Category Archives: Roadside Finds

Roadside Finds: What The Heck?

Abandoned storefronts along US-20 near Foster, Oregon

Shortly after we stopped to take the photo of the sailboat in the previous post, we stopped at a roadside park to take a photo of a covered bridge.  The covered bridge paled in comparison to what was across the road!

Abandoned storefronts along US-20 near Foster, Oregon

I don’t even know what to call this.  It was definitely a facade of some kind, but I’m not sure what it was hiding – the Google satellite view is inconclusive, and we didn’t cross the road to investigate.  It was a little creepy, actually.  But made for some interesting photographs! 😉

Abandoned storefronts along US-20 near Foster, Oregon

Someone appears to have a lot of time on their hands and a very active imagination!

Abandoned storefronts along US-20 near Foster, Oregon
Abandoned storefronts along US-20 near Foster, Oregon
Abandoned storefronts along US-20 near Foster, Oregon

Roadside Finds: Jasper, Indiana

Historic train depot in Jasper, Indiana

Our first overnight stop on the return home from Wisconsin took us to the town of Jasper, Indiana.  We chose Jasper primarily because it was just about the right distance for the day, but also because it looked like it had an interesting downtown area for us to check out.

Historic train depot in Jasper, Indiana
Historic train depot in Jasper, Indiana

I was initially attracted by the fact that Jasper has a train station, but we noted that the train station was an anchor for a new mixed-use development called River Centre.  A brand new Fairfield Inn sits along the Patoka River and is connected to the Jasper Riverwalk, a 4.5 mile multi-purpose trail that connects several businesses and restaurants, and winds through a scenic section along the river.

Fairfield Inn & Suites in Jasper, Indiana
Fairfield Inn & Suites in Jasper, Indiana
Fairfield Inn & Suites in Jasper, Indiana

Across the river from River Centre and connected by a very nice steel bridge is the historic Jasper City Mill.  The current mill building is a replica of a mill that was established on the site in 1817 and was in operation until 1933.  Among the customers of the mill is said to have been Thomas Lincoln and his son Abraham Lincoln, who bartered goods for corn meal in 1828.

Jasper City Mill in Jasper, Indiana
Jasper City Mill in Jasper, Indiana

We got into town late and left early, and it was a Sunday so not too many businesses were open.  But we got a good look at the town – enough to determine that it would be worth a re-visit.  It is “on the way” to a lot of places we hope to visit, so we will be sure to add Jasper to the itinerary on a future road trip!

Jasper City Mill in Jasper, Indiana

Roadside Finds: Casey, Illinois

World’s Largest Teeter Totter in Casey, Illinois

“Big Things In A Small Town”  That is Casey’ Illinois’ claim to fame, and the reason we stopped off on our way home from Wisconsin.  Scattered around the downtown area of this town of about 3,000 located just off I-70 between St. Louis and Indianapolis.  Casey only has one traffic light, and most everything is walking distance from the center of town.

World’s Largest Yardstick in Casey, Illinois
World’s Largest Wind Chime in Casey, Illinois
World’s Largest Rocking Chair in Casey, Illinois
World’s Largest antlers in Casey, Illinois
World’s Largest Barber Pole in Casey, Illinois

Casey holds eight Guinness records, including giants such as largest wind chime, golf driver, knitting needles, giant chair, giant mailbox, wooden clogs, rulers and giant bird cage, constructed by businessman Jim Bolin.

World’s Largest Mailbox in Casey, Illinois
World’s Largest Mailbox in Casey, Illinois
World’s Largest Bird Cage in Casey, Illinois
The Largest Knitting Needles and Crochet Hook are located in this shop in Casey, Illinois. It was closed on the day of our visit but they are visible through the window.

We didn’t visit all of the attractions, and unfortunately didn’t try the ice cream 🙁 but we did do a pretty reasonable job of visiting the sights.

World’s Largest Wooden Shoes in Casey, Illinois
World’s Largest Truck Key in Casey, Illinois
World’s Largest Bent Nail Puzzle in Casey, Illinois
World’s Largest Pencil in Casey, Illinois
World’s Largest Spinning Top in Casey, Illinois
Worlds Largest Bookworm at the Kline Memorial Library in Casey, Illinois
World’s Largest Mouse Trap in Casey, Illinois

Roadside Finds: Dwight, Illinois

Ambler’s Texaco Gas Station on Historic Route 66, Dwight, Illinois

For our drive from Wisconsin back to Charlotte, we decided to stick completely to back roads.  Taking 2 1/2 days to make a drive that many would make in 1 is just the way we roll.  We encountered a number of interesting places along the way, some planned, many unexpected.

