IRT -- Elephant Graveyard  LbNA # 57021

OwnerHart x6      
Placed DateDec 9 2010
LocationOquawka, IL
Found By Topcollector
Last Found Jul 28 2013
Hike Distance?

When it was announced some years back that there would be an Illinois Road Trip (IRT) organized of all kinds of boxes from all corners of Illinois, to get people to explore this great state of ours, I knew I would carve Norma Jean.

Actually, Norma Jean was an idea in my head since my early days of boxing, the IRT just was the catalyst to get me moving on the carve and placement of the box. There are 5 recorded finders for this box, though the number is closer to 10 and many more attempts. I checked on good ole Norma a several months back and found the stump she was in was no longer there.... rotted away . . .. and the box, nowhere to be found :-(

Time went by and I was re-inspired by Waltzing Pig's Showmen's Rest box. I got straight to carving, not only Norma Jean (TOTALLY different stamp than the original), but I carved Kathy Sha-Boom & the Showman's Rest Elephants as well.

I planted these boxes on December 9, 2010 and promptly lost the handwritten clues before I could "publish" them. Today, I got to stop by and retrace my steps and get the clues again :-)

It was a summers day in 1972, and the small town of Oquawka, IL had been enjoying the small circus that had traveled to town. A Storm blew east across the Mississippi and a bolt of lightening struck the star attraction a Pachyderm named Norma Jean.

Norma Jean fell dead that day to all the horror of the town and the circus, that closed down within a year. Norma Jean was buried on spot and a monument now stands on the spot of her final resting place.

Visit the spot where Norma is buried, it also shares land with the towns water tower and swimming pool. It's interesting to read the information provided. Just a few blocks east is the Oquawka Cemetery aka the Elephant Graveyard.

From Waltzing Pig's clues;

"Local legend states that the elephant statues are there to remember elephants killed in the train wreck and buried in this section. These elephants supposedly helped rescue trapped performers from the burning wreckage, at the cost of their own lives. It is said that the haunting cries of the elephants can still be heard on some nights."

This herd of Elephant's wanted to visit Norma Jean, so they paraded across Illinois' hills and plains to this small town on the banks of the Mighty Mississippi.

They entered by the brick pillar gate and head straight back, parking at the "Tee" get out and head north along the tree line, keep following the tree line as it curves. You will see an obelisque to your left with the letter "P" at the top, when this "P" stone is directly to your left, look right and you should see an obvious tree. Walk another 7 feet past the obvious one and there is a large fallen limb missing some of its bark. The fallen limb is about 20 feet in from the edge of the woods. Look in the "Y" for a pill bottle holding the Showman's Rest Pachyderms.

Kathy Sha-Boom was the much beloved Elephant at the Niabi Zoo in Coal Valley. We love this zoo and get family passes every year and visit often. Kathy Sha-Boom was the star attraction from 1965 until her death in 2002. Kathy Sha-Boom was and still is missed, and has now found her way to Oquawka as well.

Retrace your steps, following the tree line PAST the "Tee", past the bushy evergreen to a small pile of cement. There is a large branch that's fallen across the pile, lean over the fallen and under the pointed end of one of the cement pieces that has two metal flowers on it. This carving is not actually Kathy, in case you were wondering.

Now that visitors are here, perhaps it's time to pay our respects to Norma Jean!

Follow the tree line towards the front gate and soon you will come to a modest sized headstone for Meyers. Turn left and walk 13 steps, turn right and walk to the fallen tree. Under the tree (not in) is Norma Jean waiting to welcome her guests. She also guards the only logbook of the series.

Hope you enjoyed your visit to the Elephant Graveyard.