"Livingston County Courthouse, Pontiac, Illinois" - Daily Photo - 01/02/13
One of my favorite buildings in Illinois all decked out for the holidays. President Theodore Roosevelt unveiled the Soldier's Monument (pictured) on June 3, 1903.
Pontiac is the county seat for Livingston. Founded in the 1830's, the city grew with access to the railroad, remaining a stop for Amtrak to this day, and road infrastructure including Route 66 and now Interstate 55. While distribution centers and other examples of economic diversification have been developed, since the late 1800's the city has been dependent on the Pontiac Correctional Center through local employment and associated spill-over benefits.
Then Governor Rod Blagojevich (we elected him twice remember) had proposed to close the Pontiac Correctional Center and President Barack Obama's administration was seeking to transfer Gitmo terrorists to a facility in Illinois with the current governor supporting the president. This led to a failed "Save Pontiac Prison" campaign and the closure process was initiated. However, state Senator Dan Rutherford paid a visit to the US Attorney's office and began publicly urging connected individuals in corrections and staff of the former governor to come forward with information about the decision to close the center at Pontiac. Well, the corrections center is now open, Blago received 14 years and the rest of the sordid story represents what we have come to expect from our politicians from Illinois.