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home : columnists : time was July 24, 2016

Coal City, an 1870s planned community
THE VILLAGE OF COAL City was planned by the Coalfield Coal Company in the 1870s. The company provided graded roads, plotted out lots, planted trees, set aside land for a park, and built two schools, one on each side of town. This school was constructed on the south side of town.
THE VILLAGE OF COAL City was planned by the Coalfield Coal Company in the 1870s. The company provided graded roads, plotted out lots, planted trees, set aside land for a park, and built two schools, one on each side of town. This school was constructed on the south side of town.
"With the onward march of time the vast coal fields adjacent to this city are being developed. Mother Earth is being disemboweled on all sides, and among the jewels of her existence, few are more sought for than the precious black diamonds that adorn the crown of King Coal."

Ed Conley wrote the above paragraph in the Dec. 18, 1874 issue of The Wilmington Advocate. The Wilmington area was seeing an incredible influx of people, money, and businesses that can only be compared to California or Alaska during the gold rush. Coal was black gold and everyone either owned a piece of it, dug it, sold it, or benefited from it in one way or another.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Meet me at the fair, the County Fair that is
One of my favorite things about this time of the year is the County Fair. It's just a great slice of rural Will County life, and Will County history. Today we set the wayback machine to Sept. 11, 1877, location: The Joliet Fair Grounds.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
A cure for what ails you, early OCDs
Drugs are everywhere. I am not talking about the illegal kind, but the over the counter kind. Go to a drug section in a large store and there you will find a cure for what ails you, or what you think ails you. Over the counter remedies are not new. Today we look back at a time before Braidwood sprang into being. Wilmington is our destination.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Buried California gold, it's everywhere around us
It's in Wesley, it's in Wilmington, Florence and more. California gold is in the ground. Don't go running out for picks and shovels just yet though. What I mean will be made clear in the following paragraphs. Set the way back machine for Jan. 24, 1848, location the American River near Sacramento, CA.
Wednesday, July 13, 2016
Murder or self-defense, depends on who's talking
An immigrant's life is hard, there being no doubt. You look for a helping hand where ever you can find one. And you give a helping hand to those who need it. But there are those who bite the hand that feeds them, and then complains because the food is cut off.
Thursday, July 7, 2016
Daddy was a rollin' stone, Wilmington's founding father
Every time I see an episode of the Simpson's featuring the founding father of Springfield, Jedidiah Springfield, I think about the "founding father" of Wilmington, Thomas Cox. Today we give "Daddy's" story, and perhaps the reason he abandoned us after just 11 years.
Thursday, July 7, 2016


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