Tyson and Billy Architects

Visiting Danville, IL

Last week a day trip took me to Danville, IL for a mid morning meeting. Although to most, leaving home at 4:45 am to make a meeting is not the most enticing prospect, I personally was excited to be driving to Danville.

And coffee helped. Lots and lots of coffee.

I have become very familiar with Danville over the last 8 years as my father-in-law relocated here for work for a few years. My husband and I have spent many weekends in transit to and from Danville to be with family and enjoy this beautiful little city.

I learned to water ski on this lake. I am sure the locals still talk about the crazy brunette who screamed her way across the lake. Apparently I was not very quiet during this learning process ... in my defense I was positive they could hear me in the boat so I yelled "feedback" the entire time. I will boast I got out of the water on the second try and stayed up for a long time before I caught another boat's wake and promptly face planted with much aplomb.

I had some "feedback" after that event!

Gorgeous lake that - thanks to our readers - was originally the town of Denmark that was flooded to create Lake Vermilion. Now Denmark Road crosses the lake. Denmark remains infamously know for their saloons and drunken street brawls. Not all reputations can be put away with a little flooding.

The evidence of this industrial boom is in the beautiful and unique architecture.  I cannot speak to the specific architectural influences in Danville, but they are wonderfully varied.

Gorgeous church. This is the first picture I took when I arrived. Found my meeting location and then rerouted back to snap these pictures.

I have found that many booming industrial cities from the late 1800s to mid 1900s have expansive architectural influences. Railroads primarily connected these major industrial cities, and with the ease of travel and accessibility they became a beautiful melting pot of styles.

So stoically traditional.

Fantastic murals around the downtown area depicting Danville's history.

What a great idea for a city to illustrate their roots and historical events.

This building is in process of being renovated into apartments I believe.

I alerted the construction crew while taking these pictures. I parked across the street and took about 10 pictures of this building with the zoom lens all the way out waiting for the crew to get out of the picture frame.

There was a handful of the crew standing there staring back at me, and someone started to approach me across the street.

What did I do? Oh, just completely panicked.

I jumped back into the car and made tracks.  I don't know why this scared me. Probably this person was very friendly, or maybe they weren't even walking towards me - I was in a parking lot after all. But the car was there - door open, engine running - so I sped away with slightly shaking hands. I am such a pansy!

YWCA Building:

I want to live here. What a amazing house!

Once again, parked and walked to take pictures and a very concerned citizen started yelling at me from their porch. After having a heart attack where I stood,  I waved back and yelled:
"I'm with an architect! It's okay!"

It totally worked … they waved and went back inside. I narrowly missed being accosted by the neighborhood watch!

I did find, however, my new phrase to remove myself from impending danger. I think it was following it up by " It's okay!" that worked. I soothed the angry porch bear. Whew!

Continuing this theme, while driving out of town, I saw this antique wagon in someone's yard.

FYI, outside of town you do not need to post "beware of dog" signs.

A pair of dogs found me very interesting and about the time I was considering changing angles to remove the parked cars in the background … the dogs said "no way".

The scene following this declarative statement made by the dogs proved I can and will run across gravel at top speed in high heels.

It's one of my many talents.

Not only did I get the picture, but made it to the car in record time. Thanks to my earlier experience - door open, engine running is the best way to go. I am showing this picture with the background as my own personal badge of honor. I earned it.

So back to more pictures that did not invoke my flight or flight response … more murals. Such wonderful, wonderful murals.

Read the description! So interesting.

Danville trivia: What were the two runner up names for Danville?

Times up! (I know you blog readers skim anyway!)

Answer: "Williamsburg" and "Williamstown"

Celebrities of Danville:

Why? "Williamsburg" and "Williamstown"?  Amos Williams was a prominent member of the then unnamed Danville who opened the first Danville post office in his home. Amos Williams was also the organizer of Vermilion and Edgar Counties.

(Thank you Wikipedia ...I love trivia!)

Uncle Joe Cannon a.k.a the Iron Duke of Congress.  (Best "a.k.a" title ever.)

What a claim to fame. First cover subject of Time Magazine in 1923!

Amazing colors on this brick wall!

His biography describes him as "Tough, smart and profane… among the most powerful Speakers ever. A bred-in-the-bone Republican from Illinois, he was first elected to the House in 1872 …and served a total of 46 years."

Follow this link to read Time Magazine's bio on this extraordinary man.
I love the opening quote of this article. My kind of guy.

