Lincoln's Stomping Grounds - Broadwell, Elkhart, & Williamsville
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Broadwell, Illinois - 66 Farm Town
some eight miles south of Lincoln,
you will come to the small town of Broadwell. Established in 1869, the
community now supports only about 150 souls. Here in this small farming
town sat one of the
more famous icons – the old Pig Hip Restaurant.
Ernie Edwards and his wife served thousands of barbeque sandwiches and
fries at the Pig-Hip to travelers of the road from 1937 until 1991 when
the couple retired. Ernie and Frances first opened a small, three-table
cafe they called the Harbor Inn. The next year when a hungry farmer
pointed to a steaming pork roast and blurted out that he wanted a sandwich
"off that pig hip," Ernie liked the sound of it and soon changed the name
of the cafe to "The Pig-Hip."
Over the years, the
restaurant expanded, Ernie's brother, Joe, built a filling station
next door, and sister, Bonnie Welch and her husband, added a motel.
Suddenly, Broadwell was a full-service stop and
business was booming on the
The Pig-Hip Restaurant was a popular stop for
during the road's heydays. Unfortunately it
burned to the ground
in March, 2007. All that's left today is
a stone marker.
This image available for
In the 1960’s, when Broadwell was bypassed by the
fell into disuse and disrepair. Eventually, the filling station and
motel were sold, then closed. By the early 1980’s, the handful of
other businesses in Broadwell also shut down, leaving The
Pig-Hip as the sole commercial business. In 1990, the Edwards’ retired
and, unable to find a buyer for the restaurant, they closed the
business. The next year, they turned it into a museum, which served
travelers until the building was destroyed by fire on March 5, 2007.
Today, the site is simply identified with a stone marker. Ernie
Edwards died in 2012.
Elkhart, Illinois -
Steeped in History
As you travel
onward look for an old two lane section of the
on your left about three miles south of Broadwell. Another mile will bring
Hill, a glacial ridge rising above the prairie, and the historic
Though just a small village of about 450 people today, this settlement
is rich in history and provides a number of places to visit.
before a settlement of
Elkhart was established, the area was
called home to the Kickapoo
Elkhart Hill provided an excellent
viewpoint for the
and as landmark for westward bound pioneers.
According to legend, the hill got its name
from the Kickapoo Chief’s daughter, White Blossom. As the tale goes,
the princess was wooed by two warriors, one from her own tribe and
another from the Shawnee tribe. On one of their annual hunting trips,
the two warriors insisted that White Blossom declare which one would
become her husband.
When an elk passed
by, White Blossom said she would choose the one who could pierce the heart
of the large animal. The warrior from the Kickapoo tribe hit the heart of
the elk and won the hand of the princess. When they married, the elk heart
became their family badge. Since that time the hill and later settlement
retained the name
In 1819, James Latham, his son Richard,
and a friend named Ebenezer Briggs, arrived in the area and built a cabin
on the northwest slope of
Elkhart Hill. Other settlers soon
followed, clearing forested land for farms. These pioneers, from
and Tennessee, avoided the prairie land, believing it was not fertile
enough for farming and their plows were unable to cut through the tough