Ambler’s Texaco Gas Station on Historic Route 66, Dwight, Illinois
Ambler’s Texaco Gas Station on Historic Route 66, Dwight, Illinois
Ambler’s Texaco Gas Station on Historic Route 66, Dwight, Illinois
Ambler’s Texaco Gas Station on Historic Route 66, Dwight, Illinois

Case in point is our stop in Dwight, Illinois.  We were attracted to Dwight because of the old Texaco gas station that is associated with Route 66.  While at the gas station, I spoke with the docent there who encouraged me to visit some of the other landmarks in  town, including the historic railroad depot.  Never one to pass up a railroad depot unknowingly, we headed into town.

The Chicago & Alton Railroad designed Dwight in 1854 around a “depot ground” between two main streets. By 1891, the expanding town needed a new station. The railroad hired Henry Ives Cobb to design this Richardson Romanesque building. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
The Chicago & Alton Railroad designed Dwight in 1854 around a “depot ground” between two main streets. By 1891, the expanding town needed a new station. The railroad hired Henry Ives Cobb to design this Richardson Romanesque building. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.
The Chicago & Alton Railroad designed Dwight in 1854 around a “depot ground” between two main streets. By 1891, the expanding town needed a new station. The railroad hired Henry Ives Cobb to design this Richardson Romanesque building. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

In addition to the depot, there is a bank building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and a building  that once housed an at-that-time famous treatment center for alcoholism.  We couldn’t find the windmill or the church immediately and decided to not take more time looking.

Built in 1905, the First National Bank on West Main in Dwight, IL was designed by world-renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Of the three banks he designed, it is the only one still in existence. Its simple yet dignified style rejected classical influences of the time.
William Fox Developmental Center in downtown Dwight, Illinois. The building originally housed The Keeley Institute, founded by Leslie Keeley in 1879, was the first to treat alcohol addiction as a disease rather than a vice. At its peak, 800 patients arrived here by train each week, and over 200 branches of the Institute were operating in the US and Europe. The famous “Keeley Cure,” reputedly gold chloride injections, we never accepted by the mainstream medical community.
Dwight, Illinois
Dwight, Illinois

Hop on Hops

Hops plants growing in a field near Greenford, Ohio

The daughter and son-in-law of friends of ours in Columbiana, Ohio – in addition to being a occupational therapist and family physician, respectively – like to play around with farmer stuff.  They are currently growing hops in their front yard and have a bee hive in their back yard.  That’s way more ambition than I had, even when I was working!  I think they are hoping to brew beer from the hops, but I don’t know their plan for honey.  Maybe mead?  We’ll have to see.  We visited their place while they were off at work in order to check out the progress and to take a few photos.

Bee hive near Greenford, Ohio

Roadside Finds: Blacksville, SC Train Station

Old train station in Blacksville, South Carolina that now houses the Blacksville Public Library

I mentioned this find in the previous post, and here are a few photos.  The rotunda design reminds me a bit of the station in Hamlet, NC but that station is much larger.  This station now houses the public library. I like to see these old stations repurposed and maintained as they should be, respecting their history.

Old train station in Blacksville, South Carolina that now houses the Blacksville Public Library
Old train station in Blacksville, South Carolina that now houses the Blacksville Public Library
Old train station in Blacksville, South Carolina that now houses the Blacksville Public Library
Old train station in Blacksville, South Carolina that now houses the Blacksville Public Library
Old train station in Blacksville, South Carolina that now houses the Blacksville Public Library

Roadside Finds: Kline, SC Train Station

Train station in Kline, South Carolina

There are rail lines all over rural South Carolina, and on our backroads travels we often find them paralleling the highway.  Every time we go through a small town, we look for a likely spot for a train station.  Many of them are long disappeared, but occasionally we come across one.  As we passed through the town of Kline, SC we came across this old depot.  Still in pretty good condition but could use a little TLC.

Roadside Finds – Murray Gin Mill

Murray Gin cotton mill on SR 3/Whetstone Road near North, South Carolina

Kathy & I like to joke that “no one turns a 5 hour drive into a 7- or 8-hour adventure like we do!  Even going to the beach we like to take back roads and explore what we find along the way.  For this recent trip to Hilton Head we decided to take a picnic lunch and stop at Barnwell State Park, located a few miles off our usual route through rural South Carolina.  The route to Barnwell took us down a road we hadn’t been on before, and we passed this mill along the way.  I didn’t stop, and kicked myself several times before we were too far away to turn around.  I promised myself that I would stop on the way back, and I did.

I haven’t looked too hard yet, but have not come up with any kind of history on this mill.  I did find some indication that the name “Murray” appears on a number of cotton mills in the area, but nothing so far that tells me more.  I’m guessing that the mill is no longer operational, but I’ve seen places that look worse than this still churning out product once a year.

And yes, there is actually a town called North in South Carolina! 🙂