Season 2 - 2004
The new season kicks off with a visit to Boneyard Pottery in Champaign where we'll meet potter Michael Schwegmann. Still in his twenties, Michael is already made a name for himself in the Illinois art community. Watch as Michael transforms clay into art, right before our camera. Then, we'll tour what some call an "oasis on the prairie," Robert Allerton Park and Conference Center near Monticello. The estate and grounds were the home of philanthropist Robert Allerton, and are now owned by the University of Illinois. The spectacular grounds have been designated as a National Natural Landmark. We'll take you on a special tour of the home and gardens.
The National Great Rivers Museum in Alton has been a long awaited project. Just prior to their official opening in October of 2003, Heartland Highways stopped by as the final touches were being put on this new museum. Then, we'll meet a multi-talented artist, Deborah Reich of Newton. Her work includes glass engraving, portrait sketching and large scale mural painting. How about a donut with your coffee? We'll take you to Springfield to the home of Mel-O-Cream Donuts International. Company president, Kelly Grant Jr. will give us a personal tour of their large-scale operation.
This week we visit the Jubilee College State Historic Site in Brimfield. In 1840 it was one of the first American colleges in Illinois established by Bishop Philander Chase, who started Kenyon College in Ohio. Botanist and gardener Wes Whiteside of Charleston has a knack for growing rare and none native plants in his garden. Come along as we tour his 5 acre garden and learn about his passion for plants. The Melvin Price Lock and Dam in Alton is the second busiest port on the Mississippi River. Heartland Highways takes you on an exclusive tour of the Lock and Dam and learns how this engineering feat operates.
Our stories this week are "all in the family." First, we visit Doughmakers Inc. in Terre Haute, IN. This business is a family operation that started as a fundraising idea and is now a successful company that manufactures an entire line of aluminum baking pans with a patented textured surface. Then we'll tour another family-run operation, Hulman and Company, makers of Clabber Girl Baking Powder. We'll not only see the production of baking powder but also the new company museum, all housed in a 111 year old building in downtown Terre Haute. In Tuscola, the Cross family works together to rehabilitate and retrain horses for adoption. We'll meet the "family", horses and all.
This week Heartland Highways tours the Amish Cultural Center in Arcola to learn about the history and culture of the Old Order Amish who live in the area. Then we'll meet the man behind the restoration of the "Voorhies Castle." This home, near Bement, as been a source of fascination for years and is now open to the public for tours. Like the Voorhies Castle, the 5 Mile House is a well-known landmark for the citizens of Coles County. In fact, the recently restored house is the oldest building in the county. We'll unravel some of the mysteries of the 5 Mile house.
Traveling along Highway 121 near Sullivan sits an interesting complex with a long history. This week Heartland Highways stops by the Illinois Masonic Home for a tour and a look back into it's 100-year-old history. Then, we'll head north to see Illinois' only designated scenic and wild river. A 17-mile stretch of the Middle Fork River winds through Kickapoo State Park and the Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area. This exceptionally clear river is a favorite spot for fishing and canoeing. Heartland Highways will take you to some of the best places to view the river, even atop a 60-foot railroad trestle bridge!
Travel with Heartland Highways just across the boarder to Terre Haute Indiana. This week we'll stop by the historic Indiana Theater, said to have the 2nd largest movie screen in the state. Then, we'll go just across the street to view the collection of American art on display at the Swoop Art Museum. You don't have to be an art historian or critic to enjoy and appreciate this museum. Finally, we'll meet Athan Chilton from Urbana who spends her free time as a glass bead artist. Athan creates the beads herself from colored glass rods and transforms them into colorful, wearable art.
Join us this week for a prairie fire burn! We'll experience, up close, a controlled burn at Kickapoo State Park. From on top of the prairie to under, we'll take you to the Sangamo Archeological Center and see relics of life in the log cabin. This unique museum in Elkhart, IL features items reclaimed through archeological digs in Illinois. Finally, we'll meet Frank and Edith Hedges of Oak Knoll Farm in rural Charleston. You won't believe how ordinary dead wood can become a beautiful bowl. We'll see how the process unfolds.
This week we'll look at the stars under the dome of the William Starkel Planetarium, located on the campus of Parkland College in Champaign. This planetarium is second largest in Illinois and provides science education programs and fascinating light shows. From planetarium to aquarium, we'll head to Terre Haute for a tour of Inland Aquatics. Located under one roof is America's largest coral reef display and over 35,000 gallons of salt water aquariums with a wide range of tropical fish and plant life. Inland Aquatics is not only a retail store, but also an education facility that teaches conservation and ocean-friendly practices. Then, we'll head to Mattoon, home of the original Burger King. Since 1951 Gene and Betty Hoots have operated this popular restaurant. We'll sit down and find out what's their secret for success.
Along Interstate 57 at the Tuscola exit is the Syngenta soybean plant, rising 60 feet into air. We'll get a look inside to see how tons of Illinois soybeans are segregated, separated, bagged and shipped. Charlie Switzer is a furniture maker who specializes in creating shaker style chairs, tables and rockers. We'll take you to his shop in Champaign and watch him at work. While in Champaign, we'll stop by a unique establishment called Ten Thousand Villages. This nonprofit store has been in downtown Champaign for 18 years and sells the work of artisans from all over the globe, providing a market and a fair wage to the artist and a special item for the buyer.
This week we tour three Illinois food companies. In Palestine, the Shaner family has been producing JD Mullins salad dressings from their location on main street, continuing a tradition started in 1948 by Mr. Mullins himself. Then in Robinson, we'll stop by Pasta Alley. This business started out in Nancy Chilcote's house and has grown to include flavored pastas, sauces and mixes for soups, breads. Finally it's off to Decatur and the Butternut bread bakery. Here, buns are made daily for fast food restaurants like Burger King and Arby's. We'll see the entire process from start to finish.
This week we meet Paul Behrands of Fisher. Paul has a love for restoring old windmills. We'll see how he goes about repairing these icons of the countryside and tag along on an installation job. Then we'll tour Combe, Inc in Rantoul. This plant manufactures a wide range of health and beauty products you might use everyday such as Odor Eaters, Sea Bond Denture Adhesive and Aqua Velva. Artists need inspiration and for those looking for a country retreat, some find their way to Sunnyside Farm in Coles County. We'll visit with one artist who found inspiration from this relaxing retreat.
Did you know that 74 percent of John Phillip Sousa's music collection is located at the Sousa Archives for Band Research at the University of Illinois? This week we'll take a look at the life and work of the "March King" and learn how this extensive collection found its way to Illinois.