Morton ILI PicturePumpkins are a fall necessity! The pumpkin has been a North American staple since long before the arrival of European settlers, and Illinois farmers continue the big orange squash’s long tradition by growing more pumpkins than anywhere else in the world. Illinois grows 90-95 percent of the processed pumpkins in the U.S. Most of the processing takes place in Morton, Ill. – which has claimed the title of “Pumpkin Capital of the World” since 1978.

In 1967, the Morton Chamber of Commerce organized the city’s first Pumpkin Festival to celebrate the beginning of the pumpkin harvest and canning season at the local Libby’s pumpkin processing plant. Today, the festival includes over 30 special events and venues hosted and organized by over 2,000 volunteers. The festival welcomes an estimated 70,000 visitors every September.

Libby’s Morton plant has about 5,000 acres of fertile farm land devoted to producing pumpkins. In 2012, Libby’s became the official sponsor for the Morton Pumpkin Festival!

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Boo Crew Haunted House in MechanicsburgEven during the COVID-19 pandemic there are some haunted houses in Illinois that can still be enjoyed this year, with public health safety precautions in place. One such haunted house, is the Boo Crew Haunted House.

The Boo Crew Haunted House is an annual event hosted by the Rochester Lions Club. There are typically both indoor and outdoor portions to the haunted house, but the event will be fully outdoors this year to help maintain social distancing. The Boo Crew promises this “Trail of Lost Souls” will be their scariest trail yet.

The Boo Crew has implemented many health and safety precautions this year to help keep actors and guests safe. Masks will be required, and actors must keep their distance from guests—any up-close scares will be done by animatronics or stationary props. Ticket sales and group sizes are limited this year to keep crowds to a minimum.

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Alton_Illinois_sinking_in_1993.jpgJust 25 miles north of St. Louis, Alton is small city with more than its fair share of vibrant history. Founded in 1837, Alton was the site of the final debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen Douglas in 1858. It was the home town of Robert Wadlow, the world's tallest man, and it is where legendary jazz musician Miles Davis was born, just to name a few facts. But what the city of Alton is famous (or perhaps infamous) for is that it’s considered to be one of the most haunted towns in the United States.


There are many locations around the city associated with reports of paranormal activity, such as a school, local cemeteries, and a prison. First opened in 1833, the Alton Prison was the first Illinois State Penitentiary. It was closed in 1860 and reopened two years later as a military prison during the Civil War. The majority of the prison’s population were Confederate prisoners and it is estimated that over 11,000 of them were brought to the jail in just three years.

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Gymnasium and Lincoln Heritage MuseumStrike a pose! Jan. 21 marks Museum Selfie Day, an opportunity to take part in history by visiting a museum and posting about it on social media with the hashtag #MuseumSelfie.

This year, we’re snapping photos at our January Museum of the Month: the Lincoln Heritage Museum in Lincoln, Illinois. The museum, which is located on the campus of Lincoln College, allows visitors to learn more about the life and legacy of President Abraham Lincoln.

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WildeyIn 1805, a man by the name of Thomas Kirkpatrick was became the original settler of the city of Edwardsville. Kirkpatrick named the newly founded city after the first and only Territorial Governor of Illinois, Ninian Edwards, who held the office for nearly a decade from 1808-1818. Less than three months after the territory of Illinois was granted statehood by the federal government, the city was officially incorporated by the State on February 23rd, 1819. Located less than forty miles east of St. Louis, MO. Edwardsville’s population had reached a population exceeding 600 residents by 1840, less than forty years after Kirkpatrick originally settled it.

As mentioned earlier, Edwardsville was named after Illinois territorial governor Ninian Edwards, but he is not the only former governor of the now state to have ties to the city. Edwardsville has indeed produced not one, but five former governors! The list includes, Ninian Edwards, Edward Coles, John Reynolds, Thomas Ford and Charles Deneen.

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