In thinking about the old cabin that we all are so proud of, we always marvel at the fact that those pioneers managed to land here in the 1820’s. Why this part of Illinois? Why section 22 in the Mackinaw Timber? The following maps may give us some clues and make us more aware of the circumstances of those times.
Notice on the map of Illinois below how the counties in the south and up the western side of Illinois are smaller and more tightly placed together. Those were the places that were settled first. Way back in the 1600’s the French, British, and Indians had used the Mississippi River as a main route on their hunting, trading, and warring expeditions. Remember that the first state capitol was on the Mississippi at Kaskaskia. Notice how the southeastern part of Illinois is also bounded by rivers, too. The Ohio and Wabash Rivers were magnets for settlement, too. That left nearly the upper third of Illinois as the last frontier to be settled in this state. When the pioneers arrived from mainly Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky in the 1820’s to 1830’s, the best land to stake a claim on was in that northeastern uninhabited part of Illinois. This sometimes surprises people because now our most inhabited part of the state is to the northeast around Chicago, exactly the opposite of what it was then.
The Lexington racetrack, after a slow start in 1926, had a very busy second season. As the 1927 season was winding down, the big excitement that fall was that the track was going to host the Midwestern Nationals in early October right here in our city. If you were a race fan, this was a very big deal, and the anticipation and excitement in this area was high. To help with the auto congestion on Route 4 that fall, the track management even decided to run a special bus from Bloomington to the September and