Sunday, July 24, 2011

Blackhawk Days

Oregon, Illinois, Blackhawk Days. Depicted here is what we assume the Midwestern Indians lived in.
Below is more like what an actual Indian dwelling looked like:
No home is complete without a skull
During the Oregon Trail Days Festival, they feature these tipis. You can sign up for the opportunity  pay to sleep in one of these! A friend of mine is intrigued by Native American history and she and her husband did just that. They spent the night in a tipi in a park. 

Not being a camper, nor a fan of bugs, I couldn't imagine this. I wanted to go out and see it for myself. To be honest, I thought we'd pull up and find our poor friends sitting alone in a field, swatting at mosquitoes and eating out of a bag of chips, drinking bottles of warm water.
To my surprise, we pulled up to a busy place.
The place was packed! Families and church groups and all types of folks were excitedly milling around, exploring the grounds, getting familiar with what was going to be their giant bedroom for the night. My friends had an air mattress blown up inside and seemed perfectly content to face the night from inside their tipi. How fun! (for them)
It is the 100th anniversary of the Black Hawk Statue.
In 1908, Loredo Taft, a sculptor who established an art centered community near Oregon, Illinois, began creating this monolith. It is hollow inside, reinforced with steel rods, created with cement and pink granite chips. Taft admits it is not a likeness of the Indian tribe Sac leader, Blackhawk, rather, Blackhawk inspired the creation. Illinois, facing devastating fiscal situations, has pulled funding for many of it's state parks, and Blackhawk is suffering from age. Standing reverent over the Rock River for 100 years takes a toll, and the folks in control of the books in the fine state of Illinois could care less about this magnificent statue. In 2009, a small group of locals took charge of a committee to raise awareness for the statue and the surrounding park. Thus, the Oregon Trail Days Festival was formed. It serves as the chief fundraising event. 

In the winter months, when gardening is done with computer and catalog, I follow the birdwatchers that like to go to Lowden. Bald eagles and Golden Eagles are frequent visitors. 


  1. Looks like fun! (And yes, air mattresses are great when camping :)

  2. I am sure it would not be very comfortable--I've been sleeping in a king-sized bed since 1976 so a small air mattress is not my idea of comfy. BUT, I think it would be fun to stay in a tipi--so I would probably do it--just so I could say I did. :)

    I hope they find the funds to save the Black Hawk Statue. After a hundred years, it just seems like the right thing to do.

  3. Very cool! Actually not as primitive as we think when we consider the times and being able to move at will.
    Cher Sunray Gardens

  4. I love stuff like this. Steve on the other hand needs the AC and TV to be comfy camping ;)

    Sound like a great trip. I love Illinois history.

  5. I'm not much of a camper anymore, but one night in a tipi could be fun. I know that some time long ago, I've seen the Blackhawk statue, but I've only read about the tipis. It's sad that our state parks are being neglected while politicians in Springfield argue over their pet projects...don't even get me started on that topic!:)


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