Monthly Archives: March 2014

Planning for 33rd Annual Mayfest


Plans for Mount Carroll’s 33rd annual Mayfest celebration over the Memorial Day weekend are well under way. The weekend family festival held on the campus of the Campbell Center for Historic Preservation Studies features live musical entertainment, arts and crafts booths, a food tent, and much more.

The festival is scheduled to begin Friday night, May 23, and continue throughout Saturday and Sunday, May 24-25. Live music performances scheduled for the weekend include the Mount Carroll Stage Band, The Matriarchs, The Fast Clydes and Bruce Kort & The Infarctions on Saturday.

The Matriarchs, a popular female folk trio from Jo Daviess County, will be on stage from 1 to 4 p.m., followed by The Fast Clydes, a 1950s rockabilly trio from the Dubuque, Iowa, area, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Authentic blues, jump and boogie music will be the mainstay of Bruce Kort & The Infarctions from 8 to 11 p.m. Band leader Kort, a popular local musician, formerly resided in Mount Carroll until moving to Scales Mound last year.

Local and area musicians will be on stage early Sunday afternoon, May 25, followed by The Legends, one of the tri-state’s top rockin’ oldies bands, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Mount Carroll native John Zink, now living in California, returns to Mayfest for the Sunday night finale from 8 to 11 p.m. John Zink & The Carroll County All Stars will perform first, followed by Zink’s other band, Shyster.

Mayfest will kick-off Friday night, May 23, with West Carroll High School teacher and coach Bryant Suess providing DJ music from 6 to 9 p.m. The Rotary beer garden and Chamber wine garden will be open for business as well as some of the many food stands. Other Mayfest events will include a 5K Walk/Run Saturday morning, car show Sunday, an art show, arts and crafts throughout the weekend, children’s activities and a food tent featuring many culinary delights.

Mayfest buttons will go on sale around May 1 and admission prices for the entertainment gate remain the same as last year, $6 per person in advance and $8 per person Mayfest weekend. Children under 5 are free. The entertainment gate admission button is good all weekend.

Mayfest is coordinated by a steering committee under the auspices of the Mount Carroll Chamber of Commerce. For more information, write or call: Mayfest, Ste. 1, 320 North Main Street, Mount Carroll,, 800-244-9594 or 815-244-2411.

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Rummage Thru Mount Carroll


Come to historic Mount Carroll! Experience our brick streets and country charm. Check out trash to treasures and everything in between at our annual Rummage Through Mount Carroll city-wide garage sale event.

The Mount Carroll Chamber of Commerce will hold Rummage Thru Mount Carroll on Friday and Saturday, April 25-26. The Chamber is compiling a list of those that will hold garage sales, with a goal of hosting 100 sales on this weekend.

The cost to be included on the garage sale list is $6. This fee will ensure inclusion on a paper list that will be distributed at various locations throughout town. Participants will also be posted on the city’s website at and also on the Rummage Thru Mount Carroll Facebook page. Money raised will also be used to place advertisements for the event.

To be included on the list, participants can pay their $6 fee Thursday-Sunday at Dabluz Boutique, 116 East Market Street, Mount Carroll.

Participants are also encouraged to place their own advertisements in a special grouping that is included in the classified section of the Mount Carroll Mirror-Democrat, the Savanna Times-Journal, the Northwestern Illinois Dispatch and the Galena Gazette. The cost is $10 for up to 20 words, and 20 cents a word after that.

The Chamber of Commerce will also hold a garage sale during Rummage Thru Mount Carroll. Anyone wishing to donate items can drop them off on Wednesday, April 23 at the Land of Oz, 855 South Mill Street, Mount Carroll. Those needing assistance in getting donated items to the Land of Oz can call Larry at 815-244-1630.

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Oaklee’s Family Guide

Post Your Spring and Summer Events on our Calendar Now!

Let Oaklee’s Family Guide help you promote your Spring and Summer events! We are now accepting entries for all of your upcoming events!

We are currently looking for:oaklees-family-guide-1

  • Easter Events
  • Art Fairs
  • Car Shows
  • County Fairs
  • Farmers Markets
  • Independence Day Events
  • Outdoor Concerts
  • Summer Festivals
  • Community Events
  • And More!

Our New Event Guide is Easy to use!
To submit your events, visit . Click “Submit Event” in the upper right hand side. Watch the video here. If you have questions, give us a call at 847-478-9692.