Another famous face, but no background story needed for him.

Fantastic old factory: They produced over 300,000 jackets for WWII army personnel.

I am so fascinated by WWII history and the incredible American workforce that went in to the war effort.

Faded brick murals are my favorite. Such amazing colors.

So many terrific things to see and visit in this city.

From their incredible architecture …

and distinguished buildings…

To the picturesque drive that crosses the lake …

... what a captivating city!

Danville is such a wonderful place to visit. Even though Danville is technically central Illinois, they definitely can boast to having Southern Charm that invites you to spend a afternoon, a day, a week and explore this city. I was wishing I had more time to wander downtown and find the rest of those incredible murals.

Visit the City of Danville's Website for more:

Resources for this Blog:

Wikipedia ~ Danville, IL

Time Magazine

~ Kelly

We've had some kind corrections since this original post.

Thank you to our readers and comment contributors ~ we have correctly relabeled the YWCA building and identified the origin of Lake Vermillion.

We immensely appreciate your time to read and provide feedback.

~ Kelly (12/7/11)


Lori’s Recipe Corner – Summertime Fresh Strawberry Pie

A note from our resident culinary guru:  "One of my all time favorite desserts  and pies to take to family gatherings."

Summertime Fresh Strawberry Pie


2 (8 inch) pie shells, baked
2 1/2 quarts fresh strawberries
1 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 cup boiling water
1 (3 ounce) package strawberry flavored gelatin


1. In a saucepan, mix together the sugar and corn starch; make sure to blend corn starch in completely. Add boiling water, and cook over medium heat until mixture thickens. Remove from heat. Add gelatin mix, and stir until smooth. Let mixture cool to room temperature.

2. Place strawberries in baked pie shells; position berries with points facing up. Pour cooled gel mixture over strawberries.

3. Refrigerate until set. Serve with whipped cream, if desired.


June 18th: National Hollerin’ Contest Day

To those of you needing a occasion outside of Father's Days to celebrate this weekend … look no farther than National Hollerin' Contest Day this coming Saturday, June 18th.




Porch Holler Contest




No, this is not a national holiday, but the residents of Spivey’s Corner, North Carolina think it should be.

Since 1969 Spivey's Corner, population 49, swells to 5,000 to 10,000 as hollerin' hopefuls flock to enter their ... well ... to enter a hollerin' contest of course!


Lez Bromfield and his wife Lynell enjoy their first ever Hollerin' Contest.




During the course of this daylong event contestants pit their hollerin' skills in hopes to triumph over the competition in four categories: distress, functional, communicative, or pleasure.



Jessica Rogers of Godwin, NC participates in the
Ladies Callin' Contest.



I am thoroughly charmed by this event, and to those non-hollers I recommend still showing up for purportedly the best barbeque in Eastern North Carolina and enjoy the show.

Additional events include: conch shell blowing, a greasy poll climb, and games of corn hole.

If you have unusually strong hands can compete to hold on to a greased watermelon while local firemen try to knock it from your hands.


Karly Thorton, 11, left, and Randie Autry, 8, wait for the judges to make their decisions so they can hand out trophies after the Ladies Callin' Contest.



Here's a little history courtesy of:

"Hollerin' is considered by some to be the earliest form of communication between humans. It is a traditional form of communication used in rural areas before the days of telecommunications to convey long-distance messages. Evidence of hollerin', or derivations thereof such as yodeling or hunting cries, exists worldwide among many early peoples and is still be practiced in certain societies of the modern world."



Trophies waiting to be handed out.




"Each culture used or uses hollers differently, although almost all cultures have specific hollers meant to convey warning or distress."


The judges debate the skills of the hollerers.



Although it might be too late for a plane ticket, surely you can join them in your heart.

Or barring both those … search them on YouTube. I guarantee you will not be disappointed. I for one nearly fell off my chair after watching this video, and - Oh my! -  I wish I knew this man. What a jewel!

Follow the link or click the picture:








More Information:
The festival is held at the Fire Department on Hwy 13 one block from Hwy 421.
To Contact, call (910) 567-2600 or visit http://www.hollerincontest.com/index.html



Karley Thorton, 11,  of Clinton, NC hollers her sisters name and wins runner up in the Junior Hollerin' contest.




Sources for this blog:


Have a great National Hollerin' Contest Day and Father's Day this Weekend!

