Johnson City, Illinois, started out as a railroad stop along the Chicago, Paducah, and Memphis Railroad in 1894. However, during the 19th and 20th centuries, it was primarily known as a coal mining town until the 1960s when safety issues at the mines caused a decline in the number of coal miners. An original Stuckey’s in Johnston City, IL Today, this charming mid-western town is known as the gateway to the fast-growing Southern Illinois Wine Country with over 30 wineries and breweries you can enjoy within an hour’s drive of the city. It’s also home to one of the handful of original Stuckey’s locations you can still find in America. So the next time you’re in Southern Illinois, be sure to stop by, check out the iconic slope of that roof and grab a few Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls for the ride ahead as you check out some of these things to see and do near Stuckey’s Johnston City: Golf Ball and Tee Water Tower / Rend Lake, IL Photo by Will Porada on Unsplash Located at Rend Lake Golf Complex, this roadside attraction is exactly what it says it is – a water tower that looks like a golf ball sitting atop a tee. So, whether you’re an amateur duffer or visiting unusually painted water towers is your road trip thing, everybody’s sure to want to get a selfie with this local landmark while they’re in the area. Benton’s Favorite Beatle / Benton, IL In March 1963, Louise Harrison Caldwell and her husband traded in life in the United Kingdom for life in the United States. Mr. Caldwell was a coal mining engineer in Scotland who was offered a job in Benton, Illinois, so the couple took them up on their offer. A little while after they settled in, Louise was visited by her brothers, Peter and George for two weeks in September of 1963. Though nobody in Benton really knew or paid much attention to the young George Harrison back then, a year later in 1964, he and three other lads from Liverpool, England who called themselves the Beatles would come back to America, and it seemed everybody in the country knew who George Harrison was then thanks to Beatlemania. Nonetheless, that 1963 visit would make George Harrison the first Beatle to step foot in America. Image courtesy the City of Benton Nearly 60 years later, the town of Benton still hasn’t forgotten George Harrison, that’s for sure. Here you can take a picture next to a giant 3-D stand up cut-out of George and a handful of screaming female fans created by California artist John Cerney. It stands out in front of Benton Municipal Airport on Airport Lane. In the town of Benton itself you can find the “First Beatle Marker” where you can find all about George’s visit. While you’re downtown, you can check out some George Harrison artifacts at the 1905 Franklin County Jail Museum. Other exhibits non-Beatles related at the museum include those of hometown actor John Malkovich, and the last man ever to be hung in Illinois, Charlie Birger complete with replica noose and gallows. Big John Grocery Guy / Eldorado, IL Image Stephanie Stuckey/Stuckey’s Corp. We’ve talked about Big John before here on the Stuckey’s Pecan Blog. For around 60 years, this cousin to the muffler man has stood outside of various Big John’s Supermarkets throughout southern Illinois. Since you’re this close, why not get up close and personal and take a selfie with one of the last few remaining Big Johns in the country located here in Eldorado. King Neptune Memorial / Anna, IL Image by Eric Crowley, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons It’s got to be said – King Neptune was a real pig – and from 1942 to 1950, he was also the mascot of the United States Navy. When Navy recruiter Don Lingle was given a little piglet in 1942, he saw potential in the little porker and had an idea on just how he could use him to really bring home some bacon. Dubbed “King Neptune”, Lingle would bring out the pig dressed in a navy blue robe, a gold crown made by an Illinois women’s club, silver earrings, and painted toenails during war bond rallies. King Neptune would then be sold to the highest bidder who always returned him out of patriotic duty. Over the course of WWII, King Neptune raised over $19 million dollars in war bonds. King Neptune would unfortunately pass away in 1950. However, instead of having a community barbecue where everybody got together for some pulled pork, the porcine patriot was buried in a roadside pull off on Illinois’ Route 146. You can still pay your respects to him today at a marker which sings the pig’s praises. Buckminster Fuller Dome Home / Carbondale, IL Image by Communityhelper1000 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, For 11 years, R. Buckminster Fuller lived in a geodesic dome here in Carbondale while he taught at Southern Illinois University from 1960 to 1971. And why wouldn’t he? After all as a prolific architect and engineer, he invented it. While he lived in what was one of the first dome homes to be built in the country, he would be awarded nine patents and publish 11 books that popularized the geodesic dome home as a building design In fact, he even designed the Montreal Biosphere which housed the US Pavilion at Expo ’67 in Montreal. Today, the R. Buckminster Fuller and Anne Hewlett Dome Home that sits at 407 S. Forest Avenue in Carbondale is part of the Fuller Dome project, a non-profit organization whose goal it is to honor Fuller’s legacy by further his work and commitment in addressing the basic needs of all mankind. So, there you have just a handful of the things that you can see and do near the Stuckey’s in Johnston City, Illinois. However, believe us when we say that there are plenty more things to see and do here in the Prairie State. — You don’t have to wait until your next visit to the Land of Lincoln to pick up some logs. Stock up now on Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls and more for your next road trip with our “Welcome Spring” Gift Box. It has all of the pecany goodness you’ve come to expect from Stuckey’s including: 2 – 2 oz. Pecan Log Roll, 2- 1.7 oz. Pecan Divinity, 2 – 1.5 oz. Pecan Pralines, 1 – 12 oz. Salt Water Taffy, 1 – 8 oz. Hunkey Dorey, 1 – 4 oz. Sea Salt Pecans, 1 – 4 oz. Kettle Glazed Pecans, 1 – Candy Shoppe Coffee Mug and 1 – Plush 12″ Squirrel Browse our website at www.stuckeys.com for more! Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!