But don’t delay! The submission deadline for the Oaklee’s Family Guide™ Summer 2014 Print Edition is April 11, 2014. Don’t miss this opportunity to publicize your events FREE in our guide, which is distributed to more than 1,000 locations in the Chicago area.

Summer events entered by April 11, 2014 on our website will automatically be considered for our print and digital editions. The Summer edition covers the months of June, July. and August.

There is still time to have your April and May events listed on our online calendar!
Click here to enter your events.

Picket Fence Florals


Picket Fence
407 East Franklin Street
Lanark, Illinois 61046

Proprietor: Lynn Collins

Picket Fence is a quaint Carriage House shop open for seasonal shows three times each year. We have a spring show in April, a fall show in September, and a holiday show for each weekend in

2014 Show Dates
Friday and Saturday, April 4 & 5
Friday and Saturday, April 11 & 12
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, August 29, 30, 31
Friday and Saturday, September 5 & 6
Fridays and Saturdays in November

Many local artisans display in our shop and greet customers during our open weekends. Features include seasonal home décor with lots of twigs, lighted branches, burlap, berries, lighted canvases, garden décor, fabric purses and table runners, vintage framed art, hand painted inspirational signs, hair fascinators, pen and pencil art, soy candles, and homemade soaps and lotions. All are displayed in fun vignettes for the season!

Picket Fence is in its 14th year and still growing! Highlights include Pie on the Porch on the Friday and Saturday of Labor Day weekend, fabulously decorated Christmas trees at our holiday show, and beautiful gardens accenting a Victorian home surrounded by a yellow picket fence. We invite customers at our fall show to stroll the gardens! We offer homemade cookies and hot/cold beverage at all of our shows.

I (Lynn) was born in Milledgeville, went to law school, practiced law in Rockford, and moved to Lanark with my husband, Keith, a veterinarian in Milledgeville. We both enjoy gardening, our Victorian home, and very much appreciate life in a small town where we have raised two sons, the youngest about to enter college. I cannot count how many times on a weekly basis I am grateful for being part of a small, caring community where folks know and watch out for each other. Carroll County is a great place to live, raise a family, and own a business!

Civil War Soldiers And Sailors Monument

Location: Court House Square, Mount Carroll, Illinoismap-button
Dedication: October 6, 1891
Medium: Barre Granite
GPS Coordinates: N 42° 06.079 W 089° 58.724

Located in Northwest Illinois, Mount Carroll became the county seat of Carroll County in 1843. Carroll County was originally a part of Jo Daviess County until 1839. It was named for Charles Carroll, a United States Senator from Maryland and the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence. On October 24, 1884, a number of Carroll County Civil War veterans organized the Soldiers and Sailors Reunion Society of Carroll County. At a subsequent meeting, D. W. Dame recommended that the society build a monument to honor the 1,284 Civil War veterans of Carroll County. Most of the men fought under Generals Grant, Sherman, McPherson, or Logan. They fought in Alabama, South Carolina, Mississippi, Georgia, or Tennessee. The society members suggested that the monument be placed on the courthouse square in Mount Carroll. The county board voted to contribute $6,000.00 for the project, and the city of Mount Carroll provided $400.00 to construct the cement steps and background.

Lorado Taft was a member of a team of artists who was commissioned to create the Carroll County Civil War Soldiers And Sailors Monument. George H. Mitchell designed the monument, and Josiah Schamel constructed the foundation. John C. Hall designed the annex that was added later when county officials determined that there were many names missing from the original honor roll list. The monument consists of a fifty-foot vertical shaft with a Lorado Taft sculpted soldier holding a flag at the top. Lewis H. Sprecher of Lanark posed for the statue and made several trips to Taft’s Chicago studio to model for it. Two additional statues are attached to the base of the monument, one an infantryman and the other a cavalryman.

Just below Taft’s statue at the top of the monument are eight engraved symbols representing the various army groups that the men of Carroll County fought in during the Civil War. The monument also includes the names of the twelve battles that the men of Carroll County fought in: Atlanta, Chickamauga, Corinth, Fort Donelson, Gettysburg, Hatchie’s Bridge, Nashville, Resaca, Shiloh, Stones River, Vicksburg, and the Wilderness. The following words appear on one face of the monument: “Carroll County: To The Memory Of The Men Who Saved The Union That Their Example May Speak To Coming Generations.” The short phrases “Slavery Abolished” “Peace Restored” and “Courage – Endurance” flank the monument on the other three sides. Two large cannons are positioned on either side of the monument, and a pyramid of cannon balls rests on the ground near the rear of the monument.

