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Editor and historian for Monmouth College. Avid researcher of western Illinois history for 40 years. FB and Twitter. jrankin@monmouthcollege.edu
Surrounded by a brick fence that still stands, the Pattee/Tubbs Mansion at 316 East Broadway was razed in 1964 to make way for Warfield Manor apartments.

MONMOUTH, Ill. — Sometimes an architectural feature of a residential property can survive long after the residence associated with it is gone. A good example is the sturdy brick and iron fence surrounding Warfield Manor apartments at the corner of East Broadway and North 3rd Street.


Calvin and Fanny Orth lived in retirement in Monmouth after having spent many years in Keithsburg.

MONMOUTH, Ill. — In the 19th century, Monmouth boasted a long line of wealthy capitalists. Names like Hardin, Quinby, Hanna, Weir and Pattee are inscribed on impressive monuments in Monmouth Cemetery.


Sportswriter Charles Dryden in 1904.

MONMOUTH, Ill. — If you’ve ever called someone a “bonehead,” you can thank a Monmouth man for coining that word, along with many of the colorful phrases that have made their way into the lexicon of sports writing.


In 1926, Monmouth College local fraternity Xi Gamma Delta had just received its national charter from Beta Kappa fraternity. It celebrated at Homecoming by decorating its house at 309 East Broadway. The front porch was festooned with interlaced streamers in the college’s red and white, while WELCOME ILLINOIS on the lawn referred to the Homecoming football opponent, Illinois College.

MONMOUTH, Ill. — The history of Greek life at Monmouth College is both long and proud, but it is also remarkably complicated, due to a United Presbyterian Church edict against secret societies that caused the college Senate to ban fraternities from campus for nearly half a century.


This postcard, written in Swedish and mailed from Monmouth in 1910, shows Hannah and Edmund Johnson (at left) with two laundresses in front of their Monmouth Model Laundry on North Main Street.

MONMOUTH, Ill. — Throughout much of the 19th century, most laundry was done by hand in a laborious process that often stretched over three days. Some cities offered commercial laundries, but the work was still done by hand, often by Chinese immigrants who toiled long working days for minimal wages. The invention of the steam laundry began to change all that.


A search for the history of this bottle turned up the story of a successful soft drink distributor in early Monmouth.

MONMOUTH, Ill. — With the sales of bottled water growing steadily in recent years, the long-term future of carbonated beverages is uncertain, but 130 years ago Monmouth residents were enthusiastic about the relatively new phenomenon of bottled soda, or “pop,” as it was known even back then.


Known as America’s largest horse importer, the Truman Pioneer Stud Farm near Bushnell lost one of its valued employees when he was drowned at sea in April 1912.

MONMOUTH, Ill. — In isolated, rural western Illinois, in the days before radio and television, one might suppose that an incident that occurred off the coast of Newfoundland would have little significance, but that was far from the case when news of the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912, reached Monmouth and its surrounds.


Charles Dryden, from a 1904 newspaper story.

MONMOUTH, Ill. — If you’ve ever called someone a “bonehead,” you can thank a Monmouth man for coining that word, along with many of the colorful phrases that have made their way into the lexicon of sports writing.


Two of Cable’s most celebrated works were “Homeward” (left), which was pictured in Harper’s Monthly, and “Maternity,” depicting a mare and her colt.

BERWICK, Ill. — Just as the works of Ernest Hemingway and Jack London achieved their power from the writers’ personal experiences, the works of Ben D. Cable earned him the title “the Farmer Sculptor.”


When the current Methodist Church was completed in 1890, the streets surrounding it were not yet paved, and a 86-foot tower that would be removed years later anchored the structure. To make room for a modern sanctuary, demolition of the 1890 building has begun.

MONMOUTH, Ill. — When the current reconstruction of the sanctuary of First United Methodist Church is completed, it will be the fourth house of worship for the oldest congregation in Monmouth, organized in 1834.

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