Research can be a travel experience all by itself. I find that research brings travel!
While working on a literature and memorabilia story for a column that Keith and I write, I have been looking up farm equipment companies and researching them. It is amazing how much history is out there. I can’t believe how a company that once took up acres and employed hundreds of people can just be gone! Researching the Pattee Plow Company, that was in northern, Illinois’s Monmouth the company once took up four acres. Now the buildings are gone. At least except one that may or may not be part of the company, according to the curator of the Warren County History Museum and Historical Society. He said as for this building, “It depends on who you ask!.
The Midwest is such a breadbasket of agricultural heritage and history. I called the Warren County Museum to ask about the Pattee and Weir Plow companies and the Curator of the museum named off several other companies that existed as well. He convinced me that I need to come and see the history at the museum for myself. Then I need to chronicle the history in a variety of articles.
History begets travel, at least to me. The more I learn, the more I realize I don’t know and want to learn. Opening up a small kernel of history of a few plow companies from a pocket ledger collection just leads to one find after another. If you like agricultural history, the Midwest is the place to be.
This blog is a bit of a meander I know, but I think it is important to share that a bit of research, a bit of digging can lead you to places and new adventures. Your interest doesn’t have to be agriculture, whatever your passion is, research brings travel. The information is there, just waiting to be found. Then best of all, after unearthing a bit of history, get out from behind the computer and the books. Get in the car and head out and see it first hand.
Stop in these treasures, these little museums and historical societies where the knowledge exists. What we see on the surface of a town from the highway as we speed past is nothing compared to what the main street and back streets have to offer.