Heartland Highways Episode 901

Uploaded by weiutv on 01.06.2011

Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System, dedicated to providing care for all and creating healthy
communities in East-Central Illinois. Offering general and specialty medicine including a
regional cancer center, heart and lung center, orthopedics and sports medicine, a center
for interventional pain, and a full complement of diagnostic and rehabilitative services.
Sarah Bush Lincoln: trusted, compassionate care.
>>Narrator On This episode of Heartland Highways itís a preview of the people, places and
adventures for our new season. [Music]
>>Narrator Thatís all coming up next, so donít go away.
[Music] >>Narrator Welcome to season 9 of Heartland
Highways. Iím Lori Casey. And Iím Kate Pleasant and weíve got some great adventures in store
for you this year. In todayís episode, weíll take a look at all the places weíve been
and the people weíve met along the way. This year weíve got a few theme shows lined
up for you including tours of four nature centers located right here in east central
Illinois. Ernie Ballard was a nature lover who wanted
to share that enthusiasm with the community. He donated 210 acres of farm land near Altamont,
Illinois to the local soil and water conservation district. Realizing the land would be better
served as a nature center, a non-profit organization under the direction of Ballard was formed
and soon after a nature center (bearing) his name sake open to the public.
Over thirty years ago in the midst of a rapid development period, Adventurer and Nature
Helen Douglas Hart had a vision. She wanted to create a place where people could come
to experience nature in its purest form. So, she set aside thirty three acres of land outside
of Mattoon, Illinois to be preserved. This created what would become her legacy, The
Douglas Hart Nature Center. [Music]
The Rock Springs conservation area opened in 1975 and it was an area that comprises1,343
acres, a wide variety of habitats. Itís the largest conservation area that the district
owns. For this particular area, when people come and they hike up the nature center on
the trails and they get down along the Sangamon river valley. And theyíre into the hills
and valleys with two huge oak trees that are 200 plus years old. Theyíre amazed. They
just stand in awe at what is right here in their own neighborhood. Theyíve never discovered
if theyíve never had the chance to get out and visit one of them.
>>Narrator We also decided to look at how art is celebrated in the small towns around
us. We didnít have to go far for our first stop; in fact, it was right next to us at
the Tarble Arts Center here on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston.
And so the idea was to make the arts as assessable as they could to the people of central- Illinois.
And knowing that you know different offerings and accessibility to the arts is somewhat
limited, because weíre in the rural area. And so, from the very beginning uh the Tarble
is intended to serve the campus community and the general community.We also headed to
the Gaslight Art Colony in Marshall, IL, where a small community has come together in a big
way. We donít have to go to Terre Haute. We donít have to go clear over to Indianapolis
or Chicago to the art institute. Uh sure youíll see masters, but thereís a lot of talent
right here locally and I think itís good for uh the communities to see what everyoneís
>>Narrator In Marshall, Illinois, thereís a place where local art is showcased on a
regular basis. The Gaslight Art Colony, in downtown Marshall was the vision of local
resident and artist, Jo Rich. Not far from Marshall is Paris and the Bicentennial Art
Center and Museum. Their permanent collection features many pieces from local artists.
>>Narrator Back in the 1940s a group of artists and art enthusiasts in Paris, Illinois, got
together and began meeting in homes and storefronts. Over time the group grew and evolved and in
1976 during the United States bicentennial celebration, they applied for funding through
the Horizon Project and made it official. The Paris Bicentennial Art Center and Museum
was born. But it wasnít actually until several years later that the groupís collection would
find a permanent home. Our final small town art tour ends up in Sullivan
Illinois and the New Prairie Gallery which is just down the street from The Little Theatre
on the Square, a place we did a story on a few years ago. We offer space for consignment
artists and we basically want to provide an opportunity in Sullivan for um people to enjoy
art, people to buy art and for artists to display and sell their art work.
[Music] This season we also met up with some talented
young people in our region. Now, these musicians all play string instruments. In Charleston,
classical music is just part of the repertoire for the kids involved in a program called
Summer Strings. [Music]
For kids who want to play bluegrass, look no further than just over the Indiana border.
