ANSWERS:Questions about Lima Lake, Christmas decorations and city elevation

Posted: Jan. 25, 2013 11:39 pm Updated: Nov. 28, 2014 3:34 pm

When did they drain Lima Lake?

Lima Lake was one of the Midwest's premier wildlife havens before it was drained for farmland 84 years ago.

According to a Sept. 19, 1993, story by Edward Husar in The Herald-Whig, the sprawling lake northeast of Meyer was five miles long and three miles wide before a pumping plant and series of drainage ditches were built to pull away the water, turning the lakebed into some of the richest farmland anywhere.

The Lima Lake Drainage District is an organization responsible for keeping floodwater off more than 13,000 acres of land in Adams County's northwest corner.

The lake "re-appeared" during the flood of 1993 after record-breaking floodwaters crashed through the Meyer levee on July 9, filling not only the old lakebed but thousands of acres in the floodplain around it.

Lima Lake was once a haven for fishermen and hunters. It was teeming with fish, and waterfowl flocked there by the thousands. However, the land's owners envisioned it as a potential money-maker if it could be drained and turned into farmland. Several conservation groups unsuccessfully launched attempts to buy the lake and turn it into a nature preserve.


What is the elevation of Quincy?

The elevation of Quincy is 568 feet, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Why were the trees in Washington Park were not lighted for the Christmas holidays like in years past? This year's decorations in the park were a joke.

Travis Brown, executive director for the Historic Quincy Business District, says it comes down to money.

The HQBD would typically spend between $3,000 and $4,000 annually in lights, but the decision was made four years ago to stop. Brown said because of the way the lights were being put up and taken down each year, they were ruined.

"The city would use zip ties to make sure (the lights) didn't get blown down out of the trees, so when they were taken down, they had to be cut," Brown said.

Brown also said that some local organizations discontinued their donations to pay for the downtown lights when the economy soured, and the popularity of the Avenue of Lights has caused others to redirect their funds.

"Everything kind of dried up for us, and then when the Avenue of Lights kept getting bigger and bigger, our organization felt there were better uses for that money," Brown said.


To follow up on last week's question about cats at large in town:

Police Chief Rob Copley said it was illegal. If Animal Control picks up a cat and can prove who the owner is, then the owner will be given a ticket.

However, a reader asked: "Didn't the animal warden recently announce they no longer pick up cats due to understaffing? I wish I could call to have cats picked up. My car has been completely ruined by them jumping on the hood of my car at night in my neighborhood."

Copley clarified that Animal Control is not trapping cats with current staffing, but if the cats can be caught, Animal Control will pick them up.

"Trapping uses a wire cage, and it's done more often for feral cats versus tame pets on the loose," Copley said. "Catching them otherwise would be using a snarepole or, if they are tame, just picking them up, like it's done with dogs."


Curious about anything going on in your community? Just ask. Questions and responses are published Saturday.

Submit questions to or online at, or mail them to Answers, The Quincy Herald-Whig, P.O. Box 909, Quincy, IL 62301. Provide a name and phone number so we can respond or clarify information. Questions dealing with personal or legal disputes will not be accepted.