~ Kelly


A Flag Day Reflection

In honor of Flag Day today … a little history, a lot of reflection, and beautiful pictures.

History … because I did not know most of this and thought I'd share:

"On June 14th, 1885, Bernard J. Cigrand, a 19 year old teacher at Stony Hill School, placed a 10 inch, 38- star flag in a bottle on his desk then assigned essays on the flag and its significance. This observance, commemorated Congresses adoption of the Stars and Stripes as the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777. This observance was also the beginning of Cigrand’s long years of fervent and devoted effort to bring about national recognition and observance of Flag Day. The crowning achievement of his life came at age fifty when President Wilson, on May 30, 1916, issued a proclamation calling for a nation wide observance of Flag Day. Then in 1949, President Truman signed an Act Of Congress designating the 14th day of June every year as National Flag Day."

Please visit http://www.nationalflagday.com/default.asp for this source and to learn more about Flag Day from The National Flag Day Foundation.

















As the granddaughter of a World War II Pacific Ocean Theatre Marine, I would be remiss to not recognize the significance of our American Flag, and those that protect the Freedom our Flag represents.

I have a very specific memory of my grandfather ceremoniously hanging his Flag out for the 4th of July. He and my grandmother both participated in this, and stood for a few moments watching the Flag billow out in the breeze.

As a teenager I did not understand this collective pause or the true meaning behind our conversation of Flag protocol that day. I remember his seriousness in explaining to me these do's and don'ts, and his intentness to explain each step to me.

How very, very much our Flag meant to this Marine who defended the freedom I know today during the peak of WWII in the Solomon Islands.

His is a legacy I am so very proud of and am grateful for the memories of his lifetime honor of the Flag he fought to protect.

Marine Raiders on Cape Totkina on Bougainville, Solomon Islands  January 1944

In honor of Flag Day a very heartfelt thank you to the men and women who protect our country from both Foreign and Domestic threat.
















11th MEU in San Francisco:
















To those that have fallen in pursuit of protecting our freedom, I will leave it to the words of Ronald Regan to do their memory and my gratitude justice:

"Each generation goes further than the generation preceding it because it stands on the shoulders of that generation. You will have opportunities beyond anything we've ever known. "

"Flags In"
















To those that sacrifice their time with their families, and to the families of those that serve ~ we will forever be indebted to you for each moment we enjoy with ours.

Chief Petty Officer Joseph Stevenson hugs his daughters goodbye.
















Matthew Sandlin, holds his newborn daughter for the first time after  being underway for six months aboard.
















Sgt. Shawn M. Ruble plays with his daughter before departing to the ships of Bataan Amphibious Ready Group.

And lastly, to those that have and are right now actively fighting to protect our Flag and the Freedom it represents ~ A thousand times thank you.

" On the Run With Stars and Stripes"


Memorial Service:

" America’s Battalion Honors Fallen Marine6"

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.
~ Ronald Regan

Please select the images within this blog for photo credits and descriptions.
To see more of these amazing photos as seen in this blog, visit DVID SHUB's Defense Video & Imagery Distribution System:
Photstrearm on Flickr here: http://www.flickr.com/people/dvids/
Website: http://www.dvidshub.net/

~ Kelly


Enchanted with Rock Island

Beginning our new section of "Tyson & Billy Travels" we will be updating you as to where in the world we are at when we're not chained to our desks.

A multi-tasking trip yesterday landed me in Rock Island for a meeting and quick stop to check the construction progress for one of our interior renovation projects.

A capricious detour took me across the road from our project, thinking I would grab a few pictures of the river on this hazy summer day and be on my way.

What I found myself doing instead was wandering through a gorgeous park and being taught a very valuable lesson of the vital role of our built environments in establishing a sense of community.

Heading towards the river I found unfolding in front of me a unexpected delight.

Gorgeous landscaping, interesting statues, and pockets of seating to invite you to sit down and take in the view.

The design of this park is so well done. The use of landscaping to frame the view or lead your eye to the river were stunningly executed!

View of River:


Across the River:

What this Park taught me about Community:

As architects and designers we are always striving to create and enhance a sense of community and connection to those around us through our built environments.

A sense of belonging and investment in our surroundings is so vital to establishing and sustaining a community.

In architecture & design we assign phrases to this ideology such as "socially conscious" or "community minded". What does this mean, exactly? Well, a walk through this park taught me exactly what that is and my responsibility in carrying this lesson over into my design work.