Judy Green began teaching music lessons in her Clinton home located on Coon Holler road
several years ago and in 2005 she took a group of kids appropriately named the Coon Holler
Kids on the road to share their love for bluegrass music.
[Bluegrass Music] For this next set of adventures we got a little
closer to home, in fact all of the people and places in these stories can be found on
the campus of Eastern Illinois University here in Charleston. First, we learned a little
bit about the history of teacher education through the creation of the Normal school
system here in Illinois. What started as a movement in the east, eventually
came to the state of Illinois in the mid 1800ís. A method for training teachers that standardized
their schooling, brought about the development of Normal or teacher training colleges around
the state. In 1895, Eastern Illinois State Normal School came into existence. From 1899
to 1921, students were granted diplomas or certificates, not academic degrees.
In our next adventure we went right across the street from WEIU to the Secret Garden,
a beautiful garden hidden from view by several surrounding buildings.
A lot of people just walk past and it isnít until you actually walk through the garden
that you realize there is something here. [Music]
Just across campus from the Secret Garden is the EIU Observatory. Run by the physics
department, the observatory houses a 16-inch telescope that provides students and the public
alike with opportunities to see the stars and planets.
The telescope there that we use is what they call a Schmidt-Cassegrain. Um most of the
focusing is done by a mirror in the back. Uh we say 16 that means it is just sort of
a diameter of the lens or the mirror that people use. Telescope is a big light bucket,
so from looking at dim objects. So, literally in this case size does matter. So, the bigger
the better. [Music]
Every good Heartland Highways season always has a few stories about collectors, of course!
And this season is no exception. We first met car and motorcycle collector Dick Levi
in Springfield, Illinois. His collection of cars and motorcycles is housed in what you
might call, the ultimate ìman caveî. No my background is not in cars, but I have
always liked cars. Uh when I was younger I didnít have the money to uh afford them but
I like them. So, as soon as I got older I was able to afford cars I started collecting
them. Now, the first car I acquired when I was sixteen was a 1955 Chevrolet that I paid
300 dollars for, which was probably too much because it burned oil like crazy. But, uh
course I had to find another 55 later. So, Iíve got one now thatís much nicer than
the one I owned, but my first car was a 1955 Chevrolet.
It was this 1987s Ferrari that Dick said started his collection about 15 years ago. He built
an airplane hanger to first house his plans for his business. And then added a wing and
then another for collecting then storing his cars and motorcycles.
A little closer to home in Olney, Illinois, we met our second collector, Dave Cunningham.
Dave has more than 110 baseball gloves and†nearly 40 vintage softball gloves. The baseball gloves†reflect
the many different web styles and glove styles from 1880's through the 1950's.
[Music] I have been collecting for most of my life.
I started out just as a child collecting rocks and then I started collecting coins, collection
of stamps and I migrated into collecting all cards. I did that for a few years. And then
after that I just decided I was going to try collecting something different and as a result
I ended up collecting old time finished ball gloves.
Our last collector was even nice enough to let us come back a second time to shoot the
introductions for our collector-themed show. Weíre talking about Greg Harris of rural
Windsor, Illinois. Greg collects Shell Oil memorabilia and has quite the display of items
ranging from old gas pumps all the way to the authentic Shell Oil service station uniform.
So, I wanted to collect uh a gas sign from all the companies I could find. Well, I started
out doing pretty good but the one I really wanted was Shell and I could never get a Shell
sign. That was the hardest one for me to get. It was a long time before I ever got one.
But, I started collecting and I finally got one and weíd collect this and that and it
ended up being we collect anything from matchbooks to you see it.
We see a lot of interesting places throughout our travels for the show, but one of my favorite
parts is getting to meet the people we come across. This season we were fortunate enough
to meet several people you might call ìcrafty,î and if nothing else, talented! Rick Wallace
of Neoga, Illinois, uses a scroll saw and a whole lot of imagination to make his creations
out of wood. Going through grade school and then finally
in the junior high I discovered woodworking you know and I just it just took off after
that. Itís always something thatís really interesting to me. I can always put so much
effort into it. It really there is nothing better than thereís not a better feeling
in the world that could create something you know, even for everybody else to see too.
