County’s history begins with the period of glaciers and the time
when the land was occupied by the Kickapoo Indians…every stroke of
a hammer, every rattle of a farm machine, and every puff of a
locomotive became a blow to the quietness of the primordial prairie
wilderness. As an agrarian population mastered the tall prairie
grasses, the settlers with varied professions and businesses found
their niches in the burgeoning settlements." So begins the
incredible saga of Logan County, Illinois, as told by local
historians Paul Gleason and Paul Beaver.
collaboration, entitled "Logan County Pictorial History"
chronicles the story of this quintessential American community as
captured through the eye of the camera and told through the life
experiences of its residents. Though the book was conceived as a
pictorial documentation of the county’s history, there are also
narrative histories on 16 of the 17 different communities in Logan
County (Lincoln appears in an earlier publication by Gleason).
addition to the history of the different communities, the authors
discuss the single greatest influence on the life and development of
the county: agriculture. The impact of agriculture is vividly
illustrated through scenes of everyday farm life, prized animals,
specialized machinery and the people who worked this rich, bountiful
unique feature of the book is the chapter entitled "The 50s In
Logan County." Recalling an era of innocence and optimism
following the end of World War II, this chapter is more than fast
cars, bobby sox and cool hairdos. It is a glimpse at some of the
young women of the county and the lives they led. The authors write
that "the girls pictured here…are visual proof of what made
the 50s fabulous."
is, however, the local histories of the different communities in
Logan County that comprise the heart of the book. After opening each
community’s chapter with a brief history, the authors present a
visual record of the county through rare and personal photographs.
Some of the most fascinating and entertaining reading in the book is
contained in the captions of these photographs.
- At one time Atlanta was
actually larger than Lincoln.
- Beason was named after
Silas Beason, one of the promoters of the new rail line in 1872.
- The fire-and-brimstone
evangelist Peter Cartwright opposed Abraham Lincoln in his bid
for Congress and brought Methodist doctrine to Broadwell.
- The school in Burtonview
opened in 1873 and served the community until 1958.
- The town of Chestnut is
considered to be the geographic center of Illinois.
- Cornland fought back to
rebuild after the devastating effects of a tornado in 1927.
- John D. Gillett of
Elkhart was known as the "Cattle King of America."
- Emden has a reputation
for an abundance of musical talent among its citizens.
[to top of second column in
[Paul Beaver holds a copy of his book,
"Logan County Pictorial History."]
the book is a collection of interesting photographs on the town of
Lincoln — photographs not found in Gleason’s previous book,
"Lincoln: A Pictorial History."
County Pictorial History" is an outstanding documentary history
on the story of this central Illinois community. Sponsored by State
Bank of Lincoln, the book is a visual delight and should be
treasured by families and enjoyed by generations to come. Both
authors are lifelong residents of Logan County, and their own
personal experiences are evident in the writing and the stories they
have chosen. Lavishly illustrated with numerous photographs and
informative captions, the book is one that the reader can easily
peruse page by page or select any of the community histories. The
inclusion of a bibliography of sources and a comprehensive index
enhances the book’s scholarly value and makes it a valuable source
of information on this part of the state.
as companion volume to Paul Gleason’s earlier book on the city of
Lincoln, "Logan County Pictorial History" is essential
reading for everyone young and old who is interested in the rich,
colorful history of Logan County, Illinois.
more information, visit the library at 725 Pekin St. or call (217)
[Richard Sumrall, Lincoln
Public Library District]