Monday, August 14, 2006

Ancient Marks Generate Historical Interest

Two stories out today highlight how historians look for interesting marks in their research.

One story out of Quincy, Illinois, looks at an artifact that may date back to the earliest French exploration of Illinois.
August 13, 2006 (QUINCY, Ill.) - What's certain is that something's written in the stone. What's less certain is whether the markings have any historical significance.

Now, University of Illinois scientists have agreed to examine the limestone slab some believe proves French explorer Robert Cavelier de LaSalle was the first white man to see the upper Mississippi River in 1671 — two years before Father Jacques Marquette and Louis Joliet made their famous trek.

The other story comes from today's Southern Illinoisan concerning research this summer into the history of the Thebes Courthouse in Alexander County.

A team investigating the Thebes Courthouse had heard of etchings in the beams. But after hours of tiptoeing across the rafters, they decided to give up on finding them.

"It's right there," Alan Hulstedt called out just as they had turned to leave. The senior in architectural studies pointed to the date “1845” carved by a builder into the Southern Greek Revival structure dedicated in 1848.

"One angle, the way the light came in, and it was there," Hulstedt recalled.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Congratulations Hardin County

Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn was at the historic Rose Hotel Thursday announcing the acceptance of Hardin County for the Illinois Main Street program.

Here's the release:
Elizabethtown – Lt. Governor Pat Quinn joined with local and state officials to salute Hardin County, which was officially inducted into the Illinois Main Street Program. Hardin County represents the first countywide community to achieve Illinois Main Street status.

Quinn unveiled the Illinois Main Street community sign. Signs soon will be placed at entrances to Elizabethtown, Rosiclare and Cave-In-Rock.

“From Elizabethtown’s historic Rose Hotel to Rosiclare’s American Fluorite Museum to Cave-In-Rock’s State Park – Hardin County is a place for tourists to truly experience the beauty and hospitality of Southern Illinois,” Quinn said.

Nestled in the scenic Shawnee Hills of Southeastern Illinois, Hardin County offers unparalleled natural beauty. Scenic roads guide residents and visitors along the Ohio River and through the historic river towns that make up the heart of Hardin County.

The quiet beauty of the area is matched by the resiliency of its residents who have fueled significant changes and improvements to the county, with many more changes on the horizon.

Visitors now can take a scenic ride on the Ohio River via the new Shawnee Queen River Taxi, or attend the Hardin County Heritage Festival. And residents can look forward to increased community education classes and small business seminars thanks to a partnership with Hardin County and the Workforce and Small Business Development Center at Southeastern Illinois.

“Hardin County is just another example of how hard work, volunteerism and dedication can keep a strong community going,” Quinn said.

Quinn was joined at the designation ceremony by Elizabethtown Mayor Eddie Rose, Rosiclare Mayor Harold Cowsert, Cave-In-Rock Mayor Perry Foster, and Hardin County Chairman Wendell Brownfield.

The Lt. Governor’s Office administers the Illinois Main Street program that is based on a national model that offers communities help with issues such as downtown improvements, historic preservation and economic development. Illinois is one of 40 states that belong to the National Main Street Program, administered through the National Trust for Historic Preservation. There are now 62 communities in the Illinois Main Street program.

Illinois Main Street represents one of the state's most effective public-private partnerships for economic development and community renewal. Since its inception, designated communities have reported net gains of more than 1,600 new downtown businesses and created more than 6,000 new full and part-time jobs. The Main Street program has spurred the reinvestment of more than $575 million in Main Street downtowns.

For more information about the Illinois Main Street program, please visit:

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Rubbish Find Rewrites Paper History

The Times of London has an interesting story about paper, or at least how some ancient trash is helping to rewrite the history of the article itself.
CHINA’S claim to have invented paper was strengthened yesterday when archaeologists announced a discovery that suggests it was in use at least 100 years earlier than thought.

A scrap of paper made from linen fibre was found by archaeologists picking through an ancient rubbish tip at the Yumen Pass, the gate between China and Central Asia.

Measuring only 1.6sq in, it is believed to have been made in 8BC, or 113 years earlier than the first known paper. Fu Licheng, the curator of the Dunhuang Museum, said: “This is very important evidence to show that paper was invented in China.”