I like what I have found in Braidwood

Jennifer Glasscock

Hello Braidwood!
In the June 12 issue of the Braidwood Journal you may have read a brief news item that I have been hired as a reporter for Free Press Newspapers. I couldn’t be more excited to introduce myself and get to know the community, especially in Braidwood where my focus of reporting will be.
I’ve lived in Joliet 22 years and even though it’s less than 25 minutes away, up until this week I’ve visited Braidwood only two times
Mostly, my trips to Braidwood have been at 70 mph while cruising on Interstate 55. When I think Braidwood, I usually picture a quiet town along old Route 66. I never had much of a reason to get off the Interstate on my way to and from Bloomington-Normal, where I attended college.
The first time I visited Braidwood was for an engagement party at the scenic Braidwood Recreation Club. I never knew there was a Braidwood Recreation Club until I read the invitation.
When I arrived, I was surprised at what I found. My initial thought was “I want to come back.” What a picturesque place that even though was busy, never feels overcrowded. It’s a place you’ll hear children laughter, witness happy people and where you can relax.
My other Braidwood excursion was eating at The Polk-a-Dot Drive In with a friend. There was a large selection of tasty food to choose from and the atmosphere was upbeat and unique. The women’s restroom is Elvis themed! What more can you ask for in a restroom experience?
Though I thoroughly enjoyed both of my first times in Braidwood, I never suspected that one day I would work here. Now I find myself trying to learn as much as I can about the town.
My learning experience began the first day on the job when I got a tour of Braidwood from Pam Monson, editor. It began at Jones-Ezz Bar-B-Que where I got to meet Mayor Bob Jones and pick up a delicious pulled pork sandwich for lunch. The restaurant’s location on a lake feels like it could be in the North Woods, not an hour south of Chicago.
We stopped by city hall, the Fossil Ridge Public Library, and Reed-Custer schools. I was impressed with the well-kept grounds and buildings. It is obvious that this is a place that takes pride in its appearance.
It’s not hard to understand why.
Though it is small, Braidwood certainly has a lot to offer, not only in its infrastructure but in its history. The town embraces its location on Route 66 and gives me a sense of nostalgia, even though I wasn’t even alive during the time the historic highway was in its prime.
I learned from my new coworkers here at the newspaper about some of the town’s older, rich history as a coal mining community and Braidwood area Historical Society located inside the old train depot. To have such a dedicated group of people running the museum tells me a lot about how much care and respect people have for Braidwood’s history.
I ended my tour at the fire station. Curious about the fire engine on display, I stopped in and was pleasantly surprised when Fire Chief Barry Eggers introduced himself. Meeting the mayor and fire chief in the same day was certainly not something I expected when I woke up that morning.
One thing that has become clear is that people in this town are extremely welcoming. That, and Braidwood knows good food.
I immediately felt that the community is strong and people are genuinely happy here. I feel I gained a personal connection with everyone I’ve come into contact with, even though I just met them for the first time. This is something you don’t experience everywhere you go.
I can’t wait to get to know the community better and become a part of it. I don’t think there’s any better way to do that than through the people who live here, so I invite you to introduce yourself and share your knowledge of Braidwood with me. Email me at jglasscock@fpnusa.com or call me at 815-476-7966 extension 210. I can’t wait to hear from you and share your story.