So now here I am, in a town I'd never heard of before but which has plenty of charm and history.
I left home Wednesday early morning and made it as far as Joplin MO for the night. The next morning I didn't need to get such an early start, as I was only little more than 300 miles from my destination - Quincy IL. However, I did view my estimated time of arrival - both the Garmin GPS calculation and the mapping softward calculation - with a heavy dose of skepticism. After all, I would only be on the interstate for the first 100 miles and those remaining 200 miles looked like they'd all be on secondary roads through rural Missouri. But I was quite pleasantly surprised when US 54 turned into a limited-access divided highway once I got a few miles north of Lebanon MO. I made good time.
Then my route took me north on state highway H. Oh, the irony!! Here I am in a big SUV - albeit a Mazda zoom zoom SUV - and I'm driving 20 miles on one of the best motorcycle roads in the area! Dips, whoops, blind corners, quick S-curves, elevation changes.
Then it was a rather pedestrian drive on US 36 to US 24 until I crossed the Mississippi River on a kick-butt bridge and was dropped into the center of downtown Quincy.
I did a little exploring of the downtown area and walked down to the river to get some photos of these two bridges. We'll be running across these two bridges in the race on Saturday.
|The race route immediately sends us across this bridge into Missouri|
|Our race route will then immediately bring us back into town on this bridge|
|Washington Square - the town square in center of town.|
So because of the age of the city, there is some fantastic architecture in the downtown area and a beautiful town square - formerly Adams Square, now Washington Square - that was platted as a square from the very beginnings of the town.
|Beautiful art deco building on northeast corner of town square.|
|Old cinema on north side of town square|
|canopies on this building feature green leaded glass,|
the same type of leaded glass that appears on the
Masonic Temple front canopy.
During the Civil War, Quincy became the first stop along the Underground Railroad in Illinois, as slaves fled across the river from Missouri to escape their bondage in a slave state.
A block south of the town square is an historic house built by Dr. Richard Eels, an active abolitionist in the 1840's. The home is on the National Park Service's Underground Railroad trail and his story is here.
|Dr. Richard Eels House|
Friday morning I got in my car and drove to another historic district in town, the East End Historic District, where a treasure trove of beautiful architectural jewels still reside. Big stately homes set on large swaths of lawn and shaded by mature deciduous and evergreen trees. The corners of Maine St and 16th is purported to be the epicenter of this district. Here are three of the homes located at this intersection.
I had lunch at a little brew pub on the square, O'Griff's Grill and Brewhouse. A great italian pasta soup and some not-so-great chicken wings that were drowning in sauce and pretty much inedible.
After lunch I walked down to another historic district, the Southside German Historic District, not too far from the hotel. The old Dick Brothers Brewery is located in this district. It is said that in its heydey, Dick Bros Brewery was larger than Anheuser-Busch Brewery in St. Louis. Many things - prohibition, depression, war - led to the downfall of Dick Bros and it closed in 1951. It's a neat pile of old red brick today and I was really taken by how each building was purpose-built. Note the brick names at the top of each building (click on each picture for larger view).
|Dick Brothers Quincy Brewery Co.|
|Brew House & Storage House|
Tomorrow morning: Race day!!