Thursday Doors: Day-Trippin’ in Galena, Illinois

Before I start flooding your eyeballs with images of doors and a short discourse about Galena (Illinois) and galena (the mineral), I have to lay the groundwork by mentioning Canadian Thanksgiving. (I trust Norm will gently correct me if I get the last part wrong…)

The origins of Canadian Thanksgiving can be traced back to two events. The first Canadian appearance of the holiday dates back to 1578 when Martin Frobisher and his crew came together for a communal meal to thank God for reuniting the crew after they were separated due to bad weather. The second appearance dates back to 1606, when Samuel de Champlain organized the Order of Good Cheer to boost settler’s spirits after a dreadful winter. Under British rule, the holiday differed in theme and dates until January 1, 1957, when the Canadian Parliament officially declared the official date of Thanksgiving celebrations to be held on the second Monday of October. This date coincides much better with the actual date of Canadian harvests due to the arrival of winter. (More info at .

Over the years, Canadian Thanksgiving weekend has become the annual holiday get-together time for my family. This year, 4 out of 5 of my siblings & I (& spouses and children) gathered in northern Illinois where we grew up. On Sunday the 13th we drove to Galena, Illinois for the day. Before the doors though…

Galena, also called lead glance, is the natural mineral form of lead(II) sulfide (PbS). It is the most important ore of lead and an important source of silver. (Young, Courtney A.; Taylor, Patrick R.; Anderson, Corby G. (2008). Hydrometallurgy 2008: Proceedings of the Sixth International Symposium. SME. ISBN 9780873352666.)  Lead in the Galena, Illinois area was originally mined by members of the Sac and Fox tribes for use in body painting. French trappers in the 1690’s mined small quantities of lead. Retired US Army Colonel George Davenport shipped Galena’s first boatload of lead ore down the Mississippi River in 1816. Three years later a trading post was built in Galena that led to the first steamboat arrival in 1824. By 1845 Galena was producing nearly 27,000 tons of lead ore and Jo Daviess County was producing 80 percent of the lead in the United States. (

Ulysses S. Grant, future 18th President of the United States, was born in 1822 in Ohio. He enrolled at West Point in 1839, and made a career of the military until 1854. After resigning from the Army, he and his wife (Julia) and 4 children moved to a farm in the St. Louis, Missouri area. Farming was not Grant’s strong suit. They moved again in 1860, this time to Galena so Grant could work at his father’s tannery and leather goods store. With the outbreak of civil war in 1861, Grant was appointed Colonel of the 21st Illinois Volunteers. Following the cessation of hostilities, Grant returned to Galena in 1865. The citizens of Galena presented him with this wonderful home…

Grant home

On the backside of the house, to the right, is a small building with a smattering of displays relevant to the Grants, the US Presidency, etc. This door is a side door to this place.


After a quick tour of the Grant Home, we all headed down into town, through Grant Park where we split up to groups intent on discovery, or food, or warmth, or restrooms…


The Mrs. and I had wonderful meal at a restaurant called Fried Green Tomatoes. We sat at the table to the left, against the wall in this photo. I was sitting in the chair just under the “2”.  Across the street from us we admired a tall, and seemingly 2-D building. I noticed what looked like a white horse watching out over the street from a vantage point on the 3rd floor. Interestingly enough, there was a “For Rent” sign on the same floor…


At this point, we headed over to the Galena Visitor Center for a quick bathroom break before we headed up the hill for an orgy of doors… The hill excursion will have to wait until next week (soooooo many doors!)




A little used door in the side of the Visitor Center.


Finally, the side view of the Lemfco, Inc building, a foundry that opened in 1912 under the name Leadmine Foundry. The business was all about making iron based products to be used by the prosperous lead mining companies in Galena!

Until next week, you can see alot more doors from all over this planet by visiting Norm2.0 HERE….





May 4, 1865

On May 4, 1865 the body of assassinated United States President Abraham Lincoln was placed in a receiving vault at Oak Ridge Cemetery in Springfield, Illinois following final funeral services. He was placed within his final resting place, the Lincoln Tomb in 1871. Two Chicago criminals (unsuccessfully) attempted to steal Lincoln’s remains to hold for ransom in 1876. In 1887, the bodies of the President and Mary Todd Lincoln were buried together in an underground brick vault, and finally, Abe was buried in a concrete vault underneath a massive granite cenotaph. Mrs. Lincoln and 3 of the 4 Lincoln sons are interred in nearby crypts.

The following photo shows members of the 114th Illinois Volunteer Infantry Regiment (Reactivated) in front of the Lincoln Tomb.




