Thursday, June 20, 2013

Guest blogger Murray tours the home town—Mt. Morris, Illinois

Our favorite home town hasn’t changed much. On my first bike trip around the town after winter in Florida I did take note of the fact that the residents do a damn good job of keeping their homes up. Thank goodness for vinyl siding. There are some in a state of disrepair or abandoned, but considering the situation the town looks pretty neat. Whitmer, who farms the field back of our house, usually alternates between corn and soybeans but has elected to go for the ethanol crop again this year. The land around the airport outside of the village that had 5 acre lots for sale has utilized the land for an ethanol crop also while waiting for lot sales to pick up. We now have a new Dollar General Store located just before you get to the trailer court on Rt. 64. This was badly needed as the little discount store located in the old Brass Rail closed down after a year or so of opening although there is a sign painted on the window glass, "New Business Coming."  I stopped by on my bike trip and was able to talk to the owners. They are going to modify the store with a lunch counter and gift shop. They are aiming to reopen during the 4th so drop in. They are located in the old Brass Rail. Unfortunately, we lost the remaining ( Hough) hardware store that has been one of the town's mainstays. That store building plus the old Hough house is for sale. Probably the best news is the Kable Printing Company's building has been sold by Quad Graphics to a business out in California. It's my understanding this business does not operate any type of business of their own. They buy property, renovate it and rent or resell it to others. Part of the selling contract allows for Quad to use it for storage for 3 years. After that, hopefully Mt. Morris will see a new business startup. Here's the story:

Our golf course is doing well and is in great shape so if you visit bring your clubs and call me cause I'm still whacking the ball around. Right now they are busy getting ready for the 32nd annual Old Home Week Golf Tournament. They are calling it the 32nd but I remember playing in it back in the 60's and 70's. Click here for tournament info: The group from the Rockford Country Club did not sign up this year therefore leaving the tournament a few teams short. Some of the area courses aren't doing as well as Sunset. Oregon Country Club has been sold and is currently closed. The new owner is trying to resell it as a golf course. Good luck with that one. Silver Ridge closed last fall but has a new owner this spring and is open for play. Sterling Country Club closed and was sold. It is now farmland. Looks like more ethanol on line. As of now I don't know what's holding the Polo course together. Dixon and Lost Nation are still going along with Prairie View in Byron.

In spite of the fact that small town America is disappearing, Mt. Morris refuses to give up on it's traditions and way of life. They held their memorial day festivities as usual with a good turnout at the Band shell and Memorial fountain. The Band shell has been renovated complete with a cement pad to hold the new park benches out front. The Kable Band has given concerts for the last 117 years. Click here: Somebody needs to call Guinness on this....could be a record! And of course, as many of the natives count on, our annual 4th of July celebration will draw people back home from all over the country. I'll be at my usual spot out in front of the old Brass Rail hopefully along with the usual old friends that annually check each other out during the parade. If you come bring a few tall tales to add to the ones you'll be hearing from the "old regulars" They have a million of them that get better each year!

The Blackhawk statue is soliciting for donations for badly needed renovations. You can help. Go here for information about the restoration:

Pinecrest Manor continues to expand it's facilities. Everybody's little buddy Jimmy "Lil' Pete" Smith from the class of '55 is now a resident. Besides the facilities to house the elderly requiring assistance, they now have a small village of their own called Pinecrest Grove. The plans call for 42 duplex homes with 1, 2 or 3 bedrooms. They already have 10 built with 4 of them sold. They really look nice and the prices range from $50,000 to $167,000 depending on the type of "plan" you subscribe to. Click here to have a peek.

The biggest bummer is our main drag. Starting at the corner of Wesley & Center going north there are 10 store fronts in the first block with 3 empty. Not too bad. But, the next block that includes Felkers Drug is completely void of any businesses. The final block shows Zickuhr's Corner Drug empty and with just a tavern plus gas station. (Dewey's old place) The recent closing of the  old hardware store renders that side of the block empty now . So the heart of the town is pretty quiet most days.

Here are other websites that will provide you with just about anything you want to know about your favorite hometown:

No comments: