The Mathias Ham House…. Haunted?

Finding lots of hidden gems to explore in the Dubuque area, I came upon this old Mansion sitting up on a hill. Known as the “Matthias-Ham House”, this Victorian home was built in 1856 standing on 2241 Lincoln Avenue. Designed by architect John F. Rague and built for lead miner, Mathias Ham, who also designed the Courthouse in Springfield, IL, another spot I had been this summer!

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The Mathias Ham House is now a Museum which is open during the summer and fall from Thursday-Sunday. And of course, I was there on a Monday, so no go for me. BUT I read online that there are NO pictures or video allowed inside the home, so a heads up if you are looking to document the inside. I would have loved to seen it, especially the ghost stories that surround the property. So much that their official site denounces the paranormal- I’m sure trying to defer people like myself that are interested in the haunted history. But still, there ARE ghosts…. you see Mr. Mathias Ham was not only a Miner, but also had successful businesses in lumber, agriculture, and a shipping fleet. With this large Mansion on a bluff, he was able to view the Mississippi from the cuppola atop his home. Here he could watch what ships were coming in, and warn others of pirates coming into the area. Apparently the Pirates weren’t of the Disney kind and found out that they were arrested because of Mathias Ham, vowing to take their revenge on him.

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As family members passed away, the only one left was his daughter, Sara. Living in the big mansion all by herself, she would begin to hear trespassers on the grounds and asked the neighbors to watch her home. She devised a lamp to be in her third floor window and if it was on, that was the signal to the neighbors that she was in distress. A night came and went as she heard footsteps again in her home, slowing walking the floors up to her at the top. As she heard them creep to her bedroom door, with noone answering her calls of “Who’s there” she turned the lamp on and fired her gun through the door. She had killed the Pirate Captain, dragging his body to the river. So the story goes that the Captain roams the halls of this home in search of the revenge he never got. Also the ghost of Mr. Mathias Ham himself has been known to been seen walking outside and around the grounds. Just walking around by myself in the sunlight, I could feel eyes looking down at me from the upstairs.

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The tour is $7.50 and covers not only the house, but the oldest cabin in Iowa (moved to the property), and a fake mine shaft. I say fake because it didn’t exist there, they made it for educational purposes. I would have been quite stoked if it was a REAL mine shaft! The home also doesn’t have it’s original furnishings, but has been kept up well. I enjoyed touring the grounds on my own, trying to imagine living in this big, beautiful home on a hill, the large tree in the front for shade. It is a great property and definitely a stop next time you’re in Dubuque- enjoy!

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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“The Music of Yesterday”… The Music Machines of House on the Rock.

I took so many wonderful pictures during my time at “House on the Rock,” that I wanted to make sure to not overwhelm my readers with a novel of pictures. So to break it up a bit, I thought I would just post a couple of pictoral posts about some of the rooms that were JUST AMAZING!! For more information about my visit, check out the FULL POST HERE. Today’s installment, and FINAL one of the HOTR Pictorial Series, is that of the Music Machines. I didn’t even really understand the point of these upon my first time at the house. You find them in the home section, then littered throughout the Museum sections. You can normally purchase tokens, but with Covid, they were limiting a few given with your ticket purchased. The machines ONLY run on tokens, along with several fun things like a fortune teller and displays you can play. Most take ONE, but the large ones, that literally FILL a room, take TWO. It’s fun to enjoy with or without the kids, but it’s so unusual to play them that it’s worth it. Several times I passed them up, and then I thought I better start using my tokens, can’t use them to pay for my fries on the way home so might as well! The video can be seen on Facebook on The Relocated Tourist page, but here are the pics posted below of these mammoth music makers- enjoy! Check out more about the HOUSE here!

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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Let’s see the HOUSE Pictures of “House on the Rock”

I took so many wonderful pictures during my time at “House on the Rock,” that I wanted to make sure to not overwhelm my readers with a novel of pictueres. So to break it up a bit, I thought I would just post a couple of pictoral posts about some of the rooms that were JUST AMAZING!! For more information about my visit, check out the FULL POST HERE. The “house” portion of this attraction is just as bizarre and crazy as the rest of the place! It contains 14 rooms, and I don’t know how I would ever feel comfortable in a home like this. Low ceilings, deep living spaces, slanted windows, staircases, and carpeted ceilings. Words don’t do it justice, just check out the pics below and enjoy! 

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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“House on the Rock” in Spring Green, WI

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Located in Spring Green, Wisconsin, this was one of those attractions that I longed to see while growing up in this beautiful State. It almost seemed like a myth, some magical folklore of a home that rested on a large rock. Possibly a Seuss tale? I never got there as a child, as I wish I would have. BUT I got to take my children there, and it was something magical, mind blowing, and exhausting to see. Imagine the craziest house you can think of, set it in these beautiful rolling hills in WI, and then add onto it the collections of the most macabre and bizarre things you can think of. See, that’s where people go wrong, they think the “House on the Rock” is JUST that, a house on a rock. Nope! It is a pish posh of collections, albeit amazing and astounding, attached to a 14-room home that was designed and started by Alex Jordan in 1945 on top of a 60 foot chimney of rock. As the years went on, he added more and more to his collections (I get it, my Pop Funkos and Disney Pins are getting there) until it has become what it is today.  Honestly it should be called the “House on the Rock Museum” and that would give people a better understanding of it.

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I SHOULD have booked my ticket online, as it would have cost me $24.99 and not the $29.99 I paid at the box office upon arriving. The ticket includes all THREE sections of the Attraction, and it is the ONLY ticket they are selling right now. Normally you can purchase a ticket for just ONE of the sections, as this place takes HOURS to tour. I was there on a Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 (weekdays are always quieter). They opened at 9 am, and again with Covid, I thought that getting there right at opening would increase my chances of staying away from the crowds and being more on my own- and I was right! I was literally the third car parked, parking is free by the way, and it’s easy to find and park there. (Can’t stand places where the parking is so stressful that I won’t even bother with it and leave).  Restrooms are located right at the ticket area- use them as this place is HUGE and they are located along the tour but they are spread out, so it’s just easier to knock that off the list right away! Also they encourage you to bring your own bottle of water to use as you tour- drinking coolers were provided along the way, but most of them were empty. Again, trying to minimize the spread, just bring your own from home, that way you know where it came from and that you can sanitize it yourself. Oh, also wear the best walking shoes you have-its 375 feet of ramp through out the treetops alone! I am a Marathoner, and I am telling you I had my best shoes on and I was still sore after 3 hours of non-stop walking and touring, so keep that in mind.

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The first part of the Attraction is the actual house and the infinity room. It’s the craziest house you will ever lay eyes upon, with musical instruments in rooms that play what I feel like is a song you would hear in a horror film. Yes, a full orchestra of instruments that you are given tokens for (when you buy your ticket) and you can choose which music rooms you want to play.  I feel like Alex was really high when he designed this home… he made everything you talk about with your friends when you are just being silly and ridiculous. Just look at the pictures and you’ll understand what I mean. 

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The Ininifty Room is not for the faint of heart of those who are unliking of heights and the latter.  I struggle with height BUT I was the ONLY one touring that section, seemed like a courage thing, so I traversed the entire room to the end.  There they have a lovely glass bottom so you can see where youll be falling to your impending death….I mean, you can see how high you are above the trees.  Reat photo opps here, so take advantage of this amazing room!

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The second part of the tour takes you into the Museum part which sets you onto Streets of Yesterday, at night, creepy music rooms and mannequins included. LOTS and LOTS of mannequins. There is so much history that he has collected, you can FEEL the energy of off it. Heck yeah I played my ghost app for awhile, got some great responses too. It was just a bit challenging trying to run the ghost app, then log off that to get pics and videos, then log back in- a lot of back and forth. Those are the times I need an extra hand and IPhone lol.

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The next section is the “The Heritage of the Sea” which my kids LOVED when they visited here. There is a cute music section called “The Octopus Garden” that plays the sweetest tune and is a family favorite! What is actually more jaw dropping in this section is the warehouse sized Whale and Octopus that are in a battle in the middle of the room. They are surrounded by three floors of nautical history and collections- even some from the Titanic! So much to read and experience in here, this room alone takes some time to explore.

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Next is this large warehouse of hot air balloons, cabinets filled with odd ball collections, old cars, carriages, and trucks, and a real working ice cream and pizza parlor. Are you understanding now why I say this is not a “House?” LOL I did stop here and buy another bottle of water, the Pizza Parlor was open during Covid, but I didn’t see that the Ice Cream Parlor was. It’s a nice place to stop and rest before touring on, any chance you can get off your feet, take it here!

