A Landing a Day

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Eldorado, Illinois

Posted by graywacke on August 1, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-day blog, I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan – I landed in a PSer, pushing it into OS-land . . . IL; 33/32; 5/10; 5; 155.1. Something happened that I don’t remember ever happening before (although maybe it has). What happened is that my Score didn’t change! Even when I land in a PSer, my Score will generally go up or go down a little. So I guess it’s inevitable that every once in a while, the Score wouldn’t change at all . . .

Here’s my landing map, showing that I landed just outside of Eldorado (pronounced el-dah-raid-o):

landing

A new river, the Middle Fk of the Saline; on to the Saline (2nd hit); on to the Ohio (111th hit); on to the MM (698th hit).  The Middle Fk of the Saline is my 1026th river.

Here’s a broader view:

Eldorado_IL

From Wiki:

Eldorado is a city in Saline County, Illinois. The population was 4,534 at the 2000 census, with a 1925 peak of 8,000. Although the city’s name is spelled as if it were Spanish, it is pronounced el-dah-raid-o. Originally, the name was “Elder-Reado” — a combination of the last names of the town’s two founders, Judge Samuel Elder and Joseph Read. According to legend, a sign painter for the railroad painted the name “Eldorado” on the train depot; as a result, the spelling and pronunciation was forever changed.

Here’s a back-in-the-day shot of Eldorado:

Eldorado_Street_Scene

Eldorado has a very unique claim to fame. From Wiki:

In September, 1963, five months before the Beatles’ first appearance on the Ed Sullivan Show brought them stardom in the United States, George Harrison performed at the Veterans of Foreign Wars hall in Eldorado with a local band. This was the first performance by a Beatle in the United States. At the time Harrison and his brother were visiting their sister, Louise, who had recently relocated with her husband to nearby Benton.

Here’s the “George Harrison” house in Benton, which has been restored to its 1963 condition, and is currently a Bed & Breakfast known as the Hard Days Nite:

From the Hard Days Nite website:

hard days nite

Louise Harrison, her Scottish husband, and two children came to Benton, Illinois in 1963 and found lodging at a motel. As her husband had taken a job in the area, Louise promptly called a realtor to find a home for her family. The family funds consisted of a two-dollar bill and a five-pound note. By the end of that day, the realtor had found a home and had helped secure a loan from the local bank. Neighbors provided furniture and food. To this day, Louise sings the praises of Benton’s hospitality.

During that autumn of 1963, Louise’s two brothers, George and Peter, came to the U.S. from England for a vacation. George Harrison knew fame as a musician in Europe but was unknown in this country at that time. George spent his time here sitting in with local musicians, picnicking, and enjoying the local sites. He was especially fond of the fast-food drive-in.

George returned to Europe in September of 1963, only to return to the U.S. with the Beatles in February of 1964 to appear on The Ed Sullivan Show. The rest, of course, is history!

The house itself was built around 1930 by descendants of explorer Merriweather Lewis. In 1994, the house was purchased by the State of Illinois and was scheduled for demolition to build a parking lot. A group of local residents became concerned that this piece of history would be lost forever. At the last moment, before demolition took place, they purchased the house. The house was restored to resemble the decor, much as it was during that summer of 1963 during George’s visit. The Hard Days Nite Bed and Breakfast opened for business in 1996.

Also from the website:

The Hard Days Nite Bed and Breakfast offers guests four bedrooms with private bathrooms. Beds are available in both king and queen size. All rooms have exquisite decor and provide complete privacy for each guest. Beatles collectables and memorabilia, including photos, letters and other items, some of which have been donated by Louise Harrison, can be seen in a small display area and throughout the house.

$80.00 (U.S.) per night

All four rooms (John’s Room, Paul’s Room, George’s Room, and Ringo’s Room) are available at the same rate. No minimum stay is required.

Mr. Gabe McCarty (formerly of the Illinois music group “The Four Vests”) played music with George Harrison and remembers quite a bit about Harrison’s visit:

Mr. McCarty also indicated that George played two gigs with the “Four Vests” during September 1963 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Hall in Eldorado, Illinois and also at the Bocchi Ball Club in Benton. Gabe was sure that George was going to play some of his Beatles’ material but this never happened, with Harrison performing mostly Hank William’s country tunes at both venues. Apparently George quite fancied having The Beatles play in the Benton area at some point and went so far as to schedule a concert at the Benton Country Club. The pandemonium was so great when The Beatles visited in 1964, however, that the planned concert was never realized.

Funny what a Google image search might uncover.  Here’s a series of four photos chronicling the search of a certain Mr. Choisser for streets of the same name.  He entitles his piece:  “Bill Choisser Discovers Distant Asphalt Cousins.”

First, this one from Lakeside CA:

lakeside

And then this, from Garden Grove CA.

garden

And then a few years go by . . . and this from Tracy CA.

tracyca

And finally, of course, this from Eldorado IL:

rado

Looks like good ol’ Bill is one of those souls who’s always gunna let his hippie flag fly . . .

Bill, in case you stumble on this post, I hope all is well with you and yours . . .

KS

Greg

© 2009 A Landing A Day

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