Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Arlington Grain Co., originally uploaded by William 74.

Arlington is a very small, somewhat remote town in rural Illinois. With a population of something less than 200, it is typical of the many tiny, almost gone towns that dot the American Midwest.

It wasn't always like this. Originally called Lost Grove, Arlington grew rapidly in the early twentieth century, with plenty of new residents who worked the coal mines of this part of Illinois. Several businesses set up shop as well, including a brewery and several restaurants. However, the Cherry Mine Disaster of 1909, which killed over 200 miners, put a damper on the mining business, and on Arlington's growth as well.

Arlington Grain Co.

Arlington held it's own until after World War Two, when a tornado in 1950 destroyed most of the town. Many residents moved away at this time, the businesses shut down, and slowly the town started to shrink. Most of the homes have been given over to fields again (you can still find foundations out in them), and the downtown has a few buildings and a restaurant.

A block away, by the Burlington tracks, is the former Arlington Grain Company elevator. It's abandoned now, and slowly shedding it's steel siding, and an interior floor has collapsed into the basement. But still it stands, the tallest building on the landscape, the skyscraper of the prairie.

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