Staunton, IL Landmarks
Henry’s Rabbit Ranch
Located on Historic Old Route 66 in Staunton, Henry’s Rabbit Ranch is a unique Route 66 Tourist attraction, information center and gift shop. Henry’s Rabbit Ranch looks like a real, classic filling stations once found all along Route 66. During a visit to the ranch, visitors can view the emporium of highway and trucking memorabilia and meet Montana, a special Route 66 ambassador of the bunny rabbit kind.
Henry’s Rabbit Ranch is usually open Monday-Friday form 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.;
Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and by chance on Sunday. To learn more visit:
During the "Gay 1890's" when bicycling was the new rage, people rode out to Double Arch on a dirt road to picnic and view the animals at a small local zoo overlooking the arches. This provided a lovely picnic site to play games along Silver Creek which flowed under one railroad arch and the dirt road the other*. Silver Creek earlier was part of the Underground Railroad route for slaves fleeing Missouri to Jacksonville on their way north to Canada and freedom**. Silver Creek in Staunton Township is thought to be the location of the first white settler in southern Macoupin County. The four railroads stopped at Binney Station in Binney, Il. which people rode to the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, Mo. and used to carry milk and farm products to markets.
(1) now Double Arch Rd 4&1/2 miles off Interstate 55 at
Exit 41 East. Turn south on the frontage road which is Double Arch Rd.
* Staunton in Illinois by Mary Dorrell Kilduff Dec 30, 1988
** The Undergound Railroad In Illinois (Newman Educational Publishing Co. 2001) by Glennette Tilley Turner
old photo used with permission by Walter Haase, Staunton Star Times.
new photo used with permission by Richard Their, Covington, La.
Dr. John P. Binney House
In an era when people were still building log cabins, a wealthy silver and cutlery merchant from Sheffield, England built the Dr. John Binney house.
In 1843 John Binney sent young Dr. John Binney (1819 - 1892) his oldest son money to build a country home away from St. Louis to escape the cholera epidemic, using the same floorplan of their country home in Yorkshire, England. Unfortunately, John Binney Sr. died January 1, 1846 and never saw the new American country home he paid for. The home is now known as the Dr. John P. Binney home at Double Arch Farms. The senior Binney’s widow, Elizabeth Binney (1800-1846) and their three children came to Double Arch Farms in 1846. Unfortunately three months after arriving, Elizabeth died of cholera and was the first to be buried in the pre-Civil War family cemetery along the banks of Silver Creek.
Silver Creek was an underground railroad route* for slaves fleeing from Missouri to Canada seeking freedom. Dr. John Binney was known for his English medical training and specialized in bone setting. Hidden in the root cellar below the summer kitchen behind the house, the doctor ministered to the fugitive slaves' medical needs before sending them on their way. Many mornings the orchards had missing fruit, fewer eggs in the henhouse and less milk to be had from the cows. Dr. John's younger brother, Walter P. Binney, later served with the Union Army as a waggoner in Missouri Company L during the Civil War.
Abraham Lincoln was a frequent houseguest and enjoyed the company of Martha L. Binney (wife of Dr. John), born in Kentucky as was Mary Todd Lincoln. Abraham Lincoln also served as legal advisor regarding property deals; a descendant, Elizabeth Binney (1853-1934), recalled overhearing a business discussion between Lincoln, Dr. John Binney and Mr. Bird, a prominent wealthy Carlinville resident.
A small race track in front of the house, along with its wooden dance floor, was enjoyed by Binney guests. Charles P. Binney (Dr. John's brother) later named one of his sons Lincoln Binney (1860-1934). Interestingly, property records of the Binney family bearing Abraham Lincoln's signature were removed from courthouse records by autograph seekers.
Mr. David T. Binney, the present owner of the home and a descendent of John Binney, provides access to the home and gardens several times a year for fund raising by educational and charitable foundations (with written permission only).
* The Undergound Railroad In Illinois (Newman Educational Publishing Co. 2001) by Glennette Tilley Turner
Old Photograph of Thomas Binney family from family collection used with permission from David T. Binney, New Douglas.
New Photographs from family collection used with permission Richard A. Thier, Covington, LA.