A new Oregon Trail is about to be followed – as I soon make my way from Chicago’s northern border to Oregon, Illinois … twice in one week!
Book signing Thursday, October 4: I’m very excited that the Oregon Public Library is hosting a reception to announce the publication of Beautiful Dreamer this coming Thursday. There will be a book signing at 5:30, and I will give a short presentation at 6:00. This is free and open to the public: 300 Jefferson Street.
The library is the perfect place for me to officially begin my book journey. It was built in 1909 using a grant from Andrew Carnegie and it was designed by Chicago architects Allen and Irving Kane Pond (usually referred to as Pond and Pond). The Ponds were charter members of the Eagle’s Nest Art Colony, founded in Oregon by Taft in 1898, and it was their association with Taft and the colony that led them to design the library. The completed library included a second floor art gallery to which members of the artists’ colony donated works for a permanent collection that is still there and includes both paintings and sculptures. You can see the beautiful plaster maquette of “The Blind” that I used on the book’s cover, and you can also see TWO models of Taft’s “Aspiration” — the plaster model donated to the library by Betty Croft after I found it on eBay and contacted her AND a second model donated when its owner read about the first donation in the paper!
The Oregon Public Library was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2003 for its architectural and educational significance; three years later it was included as a contributing property in a historic district that received the National Register designation.
And I will be selling books at a booth at Oregon’s Autumn on Parade, October 6 and 7: When this festival began in 1970, there were seven exhibitors. Since then, Autumn on Parade has grown to include more than 150 vendors and other events such as the Harvest Time Parade, Auto Classic, Duck Dash and many more family-orientated events! In the past I have especially enjoyed the chance to visit Chana School, located on River Road in Oregon Park East. This unique two-room school, built in 1883, is celebrating its 129th birthday this year. It will be open for tours on Saturday, Oct. 6 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Ogle County Historical Society will offer tours of the Ruby Nash Museum and Carriage House on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. There’s a large book sale on the front lawn of the Oregon Public Library on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the front library lawn. And there’s an Olde English Faire at Stronghold Castle two miles north of the Ogle County Courthouse Square on Ill. 2 (admission charged). For an additional $1.00, tours of Stronghold Castle give you a chance to explore the Great Hall, the Library with a ceiling painted by Russian artist Nicholas Kasaroff, the Rumpelstiltskin room and, of course, a secret passageway hidden in one of the rooms. Avoid the hassle of driving and parking during the weekend. A shuttle to Stronghold and to Chana School will operate on a regular schedule departing from the Nextage parking lot at the intersection of Ill. 2 and Ill. 64. Here’s the link to the festival’s events: http://www.autumnonparade.org/schedule.shtml. The weather forecast says that it will be beautiful both days, with temperatures hovering around 60. A beautiful excuse to get out and enjoy the foliage and to experience some good ol’ Midwest fun! Please stop by Booth #110 and say hello!