Friday, April 29, 2011


       Dirksen and Starke Primary 2nd graders are welcomed to the Museum by President Christal Dagit, Sharon Altman, Jan Strubhar, and Barbara Tidaback.( Photos and Story by Ed Emmons)

About 40-2nd grade students from Dirksen and Starke Primary School's visited the Tazewell County Museum and Education Center today to learn more about Everett Dirksen and to see some his materials housed in the Museum. Students spent a busy day Friday visiting other Dirksen sites such as the Dirksen Congressional Center, driving past the house on Buena Vista where he once lived, Pekin Times, Miller Center to set up Dirksen presentation, Mineral Springs Park to view Dirksen  Statue, Glendale Memorial Gardens to view Dirksen marker, Tazewell County Museum, and a stop by Applebee's to view local history display.

Once arriving at the Museum students were welcomed by Museum President Christal Dagit who along with staff volunteers Sharon Altman, Jan Strubhar, and Barbara Tidaback who each gave tours through the Museum. Students were accompanied by teachers Mrs. Wallace, Mrs. Jusca, and Mrs. Oesch, and a few parents.

Barb Tidaback tells students about the history of the Steamboat Columbia, which sank in the Illinois River, costing the lives of 87 people.

      Museum President Christal Dagit shows students some of Everett Dirksen's materials, including a record that he made in 1966, which he spoke about America while music played, a law book, some of his hand written notes, and other Dirksen materials.

Students tour the Veterans room which houses books, uniforms and items from America's Wars, including WW1, WW2, the Civil War and up to the current Wars in Iraq and AfGhanistan. All branches of the service are honored with a uniform.

                                            Two students look at a book on the Civil War

Jan Strubhar shows students an antique cash register, behind that is a metal booth which was used in the old Ehrlicher Drug Store in Pekin from 1864 to 1949.

Sharon Altman and mother of Astronaut Scott Altman shows students some of the items in the NASA Room and Scott Altman's Room.

      Barb Tidaback shows students a painting done by Delavan native Morgan Elsa and other Dirksen items.

                               Jan Strubhar shows students a replica of the St. Monica's Church

In all the students visited Everett Dirksen's materials, Antique Room, NASA and Scott Altman Room, the Veteran's Room, Library and other items.

The Museum is open during its summer hours from 10am to 2pm, on Monday's and Tuesday's.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


                          "Spirit of the Rainbow" drum Saturday at the Embassy Suites in East Peoria

Photos by William Furry

Native American Blessing Ceremony of the Illinois River Grounds was held Saturday at the Embassy Suites in East Peoria. Christal Dagit, President of the Tazewell County Museum and Education Center now has another title, Regional Director of the War of 1812 Commission. Christal played a vital role in securing a major statewide symposium, the first planned to commemorate the events 200th Anniversary in Tazewell County next year. The 2012 symposium, sponsored by the Illinois State Historical Society, will take place April 26-28, in 2012.

          Tazewell County Museum President Christal Dagit holds a clam shell that was presented to her at the Native American Blessing Ceremony Saturday at the Embassy Suites in East Peoria

      East Peoria Dave Mingus welcomes the participants and the blessing of the East Peoria River Bank  Saturday at the Embassy Suites in East Peoria

Wednesday, April 13, 2011


Excursion Steamer Columbia as it travels down the Illinois River

The Excursion Steamer Columbia sank in the Illinois River on July 5, 1918 killing 87 people, 57 of whom were from Pekin

On July 5th, 1918 the Excursion Steamboat Columbia with 496 passengers on board returning from an outing on the Illinois River sponsored by the Pekin South Side Social Club, hit a submerged stump and sank near what then was called Wesley City( Creve Couer today). 87 on board died, including 1 crewman 57 of those were from Pekin. The Columbia was making a return trip  from Alfresco Park. The deceased were brought to this riverfront for identification. It was the worst disaster on the Illinois River in history.

The last survivor of the Columbia Disaster was 106 year old Lucille Adcock. She died at a Pekin nursing home the same day a State Historical Marker was rededicated along the riverfront in memory of the Steamboat. Adcock survived by hanging onto a flagpole until help arrived.

Jan Strubhar of the Museum stands by the Model of the Columbia Steamboat model made by Rod Mehl of Peoria, IL. The model is on display to the public inside the main doors at the Museum.

In other Museum news the Museum will be changing to Summer hours starting May 1st. The new hours will be Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 10-2 pm.

You are cordially invited to attend a Blessing of the Illinois River Grounds in East Peoria on Saturday, April 23rd at 1 pm at the Embassy Suites, 100 Conference Center Dr.,East Peoria.

We will be located in the Grand View Room and Retire to the Patio area for the Blessing Ceremony.

Cost for the Event is $20.00. Reservations are required in advance and tickets are available from Christal Dagit, 309-346-1889 or 309-840-0177. You may also pick up tickets at the Tazewell County Museum located at 2950 Court St. Seating is limited and Tickets must be purchased by April 18th.

All proceeds go the war of 1812 Bicentennial Symposium gathering being planned for April 26, 2012.

Come and Enjoy a taste of our earliest Illinois Heritage!!!

Please watch for further updates on this site regarding fundraising events coming up this spring.