He even took our photo and created it into one of his wooden masterpieces.
Roy Gaunt of Shelbyville, Illinois, was another interesting person we met with an interesting
craft. Roy makes display tractors out of old sewing machines. He re-paints, re-uses, and
re-purposes almost all of the parts, along with some new ones, to come up with tractors
ranging from John Deere to Farmall and beyond. I guess you could say he uses a lot of imagination
too! Olí Singers work good, that olí metal types
do. The newer ones work good like the tractors you have here. Uh the newer sewing machines
like most of them donít have a lot of the adjustments and extra things on ëem.
We traveled up to Paxton, Illinois, this season where we met Pat Milchuck. Pat does something
that not a lot of individuals do anymore, sheís a milliner. Patís passion for hat
making and her stunning creations truly make her one-of-a-kind.
About three years ago, I decided itís just going to be hats and thatís as far as I am
gonna go. And I have had the most wonderful time of my life with this. It is very fulfilling
and um Iím still designing. And Iím seventy one and Iím still in the business. And it
gives me everything I need. Something else we werenít short on this season
were people with interesting jobs. Our fellow producer Fred Peralta met University of Illinois
Chimesmaster Sue Wood who is responsible for playing the chimes of Altgeld Hall at the
Champaign-Urbana campus. This is a job we had never heard of, but the story behind it
is quite unique. Well our visitors in general come up to the
door and say, ìOh I thought this was all automaticî and your standing their play and
you say, ìWell, if you hear music being played itís somebody standing at this keyboard.î
If you hear the automatic chimes that is the porter hour chimes that is automatic that
system was put in the year after the chimes themselves were put in.
This next group left us with no shortage of smiles. We caught up with a local Santa Claus
club full of jolly St. Nicks that all sport their own, real beards. They meet several
times a year before the holidays to swap Santa stories and talk about whatís in store for
the season to come. Weíre not a club weíre a family. A family
of Santas. Weíre not related, but whenever you get a group of Santas weíre family. And
uh yeah you can say we are a club. But, itís a Santa of giving loving. And we love what
we do. [Music]
For this last story in our ìinteresting jobsî category, we were able to get up close with
some of the smallest birds in the world. We were invited by some friends of the show to
attend a hummingbird banding. Several of the birds are caught, counted, banded and then
released so they can be tracked by the Illinois Audubon Society in order to learn more and
educate the public about the habits of hummingbirds. Just like people love owls and eagles, because
theyíre so fascinating. First of all, they are fast. They are different than any other
bird. There something that they wish they can be themselves. Uh having that freedom
of flying backwards and up and down, go when they want to go and leave whenever they want
to go. I like just to watch it. Weíve got two stories this year that are
related to transportation history. First in Mattoon, we visit the newly restored Illinois
Central Depot. By the time we started, it was boarded up
on several sides, the roof was squeaking, it was full of uh plaster, and chemicals,
and asbestos, and all sorts of things. When we were trying to raise funds for (200 people)
you get(??) an historic building thatís been restored. You get a centerpiece for downtown
or midtown Mattoon. And uh you get to have a passengerís station. And the transportation
link is an important part of what the CD is or can be.
With the invention of the Model T, Americanís were eager to explore the U.S. but a lack
of good quality highways, proved to be a roadblock. The Good Roads Movement in the early part
of the 20th century brought about the creation of the Dixie Highway. Completed in 1921 it
was a series of roads that connected Chicago to Miami. In Illinois, it was the longest
continuous paved road in the state. This summer we met up with the Aís are Us, Model A touring
club, out of Chicago. They were recreating a historic drive from nearly 100 years ago.
