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Geneseo Republic - Geneseo, IL
  • In the footsteps of Col. Trigg, revived Ozark Tour an educational whirlwind

  • In a whirlwind weekend tour of southeastern Illinois, 21 hardy souls brought back the Ozark Tour first organized by Eldorado Daily Journal owner "Colonel" L.O. Trigg July 27, 1931.
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  • In a whirlwind weekend tour of southeastern Illinois, 21 hardy souls brought back the Ozark Tour first organized by Eldorado Daily Journal owner "Colonel" L.O. Trigg July 27, 1931.
    Trigg died at age 70 of a heart attack while planning the 1949 Ozark Tour.
    The group boarded a RIDES Bus at the Harrisburg Shawnee National Forest Headquarters to visit Hankerson Rude's Blockhouse site near Blockhouse Cemetery at Rudement as interpreted by Gillum Ferguson. John O'Dell spoke to the group about the Horseshoe Upheaval at the Saline County Fish and Wildlife Area and the group visited the Tecumseh Statue at Glen O. Jones Lake.
    Trigg himself was the subject of the next stop at the top of High Knob Recreation Area for a barbecue picnic and a lecture by Janet (Trigg) Davis of Eldorado, Trigg's granddaughter.
    "They took me down to Resthaven on the weekend. We would go to the springs, down the hill and go to the springs. I loved to go down there. I would dam up the little springs where the water bubbled up and make little boats out of those acorns down there," Davis said.
    Trigg's weekend getaway — Resthaven — was within a few miles of High Knob on Grindstaff Road. The U.S. Forest Service Passport In Time program has been conducting an archaeological dig there. Being more than an hour behind schedule, the group decided not to hike to Coulter Spring that Davis had enjoyed so much as a child.
    U.S. Forest Service Archaeologist Mary McCorvie said the archaeological dig at Resthaven yielded few clues into Trigg's life. Some can lids and other kitchen items were about all the group discovered. They located a summer kitchen, the foundation stones, foundation of a barn and a buried brick walkway. They also learned the location of Trigg's "Franklin House" — the name of his outhouse. A staunch Republican, Trigg saw fit to name his outhouse after the Democrat President Franklin Roosevelt.
    McCorvie said Trigg was meticulous in his note taking, keeping a small notepad and pencil wherever he went and the archeologists concluded he may have as meticulous in his housekeeping as his note taking.
    The group drove past the Illinois Iron Furnace en route to the Rose Hotel in Elizabethtown, Cave-In-Rock State Park and to the Rock Creek log home of Chris Schimp for a catfish dinner.
    That night the tour camped on the beach at Pounds Hollow.
    "Camping was really fun. The starts were out and we had a fire on the beach at Pounds Hollow. We camped on the beach because we thought it would be a more special experience for those who paid to go with us and it's probably something Trigg would have done," McCorvie said.
    Ordinarily campers at Pounds Hollow camp in the Pine Ridge Campground, but beach camping gave the group the added benefit of a roofed pavilion for shelter from the rain that began about 4:30 a.m. Sunday.
    Page 2 of 2 - Double M Campground catered breakfast at Pounds Hollow and the group visited Knights of the Golden Circle interpreted by Mark Motsinger and Herb Russell. It is a box canyon with a unique archway in front believed to have served as a corral and meeting place by a group of Civil War Copperheads. Garden of the Gods was the next stop on the itinerary before lunch at Harbison's Cafe.
    Gillum Ferguson and Charles Hammond told the group about the College of the Hills that had operated at Herod in the 1930s and told stories about the former Fairy Cliff Cafe built into a bluff at Herod.
    "It was such a great thing having so many local folks as part of our cadre," McCorvie said.
    McCorvie said the volunteer group Friends of the Shawnee National Forest and supporting River-to-River Trail Society were instrumental to the trip's success. She said people left the bus at the Forest Service Headquarters weary, but in high spirits and she anticipates repeating the excursion annually.
    "I do know we had too many things planned for our trip. It's kind of like having eyes bigger than your stomach, so we may need to retool," McCorvie said.
    "I think a lot of folks were really tired at the end of the day. One thing we'll look at quite seriously is having a one-day event."

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