Categories
Mysterious America Photography

Emma Jones Home

Emma Pauline Jones was a Norwegian immigrant who lived at this home (built in 1856) in Rockford, Illinois from the 1920s into the 1950s. Her husband Frank was often away on business, and she spent much of her time with her two beloved Dalmatians, Moxie and Channing. After her husband died in 1941, Emma—who was 66 years old—continued to live with her faithful dogs, but after they passed on, she began to descend into loneliness and dementia. She spent her twilight years sitting in a rocking chair, waiting for loved ones who would never return.

Emma finally sold her home and moved in with a relative, where she died in 1964. According to local legend, she returned to her house on North First Street in her afterlife. Owners of the home have reported strange noises, moving furniture, and even seeing the ghost of an elderly woman in the attic windows. One newlywed couple reported that an old woman appeared in their living room and asked what they were doing in her home, then vanished.

Categories
Mysterious America Photography

Coronado Theater

The Coronado is a historic, 2,400 seat theater in downtown Rockford, Illinois. It was designed by architect Frederick J. Klein, cost $1.5 million to build, and opened on October 9, 1927. Some have speculated that the theater was built on an American Indian burial ground because of its proximity to Beattie Park, which contains small Indian Mounds from the Upper Mississippian/Late Woodland period. The theater was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979.

According to theater volunteers and a local psychic named Mark Dorsett, it is haunted by three ghosts: Willard Van Matre, the Coronado’s original owner (who died in 1953), Miss Kileen, the theater’s first office manager, and Louis St. Pierre, a Bridge enthusiast and the first theater manager. While Van Matre likes to greet visitors at the theater entrance, the scent of lilac perfume is associated with Miss Kileen. Other people have reported feeling “uneasy” on the catwalks, allegedly because they are occupied by the ghosts of men who died during construction of the building.

Categories
Historic America

Sharon Springs Battlefield

New York’s Mohawk Valley was the scene of brutal fighting during the American Revolution. This obscure battle ended a particularly nasty raid that began with one settlement in ruins.

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The Battle of Sharon Springs was fought on July 10, 1781 between British and American Indian raiders commanded by Capt. John Doxtader and American forces commanded by Col. Marinus Willet east of Sharon Springs in Schoharie County, New York during the American Revolutionary War. The battle was an American victory and many of the British loyalist forces and their Native American allies were killed and the rest scattered.

During the Revolutionary War, the Mohawk Valley in central New York was the scene of brutal fighting between patriots committed to American independence and loyalists committed to remaining under the British Crown. Many settlements and homesteads were raided and burned. On July 9, 1781, John Doxtader and approximately 300 Iroquois Indians and Loyalists attacked the frontier settlement of Currytown, killing a number of people and taking nine prisoner.

That night, they retired to a camp in Sharon Springs Swamp. The next day, Col. Marinus Willett sallied forth from Fort Plain and attacked their camp with a force of approximately 150 men. Despite being outnumbered 2-to-1, the Patriots used the dense terrain to their advantage and lured the raiders into a trap.

The Patriots lost five killed and nine wounded, and the Loyalists suffered approximately 40 casualties. Unfortunately, they were too late to rescue the nine prisoners from Currytown. When the battle began, the raiders beat them with tomahawks and dumped them in shallow graves. One man survived his injuries and crawled to safety.

Categories
Historic America Photography

Palace Shoe Service

Palace Shoe Service
Neon sign for Palace Shoe Repair, 204 N. Main Street, in downtown Rockford, Illinois. Palace Shoe Repair has been in business since 1926.
Categories
Photography Roadside America

Royal Liquor Mart

Beautiful neon sign for the Royal Liquor Mart, 3714 E. State Street (U.S. Route 20), in Rockford, Illinois.

Categories
Photography Roadside America

Don Carter Lanes

Pink and orange neon sign (when lit) for Don Carter Lanes, at 4007 E. State Street (U.S. Route 20) in Rockford, Illinois. Don Carter Lanes opened in 1959 and has greatly expanded over the years, lately incorporating an off-track betting room.

Categories
Photography Roadside America

Theater Motel

The 1940s-era Theater Motel, at 7592 U.S. Route 20 east of Westfield, New York, was originally a drive-in theater. Checking the box on all roadside amenities, there’s also a small diner attached. Unfortunately, a fire destroyed the theater in the late 1990s.