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Virden, Illinois

Some highlights of the town where The Sly Fox is located.

Virden, Illinois, is a small (pop. 3,500) town in Central Illinois, 20 miles south of Springfield on Illinois Route 4.  The town began in 1852 when the Alton & Sangamon Railroad reached this area (that rail line, now owned by Union Pacific, remains the most direct one from St. Louis to Chicago).  For four years in the 1920s, Route 4 was also designated as Route 66.  Today it is part of the Blue Carpet Corridor, and regularly traveled by Route 66 fans.  The town has three murals.  A large bronze monument dedicated to the coal miners involved in the 1898 Battle of Virden; a historical mural on the side of the Sav-Mor drugstore building; and a New Deal Era mural by James Daugherty, inside the post office.  Daugherty had a 50-year career as a writer and illustrator of children's books, winning the Caldecott and having a Newbery honor book.  Virden also boasts two bookstores:  The Sly Fox, and Books on the Square, a large used book emporium.  When visiting the Lincoln shrines in Springfield or travelling Route 66, drop by and browse.

Virden is one of the few towns in the United States under 5,000 with two bookstores.