The Riverbank Gallery

December 26, 2009

Sometime during the late 1970’s, Monte purchased a cabin along the Illinois River from a cousin of his.  He then used this cabin as an art studio and showroom.   Unfortunately, the cabin was prone to flooding from the Illinois River and after each flood, Monte would to make repairs to the flood damage.

This cabin, along with many others, was located along the side of the Banner Dike Road, with the Illinois River to the east.  These cabins existed for some time until the State of Illinois decided to no longer allow the leases to be renewed.  The owners of these cabins were then forced to either destroy and remove the remains of their cabin or allow the state to do so and then receive a bill.

In the better days, travels along this raised, gravel road was quite precarious due to the number of people who would frequent this area during the warmer times of the year.

One time when Monte and Gary “Scrubby” Brush, his then brother-in-law, were clearing and burning left behind flood water debris, the decision was made to also burn other items from a storage building.  Amongst these items were some old dynamite blasting caps.  When burnt, one exploded and sent shrapnel into Monte’s hip.  He had to go to the hospital and made up a tale that he had accidentally burnt firearm ammunition.

The hospital had to leave the shrapnel in his hip.

One would have to imagine the goings on in the minds of potential art customers when walking across the rickety, wooden walkway from the gravel road to the front door of the Riverbank Gallery.  The wood slats would bow and did add spring to one’s steps when walked across.  The handrails weren’t too reassuring, either.

Below is a photograph of items covered by Monte to protect them as best as possible.  Note the path through the dirt on the floor left behind after the receding water dropped below flood stage.

When it was thought the waters of the Illinois River would enter the gallery, items would have to be stacked up for protection.

Below are two photographs of the Riverbank Gallery either prior to or after flood repairs had been made.

Below is a photograph that offers a contrast to before a flood and after.  Note the wooden slats of the floor that had been forced free due to flood waters.

Below are two photographs of the gallery portion of the Riverbank Gallery.  The ceiling light shades were made by Monte.  When this showroom was in viewing form, it was a quite nice attraction to see.

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