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I was then brought back around into the back side of “Streets of Yesteryear” where there are large music rooms which I played in a couple of them.  Alone, which 90% of my visit I was, it was rather spooky to listen to the music, sitting there in the dim lit room, more mannequin eyes staring at me as they hit their drums.  Onto a smaller room, all about Aviation with planes circling the ceiling, and then you pour out onto a sight that is just unexplainable. A FULL SCALE Carousel, complete with the creepiest animals, people, and sculptures known to man! No, you can’t ride it, which I think is cruel to the kids especially, but honestly? I feel like it’s something that if you rode it you would be transported to another dimension and become the latest victim in a “Black Mirror” episode. So yeah, just look at it from afar.

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The third and final section to this house of horrors brings you into the largest collection of pipe organs you will ever see on this planet. I always giggle thinking about the Phantom running around with glee like a kid on Christmas, playing all of them.  They have carpeted bridges, walkways, and spiral staircases with, you guessed it, MORE MANNEQINS! Seriously, this is a horror film waiting to happen.  At this point, I am getting tired. You seen one organ you seen them all, am I right? LOL Halfway through this area, they direct you to a small café area, with a walkway outside. Personally I feel like it’s a “Hey, we know you’re tired of looking at all this stuff, so have some fresh H20 and sit awhile.”

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After my hit of some pure outdoor oxygen, I was on my way back through more dark hallways and onto THE DOLLHOUSE SECTION!!! Yeah, I am a sucker for the teeny, tiny things! So many houses, one after another, I can’t imagine dusting any of these and I’m thinking they don’t! If you have a child that loves dollhouses, this will make their heads spin!  And it’s rooms and ROOMS of them- there had to be at least a hundred of them. Which then leads you to the Circus portion!  I LOVE the the dioramas of circus events under the big tops, always amazed at the work it took to set up, paint, and design each small event. Impressive doesn’t describe this area, and I don’t even know where you begin to “collect” something like these. The finality of this room is what nightmares are made of… a full orchestra on one of the second floor plays music, while sitting in front of a large circus wagon, full of, wait for it, MORE MANNEQUNS!!! It’s just THE creepiest room of the entire place and I fear that one time the lights will go out and then pop back on and every mannequin will be missing and they will all be waiting for me by my car. Jokes on them! My car could only take like 4 of them, HAH! On a side note, this room is surrounded on the left side with Diamond ads that have buttons to press to make them move- little play sets almost- very fun to see!

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Lastly, there is the Royal Section with jewels, swords, artillery, and Knights! A full complete small scale of Buckingham Palace as well…..I mean, why?  The Renn girl in me was excited to see the Knights, and then moved on. A spiraling walk up more red carpet, past a carousel hanging from the ceiling, loaded with dolls galore! Yes Mom, you would LOVE this room! And then it all ends back on the other side of the grand carousel, and they set you free with good behavior into the outside Japanese garden and, of course, the gift shop!

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Like I said, this attraction takes A LOT of time! There is a full museum section right BEFORE the house that I just barely looked at because of time. If you sat and watched the film there, read everything, that ALONE would take you at least an hour and you’re not even INSIDE yet! My advice? Read up on the facts of the home before heading there, that way you know what to expect. There’s so much to see and do that you don’t want to lose the day before finishing it, and that COULD happen, especially if you have kids! The gift shop had clothing, magnets, Christmas ornaments, and mugs. There is a gift shop at the bottom of the hill, and then there is one at the main entrance. Keep in mind after walking for hours and hours, you then get to walk UP HILL for awhile BACK to the Main lobby and then up again to the parking lot. So, just be ready!  I encourage all to check out this Wisconsin wonder, it will surely blow your mind! Enjoy with more pictures HERE.

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago, IL

RoadTripLogoMost of my 2020 summer travels have been to roadside attractions and haunted places simply because  they have been away from crowds and have been free to enjoy. Museums were one of those “tricky” ones to try during these Covid days, but being here this summer, I really wanted to see the Museum of Science and Industry again.  LOVED it as a child, lots of school trips here from WI, and many with my own kids. I knew that it wouldn’t be the same with Covid, but I am learning that NOTHING is, and you just have to find the good in each day and then run with it. So that’s what I decided to do, booked online my date, Saturday, August 8th, 2020. Ticket were free during this time (just needed to make a reservation for the day and time), as they were just in the process of reopening, but alas parking inside their connected garage still cost me $22.00 The Garage entrance is located right in front of the Museum and was easy to find. Before you leave your car, remember your mask, its required at all times!rsz_img_8507rsz_img_8592Now, let’s get the uglies out of going during these Covid times, everything that you probably enjoyed before, is more than likely closed.  Just accept and know that ahead of time, so you don’t have upset kids the rest of the day.  What’s closed? Well for me, the Submarine, the Coal Mines, Finnegans Ice Cream Parlor, and the Café inside. They DID have set up a tent just outside the front steps where you could buy hotdogs and hambugers, along with chips and drinks. Tables were spaced away from each other, and it was a nice option other than nothing.  I have noticed the more touring I do, the hungrier I get, go figure. I mean, who looks at a Fairytale Castle and says “Boy, I could use a hot dog right now.” But alas, this is how I was imperfectly made!