The Carroll County Civil War Soldiers And Sailors Monument was unveiled and dedicated in Mount Carroll on October 6, 1891, before a crowd of more than 5,000 people. County Superintendent of Schools John Grossman declared a school holiday on that day, and hundreds of students and teachers attended the dedication ceremony. Carriages full of attendees came from Savannah, Thomson, Lanark, and Shannon. The city was decorated with bunting and flags, and meals were served to the guests by hotels and churchwomen. A band from Savanna led a parade of marchers that included members of various Grand Army of the Republic posts, the Knights of Pythias, the Select Knights of America, and school children. Mount Carroll Mayor N. H. Melendy gave the welcome speech, and J. M. Hunter addressed the assembled soldiers and civilians.

The Carroll County Civil War Soldiers and Sailors Monument was rededicated exactly a hundred years later on October 6, 1991. Two Civil War reenactment groups participated in the celebration. The 121st Illinois Regiment conducted a daylong Civil War encampment, and Battery G of the 2nd Illinois Light Artillery fired the cannons near the monument. Lt. Col. Warren Sweitzer addressed the assembled crowd and thanked the Carroll County Board for constructing the monument a century earlier.

civil-war-soldiers- sailors-monument-carroll-county-illinois
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The Blue Bedroom Inn

The Blue Bedroom Inn
321 1/2 Main Street
Savanna, Illinois 61074

Proprietors: Chris Lain and Jube Manderico.

Located above The Savanna Marketplace, The Blue Bedroom Inn is right in the heart of historic downtown Savanna, Illinois. A friendly and charming, quiet river town built on the bluffs along the Mighty Mississippi River. The Inn faces Main Street on the east and backs up to the river on the west. It has four lovely and comfortable guest rooms decorated in a vintage decor, where sleep comes easy on plush beds. The Inn notes a spacious common area with a living room, dining room, and kitchen with WiFi for your convenience.

Enjoy shopping during the day and unwind on the back decks with a beautiful sunset at night. Savanna’s nightlife has something for everyone with casual dining and nine bars on Main Street within walking distance. Savanna is also centrally located to many outdoor activities and day trips for the naturist, sportsman and history buffs. Make memories with a group of friends or family or plan that romantic getaway. Reenergize your mind and body with a peaceful way of life and natural beauty in Northwest, Illinois..

We want you to be comfortable and we will do what it takes to make your stay pleasurable. You can walk out the front door and across the street to the Pulford Antique Mall, gift & specialty shops, and even a motorcycle museum. Enjoy panoramic views of the Mississippi River from tiered decking and walk along the banks right out the back door. Savanna notes many outdoor areas and activities including The Mississippi Palisades State Park, Bike Trails, horseback riding, golfing, and the Mississippi River to mention a few.

Savanna is a short jaunt to the historic, city of Galena, Illinois and to biker’s haven of New Diggins, Wisconsin. We look forward to meeting you and your families and will do our very best to make your stay a memorable experience.

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge

Common Merganser by Michael Fitzgerald
map-buttonUpper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge
Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center – Savanna District

Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center
7071 Riverview Road
Thomson, Illinois 61285

Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge

Within the boundaries of Carroll County lies one of America’s greatest treasures, the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. The Refuge encompasses four states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois. Carroll County is very fortunate to have the Illinois District Office within our boundaries. Just five minutes south of Savanna on Riverview Road west of Highway 84, the Illinois District Office is located within Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center.


Our Story

In 2000, Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center opened its doors to promote environmental education and conservation of the Mississippi River and its tributaries. Visitors travel from all over the world to view the Mississippi River and its wildlife. This provides us with many great opportunities to share our story and to encourage support for the Refuge System.

Conveniently located within the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, the facility is packed with interesting hands-on exhibits and provides a dramatic view of the world’s most majestic and celebrated river.

The Center sits on thirty-five acres of sand prairie that is home to the ornate box turtle, prickly pear cactus, and a diversity of other plants and animals. Visitors can walk or bike the Grand Illinois Trail, which traverses through the prairie and along Spring Lake. Photographers find many opportunities to get that special picture of a bald eagle, sandhill crane, trumpeter swan, or the prickly pear cactus. No matter what your interest, there’s something for you to see and do.


