Thursday, December 02, 2010

Iles House Volunteers Decorate Executive Mansion Tree

For the first time, the Iles House volunteers participated in decorating one of 18 Christmas trees on display in the Governor's Mansion through Christmas and the rest of the holiday season. A Small committee, Sue Massie, Logan McMinn, and especially Betty Ann Poage, Ron Orme, and his wife Coleen arrived at a concept for the tree, developed a design for the overall look of the tree, painstakingly cut out 207 ornamental stars, and finally trim the 8-1/2-foot tree set up for us in a magnificently appointed room. Special thanks go to Jessica Orme, Alisha Hamilton, and Matt Cottrill, who helped with the stars.

The tree's theme was set early on. Ron was eloquent in his appeal to have the tree honor Ilinois' veterans in some way. The question was how to turn the sentiment into physical objects suitable for putting on a Christmas three. It was suggested that we could at least honor illinois vets as far back as the Civil War by tying it to the Medal of Honor. We found a web site,, which listed All Illinois-credited recipients of the Medal in a single database.

There are 207 hand-cut stars hanging on the tree. On one side of each star is imprinted the name, branch of military service, and the Illinois town associated with the recipient. On the other side is his rank, his unit, and the place and date of the action that won him the honor. In addition, the tree is festooned with various wide strips of ribbon imprinted with American flags, and studded with small reproductions of the flags of the various military services.

At the bottom, a child's set of military toys from each branch of the service, and atop all, a very patriotic angel. It was a very labor-intensive project, but a labor of Love, as these photos of their results show.

Linda Garvert

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Mad Hatter Christmas Tea

Ladies of the Iles House present The Elijah Iles House Mad Hatter Christmas Tea to be held on Sunday, December 12 from 2:00 to 3:30 p.m.

This is not your ordinary Christmas tea. Holiday delicacies will be served in the formal parlors of the Iles House. The program will be HATS GALORE's Marle: Hats from 1835 to 1870.

$25.00 per person, $100.00 table for four, $150.00 table for six supporting the Elijah Iles House Foundation Fund. Invite your friends for the perfect Christmas gift. Make your reservation by calling Sue Massie at 217-652-7302.

Wear your favorite hat and join the fun. Surprises are in store.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Old Settlers Day 2010

The Elijah Iles House Foundation proudly announces the celebration of Old Settlers Day on Saturday, October 23 from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM at the Strawbridge-Shepherd House.

Tours, demonstrations, exhibitions, food and entertainment are just part of the fun. Stroll through a restored tall-grass prairie, listen to an authentic civil war era band, take in a program about the underground railroad or the Donner Party. Old Settler Day is always the most popular Iles House Foundation event of the year.

The Strawbridge-Shepherd farmstead is located on Shepherd Road just south of the UIS campus. Ample free parking is available.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Fireside Chats at The Elijah Iles House

A series of programs at the Elijah Iles House highlighting our city's heritage is slated for Wednesday evenings from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. on September 22, 29 and October 6, 2010.

Admission is by reservation. Contact Sue Massie at 652-7302.

The Underground Railroad in Lincoln's Springfield will be presented by Richard E. Hart on September 22. Hart will tell the stories --the names and biographies-- of the white and African American conductors on the Underground Railroad in Lincoln's Springfield. He will also tell several stories of real situations involving slave catchers, newspaper accounts of runaway slaves and the Lincoln neighbors who were involved as conductors on the Springfield Underground Railroad.

The Donner Family History will be presented by Don Springer on September 29. Don will tell the story of the Donner family's epic westward venture, its highlights and pitfalls. A Donner descendent himself, Don has several family items and heirlooms to show.

The Illinois Watch Company will be presented by Farrell Gay on October 6. Farrell will recount the beginnings of Springfield's own Illinois Watch Company. He will talk about the evolution of time pieces and watches and show examples from his personal collection. He'd enjoy seeing other Illinois watches people might care to bring along.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Follow The Elijah Iles House on Facebook

Do you Facebook? Join our group and stay up-to-date on news and events at The Iles House.

Facebook is a social networking site with over 400 million users worldwide. The Iles House, in addition to being a residence, was a social networking site used by hundreds of prominent Springfieldians in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Today, the house connects community members and visitors to Springfield's heritage and to each other. See who else has joined and stay connected.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Museum Reopening

The Ann and Farrell Gay Museum of Springfield History located in the lower level of the Elijah Iles House was officially re-opened on Friday, July 2 during Clara Irwin's 2010 Strawberry and Lawn Party. The ribbon was cut by Mary Schnirring and Bill Schnirring, long time supporters of the Iles House and the museum, before a throng of visitors on the patio of the home.

