Where everyone knows your name....
Try eating a full stack of pancakes...I dare you.
It's a town unnoticeably absent from some maps, victim of what demographists define as rural flight, although the level of
population exodus has been tempered by the simple fact that there weren't many people there to begin with. In its best
days, Stockland was a thriving agricultural hamlet in Eastern Illinois, about 100 miles south of Chicago near the Indiana
border. When the Baby Boomer generation swelled the 50-square-mile township's population to nearly 750 inhabitants
in the mid-1950's, the town was capable of supplying most of a person's daily needs. Its grain elevator supported the
local economy and its schools educated its children. Positioned just below the geographical center of the township,
Stockland was the social hub of the farm families surrounding it.

Today the farm operators are fewer, the schools are gone and the Chicago & Eastern Illinois railroad, once the outline
of the southern boundary of the town, had its tracks pulled up so long ago that only a keen eye could find any evidence
of its prior existence. Stockland's status as the township's social epicenter was on a serious decline in the initial years of
the U.S. farm crisis of the early 1980's until Ed Bertram, owner of the town's lumber yard and hardware store, took an
old trailer home, turned it into a coffee shop and put his wife in charge of running it. "The Restaurant", as it was (and still
is) known in my family, quickly became the primary gathering place for exchange of information, country gossip and
good food.

After the Bertram's retired, local residents Jim and Donna Mowrey took over, operating the coffee shop through the end
of 1997. The article below appeared in the Kankakee Daily Journal on March 26, 1998, shortly after The Restaurant
re-opened under new ownership - 25 members of the Stockland community, each a stockholder of Stockland Cafe, Inc.
Check out these 1955 maps of Stockland Township:

North half
South half
{right-click and choose "Save Target As" to see full view}
All newspaper articles
and photos reprinted
with no permission
How 'bout a 1928 plat
map of Iroquois County?

Plat Map 1928

(right-click; save-as)
8MB file size)