Henry County, Illinois Tourism Bureau Announces New Rural Surprises

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Get off the interstates and take IL Hwy 78, IL Hwy 6, or any other back road to Henry County, Illinois, and discover spiritual, architectural, and whimsical surprises where visitors can leave a mark. It is the destination and journey the Henry County Illinois Tourism Bureau encourages.

Henry County Illinois Tourism Bureau

Visitors can get lost on the back roads, hang out with the locals at a historic local pub, or enjoy casual dining at one of the friendly community restaurants. The following article outlines new surprises visitors should plan to check out on the next trip to Henry County, IL.

“Lock Your Love”
Orion, Illinois, features the first midwest location of a fun, trendy, and new way for lovers to to “lock your love” at the “Lovescape Location” located at the back-stop fence in Central Park and sponsored by Main Street Orion. A “Lovescape Location” is an official public fixture where people can lock a padlock in place, symbolically declaring and locking love forever. The padlocks honoring someone have become all the rage in the cities of Paris, Rome, and Dublin, and even appear on the Great Wall of China. Please visit mainstreetorion.com to learn more about how to “lock your love.”

Osco Graffiti Barn
Just north of Andover, IL. is the community of Osco. At the corner of Osco Road and 1300th Avenue, tourists will find a corncrib. Visitors are welcome to ask Osco locals to point out the right direction to the corncrib. The corncrib is considered a “local memorabilia relic.” It is changed season to season by the visitors who decorate the corncrib by leaving a signature, a date, or a quote. Visitors are encouraged to take the back roads and make a mark.

Andover Jailhouse
Tourists are invited to visit the early 1900’s jailhouse located in the outfield of a ball diamond, a true one-of-a-kind featured in Ripley’s “Believe It or Not.” The jailhouse housed only one inmate who was arrested for disorderly conduct and drunkenness. Legend has it that the inmate grabbed the cell door, which locked the constable and the inmate together in the jail.

St. Mary's of the Fields Holy Shrine and Rolle Bolle Rosary
In Hoopole, IL., St. Mary of the Fields was built in 1883 so Catholic settlers wouldn't have to travel too far for Sunday Mass. The most unusual feature of the shrine is a giant outdoor rosary made of rolle bolles and bowling balls, arranged along a "prayer path" in a beautifully landscaped garden. The rosary was installed in 1992. It is 106 feet long by 65 feet wide and the heart shape honors the "Immaculate Heart of Mary.” The garden also features an “Our Lady of Fatima Grotto” and a “Memorial for the Unborn,” which is always open.

Woodland Palace
A beautiful, quiet setting features nature, history, and the first “green” home in Illinois. Woodland Palace was built by a quirky and eccentric man, Fred Francis, who was an artist, poet, inventor, builder, mathematician, engineer, and naturist. This unusual home took thirty-six years to build and because of the technology it incorporated, was ahead of its time. A windmill powered fan drew air from 350 feet out of the woods and circulated it through the house making it the first air-cooled home in Illinois. It is filled with intricate, hand-carved molding, disappearing windows, and engineering wonders. Tourists are welcome to tour this home, where everything seems to work in harmony.

Bishop Hill
An extraordinary architectural archive lies on the western Illinois prairie in Bishop Hill. The Swedish Janssonists settled the area in 1846 and began creating a city devoted to prayer and collective ownership. The first buildings were built in 1847. Only one Greek revival building still stands, which is Bishop Hill Heritage Association’s Steeple Building. There are seventeen pre-Civil War structures still in use today. The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency owns four buildings, the Bishop Hill Heritage Association owns four, and the Bishop Hill Old Settlers owns one building. The remaining buildings are privately owned.

Windy Point
Wind turbines dot many areas of the American landscape, especially the countryside in Henry County. Two wind turbines standing gracefully serve as the greeters to travelers on Interstate 80 at exit 19 in Geneseo, IL. Visitors to the area can enjoy the view and stop at the base of Windy Point to view the storyboard on Geneseo’s “green” story about size, materials, and other fascinating wind turbine facts. Tourists can take a picture to share with friends on social media, which is a great way to show off the picturesque beauty of Geneseo, IL.

Every weekend is the perfect weekend for a getaway by car or motorcycle to Henry County, IL. Henry County is located in western Illinois, between the Quad Cities and Galesburg, Illinois. The fertile farmland is bisected by the Hennepin Canal and dotted with charming small towns with many antique shops, bakeries, farm markets, and country cafés. For information on everything tourists need to plan a getaway, including historic sites, attractions, and places to stay, please contact the Henry County Tourism Bureau toll-free at 877-436-7926 or visit http://www.VisitHenryCounty.com.

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