web analytics
Over the past few summers I have tackled the National Road, the Oregon Trail, and I've motorcycled to the Arctic Circle (Yukon) and Alaska. In the summer of 2013 I tackled Illinois Route 1. Starting on the south side of Chicago, Illinois 1 is the longest state highway, meandering south until it ends in Cave In Rock, Illinois, on the banks of the Ohio River. Once again, I operated with the assistance of Verizon Wireless, using an Apple iPhone and Nokia Lumia 928 to make all photographs.

Dans Owner

Posted: July 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »
Dans Owner by b.poulter
Dans Owner, a photo by b.poulter on Flickr.

Jeanie Cook, managing partner of the Danville Dans baseball team peruse the nearly 100 years of baseball on the walls of her office.
(iPhone 5 photo)


Ballgirls

Posted: July 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »
Ballgirls by b.poulter
Ballgirls, a photo by b.poulter on Flickr.
Cathy Miller and her mother Wendy West react to a close call during a Danville Dans home game on July 24, 2013
(iPhone 5 Photo)

Getting ready

Posted: July 25th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »
Gettignn ready by b.poulter
Getting ready, a photo by b.poulter on Flickr.

Danvile first baseman Spencer Herman and third base coach Rick Fraire watch infield practice in Danville Stadium
(iPhone 5 photo)


Proud Pontiac

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »
Proud Pontiac by b.poulter
Proud Pontiac, a photo by b.poulter on Flickr.

The hood ornament glistens from it perch on a weathered Pontiac just off Illinois Route 1 in Paris, Illinois.
(photo made with a Nokia Lumia 928)


In good hands

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »

Frankly, I met Bob Wilson because of my incompetence. My writing partner on this project, Joe Gisondi, and I had met Rob Edwards at the Edgar County Courthouse in Paris, Ill., the week before. I took a few good photos, but after witnessing the extent of Joe’s interviews and the thoroughness of his reporting, I knew I needed to return for more visual reporting.  (photos below)

(Editors Note: I will be posting a link to Joe’s writing for this project when the project is completed. I can make a photo, but my writing does not hold a candle to his prose).

So, I came back early on a Friday morning, and found Wilson underneath one of  two artillery pieces “guarding” the courthouse. This is the same courthouse that, despite our post-9/11 world, does not have metal detectors at its entrances. Honestly, it’s rather refreshing. With a warm face and a soft tone, Wilson was soon filling me in on everything there is to know about the courthouse: the secrets of its sandstone construction, and the reason the courthouse’s dome is actually a shell of tin and not stone. (It’s because the interior construction is made of wood, which couldn’t handle the weight).

Wilson had also shown me the minute hand that had fallen off last winter — impaling itself on the guard rail during business hours near the most used entrance. They’re not sure how they are going to re-attach the six-foot hand, especially since bids have been rather high and because access is limited to rappelling or using a very large crane. Occasionally, Wilson is assigned people who have to serve community service.  He’s agreed to hold the bottom of the ladder for anyone willing to climb up and re-attach the hand. So far, no takers.

In addition to Wilson, the “new guy” on the block is Edwards.  Working at the courthouse less than six months, Edwards is a decorated Vietnam and Iraq War veteran. Both times I visited the courthouse, Edwards was hard at work in some dark corner, attending to the thousands of square feet of marble flooring.  The embodiment of  the American work ethic, Edwards was actually born in England and later became a naturalized citizen.

Clearly, the Edgar County Courthouse is in good hands.

 


One handed

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »
Clock Hands by b.poulter
Clock Hands, a photo by b.poulter on Flickr.

Bob Wilson, director of maintenance for the Edgar County Courthouse in Paris, Ill., holds the minute hand that fell from the clock tower during the winter of 2013 – and that somehow avoided impaling itself into a visitor.
(photo made with an iPhone 5)


Mister Edwards

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »
Mister Edwards by b.poulter
Mister Edwards, a photo by b.poulter on Flickr.

Rob Edwards, janitor and decorated soldier, in the Edgar County Courthouse in Paris, Ill.
(photo made with an iPhone 5)


Beneath the Exposition

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »
Beneath the Expostion by b.poulter
Beneath the Expostion, a photo by b.poulter on Flickr.

Rob Edwards polishes the marble tile below the painting “The Palace of Mechanical Arts,” which celebrates the 1893 Colombian Exposition on the second floor of the Edgar County Courthouse in Paris, Ill.
(photo made with a Nokia Lumia 928)


Chocolate Hendrix

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »
Chocolate Hendrix by b.poulter
Chocolate Hendrix, a photo by b.poulter on Flickr.

In Robinson, Ill., the place where Heath Bars are still made, one can visit the Heath Museum and Confectionery. Treasures such as this chocolate portrait of Jimi Hendrix by local artist John Kovacich are posted throughout the store.
(photo made with iPhone 5)


Heath dairy?

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »
Heath dary by b.poulter
Heath dary, a photo by b.poulter on Flickr.

The world famous Heath Bar actually started off as a side business of Heath’s Dairy near Robinson, Ill., where the candy bars are still made.
(photo made with an iPhone 5)


Mr. Cobb

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »
Mr. Cobb 2 by b.poulter
Mr. Cobb , a photo by b.poulter on Flickr.

In Lawrenceville, Ill.,  just a few feet off Illinois Route 1, we met Bill Cobb who has been selling produce on and off for more than 30 years. Married for 45 years, from the smile on his face, and the joy he had talking to customers, I had concluded that Bill was a guy who had life figured out.
(photo made with a Nokia Lumia 928)


Fresh melon

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »
Fresh melon by b.poulter
Fresh melon, a photo by b.poulter on Flickr.

