The great prairie of central Illinois has undergone many dramatic changes during its long lifetime. When Abraham Lincoln arrived here in 1830, big bluestem grew upwards of ten feet, and the floor of the prairie was carpeted with an abundance of wildflowers. By the time he left for Washington in 1861, not a square inch of the unspoiled prairie remained. It had all been platted and sold.
A more recent period of change was marked by the creation of Lake Shelbyville in 1970, followed by many changes in infrastructure, housing patterns, medical facilities, schools, retail outlets, and restaurants. Using many interesting examples from Shelbyville and the surrounding county, Dan Guillory will show how the prairie is not only our home but a powerful presence that defines how we live and who we are. Guillory is the author of “The Lincoln Poems” (2008) and, more recently, “The Prairie: Then and Now (2019).”
He will appear at the Lake Shelbyville Visitors Center on Aug. 31 at 1 p.m.