Boone County On the Move

downtownIn our current era of fast cars and super-highways, it’s hard to believe that it once took an entire day to travel 15-20 miles in a wagon or carriage. That may seem slow to us but not to people living over 100 years ago. For hundreds of years, animal power was the main form of transportation. While horse-drawn vehicles may seem old-fashioned now, they were once as common as the cars we drive today.

This summer, the Ida Public Library of Belvidere and the Poplar Grove Vintage Wings & Wheels Museum have teamed up to present several exhibits entitled “Boone County On the Move” about the transportation history of Boone County and Belvidere. There are two exhibits to see: one at the library, which focuses on the era of horse-drawn transportation, and the main exhibit at Wings & Wheels Museum, which includes stories about the advent of the railroad, aviation, local car dealerships, and more.

For example, visitors will learn about Old Pete, the Belvidere fire horse and Manager H., Boone County’s record-breaking harness racing horse, as well as the day Lincoln Beachey the famous aviator came to Boone County for a flying show.

The exhibit also discusses the various delivery services offered by local businesses such as Brittan’s Bakery, which opened on N. State Street in 1886; Brittan’s had two delivery wagons that delivered to all parts of the city twice a day. Visitors will also learn how the railroad affected the growth of some towns like Belvidere and Capron, and heralded the decline of others such as Newburg.

I encourage everyone to come and see both exhibits for yourselves. At each location, as well as throughout various places in Boone County, you can stop to pick up the Boone County On the Move walking and driving tours map. The map acts as a companion to the exhibits, highlighting many locations throughout the county that are mentioned in the exhibits and connected to the county’s transportation history.