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Ben Franklin and Broom.

Ben Franklin and Broom

Field review by the editors.

Arcola, Illinois

Arcola once called itself the "Broom Corn Capital of the World." Legend has it that Founding Father Benjamin Franklin was the person who brought broom corn from France to the U.S., so in 2022 the town unveiled a bronze statue of Franklin, lost in smart-person thought, leaning on a broom. It was sculpted by Jerry McKenna, who also created the town's Raggedy Ann and Andy statues.

An accompanying sign acknowledges the flimsiness of having a bronze Ben-and-broom in Arcola, since there's no proof that Franklin had anything to do with broom corn, and he'd been dead for decades before Illinois even became a state. Nevertheless, the plaque goes on to craft a speech for this "man of vision" in which he foresees "an amazing community" that plants so much broom corn that it becomes the Broom Corn Capital of the World. "This community shall be called Arcola."

We can't recall any other town that has so boldly paired a famous historical figure with an alternative history to suit its needs. We like it.

Ben Franklin and Broom

135 N. Oak St., Arcola, IL
Downtown, on the west side of N. Oak St., midway between E. Main and E. Jefferson Sts, in front of the old railroad depot.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

One and Only Hippie MemorialOne and Only Hippie Memorial, Arcola, IL - < 1 mi.
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In the region:
Minions in Metal, Newton, IL - 48 mi.

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