Mattoon is in Coles County, Illinois with a population of around 18,500 & a total area of 10.344 square miles. Nearby rivers have been dammed to form Lake Paradise & Lake Mattoon south of the city. It is about 45 miles south east of Decataur & 52 miles south of Champaign. Mattoon is home to a Burger King that is not related to the worldwide Burger King chain.
Mattoon and Coles County were settled because of the general topography. The timbered area in the south & prairie in the north, fed by two major rivers: the Embarras River in the east & the Kaskaskia in the west.
In 1826, Kentucky émigré Charles Sawyer became the first white man known to settle in the Mattoon area. The growth of Mattoon is tied to that of local railroads. In 1854, railroad surveyors from the "Illinois Central Railroad" & "Terre Haute and Alton Railroad" found their railroads would cross in the Mattoon area, and a burst of investment and land speculation began. The two railroads raced to the meeting point, on the understanding that the first to arrive would not have to pay to maintain the crossing. The community that had grown in the area of swamp grass and prairie came to be known as "Pegtown", which referred to the pegs (stakes) used to demarcate lots to be sold at public auction
The 1940 discovery of petroleum reserves near Mattoon led to a small "oil boom" over the next two decades, bringing with it economic benefits and increased civic pride. Oil extraction continues to be an important economic activity.
The Burger King — unrelated to the Florida-based fast food chain Burger King — is a Mattoon restaurant whose owners claim it is the "original" Burger King. In 1968, they sued the national chain Burger King, producing a well-known case in US trademark law. The federal 7th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that federal trademark registration has priority over state law, giving the national Burger King chain rights to the name beyond a 20-mile radius around the original Burger King. Today, the closest Burger King franchise location is 25 miles away in Tuscola, Illinois.
The 1986 arrival of the Lender's Bagels factory led Mattoon to dub itself the "Bagel Capital of the World." Home to the world's largest bagel, the town holds a weeklong family festival, "Lenders Bagelfest", at the end of July.
The post office opened here in 1855.
A nice commercially used cover from WLBH Mattoon Broadcasting Co. to then Senator John F Kennedy dated 24th August 1960, with nice "Pray For Peace" machine slogan cancel.
The story of WLBH Mattoon Broadcasting is interesting. They had two radio stations
WLBH (1170 AM)
was a radio station licensed to Mattoon, Illinois. The station began broadcasting on November 26, 1946. Originally farm/talk programming & country music, in the 1990s the station switched to a news-talk format & then began airing adult standards music & was branded "Unforgettable 1170".
WLBH-FM (96.9 FM)
was a radio station licensed to Mattoon, Illinois. The station began broadcasting in August 1949. They had a beautiful music format later known as "Magic 97".
Both stations were started by James Ray Livesay, & were later owned by his son James R. Livesay II. James Ray Livesay, a pioneer in broadcasting in Illinois, well-known for his daily editorials on WLBH, for over 45 years. From 1957 to 1971, he was president of a corporation that ran a television station in Terre Haute, Ind.
Both Station's licenses were cancelled in 2018, after having been off the air following the destruction of the station's transmitter & the theft of broadcasting equipment.
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