The Strawberry Party was a rousing success, exceeding all expectations after the flooding on May 26th destroyed drywall and cabinetry throughout the lower level. The museum, kitchen and restrooms in the lower level now are fully restored.

Many thanks to everybody who helped get the Iles House and the museum back in operation so quickly, to the many volunteers who helped make the Strawberry Party such a success and to the community who rallied to the cause with their support.

Friday, June 04, 2010

History Comes Alive

From June 15th to August 15th: It’s happening before your very eyes, it’s everywhere, it’s 7 days a week … and best of all it’s FREE! This summer, History TRULY Comes Alive in Downtown Springfield!

For the first time ever, the entire historic downtown and surrounding historical sites will be brimming with live performances and fun activities that will completely transport you back in time to the Springfield Abraham Lincoln knew and loved. Featuring storytelling and interaction with costumed interpreters, period musical performances, and even appearances by Mr. Lincoln himself, this is one trip to the past you won’t want to miss!

Listen, for instance, as Abe gives his heartfelt first Inaugural Address on the steps of the Old State Capitol. Or put yourself and your kids at the hub of Civil War action at the authentic Medical Encampment Reenactment. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself lunching next to a couple of nineteenth century ladies at their favorite bistro in the afternoon. Then, catch a fly ball at a vintage-style base ball game. And to top off the perfect day, let a refreshing scoop of ice cream melt on your tongue as the sun sets over Downtown Springfield.

To start planning your visit now, download the “History Comes Alive” brochure and full schedule of events. You’ll be astounded at the sheer number and variety of events—something new is happening everyday and every week, so plan your visit for several days to get the full experience! Feel free to give us a call at 800-545-7300 for more information.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

A River Runs Through It

The historic sections of The Elijah Iles House were untouched by the May 26th flood thanks to the raised cottage design. The modern lower level did not fare as well, though. New kitchen cabinets will be needed as well as new drywall and insulation for the lower 18 inches. The flooring also probably will have to be replaced.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

The Great Flood

7th & Cook, May 26, 2010

Springfield received 4.5 inches of rain in 4 hours.
The Iles House lower level flooded up to 2 feet.
That's where we hold social and museum events.
Board members and friends are now at work,
Removing cabinets, dry wall, and insulation.
We hope to be open to the public soon.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Strawberry Party at the Iles House

Clara Irwin invites you to the Annual Strawberry and Lawn Party at the Elijah Iles House on Friday, July 2 from 6:30 to 9:00.

Kick off the Independence Day weekend in true patriotic fashion while you enjoy fresh strawberry desserts and other food and fun. Relax in the garden, tour the house and enjoy the company of friendly neighbors. The annual Strawberry Party is always the most popular and well attended event of the year at the Iles House.

Watch for news on a special program this year.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mourning Days

The 145th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s death on April 15, 1865 is being commemorated at Springfield’s Elijah Iles House, which will be draped in period mourning decorations from his death date on April 15 to the anniversary of his final funeral service on May 4.

“Mourning Days at the Elijah Iles House” is sponsored by The Elijah Iles House Foundation, which has established a tradition of draping the Iles House for the Lincoln death and funeral anniversary dates. As was the custom at the time of Lincoln’s death, the front porch of the house is draped in black and purple bunting.

President Abraham Lincoln’s 1865 funeral procession in Springfield passed the Lincoln Home, proceeded along Cook Street from Eighth to Fourth streets, and passed on the north side of the Iles House, then the Robert Irwin residence, when it was located at its original site. Elijah Iles served as one of the pall bearers, and the 69-year-old Iles walked the route to Oak Ridge Cemetery with the other mourners on what was a very warm May day.

From the History of Sangamon County, Illinois, published in 1881 -

“Amid all the rejoicing over the evacuation of Richmond, the capture of Lee, and the other Union victories, the startling intelligence was flashed across the continent that President Lincoln was assassinated. . . The news was received in Springfield at a very early hour on the morning of the 15th of April, and spread rapidly across the city. Citizens began to gather upon the streets, listening to the dispatches, or discussing the horrible details. . . . Before 8 o’clock the news had spread generally through the city. The business houses which had been opened were, by common consent, closed almost immediately . . .

