Volume 21, Number 2
This March–April issue of Illinois Heritage highlights the recognition of thirty Illinois churches and synagogues that have been in continuous fellowship for 150 years or more. Currently, more than 200 churches and synagogues have been recognized by the ISHS.
The Bicentennial Year is well underway with many special events planned by local historical societies, libraries, government agencies and other community organizations. As an individual, consider reading one or more books listed in the Illinois Classics: A Bicentennial Reading List, a twelve-month reading list that includes novels, nonfictional works, and poetry, all by Illinois authors and expressive of the Illinois experience.
This issue expresses not only the variety of interests in the state, but what is important at different periods in our state’s history.
“Born, Built and Grown in Illinois”
This year marks the bicentennial of the state of Illinois. Illinois became the 21st state on December 3, 1818 when President James Monroe signed the legislation admitting us to the Union. In honor of this occasion, Governor Bruce Rauner in 2016 issued Executive Order 2016-11, which created the state’s Bicentennial Commission. The commission consists of a diverse group of Illinois residents who have a passion and love for this state. David Scott serves as the ISHS representative on the commission. The purpose of the commission is to develop and implement a statewide program to celebrate the bicentennial. The slogan of the commission is Born, Built, and Grown in Illinois. Using almost entirely private money (with the exception of staff support) and working with partners and generous donors, the commission is moving forward with statewide bicentennial celebration plans.
Compiled for Illinois public libraries by John E. Hallwas of the Illinois State Historical Society
This twelve-month reading list includes novels, nonfictional works, and poetry – all by Illinois authors and expressive of the Illinois experience. Along with the twelve-month schedule are some alternative book titles, in case a library wants to customize the 2018 reading list by substituting another notable work of fiction, nonfiction, or poetry.
The Prairie State kicks off its 200th birthday party celebration on December 3, 2017, and the Illinois State Historical Society invites you to let us know what you are doing in your county to celebrate this milestone. Our website features an Events calendar that will highlight your events--bicentennial or otherwise historical--but only if you go to www.historyillinois.org and submit your information. Let us help you get the word out and while you're there, check out "Today in Illinois History" for a sampling of what people have been doing here for the last two hundred years or so.
Our year-end issue of Illinois Heritage is a veritable feast of delights. John Hallwas and Kathleen Spaltro highlight writers with Illinois connections and Cindy Reinhardt takes us to the "almost lost" town of Montgomery Station. Continue farther down into Egypt with photographer Gary DeNeal for a look at misty autumn moments downstate.
As we come to year's end, it's also time to reflect back on our Johnny Appleseed trees--all of which have gone to good homes throughout the state, and look forward to recognizing historic businesses and churches in Illinois. If you have a business in your town that is 100 years old or a church that is 150 years old (or older), please consider nominating them for recognition by the ISHS. Applications for both programs can be found in this issue.
Happy, happy holidays!