The "One and Only Cornland" celebrates Zip Code Day

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[June 29, 2019] 

Tuesday night in the little town named "Cornland" located in the southwest corner of Logan County, residents gathered to celebrate Zip Code Day. Why you might wonder? Because the zip code in this tiny community has the zip code 62519 or as the date indicated 6-25-19, hence the proclamation "Zip Code Day."

Local resident Kelley Tierney, who resides with her husband, Bob, in the former Methodist Church building in the town, was the mastermind behind "Zip Code Day" but she will be the first to say it was a team effort. Tierney's vibrant personality and creative mind made her the perfect person to carry out the dream of gathering folks on this once-in-a-lifetime day. You see, this day will only come around once in a hundred years.

 

"It is beyond our wildest dreams," said Tierney of the crowd of people who gathered Tuesday evening around the little post office. "I'm telling you what, who knew when you say to somebody, "You want to have a little something for Zip Code Day and everybody says, "What's Zip Code Day?" And then to have a turnout like this."

The population of Cornland is currently estimated at 73 residents. Yes, Tierney counted the residents herself. After Tierney checked the signup sheet for the Zip Code Day photo she counted 78 names signed up. Impressive turnout.



Both local current residents and former residents who made the trek to the little town were treated to two photo opportunities, one that was taken in front of the post office and another by the "One and Only Cornland" sign located at the entrance into town off Illinois State Route 54. An interesting side note about the sign at the edge of town: The original sign was damaged and stolen some time ago and then one day this new, beautiful sign showed up in its place.



Residents still do not know who painted the new sign but they are so thankful that someone thought enough of their town to replace the sign that disappeared.

Providentially, people pull off the highway all the time to take their picture with the "One and Only Cornland" sign.

"One and Only" is pretty self-explanatory and yes, it's true. There is not another Cornland in the entire United States of America, according to the local residents. The town of Cornland was surveyed in August of 1871 by Joshua Day and as the founder of the town, legend has it that he proclaimed, "I've never seen land that will grow better corn and therewith it should be named Cornland."

Tuesday night brought about a reunion of sorts on the street in front of the post office and even founder Joshua Day was represented. Direct descendants of Joshua Day attended Zip Code Day and they are some pretty recognizable Logan County names.


The direct descendants of Hardin Cherry are front row: Mary Thomas George and Vera Thomas.   Back row: Melissa Cherry Beal, Julie Cherry Cooper, Laura Cherry Hanner, Becky Cherry Simko and Jean Meadows Guffey.

The Joshua Day descendants in attendance are all great-granddaughters of Hardin Cherry. Those granddaughters who gathered in Cornland included sisters Mary Thomas George and Vera Thomas of Lincoln, Cherry cousins Melissa Beal, Julie Cooper, Laura Hanner and Becky Simko, and Jean Hannah Meadows Guffey. Guffey traveled the farthest on Tuesday, coming all the way from southern Missouri for the event. Guffey's mom, Vera Meadows, worked at the Cornland Post Office for a number of years.
Cornland residents Sam Koehl and his sister Lillian Koehl hold up the commemorative postcards by the highway sign.

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Left to right: Kelby Ford, Gayla Hughes, Lisa Mikuleza, Debbie Greenwood, Barb Hodel and Anna Krug.

Kelby Ford is the current rural carrier for Cornland and his grandfather owned and operated Fordís Store that once housed the post office. Gayla Hughes and Lisa Mikuleza work in the Riverton Post Office and helped with Zip Code Day. Debbie Greenwood is the current postmaster of Cornland. Barb Hodel worked for 20 years in the Cornland post office with former postmaster Barbara Harlean Veech. Anna Krug succeeded Veech as postmaster and worked in Cornland for 10 years.

The current postmaster of Cornland is Debbie Greenwood. Greenwood has worked in Cornland for three years. She was on hand Tuesday night overseeing the selling of the four different designed Cornland commemorative postcards.

The post office also created a special commemorative cancellation stamp just for Cornland. Customers can get mail cancelled with the special stamp for thirty days after 6-25-19. In fact, the post office has already gotten mail from ten different states of people sending mail to Cornland to get the stamp cancelled.

T-shirt orders are also still being taken by Tierney.

The crowd hung around Cornland for a good hour and a half after the 6 p.m. photo op on Tuesday night, as folks enjoyed snacks and reminisced about Cornland history.

Mary George and Vera Thomas both vividly remembered when the post office used to be located in the back of Fordís Store in Cornland. Ford's Store was located just next to the building that houses the current post office the two said. "You went through the grocery part to the post office in the back," said George. Customers could buy stamps and pick up their mail from the post office boxes in the back of the store. George even recalled their post office box was number 34. "You went three this way and four that way and then it came open," said George, demonstrating the turns in mid-air. "Those were the good old days," she added.



The current post office was built in the mid 70s, residents concluded.

As the event came to an end, Tierney smiled and gazed around at the last of the long-time Cornland couples hanging around and taking pictures.

ďIt just goes to show you, you donít need much of an excuse to have a party, do you?Ē laughed Tierney.


Joe and Kay Hickey (57 years of marriage).


Leroy and Bev Ramthun (51 years of marriage).


"Newbies" Bob and Kelley Tierney (28 years of marriage).


By the way those royal couples of Cornland who boast decades of togetherness in the tiny town are pretty impressive. The longest married couple residing in Cornland is Joe and Kay Hickey, with 57 years of marriage. Coming in second is Leroy and Bev Ramthun with 51 years of marriage. Although Leroy is a life-long resident of the town. Meanwhile, Tierney and her husband, Bob, call themselves the "newbies" of the town with 28 years of married life in Cornland.

 

That's it from the "One and Only Cornland" for now. Stay tuned in 2021 when the community celebrates 150 years.

[Teena Lowery]

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