Tag Archive | Abraham Lincoln

Mount Rushmore, South Dakota – The Shrine of Democracy

4- 27 – 2017  Mt. Rushmore

After an unsuccessful attempt to see the monument the day before, we returned the next morning and were happy to see sunny skies! We took the fast route there from Hot Springs on the return trip. Enjoy the views on our drive from Hot Springs to Mt. Rushmore, it was one hour from there. It is located in Keystone. We arrived at 6:40 AM.

The Iron Mountain Road we took the day before led us to this historical marker about the designer of the monument.

The route up the other side from Custer was beautiful the next morning.  We saw a mountain lake reflecting the blue sky, the trees flocked in snow.


We made it to the top, the view just before pulling into the parking ramp.

We were among the first people here, arriving before the museum opened. Outside is a sign posting events going on there daily.

The Avenue of Flags paves the way to the Grand Terrace to view the monument close-up. in a niche on the left is a bust of Borglum.

We made it! Seeing this work of art up close is amazing. The blue sky really made it stand out.

We had the pleasure of chatting with other visitors from around the world and we helped take selfies of them with Mt. Rushmore in the background. There also are two viewing scopes, it costs 50 cents to use it.

We enjoyed exploring the museum inside too. There is so much to see there, here is a general overview. There are a series of displays in the entryway.

Holographic display


This is the largest main display room, the Exhibit Hall.

There is a scale model of Mt. Rushmore. Also videos and artifacts such as tools used in the building of the monument.

A large mural depicting the Presidents.

It was almost time to go, we took the elevator back up to the Grand Terrace and noticed more people arriving.

Walking back through the Avenue of Flags, we saw a beautiful white Mountain Goat on our right regarding the crowd!

It was now 9:15, we planning on leaving by 9:30 so we made a stop at the gift shop first.  Enter under the first awning on the right, you can also just see the statue of Borglum on the right. We stayed three hours.

We give Mt. Rushmore a thumbs up!  We were so happy to be here today!

Janesville-Wisconsin’s Park Place

12-12-15 and 5-13-16

Janesville sign

Janesville is a city of 63,575 with a rich history as well as being beautiful with having more than 2,500 acres of parks. Abraham Lincoln had even been here. He stayed at the Lincoln Tallman House on October 3, 1859. It is now a museum along with several other buildings on the campus.

Lincoln Tallman House IMG_8888

Next door is the Helen Jeffris Wood Museum, with its Parker Pen collection.

Helen Jeffris Wood Museum in Janesville

On the Tallman house lawn there was a plaque denoting the “witness trees”, large Burr Oak trees that were present when Lincoln was visiting.

Witness Tree Plaque

Witness tree Burr Oak at Tallman

Across the street is the John Peters House, another historic home built in 1857.

John PetersHouse in Janesville

Janesville is proud of its history and offers several Self-Guided Walking Tours. You can install an app on your phone to guide you on the tour.

We headed downtown to The Armory.  It was built in 1930 and is now an event facility. Contact them here to book your event.

The Janesville Armory

Janesville Tank Company marker

We took a break for lunch and went downtown to O’Reilly and Conway’s, an Irish Pub. Great food here!

O'Riley and Conway's restaurant in Janesville

Another great place to eat is the Milwaukee Grill, we enjoyed Friday Fish Fry there.

Milwaukee Grill in Janesville

 Janesville is in the process of establishing historic districts though building rehabilitation and restoration.  This beautiful building is part of the Kent Block on 52 S. Main,  it now has apartments.  Read more about it here and other buildings.

Kent Block historic building MG_9073

Janesville also has a train depot and four-faced clock nearby. No longer being used for passenger trains, it is now a bus station.

Clock and Depot in Janesville

Janesville Depot IMG_9043

Janesville Depot Plaques

We continued past the depot and found RiversEdge Bowl  with a real cool sign.

RiversEdge Bowl in Janesville IMG_9056

Reversing course, we head to the heart of downtown. This was a Carnegie Library, now a senior center.

Former Carnegie Library in Janesville IMG_9088

Across from here is the Marvin W. Roth Community Pavillion and amphitheater. This is part of their downtown revitalization project.

Pavillion in Janesville IMG_9092

It turned out we were in the Courthouse Hill Historic District and there were many beautiful homes and churches in the block.

Courthouse Hill Historic District IMG_9133

Al pointed out a window style I had not seen before, an Eyebrow Window. It is designed to get natural light into an attic.

Courthouse Historic District house with Eyebrow window

We also found a historic marker that mentioned Janesville as being the site of the first Wisconsin State Fair.

First State Fair in Janesville IMG_9145

Another interesting house, Barnes Double House.

Barnes Double House in Janesville IMG_9175

Barnes Double House Plaque IMG_9171

We head back toward the car, we had a bit more to see outside of downtown.  We saw a photo shoot taking place across the river, they saw us too!Bridge in Janesville IMG_9240

Photoshoot IMG_9231

We went to the “Janesville Oasis” area near the 90/94 exit to see Bessie the Cow.  It is in the area near Arby’s, you can park in the lot nearby. Here is an archive photo from 2005. The oasis sign is no longer there, but the Arby’s is. This area was changed by the new owner Tom Lasse shortly after this picture was taken. You can even pretend to milk Bessie.


Janesville Oasis 2005

Bessie the Cow in Janesville

After paying homage to Bessie, we had another historical marker to see on Janesville’s south side. This marker is dedicated to the Blackhawk War and Black Hawk Grove.  It has two sides.  Blackhawk Credit Union sponsored this important marker.

Blackhawk Grove and War marker

Black Hawk Marker in Janesville

Relax at Palmer Park nearby Rotary Gardens.


