Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Small Town, USA - Utica

As I've mentioned before, we are camping just north of the town of Utica, Illinois. I've written about Utica in my post on bicycling along the I & M Canal. This small town of approximately 1,000 was put on the map when a tornado hit on April 20, 2004, killing 9 people. If you want to read a terrifying, heart-wrenching, moving story about the tornado, click the link.

There is a beautiful plaque and memorial for those killed in the tornado.

This memorial is where the Milestone tavern once stood, where 8 of the people were killed when the building collapsed during the tornado.

Here is a picture of Main Street. That's Duffy's Tavern on the corner. It's a fun bar with good food.

Main Street has an eclectic collection of shops such as the Second Look Antiques:

Or The Cheating Gourmet Shop (love the upside canoe over the door).

Utica is a biker-friendly town. It is not uncommon to see a row of cycles parked down the street.

Wheelbarrows with flowers planted in them were placed in front of businesses, like this one that was in front of Duffy's Tavern:

I thought this was clever. This one was in front of a computer store. The plants are inside of an empty computer monitor.

Towards the outskirts of town, I spied this bottle tree. I was so excited! It was the first one I've seen since we were down south in Mississippi.

I saw this wooden carving as we were driving by down the street. I made Jim turn the truck around so I could get a picture of it. It was pretty tall; I bet over 7 feet. I definitely had to look up at it. I'm not sure what she has in her hand; it almost looks like a man's head, yes?

Utica is also known for Starved Rock State Park. In another post I will talk about the park and post some photos.


Sunny said...

The smaller the town the better! I love the bottle tree, I've never seen anything like that before. The computer planter is very creative, I have printer I may do that with! LOL
I always enjoy your posts.
Sunny :)

Rae said...

Great photos and I really liked the tour. It looks like a great town to live in.
I remember the tornado story well. The events were very sad. Small communities band together in crisis and this one is no exception. It seems to have recovered nicely.

Wendy said...

I love the bottle tree too!
There are quite a few of them in Beaufort SC where my Mom lives, but they are all BLUE bottles. I've saved up a bunch of blue bottles to make one for my back yard, but now I can't find a "tree". The one in your pic is really pretty, though, and now I want one *just* like it!!

Valerie said...

Adored your pictures, Pat, especially the bottle tree (?) and the plants growing out of a monitor. Wow, ome people have excellent imagination. It looks a fascinating place altogether.

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful town. Great photos.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

Love the new garden ideas! I asked if I could have a bottle tree..... was told no. we shall see......

An Open Heart said...

I love Small Town USA....they are becoming fewer and between....
I love the bottle tree and the wheel barrows with plants and flowers in them!


Bonnie, Original Art Studio said...

Somehow I never thought that Utica would be that quaint. Thanks for the tour!

Carletta said...

Looks like a quaint little town that I would love!
The wheelbarrows are terrific. Having taught computers I love that one. Now when my Hubs asks about the old monitor in the garage.... :)

SquirrelQueen said...

Small towns are always fascinating to me. I love the photo of the tavern and the wheel barrow planters (I had an old one I used as a planter years ago).

I remember the Utica tornado story, it was so tragic. It is good to see it survived the ordeal.

Thanks for the tour.


Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

What a nice town and your commentary (as always) was very refreshing. I loved the bottle tree. The tornado story was very touching. Wichita, KS had a bad tornado a few years ago (the same year they talk about the Oklahoma City one - in fact, same storm system) that killed five people. Three of them were our son-in-law's family members. It was a terrible time for them all.