By Tim Kirsininkas, Marketing Manager
Every year during the month of May, the National Trust for Historic Places encourages communities around the United States to celebrate the historic people, places, and things that help make each of our own individual communities unique. 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. Each event was very well-attended, and we would like to thank everyone who came together to celebrate with us!
The month started off with an in-depth presentation by Dr. Steven Smunt of the St. Charles Historic Preservation Commission on the story of some of St. Charles’ most historic homes at the St. Charles Public Library on May 2nd. One of the most unique aspects of St. Charles is its charming neighborhoods, which contain a wide variety of homes ranging in all different types of design styles, that each contribute their own character to their neighborhoods!
Next, we partnered with the St. Charles Park District and the Preservation Partners of the Fox Valley on a pair of fun programs. On May 11th, Historian Carol Yetken of CYLA Design showed us an in-depth look at the story of St. Charles’ public parks and how they came to be. The story of Pottawatomie Park was featured, as it was among the first officially-designated public parks in the state of Illinois, and is well-known for its beautiful scenery in combination with its historic structures like its landmark pavillion, amphitheater, baseball diamond, and community center.
On May 18th, we held our first Historic House walk through the Pottawatomie Neighborhood. We were proud to highlight this negihborhood that is rich in charm, history, and character. We’d also like to thank all of our wonderful volunteers who served as docents for the event, we couldn’t have done it without you! If you missed the event, the house walk booklet can be purchased in our Curious Fox Gift Shop for $5 each so you can take the guided tour yourself!
Finally, on May 25th during the St. Charles Fine Art Show, we held a Civil War living history encampment at the Museum. St. Charles has no shortage of connection to Civil War history, as it was the home of renowned Union General John F. Farnsworth and served as a training ground for the legendary 8th Illinois Cavalry. Local reenactors shared their knowledge about Civil War equipment, and the event was a huge success, as we saw over 150 visitors to the Museum on that day alone, a record for this year so far!
From all of us at the St. Charles History Musuem, we’d like to thank all of our community partners, volunteers, and visitors for helping to make Preservation Month a resounding success. We look forward to working with you to build upon the excitement next May!