Robinson Favorites

  • Jackson Street Heath Plant
    Jackson Street Heath Plant
    by deecat
  • Hershey Chocolate & Confectionary Corp.
    Hershey Chocolate & Confectionary Corp.
    by deecat
  • Heath, then Leaf, now Hershey Robinson Plant
    Heath, then Leaf, now Hershey Robinson...
    by deecat

Best Rated Favorites in Robinson

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    Robinson Parks

    by deecat Updated May 24, 2008

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    Favorite thing: When I was growing up in Robinson, Illinois, the only park was the Robinson City Park located on South Cross Street. It contains the public swimming pool, basketball, tennis, volleyball, and badminton courts. It also has mini golf, a band shell, batting cages, horseshoe pits, and two playgrounds.

    At the north end of the pool is a wildlife sculpture by Paul Hoffman It is carved from a tree and is of an Eagle (see photos #4-5)

    The public swimming pool was opened in 1956; thus, I used it all during high school. It's shallow end is 3 feet, and the deep end goes up to 12 feet. There is also a wading pool and a long Water Slide. Oh, yes, there is also the Parkdome Cafe at the City Pool.

    The Kiddyland [7 years and under] is in Robinson City Park. Over the years, it has been expanded, the most recent expansion in 2008. They also have modular playground for kids 8 and over. It was built in 2007.

    There are seven [7] ball fields in City park, and five have lights...they have girls, Little League, Minor and Pee Wee, Babe Ruth, and American Legion leagues!

    Washington Park is a newer park located at the corner of Condit & Prairie in Robinson. It is quite beautiful with its hiking trails, tennis courts, ball field, fishing, a 9-hole golf course, a lake for fishing, and a sled hill.

    There is a multi-play playground in Washington Park that has slides, climbers, and several other play components.

    Deer Run Mary Heath Memorial Golf Course was built in 1996. It's a lighted nine-hole course that costs$5.00 a day for all day! [What a deal!]

    Fondest memory: Photographs # 1,2,3 pertain to Washington Park in Robinson.
    #1 is a sign announcing the Washington Park

    #2 is a covered bridge in the park

    #3 is a shelter within the park.

    Photographs # 4, 5 pertain to Robinson City Park in Robinson.

    #4 is a close-up of the top of the carved Eagle in Robinson City Park

    #5 is a full-view of the carved Eagle in Robinson City Park.

    Washington Park in Robinson, Illinois Covered Bridge in Washington Park Shelter in Washington Park Local Carving in Robinson City Park Full View of Carving in Robinson City Park
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    Lincoln Heritage Trail

    by deecat Updated May 24, 2008

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    Favorite thing: In Illinois, the Lincoln Heritage Trail runs through Crawford County with Routes 1 and 33 [both lead or go through Robinson].

    About 50 years after Lincoln's death, the Illinois General Assembly made it possible to mark the exact route of Lincoln's travel from Kentucky through Indiana to Illinois. At one time, there were 3,000 markers like the one in photo #1. Today, many of the signs are in disrepair or are missing, especially in Kentucky.

    The Lincoln Heritage Trail includes 2,200 miles that are marked highways of Abe Lincoln's early years. The trail goes through State Historic sites which show where Lincoln lived, played, studied, and worked. I feel fortunate to have seen those areas in parts of Route 1 and Route 33. This trail is also known as "History's Highway"

    The Lincoln Heritage Trail begins in Illinois in the heart of the Wabash Valley with the Lincoln Heritage Monument depicting and commemorating the Lincoln family's move from Indiana to Illinois. The Daughters of the American Revolution are responsible for this beautiful monument.

    Just as we are about to go over the Lincoln Memorial Bridge that takes cars over the Wabash River into Vincennes, Indiana, we were able to stop and see the historic sign, monument, and bridge from the Illinois side of the river. [see photos #2 and #4]

    Lincoln Heritage Trail Sign The Lincoln Heritage Trail Monument Sign at the Lincoln Heritage Monument and Bridge Angled View of Lincoln Heritage Monument
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    Robinson Refinery

    by deecat Updated May 25, 2008

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    Favorite thing: I grew up within the long shadow of the refinery and thought nothing of it. Today, it's difficult for oil companies to convince towns to let a refinery be built.

    Marathon Petroleum Company [formerly The Ohio Oil Company] owns the refinery.It is a "state-of-the-art refinery that sits on over 900 acres of land and employs approximately 600 employees, as well as numerous specialty contractors." [from the Marathon Petroleum Company web].

    It can convert about 190 barrels of crude oil per day making such products as gasoline, jet fuel, diesel fuel, kerosene, and much more. Their major markets are the American Midwest.

