Wednesday, January 10, 2007

3357 Are you from Podunk?

For you non-USA'ns, "Podunk" is a synonym for the town from nowhere--too small to matter. Except to the people who live there. I grew up in two lovely Podunks, Forreston and Mt. Morris in Ogle County, Illinois, in the northern part of the state, close enough to Wisconsin and Iowa that we sometimes took Sunday afternoon drives to those states. Here is a website that's lots of fun, called where you can search out information about your little town. There are also Podunk sites for Canada and Ireland.

It appears to me now in 2007 that Forreston is the more attractive of the two, but when I was living there (1946-1951), Mt. Morris was twice the size and had the better business district, nicer homes, paved streets and more advanced schools. In those days Mt. Morris had a thriving publishing and magazine distribution industry--actually they are still there--but experienced a devastating strike in the 1970s, and the town has been slipping since. Even today, many libraries have subscriptions addressed to Mt. Morris. Statistically, the 2000 census still shows Mt. Morris with the higher median income and home values, but it essentially no longer has a school system, which really gutted the town of community spirit. Meanwhile, Forreston has diversified with small businesses, rallied its voters for bond issues, made itself a wonderful place to buy real estate and settle down, and has moved on. Both towns have housing stock with median range far below the national average.

The funny little picture on the Mt. Morris epodunk site is actually a post card of Pine Creek, IL where my dad grew up. It is closer to Dixon (home of Pres. Reagan) than Mt. Morris. Not sure how they select the graphics.


murrayT said...

Mt. Morris is very close to becoming smaller. Watt Publishing announced this summer that it is considering relocating to Rockford, Ill. The decision was supposed to come around Oct/Nov. but so far there has been silence. I'm betting they will make the move. You wanna buy my house?

P.S. I'm playing golf with the CEO Sunday so I'll let you know! LOL

Norma said...

Maybe you can put in a word for the old home town. Watt Publishing has a lot of history there.