Decatur Illinois history

*Hopefully I’ve corrected most of my typos since yesterday.  Ha! I had to hurriedly post this as I had an appointment to rush to. I should have waited to post it after I could read through it a few times.  I’m sure there’s still typos and grammatical errors but that’s my trademark!

A few weeks ago I discovered a board game called All About Decatur.  I found it at the Drive-In Antiques & More on Oakland.  I stop in there once in a while to see what Decatur items they have.  This one stuck out to me because it is a time capsule of Decatur for 1982.  I would have been 11 years old.

It looks like the game was sponsored heavily by the Decatur Tribune, so I’m sure Paul Osborne, the editor of the Tribune would know much more about it.  By the way, congratulations to Paul Osborne for being inducted into Decatur’s Hall of Fame.  I can’t think of anybody who knows Decatur better or who has been a better ambassador for the city.

Anyway, let’s go back to good ole 1982!

Many of these photos you’ll have to click on to see better.

Here is the game as I found it at the antique store.  It was surrounded by Decatur Park Singers’ albums.

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Except, they weren’t yet called the Decatur Park Singers.  They had a much catchier name:  The Decatur Park District Recreation Dept. Summer Staff Singers.  I think we know why the name later changed.

Decatur Park District Rec Singers

The copyright date is 1982 and it is a limited edition.  I’m not sure how many Decaturites have this game in their possession but in 2014, it is worth $14.95. At least that’s what I paid for it.

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The next photos will read more like an obituary collection because many of the businesses featured on the game are no longer in business for various reasons.  Things are bound to change over a 30 year period. 30 years from now, Decatur will look different than it does now.

Our first death is Federal Kemper Insurance Company.  The building is now occupied by the Decatur Lutheran Association, where my kids go to school.  I knew it had been an insurance company but I couldn’t remember the name.  Other’s no longer with us include Shenanigans, Wrigley Drug Store (I think it’s gone), and Koester Buick.  Koester Buick has changed  ownership and names over the years but we still have a Buick dealership.

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Our next dearly departed former businesses of Decatur are Tom’s Grill, Black & Company’s retail stores, and a former logo of Decatur Memorial Hospital.  The hospital is still around but the logo thankfully changed.  Wait till you see some other old logos!

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R.I.P. Kelly’s Potato Chip factory.

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Staley’s, when it was still officially called Staley’s, though everyone still calls them Staley’s because Tate & Lyle sounds so ridiculous, plus it brings back too many bad memories of the 1990s.

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Bonanza was the most upscale restaurant my parents ever went to.  They did have good steaks though!

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The Imperial Inn Motel, Montgomery Ward, Ambassador Motor Inn (not shown in picture) are no longer with us either. The Ambassador Motor Inn is now the Macon County office building. Yes, there used to be a hotel downtown.  I’d almost forgotten too.

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WTMX was brand new in ’82 but I don’t remember it one bit.

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Star Trek called and wanted their logo back from the Decatur Civic Center.

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Hickory Point Mall when it was full of plants and light poles.  Boy that brings back memories.  I walked into those poles more than once.  I’d have more memories to share if the mall if it weren’t for those concussions.

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The Central Park fountain in 1982.  I don’t think I ever saw it in person.  Now I can’t see the Transfer House unless I stand on top of the new fountain.

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I think this must be the city logo that only lasted for a short while because it reminded people of Japan during World War II.  Today, nobody would associate a rising sun with Japan.  It was soon changed back to the Transfer House and it has remained the city logo since.

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