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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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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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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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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