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By Caralee Aschenbrenner

Few other countryside courthouses the size of that in Oregon, Illinois have as many cultural and/or art pieces as does Ogle County here in the northwest.

There are numerous statues, busts, collections of figures carved or cast depicting the heroic, military, divine, religious, secular, humble to noble and everything in between.

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Culture can be found in cemeteries, churches, street corners. They are both old and new; the historic event are numerous to bring to us the opening of the “West,” the first West, the “Mississippi Valley” which removed the Native American to the Far West and was widely history-changing and history-making!

So many new ideas came to fruition following decades, even centuries of experimentation—the steel plow, reapers, binders, cross-country trains, new towns sprouted beside them to become markets, reasons for roadside signs announcing all kinds of occasions to be noted—the Northwest is good at noting them. The Black Hawk Waterway, a colorfully printed fifty-page brochure is just one that lists at least ten events a page—some closed because of the poor economy or other factors. Inquiry will guide or assist you in finding an exhibit, a site (even though remote), a “neighbor” often knows the path (or an ancestor!) or use the address: Black Hawk Waterways, 201 N, Franklin, Polo, IL 61064, phone is 800-678-2108. Add to Black Hawk Waterways.

A center spread map of the four county map of the “Waterways” region where every town and village has had some unique event occur there or is sometimes noted.


Oregon, the town, is beginning to see itself as “Center for the Arts.” It could say of itself that the huge “cement” statue on the east bank of the Rock River just above Oregon is a beginning of art-sculpture in the community. From the start it was never “Black Hawk” but an image of the ubiquitous, anonymous Native American who roamed the land throughout. But in recent years he’s been named.

Lorado Taft whose art colony, “Eagle’s Nest” gave culture a good reputation in this region and nationally, assisted Oregon in adding to art pieces and its lure to artists from around the world.

“Art Casting in Illinois” is a world known business that casts bronze statues and many pieces that have become famous pieces such as the basketball player, Michael Jordan that stands in front of the United Center, Chicago. Locally there is the lovely Holy Family at St. Mary’s Church in Oregon and the thought-provoking sculpture at Mix Park, south on Rt. 2, south of Rt. 64—Lincoln and Black Hawk.

The large arrangement in the courthouse lawn caused some controversy when being set not that long ago! But then, isn’t culture supposed to be controversial?


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