"WHERE IS BROCTON"
A fellow has a lot of pride about his old hometown. My hometown is Brocton, and I dare anyone to live there a few years, work and play with the people, drink the good water from its wells, eat the good cookin', visit with the neighbors under the shade trees, and you will think of it with pride.
Frequently, when I have been away I have been asked, "Where is Brocton?" Now that hurts my pride for someone not to know about this place that means so much to me. So I tell them, You can't get there very easily from here, but once you are there, you can go anywhere because it is the center of the great Midwest. First, it's ten miles to four similar villages- Redmon, Hume, Oakland and Newman. But if you want to go to a larger town, you can go any one of three directions and you'll find the county seats of three counties: For example, twenty miles southeast will bring you to Paris, county seat of Edgar County; twenty miles northwest will bring you to Tuscola, county seat of Douglas County; twenty miles southwest will bring you to Charleston, county seat of Coles County.
But there's still more: forty miles southeast will bring you to Terre Haute, forty miles northwest will take you to Champaign, and forty miles northeast will take you to Danville. But most important, 100 miles west will bring you to Springfield, capital of Illinois; 100 miles east will take you to Indianapolis, capital of Indiana, Still more- 160 miles north you'll be in Chicago, the same distance southwest, you'll be in St. Louis, the same distance as a crow flies to the southeast and you'll be in Louisville, Kentucky.
As I say, it's hard to get to Brocton, but once you're there you can go anyplace from there, but most important, it's a lovely little town to be in.
- I.N. Coolley Jr.
Reprinted from Brocton- A Prairie Village, 1976