The Center is dedicated to the memory of Gary and David Ingersoll, young residents of Savanna who were stricken with muscular dystrophy. Although confined to wheelchairs most of their young lives, the two overcame day-to-day challenges and attended college, where they demonstrated their mutual interest in natural resource conservation. Tragically, both young men died of the disease before the age of twenty-two. The center was named in their honor. Toaday, it continues to promote their ideals of environmental education and conservation of the Mississippi River and its tributaries.

Hours are 8:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. Monday through Friday. The Center is closed on all federal holidays. Starting in mid May through September, the Center is open on Saturdays from 9:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M.

The Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge “Friend’s Group” operates a bookstore within Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center. It’s filled with an excellent selection of children’s books, field guides, and unique gifts. If you know one of those “hard to buy for” nature enthusiasts, you’ll find that perfect gift here. All proceeds support various refuge programs.

The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge Story

The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge, established for fish, wildlife, plants, and as a breeding place for migratory birds, owes its existence to the avid fisherman, founder and leader of the Izaak Walton League, Will Dilg. By 1922, Dilg had spent nearly two decades fishing and enjoying the Upper Mississippi River. In the summer of 1923, he learned of a plan to drain a large portion of the river backwaters and came up with an ambitious solution to the drainage scheme: turn the entire stretch of river into a federal refuge.


Will Dilg

Remarkably, one year later, due to Dilg’s determination, Congress passed the Upper Mississippi River Wild Life and Fish Refuge Act on June 7, 1924. The act authorized the acquisition of land for a refuge between Rock Island, Illinois and Wabasha, Minnesota. The Refuge name was changed administratively to the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in 1983. The 261 mile refuge is the longest contiguous river refuge in the continental U.S. This refuge begins at the confluence of the Chippewa River near Wabasha, Minnesota, and ends near Princeton, Iowa. The refuge lies within four states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois.

The river was free-flowing until a series of locks and dams were constructed in the 1930’s by the US Army Corps of Engineers. Over half of the lands managed by the refuge are owned by the Corps. Today, nearly 240,000 acres of wooded islands, marshes, and backwaters comprise the Upper Mississippi Refuge. The refuge provides migratory habitat for a large percentage of the migratory birds in the Mississippi Flyway. Tundra swans and canvasback ducks use the refuge as a resting and feeding area in the spring and fall. From the beginning, the refuge has been a place for visitors to renew themselves. A quiet trip to the backwaters, camping on an island, fishing a favorite spot, and waterfowl hunting are traditional uses that have continued for over eighty years.

The National Wildlife Refuge System


Paul Kroegel was hired as the first national wildlife refuge manager. He was paid $1 a month by the Florida Audubon Society, as Congress had not set aside funds for this executively created refuge.

One hundred and eleven years ago, Theodore Roosevelt established the first national wildlife refuge on Florida’s Pelican Island, ensuring the island’s birds would survive plume hunters and other profiteers. He went on to establish more than fifty wildlife refuges in a network of protected lands and waters that has become a landmark international conservation model.

The National Wildlife Refuge System presently encompasses 562 refuge units, 38 wetland management districts, and more than 150 million protected acres. It stretches from Alaska to the Caribbean and west from Maine to islands in the remote Pacific Ocean.

This network is dedicated to the protection of vital wildlife habitat and efforts to restore at-risk species. Examples include the return of the bald eagle and the brown pelican, both of which are no longer on the Endangered Species List, as well as our work with other iconic wildlife such as caribou, bison, elk and puffins. Refuges offer the American public a chance to see all these animals, not behind bars in a zoo, but roaming free in their natural environment.

national-wildlife-refuge-system-mapRefuges help our communities by cleaning the air and the water we depend on for human health. By conserving and restoring these natural landscapes, they also help to prevent or minimize disasters such as flooding, drought and wildfires.

Forty-seven million people visit refuges each year. Some come to see and experience undeveloped landscapes or to learn about nature and conservation. Others come to take part in the many available outdoor recreational opportunities.

In the process, refuges stimulate local economies, supporting thousands of private sector jobs, and generate billions of dollars in commercial activity. Our recent Banking on Nature report reveals refuges pump $2.4 billion into the economy and support more than 35,000 jobs.

