GlessnerHouseexteriorNestled in the Near South Side of Chicago, the Prairie Avenue Historic District contains one of the American architectural gems of the 19th century.

The John J. Glessner House was designed in 1885 by architect Henry Hobson Robinson and served as inspiration for renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright. In October 1970, the site was named a historic landmark, and on Jan. 7, 1976, it became a National Historic Landmark.

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WilliamStratton.3024.B.600360

In honor of the shortest month of the year, February’s park of the month is William G. Stratton State Park in Morris. At only 618 acres, the spot on the Illinois River is the smallest in the state park system.

While it may be small, the Northeastern Illinois state park is enjoyed by many people each year. It was initially constructed in 1959 to give boaters and anglers access to the Illinois River near Morris. While February generally feels more like winter than spring in Illinois, the park is also a great destination for warm-weather recreation.

The relatively small size and recent establishment of William G. Stratton State Park does not decrease its popularity. The park includes a large parking lot that can fit over 100 vehicles with boat trailers. Boaters have access to four public launching ramps for fishing, water-skiing or simply passing an afternoon on the water. There is also a jet ski launching area on the east side of the park. On shore, there are picnic facilities along the banks of the river as well as restrooms and access to drinking water.

During the summer and fall, Stratton State Park is a popular staging location for fishing and waterfowl hunting on the Illinois River. The area is heavily populated with ducks and geese and the river teems with sauger, striper, bass and crappie.

The park is bounded on the north by the Illinois & Michigan Canal State Trail, making it accessible to hikers, bicyclists, runners and snowmobilers via the 61-mile limestone path. Because it is a launching area for motorized watercraft, swimming and wading are prohibited in the area of the Illinois River adjacent to William G. Stratton State Park.

Small but with plenty to offer fishermen, hunters, boaters, jet skiers and water skiers in Northeastern Illinois, William G. Stratton State Park will soon be crowded with people enjoying the Illinois River. Call 815-942-0796 for more information to plan your excursion today.

Abraham Lincoln O 77 matte collodion printAbraham Lincoln was born on Feb. 12, 1809 in a one-room log cabin in Hardin County, Kentucky. He came to be the 16th president of the United States and is regarded for his preservation of the Union during the Civil War and the emancipation of slaves.

Before becoming president, Lincoln worked to support his family, which limited his ability to go to school. After settling in New Salem, Illinois, Lincoln worked as both a shopkeeper and postmaster while teaching himself law. He passed the bar examination in 1836 and moved to Springfield to begin his career as a lawyer and later a politician.

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febfunPlanning family outings during the unpredictable winter weather can be daunting, but below are a variety of different events happening that can make planning easier.

Admission to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry will be free until Feb. 27. With a variety of educational and interactive exhibits and events geared toward children and adults, it’s a great time to experience one of the largest science museums in the world with the entire family.

In the Lisel area, the Morton Arboretum’s Enchanted Railroad brings life to 10 miniature model trains from around the world that wind through captivating scenery. The two-story display can be enjoyed by children of all ages.

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ChicagoTourismChicago set a tourism record in 2017 as an estimated 55.2 million visitors made a stop in the Windy City, according to initial estimates.
The visitor total is up 2.5 percent from the previous year, bringing with it economic benefits for the city and the state.

Travel Daily News estimated that the tourism industry supported 146,500 jobs in 2017, a 17 percent increase since 2011.

Hotels were a major beneficiary of the upturn in visitors, as there was a 7.6 percent increase in occupancy during the peak tourism season of June to September. In all, hotels saw a 3.3 percent increase over 2017, according to the city. The city also saw five new hotels open in 2017, with eight more scheduled to open this year.

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