Use the slider to compare the photos

This aerial view of Brodhead was taken sometime in the late 1930s.

It's easy to find your bearings because of the mill race, the waterway in the upper left-hand corner of the photo.

The mill race was an early example of economic development.

The city fathers wanted to get the operators of a flour and feed mill in Decatur, Illinois, to set up in Brodhead, according to a history of the area on the Brodhead Historical Society's website.

But they didn't have a source for water power, so they decided to dig a mill race 3.5 miles long and 80 feet wide. Keep in mind that this was in the early 1860s, and much of that work was done by hand.

Money for the project was raised by subscription, with "many citizens contributing a day's labor," according to the history.

In 1862, with the work only two-thirds done, the city ran out of money.

Two brother then invested money in the project. Instead of using tax-increment financing districts or government loans, the city raised the rest through benefit dinners and dances, according to the history.

The flour mill opened in 1863.

The northern end of the mill race is now home to the municipal pool and a quiet park filled with old oaks.

The buildings on Exchange Street, which starts at the water tower and runs east, are still intact.

The church in the lower right-hand corner of the photo is now the Church of the Nazarene. The building started its life as a Methodist church, according to the Brodhead Historical Society.

+1 
180716_BROD01

An aerial view of downtown Brodhead believed to have been taken in the late 1930s.

+1 
180716_BROD02

An aerial view of downtown Brodhead taken on July 6, 2018.

GazetteXtra.com does not condone or review every comment. Read more in our Commenter Policy Agreement

  • Keep it clean. Comments that are obscene, vulgar or sexually oriented will be removed. Creative spelling of such terms or implied use of such language is banned, also.
  • Don't threaten to hurt or kill anyone.
  • Be nice. No racism, sexism or any other sort of -ism that degrades another person.
  • Harassing comments. If you are the subject of a harassing comment or personal attack by another user, do not respond in-kind. Use the "Report comment abuse" link below to report offensive comments.
  • Share what you know. Give us your eyewitness accounts, background, observations and history.
  • Do not libel anyone. Libel is writing something false about someone that damages that person's reputation.
  • Ask questions. What more do you want to know about the story?
  • Stay focused. Keep on the story's topic.
  • Help us get it right. If you spot a factual error or misspelling, email newsroom@gazettextra.com or call 1-800-362-6712.
  • Remember, this is our site. We set the rules, and we reserve the right to remove any comments that we deem inappropriate.

Report comment abuse