Saturday, April 8, 2017


By the Tazewell County Museum

Left: Dr. Samuel Wheeler, Illinois State Historian poses with Abraham Lincoln Artifacts at the Tazewell County Museum Thursday evening.

Dr. Samuel Wheeler, Illinois State Historian and the Director of Research, Collections, and Library Services at the Abrahan Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, IL. was the Guest Speaker Thursday evening at the Museum's Annual Dinner Meeting at Avanti's in Pekin. His talk was entitled "Why Public History Matters."

Dr. Wheeler is the tenth State Historian in Illinois History. He specializes in the history of Illinois, the Civil War Era, and the Life and Legacy of Abraham Lincoln.

Right: Dr. Samuel Wheeler speaks during the Annual Museum's Dinner Meeting held at the Avanti's in Pekin Thursday evening.

In addition to being an award-winning university instructor, he has devoted much of his professional career to the field of Public History assisting Museums, historic sites, documenting editing projects, historical societies, Libraries, and archives their missions effectively and efficiently.

He regularly speaks to diverse audiences across the country, writes for scholarly journals and popular magazines, and offers commentary to newspaper, radio, and television outlets.

As the Illinois State Historian, Dr. Wheeler serves as the Director of Research, Collections, and Library Services at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois and is the historian of record for the state's 56 historic sites.

Saturday, August 27, 2016


Story and Photo by Ed Emmons (TCM)

Last Wednesday evening the Tazewell County Museum celebrated its 13th Anniversary at Kouri's in Pekin. From 4-9 P.M. Kouri's donated 10% of each transaction to the Museum as part of the Museum's fundraising program.

Seated above are friends of the Museum, Linda Johnston, Fred Gosman, Phil and Nancy Dourneen. The Museum wishes to extend its sincere thanks to everyone who came out to support the Museum. And a special thank you to Kouri's for their generosity.

Thursday, August 18, 2016


Photos and Story by Ed Emmons (TCM)

     Friends evening coffee group, that is to say a group of friends who occasionally get together for coffee and conversation at McDonalds on lower Court Street in Pekin sit around for coffee and refreshments at the Tazewell County Museum Wednesday evening.

Joyce McCloud, a Board Member of the Museum's invited the group to stop by and explore what the Museum has to offer. The Museum is now located inside the historic Arcade building at #15 S. Capital St. in down town Pekin. The Museum is open on Monday and Wednesday's from 10-2 pm. Special tours like this one can be arranged by calling President of the Museum Christal Dagit at 309-840-0177.

Left: As members friends evening coffee group stand around a 1850-1860 hand crafted bridal vail, President Christal Dagit (left) explains the history about the vail.

The vail was donated by Delavan artist Morgan Elsa.

Right: Looking at war items.

Right: Members of the coffee group look at items in the Astronaut Scott Altman Room.

Left: Looking at Military Uniforms in the Museum.

                                                                        MUSEUM ANNIVERSARY

The Tazewell County Museum will be holding its 13th Anniversary on Wednesday, August 24th, from 4 pm to 9 pm, at KOURI'S RESTAURANT, located at 2929 Court St. in Pekin, IL. Come out to Kouri's and help us celebrate 13 years of serving Tazewell County's history and honoring her citizens.

Kouri's will donate 10% of their proceeds to the Tazewell County Museum and Educational Center. Kouri's has generously offered this oppurtunity to the Museum to benefit thier 2016 Fundraising Drive, in support of their educational and cultural programs. Thank you and hope to see you on August 24th!

Saturday, July 2, 2016


Steamer Columbia July 5, 1918

Story by TCM Ed Emmons

On what was suppose to be a day of celebration, ended with 87 people killed when the steamer Columbia sank near Creve Coeur. The Pekin South Side Social Club sponsored an Illinois River excursion heading from Kingston Mines to just north of Peoria. The steamer carrying over 500 men, women, and children hit a tree stump around 7:30 pm on July 5, 1918 and sank.

Of the 87 killed, 57 were from Pekin. July 5, 2016 marks the 98th Anniversary of that tragic event. The last known survivor from Pekin Lucille AdCock passed away at the age of 106 in 2006. Her two daughters, Pat Lowman, Bev Bowman along with grand daughter Lori Preston as well as other family members came to Pekin today to help mark the event. 

Members of the family of Survivor Lucille AdCock pose near the Spirit of Columbia near the River Front Park Saturday.

Bodies from the disaster arrived at the Pekin river front by wagon, and boats to where the Memorial sits today for identification. Survivors were brought back by train.

Daughters of Lucille AdCock (right) along with Pekin womens Club members lay flowers at the marker near the Pekin river front Saturday. 

Left to right: Museum President and Director Christal Dagit as well as a past Women's Club President, Marcille Frevert, also a past Pekin Women's Club President, Bev Bowman, and Pat Lowman, both of whom are Lucille AdCock's daughters lay flowers at the Columbia Memorial Saturday.

Also on the Museum's agenda today was the drawing for 3 flags that were raffled off as part of a fund raiser for the Museum. The 13 Star flags (replica's) were won by Joel Fitzanko, John Kriegsman, Jan Brown, and Sue Milaccio. Sue will donate her flag the South Pekin Grade School. The original 13 Star Flag was sewn by Betsy Ross who was hired By George Washington.

A winner for one of 3 13 Star flags is drawn by Joyce McCloud 

Wednesday, June 22, 2016


Photos and Story by TCM Ed Emmons

Pekin Park Commissioner Gary Gillis had an idea. A bike ride through Pekin that would explain some of Pekin's past and present history. Gillis did not expect the 30-35 bikers that showed up at Monday evenings ride. The bikers ranged in age from 2-85. Gillis had all the bikers meet at the Pekin Park Pavilion. Perhaps better known for being the clue master during the hiding of the disc  before the Marigold Festival, Gary Gillis has many roles.

The plan was to bike to several historical sites in Pekin, but because of the number of bikers that showed up for the event.

Left: Gary Gillis speaks to the bikers about Pekin's own Senator Everett Dirksen, describing a little bit about the Senator and his accomplishments.

Another one of Gillis's stops was the river front where the steamer Columbia has a marker marking the disaster killing more than 80 people, mostly Pekinites.

They then went to the Tazewell County Courthouse. Earlier in the day the Courthouse was rededicated by County officials. The Courthouse turned 100 years old this year.

Right: A biker views a replica of the steamer Columbia inside the Tazewell County Museum Monday evening. The Museum opened for the bikers, furnishing water and a place to rest.

 Bicycle riders look around the Tazewell County Museum Monday evening. Gillis did not say whether their would be another Pekin History Ride next year, he did say he was very pleased with the turn out this year.