Oh fer cripes sake as the temperate-tongued North Dakota ladies might have said, once upon a time. (Nowadays, judging from a podcast I tuned into about Jack the Ripper, things are different; it began with one of the bro-hosts, or brosts, saying he wanted to knock down an F’n clown and ps in his mouth, which made me think: this is an unusual way to begin a five-part history podcast, but I guess I know what I’m in for: the ongoing, tiresome crudification [not a word, yet] of American culture. Anyway.) Nowadays that NoDak lady might curse like a brost, because snow is coming back.

A blizzard is predicted this weekend. Possibly a foot of snow. Possibly TWO. It’s a bit much to bear, at this point. Winter has now gone half a year. It’s as if we’re stuck. It’ll never stop. It can’t stop. It’s all broken. A loose belt, a busted strut, a blown valve - the mechanism is broken, and there is nothing to do but huddle indoors around candles and whisper tales of how some say the Mummified Monkey would appear in the last days.

You’ve heard? There was a dead monkey found in the Dayton’s building, which is being rehabbed. It’s been there for half a century. The story in the link says I contributed, which was a surprise to me - I shot him some tweets and URLs, but wrote not a word. Still, a nice hat tip.

It's really a sad story, but no matter how you feel about monkeys - and I don't like them - you can't help but think poor fellow.

Anyway, column night; I have to write now. As opposed to this, I guess. I have to write write.

UPDATE: Well, the column’s done. It’s about dogs and possums and rabies, because it was time for a Personal Column about Domestic Events. But I found some wider issues to keep it from being a solipsistic exercise - namely, childhood fears. Rabies. The Inside of Golf Balls! Blasting Caps, Rusty Nails. Rabies was the worst, though. Were? Is Rabies plural? No, don’t think so. No one got A Raby. Anyway, we dreaded it because you had to get EIGHT SHOTS IN THE GUT and we knew the needle would be as wide as a drinking straw and as dull as a screwdriver. We could imagine ourselves grimacing and curling up like a comma between the words pain and agony. Childhood was fraught with these things.

Polio? No one worried about Polio.

AND NOW, from the Dept. of Misc., our Thursday feature:

This month we'll be looking at old pictures from the antique store. Images left without meaning after everyone who'd had a connection had passed from the earth, leaving only expressions, hairstyles, and the occasional peculiar tableau.

The unhappiness of children made to sit for portraits is a constant n the universe, along with suffering brothers who are always told to be nice and take care of the kid even though he can't play or do anything useful.

No names on the back, of course; why would you put names on the pictures? Everyone knows who that is!

Same here:

Some little kids look exactly like they're going to look in 30 years. I mean, their face won't change at all.

You do have to wonder if everyone said "oh no, here comes old Grandpa Masters, he never shuts up about the Civil War."

"Was he there? Did he fight in it?

"Joined as a young boy, served four years. To hear him talk he saw Abe Lincoln speak. I don't know, maybe he did. But if you get him started he goes on and on with stories we've heard a hundred times. It's tiresome."





Twenty-seven thousand souls. As Midwestern and American as you'll see..

Wikipedia says: "The city's name is probably derived from the Miami-Illinois word teeyaahkiki, meaning: "Open country/exposed land/land in open/land exposed to view,"in reference to the area's prior status as a marsh."

So, Marshville.

A little bit of everything here. A big guy hugging two pals:

The building on the left is basic Federal style - Ionic columns, lack of ornamentation, severe but historical. In the middle: the prominent windows underscore how they’ve been altered, and the bottom floor was ill-served by someone’s idea of historical renovation.

From the city's application for a historic district: "Fred Delonais, a French-Canadian Immigrant, built this three-story building clad in running bond brick. The building has been variously used as offices, musicians’ lesson space, Arrow Signs, and the Santos Hotel."

On the right, a mess - the historical pages say it was built in 1916, but nah, that’s not how it looked. It looks mid-30s or early 40s, but again, the ground floor was done in a contrary way decades later.

The building is missing its old friend.

The ghost of a staircase describing a place in space no one can walk today.


What did they make in Kankakee?

Yes! Keys, and lots of them. Hence the name.


No, of course not. But nice 50s original signage and cladding.

