Published: June 10th 2012June 7th 2012
Yesterday afternoon we kept seeing SAVE DWIGHT PRISON signs in front yards. Curious to learn what this was about we Googled 'Save Dwight Prison' and learnt that the prison employs 350 people locally, but its closure has been announced because the infrastructure upgrades that the prison needs make it unviable to keep it open. Apparently the prison guards received their notices on 23 May 2012 - a real blow to the local economy.
After a self-catered breakfast of fruit and cereal in our room, we spent the morning in Pontiac. We started by photographing the Historic 1875 County Court House. We were hampered somewhat by the works that are being undertaken opposite the court house. The site building has been placed right in front of the court house which does spoil the street-scape somewhat!!
Next we toured the Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum and Resource Centre and the new Murals and Walldog Museum. The first has an amazing collection of Pontiac motor cars and the second is dedicated to the mural artists (Walldogs) who painted a number of murals on buildings in Pontiac.
We also visited the Route 66 Association of Illinois Hall of Fame and Historic Museum and the
Livingston County War Museum. The amazing thing is that all of these museums are free! After lunch at Lydia's Loft - which was delicious - we had our photo taken in front of the historic museum's gigantic Route 66 wall mural.
After spending considerably more time in Pontiac than we anticipated, we headed off again on Historic Route 66 through Chenoa, Lexington and Towanda before stopping at Bloomington where we visited the Old Courthouse Museum ... but not the Beer Nut factory. Apparently Bloomington, USA is the only place that these famous nuts are produced.
After our stop in Bloomington, we continued on through Shirley and Funk's Grove before stopping to photograph the Dixie Plaza sign at McLean. In Atlanta we stopped for a walk around the town photographing the Bunyon Giant, who was relocated from Cicero in 2003, the octagonal library/museum building and the J.H. Hawes Grain Elevator Museum building.
We stopped at Lincoln - the only town named for Lincoln while he was living - to take photos of the Logan County Courthouse, the phone booth on the roof of City Hall and the giant statue of Abraham Lincoln on a wagon.
we continued on Historic Route 66 through Broadwell, Elkhart and Williamsville without stopping - although we did get a bit confused by the Route 66 'spur' in Williamsville which necessitated a U-turn before we managed to join Interstate-55. We were supposed to exit back onto Historic Route 66 at Exit 105, but it was almost 6.00pm so we decided to forego the side trip into Sherman and stay on the interstate to Springfield. If we discover that the eight miles we missed is too significant to miss we can double back in the morning.
After checking in at the State Capitol Inn we headed out with our cameras to photograph the State Capitol in the afternoon light. We walked all the way around the building snapping away at both it and the surrounding buildings. I did a nature shoot too, with a cheeky squirrel who seemed more than happy to pose for me!!
We freshened up and then walked downtown and went to Augie's Front Burner for dinner where we both had the Thursday night $12.99 special which consisted of a caesar salad, chicken jambalaya for Bernie and beef stroganoff for me, plus desert. Excellent value!! They ran
out of the sour cherry parfait for desert so we were given the choice of lemon cake or lime cheesecake. We both went for the lemon cake which was very lemony - yum.
After dinner, photography nerds that we are, we photographed the State Capitol again because now it was lit up!!
There are more photos below