A Record Dinner

The Mrs & I sat down to a light and healthy dinner about an hour & a half ago (healthy means I had to eat a yucky salad…). Somehow, our conversation turned to the very first record album I ever bought.*  It was what is now known as “a Vinyl”.  A 33 1/3 rpm two sided record by Gene Pitney, featuring the songs “She’s a Heartbreaker” and “Town Without Pity”. I was 13 years old. And for money, I washed the windows of a jewelry store in downtown Sterling, Illinois every Wednesday afternoon after school. I got paid $2! On top of my 25-cent weekly allowance, I was feeling pretty well-to-do for a 13-year-oldster! I saved my earnings for a month to buy the album because I L-O-V-E-D “Heartbreaker”! My Dad found Gene’s voice annoying, so I only played the album when he wasn’t home.


After dinner, I found a whole bunch of Gene’s songs on YouTube and played She’s a Heartbreaker, and Town Without Pity, and 24 Hours From Tulsa. Then I did a search to find out what/where Gene was up to these days. Sadly, I discovered he passed away on April 5, 2006 in Cardiff, Wales after performing at St. David’s Hall. Reportedly, his last song was “Town Without Pity”. He is buried in Somers Center Cemetery in Somers, Connecticut.

A nicely written overview of Gene’s life was in the The Telegraph, dated April 6, 2006:

Sixties star Gene Pitney found dead on hotel bed

by Hugh Davies

The following excerpt is from the article:

“…He walked to the front of the stage to shake the hands of fans and sign their books then strolled the 500 yards to his 7th floor suite at the Hilton hotel, where he lay down fully clothed on his bed to rest. He is believed to have suffered a heart attack…”


*I remember how the topic came up… We had a Michael Bublé cd playing, and one of the songs struck me as sounding very much like Town Without Pity! Ha!

Happy Birthday McKinley Morganfield!!!

McKinley was born on April 4th, 1913… or 1914… or maybe 1915. Depends on what your source is: 1913 on his marriage certificate, musician’s union card, and his Social Security card application.  1914 according to the 1920 census list. 1915 if you refer to a 1955 interview in the Chicago Defender and his tombstone. McKinley claimed he was born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi. But he may actually have been born in nearby Jug’s Corner. His mother died shortly after his birth.  His grandmother, Della Grant, not only raised him, but gave him his lifelong nickname, “Muddy”. Waters was tacked on years later after young Muddy began playing his harmonica in public as a teen-ager.

Muddy Waters moved to Chicago, Illinois in 1943, where he changed the sound and the music not only of the Chicago Blues Scene, but world-wide. He is credited with  influencing rock-and-roll, jazz, country&western, r&b, and hip-hop.

Muddy was awarded 6 Grammys, 5 Blues Music Awards, has 4 songs listed in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, and was featured on a 29 cent US Postage Stamp in 1994.

Muddy passed away in his sleep on April 30, 1983 at his home in Westmont, Illinois. He is buried in Westvale Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.


Yet Another Thursday Door…

Not sure if this is allowed, but I am posting a 2nd Thursday Doors this week. I will beg for Norm’s forgiveness after I get in trouble. And I have a goooood reason for this. (Note to Self: only 1 of those sentences as actually grammatically correct. oooops.)

My intent was to go out yesterday (on Thursday) and take a specific photo for Thursday Doors. However, it was raining and dreary, and it was warm and dry inside, and my jammies were too comfortable to change out of. So I found a door photo back from my days before door-enlightenment; when taking a photo with a door in it was unplanned and unintended. I posted that with a short little blurb about it.  My INTENDED DOOR was this… (Ta-Daaaa!)

1100 South 5th Street, Springfield, IL

This is the main doorway to the house that was the first headquarters in Springfield, Illinois of the Illinois State Police (named the Illinois State Highway Patrol back then in the early 1920’s). This is significant, because the Illinois State Highway Patrol came into existence on April 1, 1922… 95 years ago tomorrow. No joke!!

Today this building is used for offices, including a lawyer’s office, and I believe a couple suites are for rent if you want to have a cool office in Springfield….

Thursday Doors is a weekly challenge for door-enlightened souls in search of group-inclusiveness. It is the blog-child of Norm 2.0. Want to see more doors from around the globe? Go to his site HERE and click on the blue-rectangle-encased-frog…

As promised when I first posted this entry, I have a link to my ISP History blog with a short article about the ISP anniversary and a Proclamation by the Governor just displayed today at the current ISP HQ.  Illinois State Police Day – April 1, 2017

Oh no… Why??

I just checked the weather forecast for tomorrow…. Sunny & 70 degrees (Fahrenheit, which is  21 degrees Celsius in case my readers in Wales wondered…). This is not the best news for me because…

Well, cuz shortly after New Years I laid out some of my plans for this year (not resolutions, I don’t do resolutions. I also don’t do social media.) One thing I mentioned I intend to do this year is to edit, revise, update, and publish my thesis on the Origins of the Illinois State Highway Patrol. I posted an excerpt from it already, and that started the process. Today, I spent the majority of the day researching a couple of the first officers who were hired in 1922. And I was having a super fun time! I guess that makes me geek-eligible, right? Well, therein lies my consternation over the nice day tomorrow…

I was hoping to spend a good portion of the day tomorrow continuing my research. But now it looks like I will be outside playing instead. Darn it.

