Illinois’ governor doesn’t want a southern Illinois city’s observance of its connection to late-Beatle George Harrison to be just a local thing.
Gov. Pat Quinn has proclaimed Saturday to be “George Harrison Day” statewide. That coincides with Benton’s plans to unveil a historical marker to commemorate Harrison’s 1963 visit to the 7,000-resident city.
Harrison’s 1963 stay in Benton was to see his sister, Linda Harrison Caldwell it occurred while the Beatles were soaring up the charts in England, but before they made their ballyhooed trip to the United States.
For an even more local connection, Centralia attorney Eddie Veltman, a well-known Beatles fan, had Harrison’s sister as his guest for Thanksgiving several years ago.
Illinois State Historical Society executive director William Furry says obscurity in America allowed Harrison to walk Benton’s streets, jam with local musicians, visit record stores and even camp in the Shawnee National Forest without being hassled by fans.