    Lincoln Oil Company built the original facility because of the oil boom that was going on in and near Robinson, Illinois at that time. Ohio Oil Company [forerunner of Marathon Oil] acquired the refinery, and it was expanded over decades. In the late 1940's, it was extensively rebuilt, and in the 1970's a huge modernization was completed. There have been more renovations recently, and they are always ongoing.

    There was a major explosion in the late 1930's. "A spark from a starting motor ignited fumes in the Treating Plant. One man was killed. There was a series of blasts as flames spread to nearby storage tanks." [Daily News Supplement 2006] Another tragedy took place in more recent times, January of 1967, when "the compressor on the cat cracker exploded...killing three Robinson men..." [Daily News Supplement 2006] In 1979, three Sheehan Pipe Line Construction employees were killed.

    Since then, because of "safety first", no incidents have happened. The company has earned industry-wide awards for safety.

    There's wonderful information about the Robinson Refinery at the Crawford County Historical Museum. I also found information in supplement to the Robinson Daily News , 2006, called "100 Years of oil in Crawford County".

    I took photographs of the refinery from several different spots in the town, and the most unusual one was taken from the Robinson Cemetery [ Photo #3].

    Robinson Refinery, Robinson, Illinois A Different View of the Refinery Robinson Refinery Taken from Cemetery Refinery taken from Route 33
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    History of L.S. Heath & Company In Robinson

    by deecat Updated May 29, 2008

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    Favorite thing: Robinson and Heath have always gone "hand in hand". For those unfortunate folks who have never tasted a Heath bar...the original bar was made of English-style toffee. It's a thin, hard slab covered in milk chocolate. The toffee contained only sugar, butter, and almonds. It weighed one ounce. It was hand made.

    I will use a Time Line to tell the Heath's remarkable success story.

    1913: L.S. Heath, a school teacher, purchased an existing confectionery shop in Robinson, Illinois, for his sons, Bayard and Everett.

    1914: The brothers opened a combination candy store, ice cream parlor, and manufacturing operation.

    1915: L.S. Heath opened a small dairy factory on South Jackson Street.

    Over the years, the brother's business prospered.

    1928: Then a candy salesman shared a "Trail-Toffee" recipe from a Greek candy maker in Champaign, Illinois. The brothers experimented with their own recipes, and when they were satisfied, they marketed their recipe locally calling it "Heath English Toffee" & said it was "America's Finest".

    1931: Bayard & Everett sold the confectionery store and moved their equipment to L.S. Heath's dairy production on South Jackson Street. They worked out of a small kitchen that was built on the back of the dairy.
    They sold their candy from the retail counter at the front of the dairy building. Then they started putting the candy bars on the dairy route order forms.

    1932: They entered the national market.

    1935: Heath received Illinois' first Pepsi-Cola bottling franchise.

    The dairy business grew. Older citizens remember the Heath Dairy trucks doing their pre-dawn rounds, and many homes had insulated Heath containers on their doorsteps.

    1942: South Jackson plant is partially mechanized for the first time.

    World War II: Because The Heath Bar had a very long shelf life, the Army included it in soldiers' rations. [that certainly exposed the product to national attention!]

    1946: Company incorporated and became legally known as L.S. Heath & Sons, Inc. This included L. S. Heath, his four sons, two daughters, and grandchildren.

    1958: Heath Toffee Ice Cream Bar introduced to marketplace nationwide.

    1960's: Family in-fighting lead to one grandchild being thrown out of the business.

    1963:The dairy division was sold after 49 years of continuous operation.

    1964: Heath entered the fund-raising business [selling candies to schools, clubs, and other organizations.]
    Also, in 1964, a new Pepsi plant was built at the west edge of Robinson along Route 33
    {I was at that celebration when Actress Joan Crawford, Chairman of the Board for Pepsi, attended the opening of the new plant.}

    Construction began that same year on a new candy-manufacturing plant adjacent to the new Pepsi Plant.

    1967: Production began at the candy-manufacturing plant.

    1969: The Pepsi franchise was sold, and the vacated building was used as a warehouse.
    The first non-family members were elected to the Board of Directors.

    1970's: Heath purchased the Fenn Brothers Candy Company [Butter Brickle brand was added to the Heath family of products.] The Fenn equipment was moved to the factory on South Jackson Street for production.

    A chocolate processing plant was added, which was housed in the former Pepsi plant. Another huge warehouse was built.

    The Heath Bar appeared in other products [such as Heath Bar Crunch Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream,
    many dessert recipes such as Heath Bar Cake, Heath Bar Coffeecake, and a Dairy Queen dish.]

    Fondest memory: 1980's: Heath Toffee Ice Cream Sandwich appeared.

    1982: The first non-family member was elected president.

    1985: Heath Soft 'n Crunchy was introduced for those who did not enjoy the hardness of the original Heath Bar.

