Chillicothe, Illinois

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Located upstream from Peoria on the Illinois River, Chillicothe is a town that could have a lot of potential.

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It has a beautiful downtown, with well-preserved storefronts and a short walk down to the broad lakes and rivers of the valley.

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But the downtown is deserted; the town sold its soul, and allowed a giant gash through the middle of it, when the state highway was widened, and autocentric development split the town in two.


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The Art-Deco movie theater is still in business; many small towns have shuttered theirs.

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This beautiful Gothic Revival cottage shows the variety of styles common throughout the town in between the river and highway.

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Then there’s this wild Italianate mansion that looks like it either got converted into a funeral home or restaurant at some point. There’s a ridiculous extension on the back that looks like it’s from the early 1970s.

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Tom Bartholow says:

    I wonder if anybody thought, at the time it was built, how peculiar and how completely incongruous the one-story extension to that grand manse looked. Was there no one to object? Did it seem just a normal thing? A run-of-the-mill workable solution? Because, oh boy, what an eyesore it is now! It’s so visually senseless that it’s almost funny and endearing. Almost.

    No, I take it back. it’s god-awful.

    1. Chris Naffziger says:

      It is intriguing, isn’t it? If one were to so totally destroy the beauty of that house, why not just simply start from scratch? Why add a “monstrous carbuncle on the face of a much-loved and elegant friend?”

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