Tidbits of the Past

History is full of significant events and important people that change the course of events for better or worse. But more often than not, history is created and affected by little changes over time, through the day-to-day lives of ordinary people. One of my favorite books in the Local History & Genealogy Room at the Ida Public Library is a great example of this point. The book is titled Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois & History of Boone County and was published in 1909 in two volumes. The second volume contains a fascinating...

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Ethel Veva King: A Belvidere Poet

Ah, Valentine’s Day. You may love it or you may hate it but you can’t deny it is everywhere. At this time of year, it seems the world is full of flowers, candy, hearts, and poetry. Whether it’s a Shakespearean sonnet or Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s “How Do I Love Thee?,” good poetry is one of my favorite parts of the holiday. There are so many great poets out there: e.e. cummings, Maya Angelou, Edgar Allen Poe. But did you know that Belvidere was also the home of a poetess during the early 1900s? Her name was Ethel Veva King and her poems...

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Cemetery Tales

On cold days like we’ve been having recently, I start to yearn for warmer weather and all that accompanies it: ice cream cones, bike rides, and long walks through the local cemeteries. It might sound dreary at first glance, but taking a stroll through one of Boone County’s many beautiful cemeteries is definitely a delight, providing an abundance of fresh air, peace, exercise, and a history lesson to boot! A majority of Boone County’s cemeteries are still rural and small, and often contain generations of family members. One walk through a...

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O Christmas Tree, O Christmas Tree

One thing many people remember about Christmastime in Belvidere was the gigantic Christmas tree erected on South State Street. Covered in colored lights and topped with a star, the tree dominated Belvidere’s downtown and ushered in the Christmas holidays. While the tree usually soared to about 40-50 feet high, quite a few were noted to stretch 70 feet or higher! 1916 was the first year in which Belvidere put up a large tree in the downtown business district (though the first was not located directly on State St.). According to a newspaper...

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