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!
The coming of autumn conjures up memories of an America that
was and our connections to our state’s past.
Visiting Shiloh Cemetery, the burial place of Thomas and Sarah Bush
Lincoln, leads to a reflection on the mortality of our ancestors, and
ultimately, to our own mortality. Cemeteries are not so much a place to bury
the dead as they are a place where the once-living have finally settled down. So it is with the stories passed down to us
over the years as we find our own way to pay tribute to the past by sharing the
tales in our turn.
Each of the 102 counties that make up Illinois has a wealth
of heritage to share with visitors and residents. Whether we are selecting the perfect pumpkin
or biting into a crisp apple newly picked from the orchard, it is the time of
year when we can savor some of the harvest bounty of our state.
With the September/October, 2017 Illinois Heritage embarks on a third decade of stories unique to
the Prairie State. Share your Heritage.
Southern Illinois is the place to be this August as we anticipate a total solar eclipse, with center stage located over the state's first capital, Kaskaskia. Will two minutes and forty seconds of darkened skies start crickets chirping and bring out the fireflies? We'll just have to wait and see and hope for a cloudless day for the people planning to check out the path of totality. And we'll also have to wait and see whether our great state can come to terms with its budgetary woes and see brighter days ahead.
Welcome to Kristan McKinsey, Director of the Illinois Women Artists Project, as she picks up the excellent editorial work of the late Channy Lyons. Our friends at Illinois Humanities are forging ahead with plans for the upcoming state bicentennial and we can travel with Stephen Leonard and Keith Sculle on their road trip of discovery along the east-west Route 36 across Illinois.
Despite the quagmires of government, the quicksand of politics, and the mosquitoes of summer, Illinois is a glorious place to call home.
With this issue of the Heritage, we welcome our new President Leah Axelrod to the helm. Leah has been a member for 20+ years and she is the fifth woman to serve as ISHS President since 1899. Thanks are due to Randall Saxon as he steps down to take life a little easier, if that is possible for a gardener.
Readers of this issue will enjoy a little bit of everything, from John Hallwas's look at the life of naturalist Donald Culross Peattie to Michael Sublett's look at a proposed 103rd Illinois county, named for wildlife painter John James Audubon. We are also pleased to share Verna Ross Orndorff scholarship winner Anna Sielaff's essay on Lincoln's Gettysburg Address.
Thanks to our Society members for keeping the lantern burning and the rivers gently flowing! Share your Heritage!
This issue of the magazine highlights two themes:
- Sesquicentennial houses of worship around the state.
- Agriculture and related topics throughout the state.
Sesquicentennial Churches are chosen from across Illinois based on the following criteria: Minutes of early church board meetings, marriage or baptismal records, grant of official charter, contemporary newspaper advertisements or articles, old city directories. ISHS looks forward to honoring more than 33 Sesquicentennial Churches for the fidelity and witness to others over 150 years of faithfulness to their calling.
Agriculture in Illinois has a long and quite amazing history as one follows the movement and settlements which sprung up in, during and long after pioneer period. Karl Bodmer, a Swiss artist (circa 1832) painted a scenic view of a farm on the southern prairie. It is a good study of the French style of an American Bottom settlement.