Since 1834 St. Charles has been the Pride of the Fox. Through exhibits, educational programs, articles, and social media we strive to share the important stories and fun facts about
St. Charles' rich history with residents and visitors alike.
As the sun sets on a cool autumn day, enjoy an exclusive opportunity to walk through one of St. Charles’ oldest cemeteries after dark.
Join Civil War researcher and former crime scene investigator Rich Becker as he explains how he used forensic science to shed new light on St. Charles’ Civil War connections.
The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: The Boys School of St. Charles will explore the history of the local reformatory school and the impact it had on the boys sent there.
The Good, The Bad, The Ugly: The Boys School of St. Charles
Opens Saturday, October 26
Our next temporary exhibit, The Good, the Bad, the Ugly: The Boys School of St. Charles, will explore the history of the local reformatory school and its impact on the boys who attended it. In 1902, the Illinois State Home for Delinquent Boys (today existing as the Illinois Youth Center) was established by John “Bet-a-Million” Gates, Samuel Allenton and Henry Weaver.
These men believed that delinquent young boys could be rehabilitated and reintegrated back into society. Instead of locking them in a cell for punishment, boys sent to the school experienced a home-like setting and focused on schooling, hard work, and discipline. Learn More…
“History centers, community activists, teachers, public works and dedicated volunteers are the underlying, often unseen and unsung heroes that create a network to uphold the community. It is through their tenacity the community grows and upon occasion, when the timing is right, really blooms.”
When you become a Museum member, you are assisting in our mission to preserve and present St. Charles’ rich history. It is because of our members and supporters that the Museum continues to be an important asset to the community.
“I have loved working with the wonderful staff and doing my small part to help the town I have come to love. I have spent 43 of my 74 years in St. Charles and can now honestly say “I have a Home Town!”’
The story of Rufus M. Hooker, who mustered into the 8th Illinois Cavalry on September 1st, 1861 as a Captain in St. Charles, IL. Through new research, it has been discovered that Hooker was subsequently the first blood drawn by Confederate General Robert E. Lee when he was killed at the Battle of Mechanicsville on June 26th, 1862.
From all of us at the St. Charles History Museum, we would like to thank the hundreds of visitors we had at our spring exhibit: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Actions: St. Charles and the Underground Railroad. Our dedicated museum staff spent hundreds of hours researching local connections to the freedom-seeking movement of the mid-1800s.
This year, in correspondence with our city’s 185th anniversary, we were proud to come together with several of our fellow community organizations to celebrate all the great things that make St. Charles a treasure trove of history.
As summer returns to St. Charles, we have so many exciting events planned! From educational programs on the history of St. Charles' homes and parks, to our historic house walk, to our living history presentation at the Museum during the St. Charles Fine Arts Show, there’s so much to learn about this great city
For those of us who call St. Charles home, we can learn from the people who settled here before us and their stories; their strengths, dreams, decisions and accomplishments, sprinkled with their struggles and disappointments. Consider that someday, we will be part of a future story with our own legacies.
The month of May is designated as National Historic Preservation month, and the St. Charles History Museum will be holding a variety of events and programs in recognition and celebration of the occasion. “This Place Matters” is a national campaign by the National Trust that encourages people to celebrate the places that are meaningful to them and to their communities.
Researching the Underground Railroad can be incredibly frustrating at times, as we often run into dead ends due to the scarcity and secrecy of sources. The abolitionist movement was a dangerous cause to stand with, especially to those that were actively helping escaped slaves. Leaving behind evidence of abolitionist activity could have been deadly back then, and now makes research and finding the cold hard truth difficult.
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