Features - 30
The Pecatonica River as viewed from the Torstenson Family Youth Conservation and Education Center, near Pecatonica, Ill. (Mark Blassage photo)
Our Slow, Crooked, Wild Pecatonica River

From its start in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin to its connection with the Rock River near Rockton, Ill., the muddy Pec offers sanctuary to unique wildlife. Jim Johannsen looks at the features that distinguish this river.

This 1838 Mitchell Pocket Map map illustrates how the frontier grew from south to the north in Illinois. Statehood was achieved in 1818. Dixon and Oregon were founded in 1830 and 1833. Note the areas still marked simply “Sauks and Foxes” to the northeast.
Lee & Ogle Counties: When We Were the West

Sure, you know about the Wild West of the Gold Rush, but long before that, settlers found plenty of adventure here, in Illinois. Janine Pumilia explores how our area developed when only animals and flatboats carried goods across the river.






Gambrel-roofed barn in Rock County, Wis. (Jon McGinty photo)
The Heritage of Barns

Does any symbol represent the Midwest better than barns? From gable to gambrel roof, and monitor to salt box shape, Jon McGinty treks through southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois to find these disappearing landmarks.






On the set of Shawn Ryan’s newest TV show, “Last Resort,” starring Andre Braugher and Scott Speedman. It will debut this fall on ABC.  (Photo courtesy of ABC)
Shawn Ryan: Still Loyal to His Hometown

You’ve probably watched TV shows Shawn Ryan has written or produced, like “The Chicago Code” and “Lie to Me.” As Rockford’s native son debuts his latest project, find out how his time in Rockford still impacts his writing.






Watch dragon boats race on the Mississippi River during the 25th annual Dragon Boat Festival in Dubuque, Sept. 7-9, hosted by the Dubuque Dragon Boat Association. (Dubuque Chamber of Commerce photo)
Exploring Our Northwest, in Dubuque, Galena and Carroll County

It’s remarkable how far from home we feel when vacationing in our tri-state area. Karla Nagy explores the spirit of these historic towns, and the sheer number of interesting activities they offer this summer.