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Old 04-03-2008, 11:07 PM
 
Location: East Peoria, IL
51 posts, read 79,592 times
Reputation: 82
Default The hills around Peoria and the Illinois River would stun you

I flew back once from Cincinnati to Des Moines. Indiana and Illinois are very flat, but then suddenly the scenery below changes radically. Suddenly, below me was a forest and a huge lake. I knew I was flying over the Peoria area.

I live halfway up a 300 foot bluff on the east bank of the Illinois River, in E. Peoria. The hills around E. Peoria (and not just bordering the river) rise above the valley by 300 feet, sometimes 400 feet. They are STEEP.

I couldn't climb them, but I'm 60 years old. Even if I were 14, it would be dangerous to climb many of them.

The hills are heavily forested too. And houses near the top have fantastic views.

However, go 5 miles east or west of the Illinois River and, once gain, it becomes flat as Kansas. Drive east to Roanoke or Bloomington, and much of the drive looks even flatter and treeless than Iowa does: and that's saying something!

You also get high hills in other parts of the state: notably the NW corner, and the far south. You also get small hills near any decent river, with the accompanying forests.
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Old 04-05-2008, 08:39 PM
 
Location: San Antonio
2,261 posts, read 3,173,517 times
Reputation: 1446
Quote:
I think some central IL residents identify more with Chicago, some with St. Louie
That's definitely true. I grew up in Raymond, just south of Springfield, and we definitely identified more with St. Louis than Chicago. But drive 30 miles north, to Springfield, and suddenly you start seeing Cubs bumper stickers as well as Cardinals bumper stickers. And my part of downstate definitely has more of that St. Louis accent going on, as opposed to the Chicago accent.

Despite having lived my whole life in central Illinois, I'd never even been to Chicago until work sent me when I was 32. We always went to St. Louis when we wanted to do something "big city" - baseball, zoo, museums, etc.
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:48 PM
 
Location: Centennial, CO
510 posts, read 495,118 times
Reputation: 613
Quote:
Originally Posted by ozradio View Post
I read somewhere once that Illinois was one of the three flattest states, with Louisiana and Delaware. Don't know if that's true or not. Seems like it may have been a Trivial Pursuit question.
Florida would have to be on that list then. It is flatter than Illinois by far, with it's highest point at only 345 feet above sea level.
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:49 PM
 
Location: Centennial, CO
510 posts, read 495,118 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
I once read somewhere that Douglas County, Illinois (just south of Champaign Co) was the flattest county in the country. Most of the state was flattened with a glacier. It's not bad, it just is.
Iroquois and Ford counties would have to be pretty close, then. Look on any topographic map and there is virtually no elevation difference in either of those counties.
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Old 04-07-2008, 01:57 PM
 
Location: Centennial, CO
510 posts, read 495,118 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonicreducer View Post
The hill question is one that inevitably comes up when people talk about driving through Illinois. Since I grew up in pancake-flat Champaign County, I'm used to this assertion. Some people seem to take the declaration of extreeeeme flatness to be a personal affront for some weird reason. I remember my in-laws commenting in a very cautious way how flat my homeland is when they visited--as if I would disagree and throw down the gauntlet or something. They live in Wausau, WI though--home of Rib Mountain State Park (and the Granite Peak ski place). I was SO impressed with Rib Mt., and just the general topography of Marathon Co. when I went to visit them for the first time. But my better half never considered the hills to be significant at all, so I guess it's a real matter of perspective.

One of the fascinating and strange things about Illinois is the issue of dialects. As someone else mentioned, the further south you go, the more folks will talk with a stereotypical "southern" accent. IL is kind of a meeting ground for different dialect zones. See this link (http://http://www.ling.upenn.edu/phono_atlas/NationalMap/NatMap1.html - broken link) for a national map of dialects (with kind of complicated linguistic explanations for the demarcations). You'll see that IL is a border zone--with north and south "midland", and "inland north". Essentially this lumps Chicagoans in with city dwellers from other rust belt cities, and divides the rest of the state with 2 other zones. Champaign is right on the border between north and south midland, which makes a lot of sense to me. I can distinctly remember being confused when people from my school had "southern sounding" accents. My stepdad is from Paris, IL (about 45 mins south of where I was born), and I thought his southern twang was really funny when I met him. In my experience, the central region is really torn about what city to "identify" with in some respects, and this might unconsciously impact language use in some manner. I think some central IL residents identify more with Chicago, some with St. Louie, some with southern IN and KY, some with Indy/Terre Haute, etc. I've observed the "Superfans"-ish Chicago dialect more here in Wisconsin than I ever did in IL. WI seems to be split between that and the more stereotypically MN Scandinavian-influenced accent.