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Speaking of the Fairytale Castle, THE best thing in this Museum and my ALL -TIME FAVORITE thing to see here, it WAS open and I was more than happy! I skipped in, I stared, I squealed with childlike glee at all of the tiny, elegant furniture. They used to have phones that you would pick up at each station around it and hear the stories of each room- they have now modernized it more to be told in speakers above you with motion sensors. It was a nice touch, and Im sure a happy one for them now with the virus concerns and the phones. It’s something NOT to be missed!!rsz_img_8554rsz_img_8587rsz_img_8547rsz_img_8543rsz_img_8515 (1)

There’s so much to explore here, from the real live Tornado, to the full size Sub, to the room full of stages of pregnancy, this Museum is rich with science and I LOVE that! With every turn inside this Museum, it’s goosebumps and excitement. I mean, how cool is it to see a Tesla machine making lightening while you stand feet away? Or see right inside the human body with real examples? I just love this Museum and I think it’s so vital to share with our children on the whats and whys of how life happens and exists.  Check it out, even with everything closed, it’s still worth the stop! Enjoy!SCIENCEtornadorsz_img_8624

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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The City Museum in St. Louis, MO

 

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I was looking for something fun to tour, something I hadn’t done before. During these interesting times, I have found creativity rules all. So to keep my love of adventure alive and to honestly keep my interests peaked, I thought I would try out the City Museum. Located in downtown St. Louis, Missouri, and about a mile from the Gateway Arch, it was in walking distance so that I didn’t have to park and pay twice. I HIGHLY suggest this, as the parking near the Museum WAS plentiful, but the parking near the Arch was a bit stressful to find. I booked my ticket online at their WEBSITE, and lucky me, they were half off for the day I attended which was a Saturday, August 22nd, 2020.rsz_img_0265rsz_img_0281

The entrance way, already in a creepy type ally setting, was an eclectic mess of twisting steel, rusting metal, and beautiful sculptures.  I walked up wondering what I had got myself into honestly, was I entering a Museum or Batman’s underground lair? You never know, sometimes what looks great online can just be a big old mess when it’s right in front of you. Entering was easy, just showed the paid ticket on my phone, bypassed the families in line to buy tickets, and I was in. Heard a lot of chatter about a Groupon deal for that day, so check that out if you are thinking of coming here.rsz_img_0270rsz_img_0272rsz_img_0273rsz_img_0274

There’s no wrong way to tour this place, at least that’s how I saw it. With one main staircase that runs up the left side, along the wall of windows, you can traverse that or find the other many hidden passage ways, tunnels, and spiral staircases to and from each floor. Yes, you read that right, you are a child again here and playing is part of the fun! At first I thought maybe it was truly like a Children’s Museum, that I had been to many with my own kids when they were small, but as I explored deeper, I just found more and more that didn’t add up to that.rsz_img_0553rsz_img_0949rsz_img_0286

I wish I could explain this place better, as it was the craziest, coolest, mind blowing Museum I had been to in a while.  Artists came together to make this fairytale of places, and it feels like you are just transported from one storybook to another. At one point, I see a small door open, nothing written on it to say where it is going, and I find myself through it and in this large, dark shaft.  Was I in the employee parking lot? What is this place??? No, it’s spiraling staircases that lead higher and higher to a 5 and 10 STORY, not FOOT, STORY slides!!! No, I didn’t slide….seriously I couldn’t even process that this was a room.rsz_img_0297rsz_img_0298

I would walk from one room full of old pinball machines, to the next which hosted a Beatnik Café with old fashioned soda bottles and hot dogs. I found myself saying out loud, A LOT, WHERE AM I???? One floor was just a sea of creatures and waterfalls, the next was a system of tunnels that you could sperlunk in. A Castle sat in another corner, with an animal playground for toddlers next to it.  A Circus on that same floor where they normally had performers come, big top and all. Then a full, HUGE, SKATE Park where you can come and skateboard or rollerblade!rsz_img_0363rsz_img_0356

