2001 IGS Slide Extravaganza
Topic: The Soybean (Glycine max). Location: South central Illinois, near Raymond. Illinois is
among the leading soybean producing states. The soybean is valued for its oil and protein
content, 20% and 40% respectively. It has hundreds of commercial and industrial applications,
including the making of animal feeds and human foods. Although tolerant of poor soils, the
soybean grows best in fertile and well-drained soils common to the Com Belt region. It is a
legume and therefore valued in the corn-beans-wheat rotation because of its capacity to improve
the soil's nitrogen content. The 'beans being harvested here were planted in rows, but seeds can
also be drilled. Photo by Robert M. Ashley.
Topic: Hydroelectricity generating plant. Location: On Mississippi River at Keokuk. Generators
at the Keokuk hydroelectric power plant were installed in 1913. At that time, the plant was the
largest electricity generating facility in the world. Today the plant is operated by Ameren DE at a
capacity of 125 megawatts. In an average day, it generates as much electricity as could be
produced by burning 1,000 tons of coal. Photo by Robert M. Ashley.
Topic: Osage orange (Madura pomifera) hedge. Location: Monroe County near Waterloo. Prior
to the invention of barbed wire, Osage orange was widely used in the Midwest as a living fence.
Native to the southern and south central parts of the United States, it was used by the Osage
Indians to make bows. Later it was used for railroad ties, fence posts, fuel, and for the extraction
of a yellow dye; the inedible fruit is said to repel insects and spiders. Hedges were commonly
planted by either sowing seeds from the "hedge apple" in a trench or by "laying a hedge,"
accomplished by laying split branches in a trench, split side down. Saplings were aggressively
pruned to create a dense and thorny growth. The planter's goal was to create a barrier that was
"horse high, bull strong, and hog tight." Photo by Robert M. Ashley.
Topic: Barge tow. Location: Lower Kaskaskia River. Illinois rivers serve as avenues by which
bulky commodities, such as coal and grain, can be moved efficiently and cheaply by barge.
Twenty-seven locks and dams create pools on the Upper Mississippi River north of St. Louis,
and the Illinois River has eight stepped pools to accommodate barge traffic. In this scene, a
tugboat pushes a five-barge tow of wheat on the Lower Kaskaskia River. Photo by Robert M.
Topic: Surface water impoundment. Location: NW Randolph County, near Red Bud.
Impoundments of water are common in southern and south central Illinois, where wells drilled
into thin aquifers of Pennsylvanian sandstone and limestone are insufficient to meet water
demands. Only about 3 ½% of the state's bodies of water have areas of six or more acres and
therefore qualify to be called lakes, but together they account for about 80% of the state's total
water surface area. Small farm ponds such as this were originally constructed for livestock
watering, but many are now used primarily for recreation and wildlife conservation. Photo by
Robert M. Ashley.
1-80 high level bridge over Des Plaines River ( Illinois Deep Waterway) - looking east. Lower:
U.S. 6 and railroad under bridge. Chicago St. (II. Rte. 53) Interchange wll-80 - upper left "waffle
concrete" lined Hickory Creek - top center. Photo by Len Hodgman.
Busy afternoon in the "Loop" -- Sibley, II. Budweiser sign. Photo by Len Hodgman.
Soybeans – midseason. Photo by Len Hodgman.
Sanitary landfill. Compacting and covering the daily deposit. Photo by Len Hodgman.
The fruits of high agricultural productivity truckloads of corn waiting to be unloaded (probably
for export). Photo by Len Hodgman.
Reading the landscape of Illinois may literally involve keeping an eye on the signs 'along the
way. Here we are looking up the Chicago River (actually downstream since engineers reversed
the flow) toward Michigan Avenue and the Chicago Sun-Times Building on the right (north) side
of the river. Michigan Avenue has two levels at this point, with the lower level connecting to
lower Wacker Drive on the left (south). Beyond the box-like building on the right, is the 1960s-
era Marina City towers, with an open-air parking garage on the lower levels and apartments
above. Note the upgrading of the banks of the Chicago River, to include promenades and
vegetation, somewhat reminiscent of the famous San Antonio Riverwalk. Photo by Michael D.
