|1968 Stephenson County plat map - Espenscheid owns approx. 660 acres.
|1971 Stephenson County plat map - Espenscheid owns 1,114 acres.
|1977 Stephenson County plat map - Espenscheid owns approx. 1,455 acres.
|1977 Stephenson County plat map - Espenscheid owns 1,449 acres.
|1980 Stephenson County plat map - Espenscheid owns 1,536 acres.
|Left: Harry "Espy" Espenscheid's Dartmouth yearbook photo. His post-graduate
travels on a bicycle were highlighted in the Dartmouth alumni magazine, as well
as Adventure Cyclist magazine. One of his travel partners, Fred Birchmore, wrote
"Around the World on a Bicycle" which described his adventures with Harry.
|Left: Espenscheid Park in Danville, Illinois. Harry developed
Alzheimer's disease late in his life, but gave generously to the
communities in which he lived. In his 2011 obituary, his family
asked not for flowers, but for donations to "your favorite
|Right: We wonder if this feasibility study had anything to do with Harry's land purchases in Rock
Run Township. We don't know exactly what location the Illinois Department of Conservation had in
mind for a conservation lake, but if another Lake Le-Aqua-Na was their goal, then a dam at the site
of the old Davis Mill would have made the most sense.
After this bill was signed in November 1971, Harry bought land further upstream Rock Run Creek.
By the time he was finished, he owned what was perhaps the most important piece of land for a
state park: the timber property which is now the Espenscheid Woods forest preserve. Like the
Davis Mill builders, the Illinois Department of Conversation probably would have preferred to build
a dam where the earth had already done most of the work for them.
Whether Harry bought more land along Rock Run Creek to protect it from the State of Illinois or
profit by selling it for a state park is unclear. Either way, the state park never happened, and the
Espensheid's ultimately left their legacy by donating the prettiest piece of their land holdings for
the enjoyment of the public.
|Left: This photo of Harry Espensheid in Mongolia was used to promote
a speaking engagement in Decatur in 1938. His world travels took him
to China and Mongolia in the summer of 1937. He was able to exit Asia
just as Japan was invading those two countries.