HOMETOWN DEFENSE : GALESBURG

Jennifer Wilson

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grew up in Galesburg, which is less than an hour north of Macomb. Most people my age who live there spend a majority of their time trying to figure out a way to escape. After transferring here last year, I realized that my hometown really isn’t that bad, after all.

Myth: We are obsessed with trains.

Fact: OK, this might be partially true. Galesburg residents seem to have this strange love-hate relationship with trains. We cheer when the railroad adds new jobs, yet sign petitions to stop train horns. 

It is absolutely necessary to leave 20 minutes early to get anywhere on time because you never know when you will get caught by the dreaded slow-moving train. In high school, I learned that you can only use the “I’m late because I got stuck by a train” excuse so many times before people stop believing it. (And it never worked for avoiding a curfew violation with my parents.)

However, we have good reasons to love trains. The railroad is a driving force of our economy. Regardless of how much we complain, our city just wouldn’t be the same without them and we wouldn’t have a reason to celebrate Railroad Days, one of our biggest yearly celebrations. 

Myth: We all worship Carl Sandburg.

Fact: Upon first visit to Galesburg, one might believe that Carl Sandburg is a deity of sorts. We preserve his birthplace as a sacred spot and celebrate Sandburg Days each year. We name streets after him. He is the namesake of our (slowly dying) mall. I got a degree from Carl Sandburg College. Good ol’ Carl is everywhere.

So, who the heck is he? Carl Sandburg was an American writer, most famous for his poetry. He was born in Galesburg, and was inspired to start writing there. Not everyone in Galesburg loves him. In fact, sometimes, I find it difficult to understand the obsession. However, he is proof that Galesburg can produce literate human beings. 

Myth: We’re boring. Therefore, nothing cool ever happens

in Galesburg.

Fact: Do you like zippers and Ferris wheels? You can thank a couple of former Galesburg residents for them. George Reeves, the original Superman, used to live with his mother in an apartment on the Square. President Ronald Regan and MLB player Jim Sundberg spent time there. Knox College hosted one of the famous Lincoln-Douglas debates, and just last year, President Obama thought we were a decent enough town to visit. 

Myth: There’s nowhere to shop.

Fact: I beg to differ. We have a Target, and that’s all that really matters.


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