Wednesday, December 4, 2013


                         Photo of Thomas Jefferson Davis and his wife Susan Fisher

Story and Photos by TCM Ed Emmons

An elaborate gold frame containing the pictures of Thomas Jefferson Davis and his wife Susan Fisher are on display at the Museum, along with a "Gold Headed" cane, that he received as a gift on his 76th Birthday. The date was November 23, 1907. Davis who was from Tremont, was Tazewell Counties first male born settler. He later became one of the Counties wealthiest farmers.

Also contained in the shelf below the photo, is the cane, his obituary, and his family history.

This was all Donated by Bonnie Jean Davis Woolley.

                                                                       ALSO IN THE MUSEUM

       This 1913 model of Pekin Memorial Hospital was donated by David Berry, from Pekin Memorial Hospital Community Relations. The Hospital opened in 1918.

Please come out to the Tazewell County Museum and see what we have! You will be surprised and amazed! We are open on Monday and Wednesday's from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


                                                           (Photo by Ed Emmons)

 Tazewell County Museum volunteer Barbara Tidaback displays a Bear Claw Pattern Quilt, over 100 years old. Sewn completely by hand, the Quilt was done by Barbara's Great Aunt, Minnie Lee Goth. The Quilt was never out of the original package until recently. Unfortunately due to a lack of space and conditions, the Quilt will not be on display, at least for now. 

Wednesday, November 6, 2013


                                                              Edmund "Ed" Graham



Ed Graham served for many years on our board as a Director and later as Vice-President. He passed away on September 21, 2013 and is sadly missed by all his museum friends. His family was kind enough to have memorials made to the Tazewell County Museum Building Fund.

He served not only as our Vice-President, he was also on our Building Fund Committee and the Veterans Committee.

Ed was proud to serve his Country in the United States Air Force, retiring from Chanute Air Force Base in Rantoul as a Master Sergeant. We enjoyed many hours of conversation about his military experiences.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013


                           Karan Parmele of Mackinaw stands by a model of a Mill in the Museum

Story and Photo by Museum Website Director Ed Emmons

Karan Parmele of Mackinaw has been chosen as Volunteer of the Month at the Tazewell County Museum. As well as volunteering her time at the Museum, Karan also serves as a member of the Board. She is married to her best friend, of 52 years, Jerry.

Karan has lived most of her life in the Mackinaw area. She and her husband have 2 daughters, and 5 grandchildren. She feels fortunate that her immediate family lives close by. She inherited her love of history from her father Coil. Her hobbies/activities include: Board Member at the Museum, President of the Mackinaw Area Historical Society, gardening (vegetable and flower), church work, where she  is a member of the choir, and volunteers for Home Sweet Home Ministries.

She also hopes to find time for traveling in the future as well. If you would like to become a volunteer for the Museum, please call 309-347-8375, or 309-346-1889.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013


                     Sharon Altman of Pekin stands near her sons accomplishments at the Museum

Story and Photo by TCM Website Director Ed Emmons

Sharon has been a volunteer and a sitting Museum Board Member for 10 years. She likes playing the organ at church, traveling, and volunteering in general. Sharon is a retired teacher from District 108 in Pekin, after 35 years. She taught at Edison.

Sharon is married to Fred Altman also a retired teacher and Principal. The couple have 2 children, Astronaut Scott  and Sarah. Scott is retired from the Unites States Navy Captain, and NASA Astronaut.

Sharon also does fundraising and programs at the Museum.

If you would like to volunteer at the Museum, please contact Christal Dagit at 309-347-8375, or 309-346-1889, as always please pass our Website along to your friends.

Friday, August 9, 2013


      Tazewell County Museum Volunteers Gayle Gettman (right), and Barbara Tidaback (back), sells items to a customer Friday, at the annual TCM Garage Sale, to benefit the Museum

Photos and Story by TCM Website Director Ed Emmons

It was a beautiful day for a garage sale today, as the sun came up with cooler temperatures, and the garage sale rs came out to shop. The Museum was holding its annual garage sale, which offers a variety of items for everyone. All proceeds from the sale will go to the Museum.

