Learning from St. Charles' Past to Build its Future

Written by Pat Pretz, Board Member

How fortunate we are to live in St. Charles; a community with such rich history and unique stories. The cornerstones of our City’s mission statement are Heritage, Community, Service, and Opportunity. It is important to note that heritage is distinctly positioned first on the list, and for good reason. In order to build a successful future, a community must be in touch with and fully understand its past. President Theodore Roosevelt once said it best, “The more you know about the past, the better prepared you are for the future.”  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 Pretzs’ home located in the St. Charles Historic District. Photo - St. Charles Historic Preservation Commission

The Pretzs’ home located in the St. Charles Historic District. Photo - St. Charles Historic Preservation Commission

My husband Tom and I live in a home located in the St. Charles Central Historic District. After moving in 14 years ago, we decided to research the history of our home. We learned that our house was originally the barn of a Civil War veteran, later used as George Ferson’s feed and grain store and eventually moved by Ferson’s daughter who converted it into a house. With the help of the St. Charles History Museum and the many resources available for research, we were able to uncover the stories of our home’s original owners, and its distinct ties to early settlers of St. Charles. 

Since joining the Museum Board of Directors last September, I have enjoyed working with the hard-working Board, staff, and volunteers to better plan in telling about St. Charles history and stories. We want to foster a curiosity in people of all ages through exhibits, programs and presentations.

 The Museum is now engaged in an important strategic planning process as we look to the future ourselves. Our goal is to continue to be a relevant, fun, enlightening, inclusive, and accessible fixture in our community. And we want you to be a part of our collective history! We invite you to attend one of our many events or programs, volunteer, visit the museum, or become a member. Catch a glimpse into our City’s amazing history as we help build our future together.