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Songs and Stories
     March 11, 2019      #94-70 SsK

Looking Back: Kankakee's Historic Van Meter

By Jack Klasey

One of Kankakee’s most historic buildings stood for 104 years on the southwest corner of Fourth Avenue and Oak Street. It was demolished in 1957; today, the site only bears the paint-striped spaces of a seldom-used parking lot.

Construction of the original two-story building, with 20-inch-thick stone walls, was begun in early 1853. At that time, there was not yet a town here: the tracks of the Illinois Central reached the site of what would become Kankakee on July 4, 1853. The building was being erected by Thomas Van Meter, who had settled in this area some time between 1835 and 1840, while it was still part of Will ...

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Jack Klasey
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