illinois Digital News

Life In DuQuoin (1940) Part 1


DuQuoin, IL Scenes Part One

E. Lambert Productions, in cooperation with The Perry County Historical Society, takes you back to a time when Coal was King in Southern Illinois. Alongside mining, a farming/factory industry supported a booming community where Main Street was still the heart of the town. Though a silent picture, Life in DuQuoin provides a unique glimpse into the ways of a different people, place, and time. A place where service stations employed attendants to check the oil and top off the tank for patrons rolling in.A people who, just for a moment, were caught up in a happy afternoon at the end of a long Great Depression just before the dawn of a second Great a time when segregation still raged throughout the South in the Forty-Eight United States of America.Before a television in every home, before the interstate, before cellular telephones, before Wal-Mart, before satellites, before today.there was Life in DuQuoin.

From what I can determine by the stage of the leaves on the trees, classes in session and the overall seasonal dress of the 1940 DuQuoin residents, this footage may have been shot in September of that year. Observe the camera technique; the same documentary style of filming used in Pinckneyville Scenes 1951 persists. Most likely this film was produced by the same business means as the early Pinckneyville motion picture. A traveling Hollywood studio would stop by various towns with movie theaters. (In Pinckneyvilles case, The Capitol and in DuQuoins case, The Grand) The on-the-move filmmaker would first take shots of The Fire Department, and move on to schools, churches, and factories. Then finally send back the reel to be played at the theater as part of a certain contract. As you might observe, in the early 40s this technique was still in developmental stages.

Also, pay attention to the structures pictured, most of these which were built in the early 20th century survived to serve as the same setting of DuQuoin in the early 21st. Though the area has not been left untouched by the economic depression of Southern Illinois of the late 1990s – the present day, downtown DuQuoin still manages to keep up some of the charm that might be glimpsed in this film.

– Eric Lambert,
Founder/CEO, E. Lambert Productions
& Perry County Historical Society Member


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