We like traveling old roads. We like traveling main roads. We like traveling roads that have
no names in our back country roads and swigly roads, curvy roads and things like that. We
donít want to travel the heavily traveled roads, because we can travel at the pace that
we normally travel at without having to be harassed by other motorists who get upset
because we are going to slow. We also made our way to a few unique destinations
this year including the Casey Softball Hall of Honor and Museum which is home to the Illinois
Amateur Softball Association Hall of Fame. Many people come here that arenít necessarily
interested in softball. And they find it fascinating to see so much memorabilia and itís uh I
think colorful and uh people are fascinated that Casey can support something in this nature.
From softball we headed to the oldest micro midget sprint track in the United States.
Since 1956, fans and drivers have been coming to the Coles County Speedway near Mattoon.
The first track was located uh just west of Charleston on Old Route 16 at my fatherís
live stock auction facility. I believe they were in there for about a year and a half.
And then they decided they needed a more permanent location. So, then the track moved approximately
two miles east of town on the pop hem farm. And they raced there for two to three years
until the club had enough money of their own. They bought ten acres of land located about
halfway between Mattoon and Charleston. I believe that was in 1960 and the track was
ready to go in 1961. Small towns are favorite stops for us here
at Heartland Highways, and Hazel Dell, Illinois, fits the bill. This town of less than 200
boasts a popular restaurant that serves up home cooking including their famous cinnamon
rolls and pies. And so this is home. Iíve always lived here
and I always wanted to do something, My mom and dad had the old store building next door.
And they ran my grandma ran the post office and mom and dad ran the store. So, we was
always this was it. Here in Hazel Dell and we always loved it here and I thought well
we needed something here for the local people. So, we opened this up. And people would drive
by. I didnít know. My husband was very skeptical that they wouldnít. But, people would drive
to get food and baked things. I was kind of surprised [Laughter]
And speaking of food, we learned all about cooking while on a visit to the Kitchen Conservatory
in St. Louis. And so what makes it different is that the
United States standard for butter is 80% fat. The standard in Europe is 82% fat. So it makes
it that little bit better. [Laughter] Our final destination was at the Hall of Hollywood
Hoosiers in Vincennes, Indiana. This museum is one manís collection of memorabilia featuring
Indiana natives with connections to the entertainment industry.
What I have here is uh a collection of people from Indiana who went to Hollywood, uh the
Hollywood Hoosiers. Uh It covers the history of Hollywood uh with the Indiana connection
from the very beginning of motion pictures to today.
[Music] Back in the
50s and 60s, East Central Illinois was a hub for country music. This summer several of
those musicians and singers got together for their annual reunion and jam session called
The Past Timers Reunion. [Music]
It just gets into you and uh those sounds that you play and uh people dancing and you
just have a great time. Itís just something that gets into you I guess you know. So, as
long as I am able to play Iím gonna play. And I know these fellows here feel the same
way. And thereís some real professional guys. I mean thereís some guys who can really play
in central Illinois. Tucked away in the countryside near Tower
Hill, Illinois, people come from all over to experience gospel music at a place called
The Barn. Once a cattle auction site, The Barn was the vision of Joanne Clark, Judy
Smith and their husbands. The thing thatís made this special is that
all the people that drive here to be a part of the program in the audience are here because
they want to. Theyíve driven from Pecan or theyíve driven from Decatur or theyíve driven
from Springfield. So, they had a desire to come and hear the music to begin with. Well,
once theyíve come and had such a pleasant evening theyíre ready to come back and see
whatever is going to be next. And theyíre not afraid to bring company with them. If
theyíre there, because they know itís going to be a good program. Itís going to be a
fun evening. Well, we hope youíve enjoyed a look ahead
of whatís in store this season on Heartland Highways. For more information about the show
or the stories weíve told you about today you can visit our website at weiu.net/hh.
Thanks for watching and weíll see you next time!
Sarah Bush Lincoln Health System, dedicated to providing care for all and creating healthy
communities in East-Central Illinois. Offering general and specialty medicine including a
regional cancer center, heart and lung center, orthopedics and sports medicine, a center
for interventional pain, and a full complement of diagnostic and rehabilitative services.
Sarah Bush Lincoln: trusted, compassionate care.