charlie Birger gang, the Klu Klux Klan, and defendants awaiting trial for the Herrin Massacre.  The latter had to do with a coal miner's union dispute.
As you can see in the above picture, the museum has kept some of the original cell blocks.  The building is quite large and contains more than twenty rooms focusing on Southern Illinois history.
We returned home that evening to see a bird fly out from under the hood of our motor home.  Upon further inspection of our engine compartment we found the above nest with eggs in it.  Unfortunately we had to remove it, there is no way the eggs will hatch and the little ones leave the nest before we leave in several days!  That is a first for us.

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