Boone County Sweet Treats

When the heat index increases, visions of chocolate malts, root beer floats, and ice cream cones start dancing in our brains. Over the years, finding a sweet treat in Boone County has never been too difficult. One of the best-remembered sweet stops in Belvidere was Knapp’s Coffee Shop. Many Belvidere residents fondly recall the sandwiches, coffee, signature malt shakes, and great conversation served up at Knapp’s. Opened during the worst of the Great Depression in 1931, Doc and his wife Irene served Belvidere at their South State Street...

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A Belvidere 4th of July, 1865

July 4, 1865 was the scene of a triumphant celebration in Belvidere. The Civil War had just ended in April, with victory for the North; Belvidere, like many other cities, was full of jubilant patriotism and pride for its soldiers. The festivities that day were ones to remember. According to the newspaper, between 5,000 and 6,000 people were present for the day’s activities, so many that most had to sit on the ground (and even up in trees!) during the main program. The celebration started with a parade, which featured a wagon of young ladies...

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Trail Tales, Part Two

This is the final installment of a two-part post on the history of Boone County’s Long Prairie Trail. See the first part here. As you bike into Poplar Grove, a town platted in 1859, you will see one of the oldest buildings in the county still standing alongside the trail. Now a supermarket, this large columned building was once the Poplar Grove Hotel. Built in 1856, the hotel served the steady flow of railroad passengers and employees that came through every day, providing a place to rest and eat. At one time, it had 14 sleeping rooms, a...

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Trail Tales

It’s a lovely summer afternoon in northern Boone County. Red-winged blackbirds balance on waving stems of prairie grasses; pockets of trees stand like islands in the broad green farm fields stretching to the horizon. These are your surroundings from the seat of a bicycle on the Long Prairie Trail, a 14-mile walking and biking trail that connects Capron to Caledonia and wends through Boone County farmland, prairie, and woods. But there is more to the trail than what can be seen by the eye. The history of this region lies along the trail’s...

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Boone County On the Move

In 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...

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