By Jennifer Lane, Hardin County Independent
“When we take too seriously the little things that make up our daily lives, we love our perspective and our sense of humor and soon we are spreading gloom instead of cheer. There are times when every man must lay aside his swerious and perplexing problems and play a little. These Ozark Tours afford him that relaxation, takes his mind off his worries and shows him the way to more happiness and rest of mind. These trips will assist you in balancing the mental budget.” — Lindolph Oscar Trigg (1879-1949). (Trigg Collection) Pictured above. Trigg sits on Stone Face.
Trigg’s Ozark Tours at Shawnee National Forest is the newest addition to Arcadia Publishing’s popular Images of America series. The book is written and media compiled by local author and resident of Elizabethtown, Todd Carr, with a foreword by Janet Trigg Davis. The book was released for sale on March 6, 2017.
Carr became interested in this project when the Ozark Tours were reintroduced in 2013. The Ozark Tours originally began in the 1930s and then stopped in the 1970s. Carr, along with other members of the Hardin County Main Street, served refreshments to participants of the Ozark Tour at the Rose Hotel. He picked up information offered and began reading about how the Ozark Tours of the 1930s were vital in bringing the development of the Shawnee National Forest to southern Illinois. For Carr, this sparked an evolution of ideas.
In the 1930s before the Shawnee National Forest was developed, newspaper editor L.O. Trigg along with a nine member committee of men from Hardin, Pope, Gallatin, and Saline Counties led the Ozark Tours and promoted southern Illinois as the “Illinois Ozarks” – an extension of the Missouri Ozarks. They were hopeful that southeastern Illinois would be chosen as the location of a national forest. Carr liked that idea and thought that instead of promoting solely “Hardin County” as is his role in Hardin County Main Street, that maybe the county’s tourism efforts needed to be rebranded and could be termed as being part of the “Illinois Ozarks” as it was dubbed in the 30s. Hardin County Main Street began using the new brand in 2014 and won a state-wide award for the marketing campaign.
Pictured above are the 1947 Ozarkers who stopped at the Rose Hotel in Elizabethtown for breakfast.
The Shawnee National Forest; Hardin County Main Street; the tourism boards of Saline, Gallatin, and Hardin Counties; and the River-to-River Trail Society all work together to promote biannual Ozark Tour. Hardin County Main Street is the sponsor and takes on the legal parts such as collecting the money and paying the bills.
In 2015, Arcadia Publishing contacted Carr asking if anyone at Hardin County Main Street Organization would be interested in designing a book for its popular Images of America series. Carr thought about it and came up with two ideas – one, being a book about the Shawnee National Forest, and one, being a book about Hardin County folklore. Since the book was required to be full of images, Carr went with the Shawnee National Forest idea, since he knew he had access to many photos .
Carr met with Charles Hammond, a photographer from Eldorado, who had collected a large part of L.O. Trigg’s photography. Hammond was happy to work with Carr on the project. He had already put many hours into scanning, cleaning, and editing the photos preserving Trigg’s collection. Trigg’s granddaughter, Janet Trigg Davis also contributed the foreword in Carr’s book. Jeff Robinson, Elizabethtown, had purchased some of Trigg’s photos and contributed part of his collection to the project.
Trigg Collection courtesy of Charles Hammond.
Carr spent about a year scanning photos, reading, studying, and learning as much as he could to make the book interesting and informative about Trigg, the Ozark Tours and the Shawnee National Forest. He said the hardest part was cutting down content and having to reduce the number of pictures to fit into the project.
Today’s Shawnee National Forest visitors would not recognize 1930s southern Illinois. Hills and hollows were void of trees; the rivers and creeks were choked with eroded topsoil. Carr’s book is full of over 200 pictures displaying the historic development of the Shawnee National Forest, the Trigg Ozark tours from 1931 to 1949, the men who went, the places they visited, and the legacy that remains today for all of us to enjoy.
Ozarkers on the 1933 tour are shown looking out from the cave at Cave In Rock State Park toward the Ohio River. Pictured are, from left to right, Walter Wheatley, W.W. Williams, Jacob W. Myers (seated), “Buck” Sawyer, Ed Wall Jr., B.F. Anderson, L.O. Trigg and William Lodge Sr.
“Most people have forgotten or never knew the role L.O. Trigg and the Illinois Ozarks Reforestation Unit played in securing the Shawnee National Forest for southern Illinois. I hope my book helps keep that moment in history alive and promotes a greater appreciation for the history, culture, and natural wonders of the southern Illinois region,” said Carr. “My favorite part of writing this book was learning about the Shawnee National Forest and getting this information out, and what these men did — especially Trigg — in creating this legacy.”
Todd Carr serves as chairman of the Southernmost Illinois Tourism Bureau, the convention and visitor’s bureau of the lower ten counties of Illinois. As a founder and chairman of Hardin County Main Street, he has used southeastern Illinois history and scenic assets to promote tourism in economic development for nearly 20 years. Carr volunteers on the board of directors for the Friends of the Shawnee National Forest and serves as president of the Hardin County Historical and Genealogical Society. He is a Master Naturalist with the University of Illinois Extension. Carr is employed as the Quality and Safety Director of Hardin County General Hospital. Carr and his wife, Alene, have three daughters, Rachel, Allison, and Leah.
Author Todd Carr pictured at Stone Face.
To find out more about the fascinating and beautiful Illinois Ozarks, visit http://www.illinoisozarks.com. For further information contact Hardin County Main Street Organization at (618) 287-2761 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. See ordering information for Carr’s book below.
Upcoming event: The Hardin County Historical and Genealogical Society will have a program on the Ozark Tours where Carr will talk about the development of the Shawnee National Forest and anecdotes from his book at the Rose Clare Craft and Antique Mall at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, April 21. The public is invited to this free event.
** SUBSCRIBE to the Hardin County Independent, Elizabethtown, IL 618-287-2361 – $33 in Hardin County – $35 Elsewhere – $28 e-Edition – 50 issues per year.
Carr’s book is also available at the Hardin County Independent in Elizabethtown for $22.65.