Day 4: July 21, 2015
A Crossroads of the Nation

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Although I spent the night right on the Dixie Highway in Illinois, my first stop of the day is not on the Dixie Highway nor is it even in Illinois. I've crossed back over to Indiana to visit the towns of Kentland and Brook. The reason is a recently discovered writer who started and ended and spent much of his life here. I first heard of George Ade from History in Your Own Backyard. "Travel slowly, stop often." is the sign-off for History in Your Own Backyard produced videos. It's a George Ade quote and anybody who says stuff like that sounds like someone I'd like to know. As I read about the author and columnist, I realized that I would be passing within few miles of his grave in a couple of weeks. I plugged the location into the GPS with plans to visit if time permitted. As you can see, it did.

The large Ade family monument is near the flagpole just inside the entrance to Kentland's Fairlawn Cemetery. George's stone is directly in front of the big marker. The last two pictures are of his home, which he called Hazelden, just outside of Brook. It has been restored and can be rented for gatherings. The George Ade Memorial Health Care Center is right next door and I spoke with a grounds keeper there. He told me that his mother had memories of visiting Hazelden on Sundays when George would give children ice cream. There are plenty of reasons to like this guy not the least of which is that Mark Twain was a fan.

These pictures are of my return to the Dixie Highway at the east edge of Watseka, Illinois. I had a couple of advantages when I took them. One was that I had just passed here going the other direction and another is that I could see motion. One bit of motion I could see was the waving of a flag approximately a mile away in the center of the first picture. It's not really identifiable even in the full size picture behind the thumbnail but it is in this full resolution snippet. The second picture was obviously taken just before I passed under the flag. Both pictures were taken with a 35mm equivalent focal length of 27mm (i.e., wide angle). I've found no explanation of why Watseka has such a huge flag but I guess I don't really need to know.

The 1931 Watseka Theater is attractive and active. Marshall Tucker Band's there in September and Mickey Gilley is coming in October.

Balmoral Park opened, as Lincoln Fields, in August of 1926 when the road out front was still officially Dixie Highway. Lincoln Fields became Balmoral Park in 1955.

The trail that Gurdon Hubbard established between Chicago and Danville eventually became part of the Dixie Highway and Illinois Route 1. The monument was erected in 1936. Apparently, the badly weathered stone at the right of the photo is one of the markers placed by the road in 1835. I don't know when the Dixie Highway sign was installed but it's been there long enough to look a little weathered itself.

I ended my Dixie day at the Lincoln. The Arche Women's Club erected this fountain in 1916 to mark the crossing of the Lincoln Highway and Dixie Highway. Chicago Heights used the crossing to declare itself "The Crossroads of the Nation" Of course, these two auto trails crossed in a number of places but maybe this crossing does have a little more going for it than some since it is on the first proposed section of the DH. The second picture looks north along the Dixie Highway path I'll be following tomorrow.

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