I think geography plays a huge role in dialect, but culture does too (in kind of overlooked ways). In my experience, people who were proud of being a "redneck" were much more likely to have a twang. But a lot of central IL natives who don't have a twang sometimes pronounce certain words in a weird way...."wash" becomes "worsh", etc. I've always been a bookworm and into spelling, pronunciation, etc., so I've always been cognizant of word usage. And maybe that's why I have a "non-regional diction"? Hard to say, I guess. It could also have to do with not growing up with any sort of real ethnic identity, also. I can see dialect being very different if you were to live in a Polish section of Chicago versus a small town with a predominantly Norwegian populace in WI (or something else).
Thanks for that. I always find dialectical variatons among regions interesting.
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Old 04-07-2008, 02:42 PM
 
296 posts, read 768,573 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SixFive175 View Post
I flew back once from Cincinnati to Des Moines. Indiana and Illinois are very flat, but then suddenly the scenery below changes radically. Suddenly, below me was a forest and a huge lake. I knew I was flying over the Peoria area.

I live halfway up a 300 foot bluff on the east bank of the Illinois River, in E. Peoria. The hills around E. Peoria (and not just bordering the river) rise above the valley by 300 feet, sometimes 400 feet. They are STEEP.

I couldn't climb them, but I'm 60 years old. Even if I were 14, it would be dangerous to climb many of them.

The hills are heavily forested too. And houses near the top have fantastic views.

However, go 5 miles east or west of the Illinois River and, once gain, it becomes flat as Kansas. Drive east to Roanoke or Bloomington, and much of the drive looks even flatter and treeless than Iowa does: and that's saying something!

You also get high hills in other parts of the state: notably the NW corner, and the far south. You also get small hills near any decent river, with the accompanying forests.
I'll just throw a few comments in here. Yes, east of the Illinois River is largely flat. It was glaciated more recently, in the Wisconsinian Period of glaciation, while the Illinois Valley dates to the Illinoisian, a difference of some 100,000 years or so.

You are right, there are smaller wooded creek valleys interspersed on the former prairies; they're not as wide or deep as the Illinois because they've had much less time for exposure to erosionary forces.

As far as the bluffs, they are the most striking feature of the Peoria area and they are heavily wooded, perhaps too much so. If you look at pictures from even 100 years ago, the bluffs were much more open Oak type with more ground cover from grasses. Fire had traditionally burned off many of the seedlings, keeping an open understory.

In the 20th century we largely suppressed fire and we don't thin the understory, so now there are lots of maple saplings, no oak saplings and virtually no ground cover in the wooded bluff areas. The lack of ground cover is exacerbated by over-development on bluff rims, causing even more runoff from houses and businesses, and thus more erosion. Everybody wants a view, but at what price?

This means that our woodlands are changing. When the giant old oaks die off, they will replaced by sugar maples. Also. the lack of vegetative cover and steep ravines mean that erosion in the understory is a serious problem. This isn't hard to see.

This means that we have important decisions to make in "managing" the bluffs in terms of what comes next and how the future of Peoria's greatest asset will look. One thing is for sure, they are in a constant state of change.
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Old 04-07-2008, 10:24 PM
 
7 posts, read 18,970 times
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When i went to church camp last year we had the northern and southern Illinois camp groups meet up and have a big camp out there was about 500 of us well you could tell the differences in the two groups right away by dialect the wa they acted and so much more half of us had cubs stuff the rest had cardinals stuff on i am just saying northern illinois and southern illinois are like night and day
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Old 04-10-2008, 01:19 PM
 
5 posts, read 11,662 times
Reputation: 10
Default Relief Map

http://fermi.jhuapl.edu/states/maps1/il.gif

You can see from this map that the
Upper northwest of IL ---- Dubuque, IA and Galena, IL
The Western part near the Mississippi River ----- Quincy down towards Alton
& The southern part in the Shawnee Natl' Forest north of Cairo
Are the "hilliest" areas in IL.
Again "HILL" is relative in this state.

Elevations vary from 279ft near Cairo and the Mississippi River to Charles mound...(See we don't even call it a hill! ) in the north at 1,235ft.
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Old 04-10-2008, 01:34 PM
 
99 posts, read 992 times
Reputation: 16
Central Ill is probably the most boring area period.

It is just flat and nothing going on.

Drinking down I-55 is just a big bore after Joliet.

Yea southern Il is considered the deep south cuz of whats around it.

Rednecks bigtime down their.

I do like the comfort level downstate though, very nice people and good cooking.
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Old 04-10-2008, 02:37 PM
 
296 posts, read 768,573 times
Reputation: 121
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Bigman View Post
Central Ill is probably the most boring area period.

It is just flat and nothing going on.

Drinking down I-55 is just a big bore after Joliet.

Yea southern Il is considered the deep south cuz of whats around it.

Rednecks bigtime down their.

I do like the comfort level downstate though, very nice people and good cooking.
It is? Have you ever driven off the interstate? Sounds like you haven't.

Oh, I see, you we're drinking down I-55, that explains it.
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