Friday, October 10, 2008


I'm the sixth generation of my family to live here. My ancestors weren't famous or wealthy, but they were good, hard-working people. There are still signs of them around the towns.

My Great Grandpa H., who was a carpenter, moved to this town with his young family to take advantage of the building boom right before WWI. Both Chanute Air Force Base and the University of Illinois were building at a tremendous rate. Great Grandpa H. helped build many buildings that are still standing, including the historic round barns that are part of the College of ACES on the University of Illinois campus. If you click on the picture of the marker, you'll be able to read it.

He also was the finish carpenter on some of the most beautiful Craftsman style houses just off the campus.

Another one of my ancestors, Great Grandpa G., walked to school every day from his little house next to his father's cobbler shop, through a little slough and over the historic Stone Arch Bridge, over the Boneyard Creek. It's called the Boneyard because along it's banks some local Indians liked to make their winter camp. They left the bones from the animals they hunted piled along there. There are a few other more romantic stories about the naming of the creek, but that one seems the most likely. If you know the area, they camped about a block south of the bridge, in what is now Scott Park.
There is an historical marker for the bridge, too, which was built in the late 1850s, but it's down right now because, once again, Champaign is trying to do something to prevent flooding in that neighborhood. The plan is to create a "scenic" biking/walking path long the "flood plain" of the creek, through the park and on through the neighborhood just north of the campus. That's certainly our history, too. If life gives you a swamp, create a "scenic flood plain path"!


Abbie said...

What a beautiful barn!

Joyce said...

Abbie, I wish I could have gotten better pictures of the inside, but it was too dark. It's kind of a work of art, archetecturally, speaking.

Rose said...

I've always been glad that these amazing barns have been preserved. How neat that you can look at these historic sites and think that your ancestors had a hand in building them.

Bugs and Brooms said...

Joyce - this is so wonderful! How nice that you can walk around your community and see signs of your ancestors! And the pictures are wonderful! Thank you for sharing!