Well, it’s better than nothing:


Opened in 1931, part of the Publix chain. Yes, Paramount owned them.

The interior: gah.

Vandals innumerable romped unchecked through Main Streets all over in the later decades of the 20th century.


That mural makes all the difference, though! Shoppers, come back. Just don’t look up.



What purpose did those indentations serve? If you look at the shadows, you see four anchors for a sign. Why the indentations?

Ah, that signage. Too bad it's non-contributing. From the historic application:

The three-story brick Holcomb/Turk Building incorporates elements of the early Holcomb Livery building at the site. The current façade is a synthetic stucco façade over a first-floor storefront. For many years the building was the home of Turk Furniture. While the building represents one of the few early commercial structures to remain largely intact, the façade renovations deem this building non-contributing.


For some reason I’m thinking about those clip-on sunglasses that don’t quite cover up the frame:


Downtown's lucky a perpendicular neon signage remains.

I actually like this. I have fondness for the really severe ultra-modern styles of the . . . well, it could be an early 70s building, but something tells me it could also be a late 50s building as well.


The window frames point to the latter.

The “Clock Tower Center.” Late 19th century, to my surprise.

Can you find the clock?


The city’s history wiki says:

The original incarnation of the Arcade building is significantly different from what now stands on Schuyler Avenue. The original 90'x140' building stood three stories and was constructed of red pressed brick and terra cotta trimmings. It featured two large bow windows of stained glass on its eastern and southern sides, as well as wide entrances on all four sides of the building. Inside the building, the first floor was comprised of glass-fronted business offices. Six of these offices were built expressly for merchandising and storefront purposes. At the time of its opening, these offices included an American Express office, a Western Union Telegraph office, space for a restaurant and a public restroom (at the time referred to as a "water closet"). The second and third stories were divided by large open hallways; the eastern section of these floors was mainly comprised of offices and two large meeting halls. The western half of the building was entirely comprised of the opera house.

As for that opera house:

The Opera house, a largely celebrated element to the Arcade Building, spared no expenses in its extravagance. Furnished largely in a varnished Georgia Pine wood, the house was lit with a large series of gas-lamps. The area made space for no less than 480 extra-wide opera seats, each equipped with hat and cane racks.

Cane racks for the swells!


Oh, now, shame on you guys. Really.

There wasn’t any reason that had to happen.


From this angle, it looks as if a tornado dropped on building on another.

If I was the archtect, I would have changed my name and left town.

Small-town Brasilia:


You can tell the building on the right is late 40s / early-mid 50s because of the windows in the middle portion. The way they’re all enclosed.


Every self-respecting medium-sized small town has to have one of these.


Modernist but not from the crispest period; I’d sad 1968 - 1971.


Modest beginnings: it's the Telephone Building.


I imagine they outgrew the HQ soon enough - and below you'll see where they went.

On this site was the Volkmann, the tallest building downtown.

I don't know why they had to dynamite the old building for this standard-issue 90s structure. It's certainly more up-to-date, but I don't think downtown suffered from a lack of other possible locations.


I love this one. It’s a mess, but it tries.


Historic application: “This two-story building dates to 1907 with a post-modern façade renovation in 1958.“

1958, you say? Could have knocked me over wth a Winston.


Cue the Miami Vice theme:


It’s not a bad modern bank; the 70s versions are the worst, and this has a fine 80s vibe. Imagine Sonny Crockett walking out - white pants, turquoise jacket.


“Designed by the architecture firm of Holabird and Root, Chicago, the Illinois Bell Telephone dial building is a brick post-modern building with a concrete façade.” Holabird and Root. For this.


It does sum up 1951 architecture quite nicely, though.



Wikipedia: "The current Kankakee courthouse was built from 1909 to 1912 in the Neo-classical Revivalist style in the wake of the 1893 Columbian Exposition (the Chicago World's Fair) as part of the City Beautiful movement. The architect was Zachary Taylor Davis who had previously worked with Frank Lloyd Wright when both worked as draftsmen for Louis Sullivan."

The town's population was around 37,000 when this was first planned. It was the third courthouse, and you wonder if they thought it would be the last.

That will do; off to get milk, bread, and toilet paper. See you around.


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