Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Springdale Cemetery Gatehouse

My first trip into Springdale Cemetery in Peoria, Illinois was some time in early 2000.
A friend of mine who was familiar with the layout showed me and a couple of other people around.
Since then, I've been on group hikes and hikes with my dad, enjoying all the beauty that can be found in the cemetery.
I have also followed the news stories about the impending fate of the gatehouse in the cemetery.
The gatehouse was built in 1900 in the craftsman bungalow style. Initially an office and residence, the building is located at the lower entrance to the cemetery.
In July 2008, the cemetery's management authority voted 4-3 to demolish the gatehouse as the cost to repair, $800,000 or more, is too great.
In March 2009, the Historic Preservation Commission voted 5-1 to endorse a controlled demolition of the building with the stones and roof tiles removed and stored. Plans would be to rebuild as originally constructed.
The gatehouse sits on the Rock Island Trail and could make a nice pit stop for travelers of the trail.
As of December 29, 2009, a sign posted on the fence reads: Please contribute to the restoration of this gate house. Please send your check to Carolyn Kraft, 9919 N. Jamaica Dr., Peoria IL 61615. Phone: (309) 691-5537.
I hope it will indeed be preserved and/or rebuilt using the salvaged materials so it can be enjoyed for another hundred years.

Springdale Cemetery
3014 N. Prospect Rd.
Peoria, IL 61603

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Brown's Fine Food

Last weekend we set out for points west in Illinois to visit a restaurant my husband has been wanting to try for about a year.
Alas, our food choices were not to be had when we got there, so we hit the road again and kept our eyes peeled for another option.
We drove into Canton and soon a retro sign complete with arrow caught the attention of both of us at almost the same instant: Brown's Snappy Service.
I love spotting old signs, and it's even better when the business still exists and lives up to the legacy.
A lucky break! Brown's Fine Food was open so we walked in and found the place comfortably worn around the edges, with about a dozen stools mounted in front of the white, gold-flecked countertop.
Tables lined the wall behind, stretching back into a narrow back room.
We took seats at the counter to better check out the old equipment and decor, and looked over the menu while our server went to get us some iced teas.
Entrées were reasonable: chicken fried steak for $5.75, two smoked pork chops for $6.75, fried chicken for $6, all served with two sides plus bread a butter. Sandwiches started at $1.70 for the sandwich alone and $3.20 for a platter.
StfRon asked the gent serving us if the hamburgers were frozen, and he said no. Then he asked if they were thin patties, and found out they were. Our server added that they are very good, so that was enough for us.
I ordered a cheeseburger platter and StfRon ordered a bacon cheeseburger platter. Both came with fries and cole slaw.
Our food came out quickly, the burgers tasty as promised, complete with crispy edges, creamy cheese and soft buns.
The fries were a similar cut to McDonald's fries, but I enjoyed their crispness and taste much more than any Mickey D's fries I've had in the last decade.
The slaw was a creamy style, and the portion was pretty generous.
Brown's has been providing snappy service since 1937, and the original building is still intact. There have been some additions over the years, but I had taken notice of the ceiling over the grill area while waiting for my food before I knew about the add ons and you can still
imagine what the little place must have been like in its heyday.
Mounted to a post next to the old host stand area there is a neat photo of the original building.
I'm glad the sign caught our attention.

Brown's Fine Food
124 N Main Street
Canton, IL 61520