I do have one observation I wanted to share. Based on my research today, I was able to compile a huge treasure trove of relevant information, and save it on my laptop with the relevant citation documentation incredibly fast and easily. When I was researching originally for my thesis, I had to hand write my notes and cites, and roll through miles of microfilm, and travel throughout the state to various museums, archives, and libraries to access possible records. I am (happily) overwhelmed and overjoyed by the ready access to materials online! Ahhh, technology!

On a somewhat related note, today’s researching brought me to the Memorial page online of one of my close friends who died in the line of duty 27 years ago, Trooper April Rapp Styburski … I was on my day off the night it happened. The District desk officer called me to tell me… It still brings a tear to my eye. She is buried in Oswego, Illinois. {I helped my friends, Garrick & Janice, move some of Janice’s son’s furniture and clothes to North Aurora on Saturday, and we went through Oswego. This got me to thinking about April}. End of Watch, January 5, 1990.


Thursday Doors – Estero, Florida (& the Bathtub Messiah)

On December 29, 2014 at 7:13 am on a chilly midwestern morning, The Mrs & I pulled out of our driveway in our old mini-van, pulling our old pop-up Dutchmen Duck camper. We were headed south to the Fort Myers, Florida area for a few days of sunshine and inviting beaches. This was a rare opportunity for us, to leave town over New Years… In the past, one or the other of us would usually have a NY Eve commitment – I either had a band gig, or The Mrs was doing her one woman comedy show for First Night. But not this year!

We took a couple days to drive to Florida, and camped at the Koreshan State Historic Site in Estero, FL. We were 9 days in the warm sunshine of Florida! You can read about our escapades from the perspective of The Mrs starting HERE… I’m here to post a door picture. This is a picture of our little camper which we set up in the dark once we got to KSHS…


And here, note the four doors on just one side of the historic Koreshan Planetary Court building. We were camped just a short walk from the grouping of old historic buildings that comprise the Koreshan compound.


You can read more about the Koreshans and “The Bathtub Messiah”, starting with this interesting article.

And for some door pictures from the frozen Great White North, visit the website of the Door Sensei (先生) , Norm 2.0 … if you click on the blue frog towards the bottom of his posting, you will be magically transported to a page of portals to doors from AROUND THE WORLD!!!! WooHoo!!!

How 1922 Doubled My Life

I was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus at the age of 30. With Type 1 diabetes, the body has an auto-immune response, usually following an illness (I had the flu), and starts making anti-bodies that attack and destroy the Islet of Langerhans cells in the pancreas. The islet cells produce the body’s insulin. Insulin is required for nutrients to pass from the blood into the body cells. With the destruction of the islet cells, insulin has to be introduced into the body artificially. Diabetes has been recognized by the medical community for over 3000 years. A diagnosis of diabetes (type 1) was a death sentence within a year, at the longest. Until the 20th century.

On January 23, 1922, doctors and researchers at the University of Toronto (Canada) starting experimentally treating a recently diagnosed insulin patient (14 year-old Leonard Thompson) by injecting him with a refined sample of animal insulin. Leonard’s symptoms improved, and he went on to live another 13 more years by taking daily insulin injections. “The University of Toronto immediately gave pharmaceutical companies license to produce insulin, free of royalties. By 1923, insulin had become widely available, saving countless lives around the world, and (Dr. Frederick) Banting and (Dr. J.J.R.) Macleod were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine.”   from

By the time I was diagnosed 66 years later, the technology of injectable insulin has advanced considerably. Insulin by then was no longer extracted animal insulin, but was manufactured in a lab (recombinant human insulin). Pure, inexpensive, and GMO at its lifesaving best. I began taking multiple injections of insulin daily.

I have a cousin who is a diabetes research doctor, and he spent many years studying ways to implant new islet cells in the body where the anti-bodies would not locate and destroy them.  This line of research has had limited success. I participated in a research study a few years ago into inhaled insulin. But to date, the biggest advance in insulin therapy has been the insulin pump. The pump provides a constant flow of insulin via a subcutaneous catheter, and can provide a manual bolus, or boost, of insulin when eating or when blood sugar levels rise above a set level. Diabetic complications are greatly reduced when blood sugar levels are regulated.

The next step is the artificial pancreas, which will combine the pump with a constant glucose monitor that will work jointly to adjust insulin levels to continuously control glucose (sugar) levels. The FDA granted initial approval for such a system late last year.

Not a bad track record, to go from being able to keep type 1 diabetics alive with injections of animal insulin to being able to manufacture cloned human insulin and regulate its use artificially in under a century when dealing with a disease that has been recognized for over 30 centuries.