Our national wildlife refuges are home to more than 700 types of birds, 220 varieties of mammals, 250 kinds of reptiles and amphibians, 1,000 species of fish, countless invertebrates, and plants. They provide havens for 280 endangered species ranging from the Florida panther to the polar bear.

Auditions for Musicians and Children

map-buttonTimber Lake Playhouse
8215 Black Oak Road
Mount Carroll, Illinois 61053

Timber Lake Playhouse will hold auditions for qualified musicians for their summer season on Sunday, April 27th at 2:00 pm at the theatre in Mount Carroll, Illinois. Auditions for children for the theatre’s upcoming production of Les Miserables will follow at 4:00 pm.

The 53rd summer season of Timber Lake Playhouse will include the musicals Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein, Les Miserable and Shout! The Mod Musical. All musicals at Timber Lake Playhouse utilize paid area musicians. Auditions for Bass (upright & electric), Woodwinds, Percussion, Guitar, Brass and Strings will begin at 2:00 pm.

Musicians will be seen in 10 minute appointments. They should be prepared to play a selection of their choosing. They might be asked to sight read from one of the shows. For an appointment, please call the theatre at 815-244-2035. Timber Lake Playhouse is located at 8215 Black Oak Rd in Mount Carroll. Performance dates and rehearsal schedules can be found at

Auditions for the roles of Gavroche, Young Cosette, and Young Eponine in Les Miserables will begin at 4:00 pm. The playhouse is seeking a boy aged 8-12 for Gavroche, who is a very strong singer and is comfortable on stage. Girls ages 8-10, who are strong singers and very comfortable on stage, are encouraged to audition for Young Cosette and Young Eponine.

All children should bring a song to sing in the style of the show. They may sing from the show, as well. An accompanist will be provided. These roles are not paid, but a travel stipend may be arranged. All ethnicities are encouraged to attend. Please call the theatre at 815-244-2035 to sign up for auditions.

Additional auditions for children for Joseph & The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and teens and adults for Young Frankenstein will be held in May.

Performers and musicians must be available for all scheduled performances and rehearsals. More information is available at

Timber Lake Playhouse programs are supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council through federal funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tell Us Your Story


Do you operate a business located in Carroll County? Would you like to promote your business, at absolutely no cost, and benefit the local community simultaneously? If so, then you have a story to tell and we want to help you share it, but we need your assistance!

People enjoy human interest stories. Sharing your story with others is an opportunity to advertise your business and to support our local economy. It’s an opportunity to help others discover the many interesting qualities that make Carroll County a unique place to live, work, play, and visit.

The Carroll County Hotel Motel Tax Board has financed the creation of our county’s official tourism website, specifically, for the purpose of promoting local businesses and service providers by marketing Carroll County as a popular tourist destination in Illinois. With this goal in mind, we sincerely encourage every local business to aid in this campaign!

Please, help us to help you! Join in! Get involved! Spread the word! Do your part to advocate and celebrate all the wonderful opportunities that only Carroll County can offer. Give local businesses the exposure they deserve. Give Carroll County the exposure it deserves. Most importantly, tell us your story!

Submissions will be published as featured articles on Carroll County’s official tourism website. This service will be offered absolutely free of charge! It is completely gratis. So there is no excuse for not taking advantage of this offer immediately.

Bald Eagle Viewing Tours Ending Soon

Bald Eagles by Michael Fitzgerald 1

With the beginning of Spring only six days away, Bald Eagle viewing in huge numbers will be ending soon as the migrating Bald Eagles will be returning to their northern homelands. This Saturday, March 15th is one of the Stewards last scheduled tours for viewing Bald Eagles.

We will be visiting Lost Mound Unit, Saturday from 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm in hopes of viewing these magnificent birds as they make their way northward along the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. Limited spaces are still available for this van tour. We will meet at Lost Mound Unit Office at 1:45 for our trek into the closed area of the Old Savanna Army Depot.

Pre-registration is required and you may sign up by calling Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center 815-273-2732 by 3:00 pm Friday, March 14th, or emailing The tour is free and open to the public. Tours are sponsored by Stewards of the Upper Mississippi River Refuge and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. For a complete listing of tours and events please visit our website

Juvenile Bald Eagle by Connie Zink 2