I don't mean to offend, but I generally have low expectations for Pekin, Illinois. It's fine. I just don't get my hopes up too much. Even with that low bar, I've just learned something that stunned me. The fact that Pekin, Illinois really used to deeply believe (literally) that they had a direct connection to China.

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This wasn't some wild theory I came up with. Shermann Dilla Thomas shared this backstory of Pekin, Illinois that I've been able to confirm really is factual, believe it or not.

Is Shermann right? Yes, he very much is. Wikipedia says the following about the early days of Pekin, Illinois:

Mrs. Ann Eliza Cromwell, selected the name of Pekin. It has been stated that Mrs. Cromwell named the town "Pekin" because she thought Peking was on the exact opposite side of the world from the town she founded.

(*face palm*)

Was she right? Um, no. Not even close. That didn't stop the early founders from using all kinds of Chinese references in names and mascots. This can't be blamed on pioneer people who didn't know better. It carried over into the 20th century, too.

What can explain this strange fascination with China that Pekin, Illinois once had? I'm gonna circle back to my original statement. Keep the bar low regarding Pekin, Illinois and you'll rarely be disappointed and I mean that in the nicest way possible.

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