“Soon after the death of President Lincoln became known, the principal business houses were draped in mourning. Flags were draped and placed at half mast, and various other emblems of the general sorrow were displayed. Among the buildings draped were the State House, and offices of the different State officers; the headquarters of General Cook, commanding the district, of General Oakes, Assistant Provost Marshall of the District; the hall of the Fenian Brotherhood and Union League; the Postoffice, the chambers of the City Council, all the business houses on the public square and the principal streets, the principal hotels, churches, the houses of the different fire companies, newspaper offices and the Soldiers’ Home. In many cases black was gracefully intertwined with white or the National colors. Much the larger portion of private houses were similarly draped, or bore some emblem of mourning. The bells of the different churches and engine houses were tolled during the morning. At the State Arsenal the cannon were tastefully draped with the American flag, and over the entrance the stars and stripes were artistically arranged and draped in mourning, whilst from the flagstaff floated a dark colored pennant at half mast. The whole city presented a funeral aspect, as if the Death Angel had taken a member from every family. . . .

“A meeting of the City Council was held in the morning, and in response to a call issued in the course of the forenoon, a very large and solemn meeting of citizens assembled at the State House to take into consideration the terrible calamity that had befallen the city and Nation. At 12 o’clock, m., the meeting was called to order by Hon. S.M. Cullom, who said:

“’ Fellow Citizens: -- We are met together to mourn over a great calamity. Abraham Lincoln, your fellow citizen, who went out from this city four years ago, called by the American people to preside over the Nation, is no more. He has been stricken down by the hands of a dastardly, bloody assassin. In view of the long acquaintance, and the sympathy existing between that great and good man and our fellow citizen, J. K. Dubois, I nominate him to preside over our meeting.’

“The nomination was unanimously confirmed by the meeting, and upon assuming the chair, Mr. Dubois spoke briefly and pertinently, alluding to the long and friendly intercourse between himself and the lamented dead.

“The following named were chosen Vice Presidents of the meeting: Stephen T. Logan, John Williams, William F. Elkin, Elijah Iles, N. H. Ridgely, E. B. Hawley, Thomas Condell, James L. Lamb, Gershom Jayne, Richard Latham, A. G. Herndon, Rev. Albert Hale, and Rev. J. G. Bergen. For Secretaries, were chosen James C. Conkling, E. L. Baker, and E. L. Merritt."

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dinner and Auction

Mrs. Elijah Iles
Cordially Invites You To A Soiree

Celebrating Spring and the 214th Birthday
Of Elijah Iles

Saturday, March 27, 2010
6:00 p. m.
At Her Residence
Seventh and Cook Streets

Dinner and Silent Auction
$100.00 per person

Reservations close on March 22
Mail checks to: Elijah Iles Foundation
P. O. Box 144
Springfield, Illinois 62705

Note on Silent Auction

Donors may take items to
Paris Cleaners, 1013 East Ash
during store hours:
7:00 a. m. until 4:30 p. m.
Saturdays, until 12 noon.

You will be given a receipt and the items
will be stored in the Paris vault until the event.

Bette Franke, Chair
R. S. V. P. (217) 523-4006

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Linda Cunningham

Linda D. Cunningham, 60, of Springfield died at 2:58 p.m. on Thursday, February 4, 2010, at Regency Nursing Care Residence.
She was born January 1, 1950, in Tuscola, Illinois, to Floyd G. and Josephine A. Crafton Henson. She married James Patrick Cunningham on May 19, 1990; and he survives her.
She is also survived by her son, Tyson W. Fair and 2 grandchildren, Kylie and Cole Fair, all of Springfield; 2 sisters, JoEllyn (A.G.) Spencer of Springfield and Phyllis Henson of Charleston; 2 brothers, Bill (Pam) Henson and Monte (Racel) Henson, both of Charleston; and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
She was preceded in death by her parents and 4 brothers Ray, Floyd, Bud and James Allen Henson.
Linda began working for the State Journal-Register in 1985 and retired in 2008 as classified advertising manager. She was a docent for the Elijah Iles House and volunteer for the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum. Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Monday, February 8, 2010, at Staab Funeral Home. Funeral service at 11 a.m. Tuesday, February 9, 2010, at Staab Funeral Home, with Reverend John E. Nelson officiating.