National Geographic : 1931 May
ILLINOIS, CROSSROADS OF THE CONTINENT From the river a haze of distance and memory envelops Quincy, now a city of factories, recalling Mark Twain and Charles Dazey, who wrote "In Old Ken tucky." It has a monument to George Rogers Clark, who came through this Chippewa village when he conquered the Northwest. The city was founded on Inauguration Day, March 4, 1825; the county was named Adams; the city came next, and a baby was christened John. CALIOUN COUNTY PRESENTS MANY CONTRADICTIONS At Grafton the Mississippi is flowing north to meet the Illinois, the future water route which will connect Chicago with the outside world by way of New Orleans. The 40-mile-long delta between the rivers is Calhoun County, premier apple county and an anomaly in a State preeminent for hard roads and railroads, above and "under ground." It has no railroads, no bridges over either river, and boasts that no negro ever stopped overnight within its borders. It is exclusive and narrow, only five miles across at one point. Its farmers stay home with their apples, except when a single road to the north or to the steep hill to the ferry is passable in dry weather. On the cliffs above Alton a giant paint ing of the hybrid Piasa (pronounced pie a-saw) looks down on the river-human head, deer horns, panther teeth, turkey wings, eagle claws, lizard body, and snake tail ending in a Satanic prong. Thrifty builders quarried away the rock and bird which awed Marquette, but Boy Scouts have painted a new edition of the monster which has no duplicate. Alton claims the largest lead smelter in the world, the best-paying terminal rail road in the country, and one of the largest ammunition plants. It has a glassworks covering 80 acres, a brickyard which turns out a quarter of a million bricks every day, and flour mills with 3,000 barrels daily capacity. Near Alton are two of the oldest colleges in the State-Monticello Seminary and Shurtleff. When the settlement was located here it was opposite the mouth of the Missouri River, now five miles below. GRANITE CITY'S STEEL MILL OPERATES UNIVERSITY FOR EMPLOYEES The Mississippi jogs east, west, and south, past Granite City, Madison, East St. Louis, and Cahokia, with Belleville in the background-a group forming, with St. Louis, across the river, a metropolitan district of more than a million inhabitants. Granite ware and a good share of the railroad trucks used in the United States come from Granite City. Except to the technical expert, steel mills, the glowing metal, smoking stacks, and aroma of cooling plates are much the same, wherever encountered, but the mill in this city has a social activity which is unique. It has a school for employees, a faculty of twelve, and yearly enrollment of 200oo students, whose curriculum includes in termediate, high school, university exten sion, and special engineering and trade courses. The school is approved by local and State educational authorities, grad uates of its intermediate school can enter high schools in the State, and the com pany's high school qualifies for engineer ing colleges. Apprentices complete the in termediate course, four hours a week for four years, on company time. Each year a loan scholarship, $250 a year for four years, without interest or restrictions on future employment, is awarded to a high school graduate who goes to some univer sity. Several other Illinois corporations have similar educational programs for their workers. TINY CAHOKIA IS A TREASURE LAND FOR AMERICAN ARCHEOLOGISTS With its 200 industrial plants, its rail road yards and stockyards greater than any other city of its size, East St. Louis seldom gets credit for the artistic training of Tom Mix, of movie fame, who poked steers in these same yards, or for the Gish Sisters, who clerked here in their mother's candy store. Its unfortunate contribution to recent history was a race riot. Farther inland is Belleville, leading stove-manufacturing city of the Nation, and the Army's "lighter-than-air" base. in the midst of hundreds of acres of giant white asparagus (see, also, page 568). Four bridges connect East St. Louis and St. Louis, one of them the largest electric railway bridge in the world. Four miles farther down, at Cahokia, another mighty power plant is at the side of the river, burn ing coal, but consuming as much water as does St. Louis.