It was soon going to be dark, and it was time to go to our final destination, Rotary Botanical Gardens to see their Holiday Light Show. It was fantastic, the largest Christmas Light Show we ever went to.

Rotary Gardens sign IMG_9266

Rotary Pond IMG_9396 brighter

Since there is so much to do in Janesville, staying overnight is a good idea.  One hotel that helped some friends of ours after a fire was the Baymont.  They gave them shelter while they looked for another place to stay.


Janesville was a lot of fun and has many activities for young and old alike. We plan on returning to the garden in May 2016  to see it in bloom.

Chicago Heights – Crossroads of the Nation

4-22-14 and 4-28-2018

Chicago Heights and South Chicago Heights

Chicago Heights sign

South Chicago Heights sign

Both are explored here together as we jumped between the two several times while seeking out the points of interest.  Chicago Heights is a city of 30,000.  South Chicago Heights is a village of 4,139.

This is the intersection of historic Chicago Road and Lincoln Highway. On your left, you could just see the President Lincoln display on this corner.

Road to Greatness display

 St. James Hospital, where I was born in 1966.  The hospital is slated to close in 2018 and be torn down.

St. James Hospital

A statue outside of the hospital.

Across the street is a Veteran’s Memorial. I was a patient in the hospital on Nov. 11, 1979.  My room had a view of this memorial.  I was actually there on Veteran’s Day and I saw the ceremony from my window.

Chicago Heights Vet Memorial

On the other corner is the Alex Lopez Park with two interesting monuments.

Alex Lopez Park MonumentAlex Lopez Park monument detail


Ten Commandments Momument

Another monument in South Chicago Heights, marking the site of the home of one of the first settlers in the area, Adam Brown.

Adam Brown marker

Adam Smith marker

Our biggest attraction in South Chicago Heights is the Hi-Way Bakery, THE destination for great pastries and conversation since  1939.  My family got doughnuts from there on Sunday mornings during my childhood.  On April 3, 2004,  John Koester became the new owner.

They are located at:

2633 Chicago Rd, South Chicago Heights, IL 60411
(708) 754-3255

In April 2016, their doughnuts were deemed Chicago’s Best. See video here!

  • Hours: Mon, 5am – 2pm; Tue-Sat, 5am – 4pm; Sun, 6am – 1pm

Hi-Way Bakery

The iconic sign is the original and is in need of repair.  With enough donations,  John hopes to get it restored to its former luster.  This is what it looked like in the past.

Interesting history about the sign,  the pastry chef is speculated to be the daughter of the original owner.  Back then having a woman on a sign portraying such a respected profession was just not done!  They did it though and the sign is a piece of important history in South Chicago Heights.

Hi-Way Bakery sign

Hi-Way Bakery Woman Chef on sign

Inside was warm and welcoming, likewise with the staff. It smelled so good in there!


Hi-Way Bakery inside

We bought a baker’s dozen of fine pastries to take with us.


It was just after Easter and they still had a few lamb cakes left. So cute!

Thanks for the great memories and treats John!

John Koester and us

Our tour continues with a stop at Gaby Iron and Metal, where we brought our recyclables. They are located at 2611 East End Ave. My girl scout troop brought in glass and bottles to raise money for our many activities.

Gaby Iron and Metals

2014 prices

In 1984 they had a neat keychain I still have.

Our last stop was the South Suburban Humane Society. My Girl Scout troop used to volunteer there, often walking the dogs.

South Suburban Humane Society

That concludes our visit to both of the Chicago Heights.  It was good to revisit places I have been, plus see new things as well.

South Chicago Heights Water Tower


Beckman Mill-Heritage Day Festival in Beloit


Beckman Mill and Covered Bridge

Beckman Mill Marker

We time-traveled to the 1800’s to historic Beckman Mill in Beloit to enjoy some old-fashioned demos of skills used before high-tech and mass production.  The Amish help keep some of these crafts alive today. The centerpiece of this historic site is of course Beckman Mill, a grist mill that is still using the original millstones to grind mainly corn.  The covered bridge is a more recent addition and is quite popular!  The mill stream powers it, and this mill doesn’t use a waterwheel. Turbines inside do the turning of the grindstone. Enjoy this demonstration of the mill in action!

Buzz Beckman of the Beckman family was there and posed for a picture with us! The building behind us was where the Beckman family once lived, now it houses exhibits.

Buzz Beckman and us

We also enjoyed watching  the blacksmith making tools.

Beckman Mill Blacksmith

Another man was making flint arrowheads, wow!


Some vendors were also there that incorporated these 1800’s skills. A broom-maker had many beautiful brooms for sale.

Broom Maker

Another vendor,Terri Dodge of Double D’s B’s of Beloit (608-365-1646) sold wonderful hand-crafted soap that smelled wonderful!  We got some! They also sell honey.  Also some beautiful pottery, some was even being made as we watched! The little girl on the left won first-place in the Laura Ingalls Wilder contest at the festival.

Double D's B's

Pottery Demo at Beckman Mill, Beloit

President Lincoln and his wife Mary Todd were visiting the mill also.  They gave a 10-minute presentation in character.  They are played by Jerry and Judy Wubbena of South Beloit, Il.  Contact them for your event, 815-389-8829. 

Present Abraham Lincoln and Mary Todd

We were also entertained by the Mill Road Band, playing tunes to get your feet tapping. Also dulcimer players, they played a song from Lincoln’s campaign before their presentation.

Mill Pond Band Beloit

Duclimer Players and Lincolns

The festival also featured a classic car show and wagon rides.

Horse -Drawn Rides

For an old-fashioned good time, come to Beckman Mill. They are open from May-October, mill tours on weekends.  Don’t forget a souvenier from the gift shop, your purchase supports the site’s continued operation!

Beckman Mill Gift Shop

Covered bridge at Beckman Mill

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