Thursday, April 11, 2013

Those Places Thursday - Mt. Vernon, Illinois City Hall ca 1940's

This postcard rendering features the Mt. Vernon, IL City Hall ca 1940's as evidenced by the 1947 postmark.  I've seen a number of postcard views picturing this same building, but I particularly like this one as it features old cars, a man walking up the front steps and you can see the bay doors open on the side street where the fire engines exited.  I remember this building very well from my childhood as I lived quite close, just a couple of blocks away on North Street and walked passed City Hall often.  Grigg's Market was just across the street where my Mother did much of the family's grocery shopping.

Mt. Vernon was such a wonderful place to grow up as a child with it's small hometown feel. You could do just about everything on the town square; get a haircut, go to the bank, shop at the Five and Dime store or go to the movies.  Much has changed though, and like many small towns across America, Mt. Vernon's downtown is much different today from my childhood memories.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Those Places Thursday - Mt. Vernon, IL Reservoir

These two early 1900's postcards show what is referred to as the "New Reservoir" of Mt. Vernon, Ill.  Postcard number one was postmarked July 5, 1909 and features a horse and buggy crossing over the spillway of the reservoir.

The back was addressed to Mrs. J. G. Kramer, 1110 Powell Av, Evansville, Ind. and appears to have been from a daughter.

"Dear Folks, Am having a fine time.  All o.k.  Was talking to papa this a,m. over the phone,  Hope you all are having a nice time.  _____  said not to look for me till you see me.  Will write later.  Please write soon.  Love to all."

The second postcard, which shows the bridge and driveway over the new reservoir (in color), was postmarked May 29, 1914 and sent to Miss Bertha Zinc in Centralia, Illinois from Lilly E. Johnson,

"Dear Bertha:  How is everyone?  Would sure love to see you again.  Hazel Hester was in Mt. V. this week. I had quite a chat with her.  I have been working for a long time.  Like my position fine.  pardon my delay? and not forget to write to your old friend."

According to Thomas Puckett in "Mt. Vernon  A Pictorial History" there were three reservoirs in Mt. Vernon.    Number one was a small reservoir that held a capacity of about 10 million gallons of water and was formed by building a dam  across a small ravine on the west side of the city.  Another reservoir was built in 1893 across Casey Fork Creek north of town on Tolle road with a small, steam-pumping station on the creek bank.  The city's third reservoir , the "new reservoir" was built on the property of the Strattan family and is now known as Jaycee Lake.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Those Places Thursday - Jefferson County Courthouse x 5 - Mt. Vernon, Illinois

Most people who are from, or who have lived in, Jefferson County, Illinois know a little something about the County Courthouse located in the town square in Mt. Vernon.  In the nearly two-hundred year history of the Mt. Vernon/Jefferson County area there have actually been five courthouses constructed throughout these two centuries.  The first, a log building 18 feet by 20 feet by 13 feet high, was erected in 1819 for a total  of $160.00 by John Sanders.  

That building soon became obsolete and in 1821 county commissioners contracted for a second building to be built.  That courthouse was not actually completed until 1829 by builder McBride.  The building was made of brick, twenty by thirty feet, two stories high and the total cost was $780.93.  In 1839 a portion of the courthouse fell down and the entire town came together and razed the entire structure.  By the end of 1841 a third courthouse had been constructed for a cost of $5500.  This 40 feet square structure had a cupola supported by pillars and surrounded by a railing.  This courthouse was destroyed by the great tornado/cyclone of 1888.

A fourth courthouse was erected after the disaster (see postcards#1, #2 and #3 below) and was in use until 1939.

Jefferson Co Courthouse - Postcard Postmarked Sep 1912

Jefferson Co Courthouse - Postcard Postmarked Sep 1913

Jefferson Co Courthouse (note steeple removed) circa1935

A fifth and final courthouse was erected in 1939 (see postcards #4 and #5 below).  Please note Civil War canon at Northwest corner of the square.

5th & final Jefferson Co courthouse erected 1939

5th & final Jefferson Co courthouse erected 1939 postmarked 1949

1.  Mt. Vernon A Pictorial History by Thomas A. Puckett, 1991, G. Bradley Publishing.
2.  Facts and Folks, A History of Jefferson County, Illinois, 1978, Jefferson County Illinois Historical Society, Taylor Publishing company, Dallas, TX.

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