Over the 4th of July Weekend, I traveled towards Quincy to see how the changes to city since I last haunted during my youth. One the way, As usual, I scoped several of county courthouses and downtowns along the way.
Schuyler County – Rushville
The Schuyler Country Courthouse is an older but well maintained brick and stone structure built along the southwest corner of Rushville’s downtown square. Built in the 1880s it shows the typical archway entrance of many of its kind.
Like many others, the clock tower is out of character with the rest of the building. I have a suspicion that this deliberate to people find the time piece before many people where able to put one on their arm in their pocket.
A Civil War memorial near the entrance. The grounds in the front and north sides are well maintained, with a iron fence bounding the entrance. This gives the grounds a little flair not present in other courthouses.
The downtown square was busier than most despite the town’s small size and remoteness from other population centers. An unusual feature is that the town kept its brick roads, which seemed to improve the area’s rural atmosphere.
Brown County – Mt. Sterling
The Brown County Courthouse sits the small rural town of Mt. Sterling. Like the town itself, it somewhat run down nestled in the furthest part of the down town area.
Unique to the grounds is a park and playground directly behind the building.
The front of this brick structure has several large pillars that give it at least a little character. From the looks of it, the build has been added on at least two times in its history. Unfortunately, the bricks and windows differ in size and quality so detract from it beauty from in the side and back of the building.
Down the street is a new memorial with the names of the fallen throughout the park. It would have been more scenic if the buildings adjacent where in better repair.
The town itself has no real square with a mix of local businesses catering to the people in the area. The former bank building pictured is one of the more architecturally attractive buildings in an otherwise bland area.
Pike County – Pittsfield
The Pike County Courthouse is an imposing limestone structure built near the turn of the 20th century. Built like a European estate or castle it has many architectural flairs not seen in most built around the same time.
The parade grounds are well maintained and spacious giving the town square and open airy feel.
Again the clock tower is out of place compared to the rest of the building. It looks like there is a church growing out of the middle of the courthouse.
The memorial to the fallen sits outside the entrance.
Lincoln and two of his Presidential Secretaries that once called the area home.
Unfortunately, Pittsfield’s downtown has seen its better days with many vacant storefronts and few people about unlike Rushville. It might be too close to Quincy, which would pull people to its somewhat vibrant west side shopping district.
Adams County – Quincy
This ugly building is the Adam Count Courthouse. Built in 1950, from all sides, it look warn down and became somewhat neglected as the Midwest rusted out. There are many buildings in town that were built in similar fashion. It is likely that at the time of construction, Quincy was in on the go after WWII.
The side and back are not much better. Sheesh the architecture of the post war is ugly.
While not near the park, there are many sighting of Lincoln in the Washington Park town square. It is a rather nice park situated on a hill near the Mississippi.
The first settler in Quincy. Love the beard on the statue.
Edgewater Park was one of the few places I remember walking around. Wedged between the US 24 and train bridge, it offers a place to get away with several bike trails following the river.
The place I spend most of my time when I was a teen was near the Quincy College campus. Nestled in the nice middle class neighborhood it is quite a sight once you find it as it doesn’t look like there would be college in the area.
Like many other college campuses I have been to in mid-south Illinois, not much seems change now. The outside the main campus building the buildings are range from understated to ugly with the nicest buildings reserved for the churches dotted around the area.
After leaving Quincy, I realized why I don’t really remember the area well. In my youth I was traveling from one Rust Belt town to another. Outside the river, there wasn’t much different about it town and where I grew up.
Hancock County – Carthage
The Hancock Count Courthouse in Cartage is many of similar features to the others built around the turn of the 20th Century in Central Illinois. The deco is white marble with an out of place clock tower popping out the top.
At least the white of the tower is better than most. It somewhat matches the rest of the building. Perhaps it is the red roof domes squaring the building the aid this view. Like others in the area, the central square grounds is larger than most, which actually makes this structure pop out because differences in coloration from foliage surrounding the building.
Stone stating the Lincoln came here. The citizens of Carthage are more low-keyed than most about the 16th president.
Like many towns way out in the rural Illinois landscape, the downtown had seen its better day. Even nearing the end of the working day, there were few people about.
McDonough County – Macomb
While needing a bit of TLC in places, the McDonough County Courthouse was the highlight of this trip. Set in the middle of the Macomb town square it lights up the area with it red on white design.
The building much longer than it is wide. This space gave the architect room to add unique character too each entrance.
The clock in the tower doesn’t fully work, but it is well integrated.
Bloomington has its painted corn statues while Macomb has its bulldogs, the mascot of IWU. The downtown businesses are an interesting mix. There are many local stores for residents along with those catering to students such as bars and game stores.
Just off the the town square is a second square/park with many statures. This one is usual for the area since it depicts heroes of the women’s rights movement.
Unlike ISU, U of I, and EIU, I found the IWU campus unusually far away from the center of town. This gives it a rural feel.
Like EIU, it campus has seen its better days. Most of the structures where built in the ugly structure period between WWII and 1980.
Despite my dislike of the buildings surrounding it, I like the quad. It is sprawling, forested and has many terrain features uncommon to the flat farming areas typically found in the area.
While walking around, I scared up a doe, rural indeed.
Hmm, our future leaders need a art class or two.