    1989: L. S. Heath & Sons became a subsidiary of Leaf, Inc..
    Leaf invested over $100 million to expand the plan. By 1995, the former Heath plant manufactured Heath Bars, Whoppers, Malted Milk Balls, Milk Duds, Pay Day Bars, and Zero Bars.

    1997:Leaf North America sold their holdings and rights to its brand names to Hershey Foods.
    Since Hershey started producing the Heath Bar, it has been elongated and now weighs 1.4 ounces. Current ingredients are milk chocolate, sugar, dairy butter (milk), partially hydrogenated soybean oil, almonds, salt, artificial flavor, and soy lecithin.
    The familiar brown color scheme in the redesign; there is a small seal that proclaims the Heath as the "Finest Quality English Toffee."

    2008:The original Heath Dairy and then the Heath Candy building on South Jackson now houses the Crawford County School District.

    The old Heath Plant on Route 33 west of town is now called "Hershey Robinson". It employs over 600 people.

    Even though it does not say so on the wrapper, just remember that any time you eat a Heath Bar, it came from Robinson, Illinois...where it has always been made!

    Jackson Street Heath Plant Hershey Chocolate & Confectionary Corp. Heath, then Leaf, now Hershey Robinson Plant
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    Crawford County Courthouse

    by deecat Updated May 27, 2008

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    Favorite thing: Be sure to see all the Photographs

    Until recently,I had never seen a photo or drawing of the Crawford County Courthousewhen it was first built in 1897. It was called "the temple of justice".

    I was so surprised to see a magnificent High Victorian Gothic style building. Unfortunately, this structure was remodeled during 1949-1950, and, at that time, its very high tower and its fabulous gabled roof were both removed!

    If that were not sad enough, the rooftops of the smaller towers were also removed along with a liberty statue. What a sad day for Crawford County.

    Fortunately, the basic structure of the building is the same, but it certainly does NOT appear the same! Without the "Gothic features", the building lacks its once-unique beauty.

    Another sad day for this courthouse came on a Sunday in March, 1999. The courthouse was on fire. Because it was discovered, even though it was closed on a Sunday, structural damage was held to a minimum.

    A group of interested citizens formed a Crawford County Courthouse Restoration Committe to try to have those wonderful towers put back on the building. They did not want tax dollars to be involved; thus, they sought donations and grants. It was a noble cause.
    Even though the courthouse was repaired, the towers were not.

    This building has four entrances/exits; however, only one is open for public use. It certainly is the centerpiece in town as it is located in the center of the square.

    Fondest memory: Robinson was not the location of the first county seat in Crawford County. Instead, Palestine, Illinois, served as the county seat of Crawford County from 1818 until 1843.
    Crawford County was established in 1816 and formed from Edwards County, Illinois Territory.

    Research tells me that it was known as "Great Crawford County" because its area extended from "the Wabash to the middle of Illinois and from its present southern border almost to the Canadian border". [Now, that is great, indeed!]

    The county was named for William H. Crawford of Georgia. He was a United States Senator, Secretary of the Treasury, Minister of France, and a candidate for the Presidency in 1824.

    How Crawford County Courthouse Looked Originally Front View of Crawford County Courthouse Inside First Floor of Courthouse Cannon in Front of Courthouse One Image on the Courthouse Lawn
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    Robinson High School: Old and New

    by deecat Updated May 27, 2008

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    Favorite thing: When I heard that the High School was to be torn down, and a new school was being built, I was saddened because of the fond memories I have for my High School years here in Robinson. My sister kept me updated on the progress of the demolition and the building of the new school. So when I came to visit my sister in May of 2008, I just had to see the new school. I also wanted to take a photo of the old gymnasium before it, too, was destroyed. I accomplished those tasks.


    Photo#1 The Old Robinson Community High School.

    Photo#2 The new Robinson Community High School.

    Photo #3 The old Gymnasium.

    Photo #4 The new Gymnasium.

    Photo #5 The new Welcome Sign.

    I must admit that the school looks very nice, but it cannot compete with the Robinson Community High School that I remember so well.

    Fondest memory: I went to school at Robinson Community High School from 8th grade until graduating my senior year. At that time, the junior high school was housed at the High School in a separate area. During my eighth grade year, our basketball team went to the state tournament and brought back the Second Place Trophy.

    My four years at Robinson High School were memorable. I served on Student Council, worked on the Newspaper Staff, was a Junior Varsity and then a Varsity Cheerleader, and had the lead role in the "Rebel Without a Cause" play.

    Some of my favorite memories revolved around sporting events, school dances, The Senior Trip to Washington D.C., and the annual school carnival. Some people hated high school...I, on the other hand, loved it.

    Old Robinson Community High School New Robinson Community High School The Old Robinson Community High School Gymnasium New Robinson Community Gymnasium New Robinson High School Sign
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