The epicenter of activity - the playground and the water fountains.

What an amazing moment where you can glance around and see a gentleman in a three piece suit with his lunch, and a child in a swimsuit enjoying the same beautiful summer weather.

Lesson 1:

A mom holding a thoroughly wet and happy toddler passed a couple walking by holding hands. They stopped exchanged casual words, laughed together, and continued on their way. The mom and toddler to their car and the couple into the park.

I thought to myself  - when was the last time I noticed two strangers pause and share such a simple moment? I don't remember. It struck me as sad that these people sharing a comment and a smile made me stop and reflect on why this just happened.

The last time someone I did not know approached me in a public place, I had a death grip on the pepper spray in my purse ready to hose down this unsuspecting person. The situation ended up being innocuous, but I was prepared to protect myself and felt foolish and edgy when we parted ways.

Hence my collective pause in watching this mom and this couple interact. In a society where it can be perceived as rude to abruptly engage someone random in a conversation, or for some (my paranoid self included) even dangerous.

What a special moment to observe how casually these three strangers came together and parted ways. Did they even realize they are not the norm!? How lucky they are to have this place to feel completely safe and at ease so they can just enjoy a shared afternoon.

Lesson 2:

Still pondering this, I made my way over to the playground and loved the interaction and scenarios being executed here.  A little girl perched up on the monkey bars was being "rescued" by a little boy who was convinced she was stuck up there by some great evil. "Hurry before the bad guys come!"
Hurry indeed. What a magical moment when children can interact joined together by the fun a playground brings.

Lesson 3:

A mom pushing her little baby on the swing resulted in huge belly laughs from her daughter. I commented to the mom on how it was impossible not to smile around that laughter, and found myself engaged in conversation with her and another mom whose older children were elsewhere on the playground. The three of us stood united for a handful of minutes sharing the simple joy of laughter from a child on a swing.

In my opinion, this was community.

This elusive concept we designers sit behind our desk and ponder over...how do we connect these people? How does our design give them a sense of investment in their surroundings? How do we design a venue for them in which to interact and establish their belonging and connectivity?

What better way to learn than from those that have already successfully achieved.

A beautifully designed and maintained park bringing strangers together on a balmy afternoon sharing this capricious summer moment with each other. In this environment, you are remiss not to smile at those you pass and share a greeting with those others around you.
Such a simple thing that I know is not a part of my everyday life. I clutch concealed pepper spray and wait for danger to present itself. Geesh. OCD-paranoid, much?

I want to live here! I want to have the view of this park from my balcony! I want to be a part of this community! All this in under 12 minutes of walking through a park.

What a wonderful, wonderful testament to the designers and the laborers who created this park.

On my way out I passed this beautiful family heading into the park. These two little girls in their coordinating pink sun dresses holding hands were so cute!

And check out that mohawk on the boy! And yes, he narrowly missed a head-on collision with that wall. Look where you are going sonny!

Where is this wondrous place you ask?









(Thank you publicrecords.onlinesearches.com for the image.)

Plaque at the Park:

Important lessons from Community aside... Hats off to Rock Island for their beautiful city. I was and am thoroughly enchanted with this place.

Here's a few other images I took.

These art installation are on handful of buildings. What a brilliant idea.

There is a dumpster below the installation of this art that I did not notice until going back through these pictures. I fell victim to my own design credo  - if you cannot change something unpleasant -  distract, distract, distract!

Such color inspiration here! Love the bold blue and yellow standing out in the background. Check out that ivy on the side of the red brick. I LOVE it when people let ivy grow on brick. I know - bad for the brick! - blah, blah. But it's SO pretty.

Blues Brothers:

Another great mural ... more colors to love.

Yes, this is a cropped picture. The bottom half of the picture is the car window =)

Row of shops down town.

It is not an exaggeration to say I typically do not drive anywhere without getting lost. So, I ended up, briefly, in Iowa. Lucky me, because I found this fantastic railroad bridge, took a picture, got honked at, and got back to being frazzled and lost.

Look at that lumber! Oh the furniture I could design and make by reclaiming this.

Please do not alert Iowa. I have no intention of "reclaiming" their railroad ties and supports.
But Oh! What wonderful possibilities.

To learn more about Rock Island, Illinois please visit their website: http://www.rigov.org/.

I hope you visit there, as I know I will be back to enjoy more of what this community has to offer!

~ Kelly