I have started several posts this week, however none have been completed to my satisfaction. I have been searching for images to go with one of the posts. In that search I found one image that relates to my post earlier in the week about the importance of drainage tile. The image above is a drawing of the Bernard Youngman Tile Factory in Pesotum Illinois. I would imagine that much of the tile that was used here was made at this factory. The Tile Factory also made bricks, however I don’t think that they sold many bricks since there are not many brick buildings in this area. I can’t say for sure, however I would guess that this factory went out of business in the 1900’s. Demand for tile had declined by then and it is likely that they could not compete with the larger brick factories like Danville Brick in Danville Illinois. Whenever the factory did go out of business there is almost nothing that remains of it today. The only possible remnant is a small brick building that I have been told was once part of the tile factory.
For some reason the idea of a place that was once a place of vital activity in a community disappearing is fascinating to me. There are a couple of other places like that in Pesotum. The one I remember best is the grain elevator that used to be between the highway and the railroad. For decades it was a center of activity during the fall harvest. Because it was on a narrow strip of land and also very close to the Pesotum lumberyard you had to turn very sharply as you came down the ramp that exited the elevator. In the late sixties a newer elevator was built at the edge of town and that eventually lead to the closing of the old elevator. As I mentioned next to the elevator there was a lumberyard. Like a lot of small town businesses the lumberyard was past its prime by the time I came along. About the only thing I remember about it is my father telling me that his family once purchased their coal there and that the coal came in bags. I believe that the fate of this lumberyard was to burn down in the late 70’s. The fate of the elevator was to be torn down when the highway was widened in the 1980’s. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of the old elevator. It was a fairly substantial building being made of at least three concrete silos that could be seen for miles. When it was gone it did leave a whole in the local skyline. Now there is only a strip of grass between the highway and the railroad. I imagine that it will not be long before it is forgotten that such a large and important building was there.
The above picture is of the Chicago and Eastern Illinois Railroad Shops in Villa Grove Illinois. The Photo is probably from sometime shortly after 1904 when the shops came to Villa Grove. The C&EI shops were built to service steam engines and employed a lot of people in Villa Grove. When diesel trains took over from the steam trains in the 1950’s the shops were closed. Today the roundhouse pictured here along with the building to the left are still standing. They were used for many years by an agricultural supply business, however they appear to have received little maintenance.
Anyway it is interesting how often places that where once important vanish or fall into ruin. Wish I could put all that together and reach a profound conclusion of some sort, however for now all I have is the observation.