And then there is the outside….Monstropolis. A playground on a level that was not only mind blowing, but encouraged for ALL ages to enjoy!  Airplanes to walk in and out of, suspended high above the parking lot, a dragon’s scales to LITERALLY scale, a bus that teeters off the roof (closed due to covid), and so much more!!! I don’t think this is a Museum, but a movie set.rsz_img_0303rsz_img_0958rsz_img_0954rsz_img_0332rsz_img_0333rsz_img_0338

It took me a good three hours to see everything, and there’s a lot to enjoy here. I noticed several small places to eat, and unless you are sitting to eat, masks are required at all times while touring.  The Beatnik Café was on the third floor and barely being used, while the main eatery on the second floor was much more popular. I loved the Café, it’s a great place to sit and have a hot dog while looking at all the crazy and wonderful art displays there. I found it much more peaceful and fun than the Eatery on te second floor.rsz_img_0351

Also don’t miss the beautiful displays of City architecture that they saved from around St. Louis before certain buildings are areas were demolished due to time and progress. These pieces are absolutely stunning and although they seemed to bore the kids around us, I encourage adults to take the time to take them in.  Seriously, they made some gorgeous buildings back in the day.rsz_img_0374rsz_img_0384rsz_img_0321rsz_img_0329rsz_img_0320rsz_img_0280rsz_img_0319

So there you have it, the City Museum! I highly recommend you take the family for a day of this and the Arch in St. Louis, great things to see and I believe you’ll come away from the experience too saying “What the heck did I just see?” Enjoy!

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

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Roadside Attraction….The World’s Tallest Man

RoadTripLogoNothing is more exciting than when you figure out what you really love to do and enjoy.  I knew I loved to travel, and I really loved to write, but I had no idea I would love the strange, the spooky, and those fun, kitchy roadside attractions as much as I do! I have been having so much fun this summer finding them, so I truly hope you enjoy all the roadside fun I find!

Born February 22nd, 1918, in Alton, IL, Robert Wadlow would come to be known as the “Worlds Tallest Man” growing to 8 feet and 11.1 inches. His shoe size was a 37AA(He holds the World Record for the biggest feet), and his hands measures at 12.75 inches from the wrist to tip (Another World Record), and he weighed 490 pounds.  Ironically, he was born like every child, at a mere 8 pounds and 7 ounces, but by 6 months old, he was already 30 pounds! At 5 years old, he clocked in at 5 feet and 4 inches tall, then at age 8 he was 6 feet tall and weighing 169 pounds. Just before he turned 13, he was measured at 7 feet and 4 inches tall and became known as the “World’s Tallest Boy Scout,” rsz_img_0155

Robert was a smart boy, and one summer had a lemonade stand with his siblings. Of course people came to see him, so he’d make them pay for the drink before he stood up for a picture! They made over $100!

Then at age 19 he was deemed the “World’s Tallest Man” at the time measuring in at 8 feet and 4 inches. Funny enough, he never played basketball because the Coaches were too worried about his safety.  Side note, he also met Walt Disney at a Convention in Kansas! rsz_img_0157

At 21 he signed with Ringing Brothers AND Barnum and Bailey’s Circus, making dignified appearances in a suit and tie…I can’t help but thinking about him in the movie “The Greatest Showman.”

He died at the young age of 22 in a Michigan hotel room after a parade appearance he had made. A poorly fitted brace created a blister that caused an infection that took his life.  He only lived 22 years, but he did a lot in his short life than most do in their 80 plus. rsz_img_0160

I found his statue, which stands at his height at death, which was 8 feet, 11.1 inches tall, at the SIU Dental School grounds at 2810 College Avenue. There is parking BEHIND the Statue on the College grounds, but College Avenue that runs in front of him has ZERO parking on it and can be very busy, so keep that in mind.  See his statue, his chair, and the plaque that explains who he is.  A great stop, don’t miss the fun photo opp!

Check out more of my Roadside Attractions HERE. Enjoy!

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Going from “What If? to “Why Not” is my life motto and I work hard at living that every day. I share everything from moving to Florida to live near Disney World to road trips across the States. I love the cool, quirky, and crazy stuff that I can find on my Adventures, and every dollar you donate helps support my efforts and hard work. Thank you to ALL who support me!

$5.00