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Pulaski County archaeology site, Springfield's Union Station featured in latest Historic Illinois          Send a link to a friend

[FEB. 25, 2006]  SPRINGFIELD -- The archaeological investigation of the 1801 Cantonment Wilkinson military outpost in Pulaski County and ongoing efforts to restore the 1898 Union Station in downtown Springfield are featured in the latest issue of Historic Illinois, a publication of the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

Cantonment Wilkinson, established at the confluence of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers in 1801 to counter a perceived threat of war with France, is the subject of the cover article. At one point, half of the standing U.S. Army was garrisoned at the cantonment, a large outpost without defensive walls. The cantonment was abandoned after the 1803 Louisiana Purchase eliminated French interest in the region. The settlement with between 200 and 300 log huts gradually disappeared, leaving little evidence of its existence. Then, in 2003, Mark Wagner of the Center for Archaeological Investigations at Southern Illinois University began to examine Cantonment Wilkinson. Over the next two years archaeologists uncovered numerous artifacts in present-day Pulaski County that confirmed the location of the cantonment and gave an indication of what daily life was like for the 1,500 soldiers who were stationed there, waiting for a war that never came. The article was written by William Gatlin, intern in preservation services for the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.

The restoration of downtown Springfield's 1898 Union Station is the subject of another article. The Romanesque building with its 170-foot-tall clock tower served as the main point of entry to the city for many years. The tower was demolished in 1946, and in 1985 the building was transformed into commercial space. The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency moved into Union Station in 1990, and for 15 years it served as the agency's main headquarters. However, the state of Illinois had bigger plans for the building. Work is now under way on Union Station to restore it to its former glory, a project that includes reconstructing the magnificent clock tower. When rehabilitation work is complete in early 2007, the building will house visitor amenities and tourism information to complement the nearby Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum. This article was also written by William Gatlin.

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In the "Gone but not Forgotten" section of the magazine, mid-1930s service stations such as the Kotecki Marathon Service Station in the Bureau County community of Spring Valley are highlighted. Customer loyalty played a major role in the design of 1930s service stations, as executives learned that building similarly designed stations created an identity with their product. Marathon designed the Kotecki station in the "Domestic" style so it resembled an English cottage rather than a filling station. The station served motorists along U.S. Route 6 for 30 years and housed other business ventures for another 30 years. It was demolished in 1993, but not before its presence was meticulously documented through procedures established by the Illinois Historic American Buildings Survey and the Historic American Engineering Record.

Historic Illinois is a bimonthly publication that features historically significant sites in Illinois. Subscriptions are $10 per year, which includes six issues of Historic Illinois and a full-color calendar. For more information, call (217) 524-6045; visit; or write to Historic Illinois, Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, 1 Old State Capitol Plaza, Springfield, IL 62701-1507.

[Illinois Historic Preservation Agency news release]

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