Onarga, IL = right out of Left 4 Dead

Like many of you, when I travel for work or vacation, I often find myself considering how the places I visit would fare in a zombie attack.  Certainly, not every neighborhood or piece of architecture lends itself to a zombie scenario, but I’ve certainly enjoyed considering the zombie-related benefits and drawbacks of structures like The Renaissance Center and The Venetian. 

Anyhow, this past weekend I journeyed downstate to Onarga, IL to play a show with my band, and I’ve never before  encountered a place that was structured so exactly like a level from Left 4 Dead.  The whole town is shaped like an L, with impenetrable 2-story buildings on each side.  There’s a railroad track cutting the town off at one end, and a weird, old-timey sign with big yellow incandescent bulbs.  Really, really Left 4 Dead-y.  I could picture zombies attacking from across the tracks, or turning the town’s single corner to find the entire street infested by the walking dead.

Here are some pics I took:

1/2 of Onarga, IL
The Onarga town sign

Also of note (though [probably?] not zombie related): There are these weird little signs  that say “BIKE NO SKATE” all over downtown Onarga.  (Which is to say, Onarga.)  When I saw them, my first thought was: What a weird way to say “No Bikes or Skateboards.”  (The sentence structure is all wrong for that, of course.)  But then I considered all the variants that were possible when punctuation was applied, and began to second-guess the meaning of the signs.  There was:

  • “Bike?  No!  Skate!”  (Skateboarding is appropriate while bicycling is not.)
  • “Bike!  No skate!”  (Bicycling is appropriate while skateboarding is not.)
  • “Bike no Skate” (Don’t transport Skate by bicycle.)
"BIKE NO SKATE" signs in downtown Onarga

Anyhow, it is still a mystery.

2 thoughts on “Onarga, IL = right out of Left 4 Dead

  1. I have been to Onarga as well! I was on a camping trip with friends at Lake Arrowhead (which is right on top of I-57). We ate at the only Mexican restaurant in town. Bad move.

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