With Peoria only a few hours away, and Robert Ingersoll being one of my favorite dead people, I couldn't resist making a pilgrimage to see one of the last remaining monuments to his memory (the other being his tombstone in VA). Take a look at some excerpts from his writing if you aren't familiar with "The Great Agnostic".
The statue was made in 1911 in Italy and shipped to Illinois. More on the statue here.
Having never been on a pilgrimage, I don't regret going, but it was humbling at the same time. Seeing the statue in person was less inspiring than seeing a photo of it. It's in tired neighborhood in the middle of
a cracked and run-down entrance.
The lack of glamor seems appropriate considering Ingersoll criticized those who used their money to build a legacy instead of helping others, particularly those who paid for librarians and fountains with money earned off the backs of others. I think Ingersoll would rather be eventually forgotten and have a net positive impact than be remembered at the expense of others. At the same time, I can't help but think he deserves more.
"Many employers have sought to balance their accounts by leavings something for universities, for the establishment of libraries, drinking fountains, or to build monuments to departed greatness. It would have been, I think, far better had they used this money to better the condition of the men who really earned it. I think the great railroads should pay pensions to their worn out employees. These great companies should take care of the men they maim..." -- Robert Ingersoll