Legends of America

Follow the links to the various pages of Legends of America

The Old West Legends of America Outhouse Madness Ghostly Legends Outlaws Old West Saloons Rocky Mountain General Store Legends Photo Store The Book Store Make your travel reservations here! Route 66 Native Americans The Old States - Back East

Legends of America    |    Legends General Store    |    Legends Photo Shop

 

Legends Of America's Facebook PageLegends Of America's Twitter PageLegends on Pinterest

Legends Home

Site Map

What's New!!

 

Content Categories:

American History

Destinations-States

Ghost Stories

Ghost Towns

Historic People

Legends & Myths

Native Americans

Old West

Photo Galleries

Route 66

Travel Center

Treasure Tales

 

   Search Our Sites

Custom Search

Google

 

About Us

Advertising

Article/Photo Use

Copyright Information

Blog

Facebook Page

Guestbook

Links

Newsletter

Privacy Policy

Site Map

Writing Credits

 

We welcome corrections

and feedback!

Contact Us

 

Legends' General Store


Old West/Western

Route 66

Native American

Featured Items

Sale Items

Books/Magazines

CD's - DVD's

Nuwati Herbals

Personalized-Engraved
Postcards

Wall Art

Custom Products

and Much More!

 

  Legends Of America's Rocky Mountain General Store - Cart View

 

Legends' Photo Prints

Legends Photo Prints and Downloads
 

Ghost Town Prints

Native American Prints

Old West Prints

Route 66 Prints

States, Cities & Places

Nostalgic Prints

Photo Art Prints

Jim Hinckley's America

David Fisk (Lens of Fisk)

Specials-Gift Ideas

and Much More!!
 

Legends Of America's Photo Print Shop - Cart View

 

Family Friendly Site

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Illionois Flag ILLINOIS LEGENDS

 Shirley and Funks Grove - Maple Sirup Country

Bookmark and Share

<<  Previous  1 2  Next  >> 

 

Shirley - Located just about six miles southwest of Bloomington, Illinois, the small town of Shirley got its start in 1854 as a farm and railroad settlement. However, it would be years before an "official" town was laid out.

 

The first pioneers of the area were brothers Isaac and Absalom Funk, who came to the region in 1824, amassed a huge cattle ranch of 25,000 acres, and established Funk's Grove just about four miles to the south. Isaac Funk, along with his attorney and friend, Abraham Lincoln, were responsible for bringing the Chicago & Alton Railroad through the region, sidetracking it from its planned route through Peoria.

 

LaFayette Funk, son of Isaac Funk, cattle man, co-founder and boss of the Chicago Union Stockyards, and Illinois State Senator, built a home for his wife in Shirley in 1863.

 

Prairie Home in Shirley, Illinois

Prairie Home, LaFayette Funk's 1864 mansion built in 1864,

courtesy Kirk's Photo Stream

 

It was state of the art at the time of its construction, containing both hot and cold running water, and over the years was updated to include the first-ever electric kitchen island and a lighted tennis court. Called the Prairie Home today, the mansion has been preserved and is open for tours, featuring 13 rooms of original furnishings, as well as memorabilia and antiques collected by several generations of the Funk family.

 

Another early pioneer was a man named John M. Foster who came to the area from New Hampshire. He and others soon built homes near the the switch of the Chicago & Alton Railroad. In 1866 Foster laid out a townsite. Consisting of just ten small blocks, Foster's home, a store, and the railroad station were located on the south side of the railroad tracks. A warehouse and mill were situated on the north side. Later, a hotel was built in the small town as well as a Methodist and Christian Church. By 1895, there were about 20 homes in the town.

 

Unincorporated today, Shirley boasts a population of about 375 people. While visiting this historic community, be sure to visit the Funk Prairie Home at 10875 Prairie Home Lane. Next to the mansion is the Funk Gem and Mineral Museum, which houses a large display of rare gems, minerals, fossils, petrified wood and lapidary art in Illinois. Collected by Lafayette Funk II, the grandson of the Senator who built the mansion, he amassed the unusual collection for years before his death at the age of 95 in 1992. The museum bills itself as the largest one-man mineral collection in the world. It also features Native American artifacts collected from the Funk farmstead, interprets the Funk Brothers Seed Company, and other items collected by the Funk Family.

Just about four miles on down the road, you will come to Funk's Grove, home of Maple Sirup.

 

Christian Church in Shirley, Illinois

The Shirley Christian Church has been serving the area since 1839.

This image available for photo prints & editorial downloads HERE.

 

 

 

Route 66 Emporium

Visit the Route 66 Emporium

Route 66 Books, Maps, Signs, Photos & More.
 

Funk's Grove - Also getting its start by the Funk family, the grove was first settled by brothers Isaac and Absalom Funk, who came to the region from Kentucky in 1824. Choosing the location for its water supply, fertile soil, and timber, they were soon joined by Robert and Dorothy Funk Stubblefield who followed from Ohio. Though the Funks may not be household names in Illinois history, they were a very influential family. Isaac Funk soon amassed some 25,000 acres of land and was the first to start cattle-feeding operations in the Midwest. He and his brother Absalom built the meat-packing house in Chicago - then known as Fort Dearborn.

 

Isaac and Cassandra Funk

Isaac and Cassandra Funk, original pioneers of the area.

 

None other than Abraham Lincoln served as the family attorney and he and Isaac Funk were largely responsible for bringing the Chicago & Alton Railroad through the region, sidetracking it from its planned route through Peoria. he would also serve as an Illinois State Representative and Senator, and was one of the founders of the Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. Isaac and his wife Cassandra, would have ten children, all of which would have important leadership roles in government, banks, universities, and private ventures.

 

Isaac's son, LaFayette would play a major role in the cattle business, was the co-founder and boss of the Chicago Union Stockyards, and an Illinois State Senator. In 1863, he built a home for his wife, Elizabeth, in nearby Shirley, Illinois. The couple were known to have harbored escaped slave on their farm during the Civil War. The home still stands in Shirley today and is open for tours.

 

LaFayette's son, DeLoss would create a power plant for the homestead in 1905 and would later wire all the Funk farms for telephone service. Another of LaFayette's sons, Eugene, along with 11 other Funk family members, founded Funk Bros Seeds in Bloomington in 1901. It still operates today under the name of Ciba Seeds.

 

The family was also responsible for bringing the first modern soybean crushing plant to the Midwest, the development of hybrid corn, and other improvements to the region.

 

 

Continued Next Page

 

Funk's Grove, Illinois

Funk's Grove townsite, Kathy Weiser, October, 2010.

 

 

Maple Sirup at Funk's Grove, Illinois

Maple Sirip Sign at Funk's Grove Road. Turn west here to go to the

 townsite, or head south to Funk's Grove Camp, where the sirup is

made. Kathy Weiser, October, 2010.

 

<<  Previous  1 2  Next  >> 

 

  Return to Route 66 

 

To McLean

 

Return to Route 66

 

To Bloomington

 

From Legends' General Store

 

EZ66 Guide for Travelers by Jerry McClanahanRoute 66 Books - Legends of America and the Legends' General Store has collected a number of Route 66 Books for our Mother Road enthusiasts. As great as Route 66 is, if you aren't armed with a few good tools on your journey, you'll miss great attractions, eateries, places to stay, and wind up on the wrong path. To see this varied collection that includes "how-to" books, travel guides, photograph books, attractions, and more, click HERE!

 

Route 66 - The Mother Road   Route 66 eight state map series      Route 66 Dining and Lodging Guide

 

                                                            Copyright 2003-Present, www.Legends of America.com