The marker is located in Meredosia, in Boyd Park, which is on the south side of IL Route 104, just east of the approach to the bridge over the Illinois River.
Meredosia Area Historical and Genealogical Society and The Illinois State Historical Society
Legend has it that the name "Meredosia" comes from the French word for lake, "mere" and the name of the first white man to live in the area, a French priest named Antoine D'Osia. Another legend is that the willows along the lake shore were called "osiers" by the French or "Lake of the Willows."
The Illinois River made the village an important commercial center. Early transportation was by means of canoe or keel boat. Steamboats began coming to Meredosia in 1826 and were an important factor in organizing the village in 1832. Access to the ports of the world made the Kappal Brothers Fur Company the Midwest's second largest with over one-half million dollars in furs shipped to Russia and England annually. The Kappal buildings are still in use in the downtown section.
The Skinner Bandstand located in Boyd Park memorializes Meredosia's most famous son. Frank Skinner, famous as a composer, arranger, and director of musical scores for over 500 motion pictures, played and directed at this bandstand regularly in his youth in the 1910's.
The first steam locomotive west of the Allegheny Mountains was built in Meredosia. The "Northern Cross", which became the mighty Wabash Railroad, began on November 8, 1838 when an experimental steam locomotive, the "Rogers", took its initial journey. "Shellers" worked the river daily supplying their catch to three local button factories. The Wilbur E. Boyd Button Factory was the last independent "pearl" button factory in the U.S., ceasing operations in 1948.
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