1.25.24

Polo IL

Polo Illinois, for those unacquainted, is a small town of 2,400 exactly 100 miles west of Chicago. Four miles from White Pines state park, roughly nine miles from Dixon IL, and not too far from the Rock River. Comfortably secluded and quiet. Free from the pervasive buzz of the city and the common hinderances of modern society. Stone wheels and gristmills still work quietly in the background. A wide spot in the road nestled in a vast prairie.

Here there is an opportunity to focus without the many siren songs of Chicago. A place to fall back and regroup, lest I turn to stone.

There is great potential in being somewhere that is out of the way

A Retreat for the Weary Musician

Earlier this year I responded to a real estate listing a friend sent me. It was about a 170 year old Abolitionist church for sale in Polo IL. A Stout limestone and brick sanctuary with a rather large attic that is said to have played a role in the underground railroad. Construction was started on the building in 1848. It’s 2 ton bell was rung for the first time in 1861 for Lincoln’s inauguration. Union soldiers were conscripted here and sent to civil war.

One thing that haunts me is that when construction of the building began the electromagnet had been invented for only 23 years. The essence of the electronic age was but a twinkle. The heat was from pot belly stoves and a rather large hearth. The electrical grid was but a fantasy at this point.

It is here that I will make this Sanctuary into Specimen Luthiery. A new home for special classes at my retreat in the pines. Quiet and remote. Beautiful and historic. Perfectly out of the way.

Classes will be posted soon. I will start with some instrument setup classes, my design course, and guitar building programs at the Polo Sanctuary in late 2024. I expect to add new classes that take advantage of the new infrastructure as well. All of my core curriculums will continue at the Chicago location for the foreseeable future and keep the Big city fire burning.

This is the new retreat and workspace for Specimen and The Chicago School of guitar Making in Polo Illinois. A Guitar Luthiery in the Pines. Conveniently out of the way and a new place to get something done. Come enjoy the peace of this place with me and get to know the less travelled road. The high school team is named the Marcos. Named after Marco Polo, the explorer, and namesake of the town.

Sometimes you need to walk into the woods to find yourself. Drop us a line if a visit to Polo might be in your near future.

-Ian