Monday, February 18, 2013

Book Club Field Trip

I love Book Club! :)  It's the one night each month that I look forward to the most (well, that and my dinner group!).  During our last meeting, we took a field trip.  Occasionally, we will do something special that somehow ties into the book we read that month.  For example, after we read The Vagina Monologues, we went to Monmouth College to see the stage production.  When we read 16 Pleasures, we invited the author, who is a local college professor, to discuss the book with us.  (Wow, it sounds like we read some raunchy stuff! LOL!)  Sometimes one of us will do a themed dessert to tie in with the book.  It's fun to add something special to the night.  Anyway, last month we read Indigo by Beverly Jenkins.  It was mostly a love story set in the time of the Underground Railroad.

The town I live in, Galesburg, Illinois, has some very rich history attached to it.  One of the famed Lincoln-Douglas Debates was held here at Knox College.  Carl Sandburg, Pulitzer Prize winning writer known for his poetry, was born here.  And, most importantly to this post, Galesburg was a stop on the Underground Railroad.  Our Book Club hostess for the month made arrangements for us to meet with the director of the Knox College Underground Railroad Freedom Station.  He was a delightful man with a passion for the history of the Underground Railroad.  He spent an hour talking about the Underground Railroad with us and answering questions.  It was an extremely informative and entertaining evening.  I thought I'd share a few pictures from our adventure:

The Freedom Station is located in the Old Knox County Jail.  It was built in 1876 and served the county for about 100 years.  It still contains the jail cells and we were able to tour them.

Let us out!!!! :)  This is the obligatory "I'm in jail" picture.  

After we finished our talk and toured the jail, we were taken across the street to Knox College.  Knox College also has a long history with this area.  As mentioned above, one of the Lincoln-Douglas Debates was held at the Old Main (a National Historic Landmark) building on the Knox College campus in 1858.  They still have the "Lincoln Chair" which Abe Lincoln himself sat in during the time of the debates.  Many famous dignitaries and other important guests have sat in the chair over the years including Ronald Reagan (who also has ties with Galesburg as he attended elementary school here!), Bill Clinton, President Obama, and many, many others!  We were each able to take a turn sitting in the chair.  If you are into history at all, this was a very cool feeling to be sitting in this chair!  

After sitting in Lincoln's Chair, we were led on a brief tour through Old Main.  
Painting of the Lincoln-Douglas Debate:

Portrait of Lincoln:

Overall, this was a very interesting night.  I do enjoy learning about history and was not disappointed with this tour.  If you are ever near Galesburg, Illinois, stop by to learn about some of our history.  We're not a bustling metropolis with ample entertainment options, but we do have some pretty cool historical places to visit and things to learn.


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