Small Town, USA - Utica

As I've mentioned before, we are camping just north of the town of Utica, Illinois. I've written about Utica in my post on bicycling along the I & M Canal. This small town of approximately 1,000 was put on the map when a tornado hit on April 20, 2004, killing 9 people. If you want to read a terrifying, heart-wrenching, moving story about the tornado, click the link.

There is a beautiful plaque and memorial for those killed in the tornado.

This memorial is where the Milestone tavern once stood, where 8 of the people were killed when the building collapsed during the tornado.

Here is a picture of Main Street. That's Duffy's Tavern on the corner. It's a fun bar with good food.

Main Street has an eclectic collection of shops such as the Second Look Antiques:

Or The Cheating Gourmet Shop (love the upside canoe over the door).

Utica is a biker-friendly town. It is not uncommon to see a row of cycles parked down the street.

Wheelbarrows with flowers planted in them were placed in front of businesses, like this one that was in front of Duffy's Tavern:

I thought this was clever. This one was in front of a computer store. The plants are inside of an empty computer monitor.

Towards the outskirts of town, I spied this bottle tree. I was so excited! It was the first one I've seen since we were down south in Mississippi.

I saw this wooden carving as we were driving by down the street. I made Jim turn the truck around so I could get a picture of it. It was pretty tall; I bet over 7 feet. I definitely had to look up at it. I'm not sure what she has in her hand; it almost looks like a man's head, yes?

Utica is also known for Starved Rock State Park. In another post I will talk about the park and post some photos.
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