Wednesday, July 31, 2002

The Middle of Somewhere

Today finds me in Alton, Illinois. A town shaped by the Mississippi, once vying to be the most prominent town at this particular bend in the river (eventually losing out to St. Louis) A town made famous for Father Jaques Marquette's sighting of the Piasa Bird, a birdlike monster that could swallow canoes whole. Hometown of the tallest man to live in modern times, (perhaps the tallest since Goliath and his kinfolk...) Robert Wadlow. Site of the last Lincoln-Douglas debate in 1858. Budweiser country.

The downtown area of Alton, featuring a convenient downtown grain elevator and casino.

Here's my almost-size-12 foot next to the foot on the life-size statue of Wadlow, not just a nine-foot tall guy, but also a fellow with some fairly large feet.

The Pere Marquette Lodge, just up the river in Grafton, Ill. Great rustic architecture, nice grounds, cozy feel, giant chess set in the lobby. What's not to like?

Looking at the Mississippi at dusk from the lawn of the Pere Marquette. How did I manage to spend an hour there and walk away with no mosquito bites?


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