Want a taste? Just ask Bill and he”ll pull out his jackknife to cut out open a melon for you to sample.
(photo made with a Nokia Lumia 928)


Find me the grave of Betsey Reed

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »

As Joe Gisondi and I traveled the greater Lawrenceville/Robinson metropolitan area (combined populations just over 13,000), we caught wind of the Hanging of Betsey Reed. Reed would be the first and only women to ever be hanged in Illinois. The fact that it happened 168 years ago and 16 years before the Civil War is a tribute to our journalistic skills and ability to break news.

(Photos below)

In 1845, an estimated 20,000 people reportedly arrived in Lawrenceville, Ill., to view Betsey’s demise.  The circumstance leading up to the crime for which she would get hanged are not clear.  Some reports say a a love-triangle was the cause.  What is clear is that Betsey was found guilty of  poisoning the sassafras tea of her husband, Leonard Reed. Sixteen-year-old Eveline Deal would testify she saw Betsey Reed slip white powder into Leonard’s tea. After her arrest, Reed was taken to the Crawford County jail. The wood structure burned down. The logical conclusion of the locals was that Reed was a witch. Reed was defended by a former State’s Attorney Usher Linder and future Illinois Governor Augustus French. The prosecuting attorney was Aaron Shaw (a future congressman) and the judge was Illinois State Supreme Court Justice William Wilson. Reed did not testify. The trial lasted three days. She was found guilty of murder on April 28, 1845.  She was hanged On May 23, 1845 at noon.  Most reports have her buried under a shallow grave near the gallows.  Her family allegedly dug her up in the middle of the night and moved her body to the Baker Cemetery. This would be the object of our quest.

So with confidence, armed with  a sectional county plat map (marked with three different locations of the alleged cemetery), a standard state of Illinois road map and a GPS we bravely went looking the grave of Betsey Reed.

Within twenty minutes, we were lost, making wrong turns and experiencing some of  the finest gravel roads the great state of Illinois has to offer.

Luckily, we stumbled onto Bob Corell. With his white hat and long main of silver hair, he looked like a guy who knew which way the wind blows — or at least where Baker Cemetery. It turns out we were close enough to be embarrassed, but the route there was so convoluted and hidden we would never have found the cemetery without his help. We pretended to laugh when Bill told us how once when coon hunting in the middle of the night his flashlight lost power in the area of the Reed grave. (This was not the first time we had heart similar stories that morning).

After a few miles of gravel roads, country roads, and small bridges, we found ourselves at a dirt road with a small sign mostly obscured by brush. We turned in, and, after winding past a few thousand yards of tall corn, we found a small wood cemetary. In the very-very back,  we found the grave shaded by huge trees. Strangely, the headstone faced the back of of the cemetery and not toward the front like the rest.   Ironically, Betsey who had died by “death by hanging,” shared the head stone with her “murdered” husband, Leonard.

After twenty minutes in the cemetery, the Noki Lumia 928 and the iPhone 5 cellphones I was using to make photographs and which I had charged the night before, had each lost most of their power. Joe’s iPhone 4s was almost completely out of juice. We left soon after this discovery. At the entrance to the cemetery, a small sign says no trespassing from dusk to dawn.  I won’t be back to break curfew.  If that’s because of my respect for the rule of law, or my respect of the supernatural, that is for you to decide.

 

 


Getting lost on the way to a hanging

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | Tags: | No Comments »
Joe Gisondi by b.poulter
Joe Gisondi, a photo by b.poulter on Flickr.

If you are going to get lost, Joe Gisondi is a good person to do it with. This photo was taken “somewhere” near Illinois Route 1
(photo made with a Nokia Lumia 928)


White hat equals good Samaritan.

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »
White hat equals good Samaritan. by b.poulter
White hat equals good Samaritan., a photo by b.poulter on Flickr.

When getting lost in rural Illinois, it’s good to run into people like Bob Corell, who will set you straight and get you on your way.
(photo made with an iPhone 5)


Baker Cemetery

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »
Baker Cemetery by b.poulter
Baker Cemetery, a photo by b.poulter on Flickr.

The entrance sign to the Baker Cemetery in Montgomery Township, near Heathsville, Illinois.
(photo made with Nokia Lumia 928)


Betsey Reed Headstone

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »
Betsey Reed Headstone by b.poulter
Betsey Reed Headstone, a photo by b.poulter on Flickr.

On May 23, 1845, Elizabeth “Betsey” Reed became the first and only woman hanged by the great State of Illinois. Over 20,000 people are reported to have attended her hanging. (photo made with a Nokia Lumia 928)


Reed close-up

Posted: July 23rd, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »
Reed Headstone by b.poulter
Reed Headstone, a photo by b.poulter on Flickr.

The headstone for Betsey Reed, the first and only woman to be hanged in Illinois, is located in a small cemetery in rural Montgomery Township near Heathsville, Ill.
(taken with a Nokia Lumia 928)


Posted: June 18th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »

marcoA test shot taken of Des Moines Register journalist Marco Santana with the new Nokia Lumia 928 cellphone on loan from Verizon Wireless for use on my Illinois Route 1 project.


Posted: June 17th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: General posts | No Comments »

photo

I’ve been experimenting with my new Airbox inflatable softboxes. Because of their portability, I am very excited about using them on the road.

(photo by Danny Damiani)


map