Article first appeared at https://www.lemontdowntown.com/news/meet-archie-mascot.

Many moons ago, the Potawatomi tribe paddled down Lemont’s rivers to fish and hunt in the surrounding forests. On their journeys, they frequently spotted little monsters that fed off the abundant dolomite limestone—a rock made up of the shells of microscopic plants and animals—beneath the soil. These little monsters turned over the earth, creating a rich environment for animals that the Potawatomi hunted. The Native Americans lived in harmony with the little monsters for many years.

Little Lemonsters living with Potawatomi in an old painting.

Ancestors of Archie lived peacefully among the Potawatomi

In the 1830s and 40s, more and more non-natives came to Lemont to dig the I&M Canal. They were from New England and Ohio border towns, as well as newly immigrated Irish, German, Polish, and Swedish. As Lemont’s population reached 3,000, the monsters found their food source quickly diminishing due to the quarrying of “Athens Marble,” which was used for buildings throughout the region. Many monsters and their families headed west in search of food, but some were adamant about remaining in their beloved Lemont.

Lemonsters jumping on a piece of dolomite.

Little monsters feasting on a prime piece of dolomite.

One of those little monsters that remained was named Archie. One day, while out looking for food, he ran into a silly Lemont miner named Stash who was on his lunch break. Instead of yelling at the little blue monster with big round teeth and ears that stood up high, Stash chatted with Archie and they soon formed a long-lasting friendship. Archie introduced Stash to dolomite (he wasn’t a fan). Stash introduced Archie to burgers, pizza, and his beloved pierogi. He gave Archie his Lemont swag to keep him warm in the winters and took him swimming in the quarries to stay cool in the summers.

Little Lemonsters amongst the Canal Workers in a old photo.

The monsters could be troublemakers, wreaking havoc for Canal workers.

To this day, one can still find Stash and Archie walking through the streets of Lemont, causing mischief throughout the Village. And if you look really hard and have some treats on hand, you might be able to meet a few other little Lemontsters that make their way out of the quarries and bluffs.

Archie the Lemonster and Stash the Canal Worker in present-day Lemont along the I&M canal trail.

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