Keeping geographers out of their oil patch was no doubt on the minds of the Quick family, when
their agents posted this notice in Crawford County, just west of Robinson (original home of the
Heath Bar). The Quick family heirs may not have known about the historic spot their land
occupies, but the lower part of the sign gives some clues. First, Crawford County is part of a
narrow sliver of eastern Illinois whose land descriptions utilize ranges west of the Second
Principal Meridian, which is actually in Indiana. Most Illinois land takes its easUwest
designation from the Third or Fourth principal meridians, both of which are in Illinois. Second,
and even more special about this spot, is the fact that the Quick tract lies at the southwest corner
of an American Indian land cession from the Treaty of Fort Wayne, in 1809. Evidence of the
ceded tract's boundary is still apparent in the property line and road north of the Quick tract,
other roads, other property lines, and in the boundaries separating Crawford and Clark, Clark and
Edgar, and Edgar and Vermillion counties. Photo by Michael D. Sublett.
Looking northwest across the nearly flat Galesburg Plain into Henderson County from its north-
south border with neighbor Warren County to the east (right), we can see several roadside write-
ups. First, there is the obvious demarcation of the county line, showing westward-bound drivers
that they are entering another of Illinois's 102 counties. Below the Henderson sign is a sign that
gives highway details. Traveling toward the west, the driver has 14.68 miles to go on. Illinois
Highway 164 until it ends in Oquawka, at the Mississippi River. Near the right-hand side of the
photo is a metal post with perpendicular signs carrying numbers from the rural reference system
that Henderson County uses to keep track of countryside locations. Illinois 164 is at this point
19.5 miles north of the southern border (base line) of the Henderson grid. Its counterpart on the
metal pole (although illegible from this angle) gives the easting from a line running north from
the southwestern corner of the county. To the right of the reference sign is a homemade sign
advertising a local lake. Photo by Michael D. Sublett.
One of the three mandated functions of civil townships in Illinois is maintenance of many miles
of rural roads. Here, west of the Illinois River and a few miles north of Beardstown, is a spot
where township, county, and state road responsibilities intersect. At a crossroads on Illinois
Highway 100 (pavement, looking south), a Fulton County highway (11A) leads off to the west
and north toward U. S. Highway 24 while a Kerton Township road (340) heads for the river, a
couple of miles away. Altogether, Kerton and the other 1400 plus Illinois townships care for
more than half the rural road mileage in Illinois. Photo by Michael D. Sublett.
Not among the three mandated functions of townships is having an airport. The Tri-Township
Airport, just south of Savanna on the Mississippi floodplain, is almost certainly the only
township-funded airport in the state. Once a private landing strip, later under control of the City
of Savanna, Tri-Township has derived its main source of support from taxes that property
owners in Savanna, York, and Mount Carroll townships, all in Carroll County, for a couple of
decades. Most traffic consists of small locally owned craft and tourists or visitors with similar
planes. One corporate jet, however, makes its home there; and, according to the airport
authority's president, is the main reason for the survival of the airport. Metform, a nearby factory
making fasteners and drive shaft parts, likes the convenience of Tri- Township for business trips
to and from Savanna.
Pomona Natural Bridge is Illinois' larges4 on the River-to-River Trail in Jackson County, just
outside of the small unincorporated community of Pomona, adjacent to the Shawnee National
Forest. In the early days, automobiles were allowed to drive across it. Photo by David Schein.
Kincaid Lake spillway, Jackson County, takes advantage of the natural terrain and provides a
scenic as well as functional engineering situation. This is a popular spot with Southern Illinois
University students. Photo by David Schein.
Illinois’ highest waterfall, at 55 feet, is in Matthiessen State Park near Oglesby. Having Upper
and Lower Dells, this small park two miles from Starved Rock State Park, is a great place for a
day hike. St. Peters Quartzite, the same stratum the Wisconsin Dells call home. Photo by David
Uncovering mastodon bones, DuPage County Forest Preserve (1977). A construction crew
unearthed these, one of several sets of mastodon bones discovered in this vicinity in the past few
decades. Who knows...a new fossil find here, some DNA there, and VOILA!, ...the hot new pet
for the Generation X'ers. Photo by David Schein.
Ohio River Floodwall, Cairo, about two miles upstream from the lowest point in Illinois
(topographically-speaking). The 10-foot high floodwall sits on a 22-foot high levee. When two-
thirds of the continent's watershed drains past this spot, you've got to consider the flood threat.
Duh. Photo by David Schein.