Cave Dwellings: “My Kind of Town”
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Thursday, April 22, 2010

“My Kind of Town”

I’m sure not many of you have every heard of Sandwich, IL, or have any idea where it is. So yesterday, I hopped on my bicycle and pedaled around our town taking pictures of things you may find interesting. I got a couple stares from quite a few people. I think they were wondering what this goofy ol’ lady was doing taking pictures of the train tracks, houses, brick sidewalks and our water tower.  So here is a brief history…

“The first plat of Sandwich was recorded by a man with the last name of Beveridge. At that time, though, the town was not called Sandwich. It was in 1855, four years after the Chicago, Burlington & Quincy railroad first surveyed land through Almon Cage's property. Cage gave the land to build a depot on, knowing that would attract development of a town. It did, and the town was named "Almon" after its first settler. Cage proceeded to offer free lots to anyone who would build in the newly-platted town, and a number of people took him up on it, including A.R. Patten, James Clark, Myrlin Carpenter and James Clark.”

“Cage did not like his first name used to name the town, so Almon was quickly scrapped in favor of Newark Station. But this only served to confuse the town with Newark to the south. Still, residents pushed to have the railroad stop in Newark Station - originally, the railroad only had a flag stop there. But it was not until "Long John" Wentworth went to Congress that Sandwich became Sandwich, and hit its stride. Wentworth used his influence to get the trains to stop in town, and also gave Sandwich its name - after his home town of Sandwich, New Hampshire. After 1855, the town grew quickly. In 1857, there were 107 families in town; by 1860, there were 203 families.”

Now I would like you to see our downtown area first.  It is really quite unique and the town sprung up right along the railroad tracks as a railroad stop. Remember to “clik if you want to see it larger….


100_6626 100_6620

Top is “Railroad” Street, literally. It runs most of the way through town from Rt. 34,  and is there our town “hub” of local businesses is located. The next two photos are in Main Street, running North and South from Rt. 34.We have many old buildings. The one on the right used to be a hotel, but , as you can see, it now houses one of our local pubs on the main floor.  The rooms are all still upstairs, but no longer used.


Of the photos below, the one on the right is our Gazebo, where they have carolers at Christmas, and bands at any time.  Unfortunately, this gazebo is right next to the tracks also. Basically, it really sucks when a train comes through and temporarily overtakes the entertainment…(and there are a lot more trains than use to be..I know this because our lot backs up to them…)

100_6610 100_6605 


100_6607 100_6609

Above left is our Opera House, built in 1878.  There is a beautiful stage inside, and we have a local theater groop who perform plays..There have been quite a few weddings performed there too. On the right is Stone Mill, erected in 1856, and is now a museum of Sandwich.

100_6619 100_6622 100_6654

On left is the old “pants factory”, where ladies worked in the upper 2 floors, sewing overalls.  I know this because my mother worked there. They have put all new windows in it with the hope of making it into a restaurant..That was before the economy took a dive…now it just sits empty waiting for someone to come up with some money….fat chance!

We have a neat fairgrounds where each September they hold the DeKalb County Fair. This is the oldest county fair in Illinois and one of the prettiest fairgrounds. During the spring, summer and fall they have an Antiques Market the last Sunday of every month. This is just about 2 blocks from our house…

100_6661 100_6657 100_6660 100_6662

I couldn’t get into the fairgrounds, they have a chain link fence all the way around it, and I wasn’t in the mood to be handcuffed and locked up today. We do have some fairly big name entertainment at the grandstand, if you count Brenda Lee (if you are under 40, you don’t have a clue), Eddie Rabbit ( another one you may not remember), Trace Atkins ( if you love country music this one will ring a bell). They have harness races and demolition derbies, and the picture top middle is a building called the Woman’s Hall. It has been there almost since the beginning, 1888.  This is where you take your homemade jams, cakes, quilts, needlework, etc. to be judged… just like the old fashioned county fairs.

  A few years ago, Sandwich built a big new fire department. Our family has quite a history of firefighters.  When they built the new department, they laid a brick pavement around the flagpole and put the names of every person who has served on the Sandwich Fire Department and the dates of the years they served.  I proudly present 3 generations of “Cavemen”..left to right, Dennis’s father, then Den, and lastly our son, Kelly.  Dennis was a hose captain and Kelly has moved on the become at Lieutenant with the Oswego Illinois Fire Department, about 30 miles from here.


100_6612 100_6611 100_6613



Here are a couple photos of the day Kelly got promoted to Lieutenant…

Left is Lt. Cave and his wife, Cindy…and then with us…proud moment.


  Also, Dennis’s cousin, Donald Bark was a Deputy Chief on the department…and, Den’s Uncle, Ray Anderson,(deceased since 1982) also was a firefighter, but I forgot to get a photo of his brick..Sorry, Uncle Ray. (I know he would forgive me, he was a peach of a guy.)



I have to say, as I was pedaling my derriere around Sandwich with my camera around my neck, I realized what a wonderful little town we have here.  Like everything else, the suburbs are creeping upon us, but the history remains in every old building that is still standing.  In my next blog, I will include some of the beautiful older homes that line our streets here….More on Saturday!!


  1. I love it,the town looks so clean and nice.You should be proud of it.

    It's a shame it get so cold in the winter.

    Thats My Kind of Town....

  2. There is just something about those kind of towns.... they indeed are special. It's nice to see one that is still prospering and the residents take pride in.
    I like the colors of the old buildings.
    Fairgrounds.... you won't find that in a big city. Wonder how many generations have been through that woman's hall with their handmade goods.... down home history for sure. Thanks for taking time to show us "your town"


  3. I was homesick before but after seeing all the wonderrful pictures of home now I am really homesick. I can hardly wait for a chance to come back home. What great pictures you took. The history of Sandwich was so well written. You have really studied the history of our town. You love Sandwich the same way I do. Thank you so much for presenting our town to the world in such a beautiful way.