Left: People looking for bargains look over the Tazewell County Garage Sale held today at 218 Hemlock Ct. in Pekin.

The garage sale will continue tomorrow from 8-3, hopefully with nice weather once again. Please come out and show your support for your Tazewell County Museum.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


ale is legally responsible for ensuring items sold are safe and meet safety standards? If you are...
 The Tazewell County Museum will be holding their annual Garage Sale, this coming Friday and Saturday, August 10-11, from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 218 Hemlock in Pekin.

Included in the sale will be books, shoes, women's clothing, and many miscellaneous items. All items are donated by the many volunteers from the Museum.

All sales will go to benefit the Museum. If you don't know where hemlock is located, take Broadway Road East, turn left on Schramm Drive by the Moose, go down and turn left onto Hemlock.

 Please come out and support your Tazewell County Museum!!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


     Diane Owens holds up a Pekin Woman's Club Plaque, standing next to a tea set donated by the club to the Museum. She is a founding member of the Museum

Story by Ed Emmons (TCM Internet Director)

Diane Owens has been selected as Volunteer of the Month of July at the Tazewell County Museum. She has been volunteering for about 5 years. Diane makes up the brochures for the Museum. She is a founding member of the Museum. Diane is a past President of the Pekin Women's Club, and retired as District President.

Diane retired as Assistant to the Superintendent at PCHS, after 25 years. She also graduated from PCHS in 1955.  Her hobbies include traveling, computer, sewing, and fishing.

Please pass our website address along to your friends.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


     Jim and Carol Stallwitz and their grandson Alex arrive for dinner Tuesday evening at Kouri's in Pekin for the Museum's 10th Anniversary. Besides Carol and her grandson Alex being volunteers at the Museum, Carol and her husband Jim are lifetime members.

Story and Photos by Ed Emmons (Museum Internet Director)

Tuesday evening marked the 10th Anniversary for your Tazewell County Museum! The event was held at Kouri's Pub in Pekin, located at 2929 Court Street.

Left: Kouri's Pub hosted the Museum's 10th Anniversary Tuesday evening. Though currently the Museum is located in Pekin, each City in Tazewell County are represented.

10% from the drive-up, carry out or dine-in, from this event will benefit the Museum. Thank you Kouri's!

Established in 1827 Tazewell County is made up of 55 Cities, Towns, and census designated places.

The Museum staff is made up of all volunteers, who do everything from giving tours, cataloging, teaching,  typing, to taking photos and writing.

Director Christal Dagit, says that without our volunteers, we could not operate. If you have a group who would like to tour the Museum, please call us at 309-347-8375, or 309-346-1889. The Museum is open is open on Monday and Wednesday, from 10-2 p.m. Please stop by and take a look at your Tazewell County Museum!!  Were located in the Sunset Hills Plaza.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


                         Please come join the Tazewell County Museum celebrate its 10th Anniversary, Tuesday, July 9th, from 5-9 p.m., at Kouri's Pub, located at 2929 Court Street in Pekin. 10%  from drive-up, carry out or dine-in will benefit your TAZEWELL COUNTY MUSEUM!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013


     Museum Volunteer Gayle Gettman types out pages for the scanned old photographs at the Museum Monday morning

Story and Photo by Ed Emmons (TCM Website Director)

Gayle Gettman of  Pekin has been volunteering at the Tazewell County Museum for 3 plus years. Gayle does a variety of duties, including typing information on old photographs.

Gayle has been married for 20 years to Bruce. Gayle's hobbies include embroidery, latch hook rugs, and gardening. She was born and raised in Peoria, graduating from Limestone High School.

If you would be interested in volunteering for the Museum, please contact Christal or Karen at 309-347-8375, or Christal at 309-346-1889.

                                           OLD PEKIN THEATER SEATS

The Museum announced on February 13 of this year, that it was selling Old Pekin Theater Seats at Spirits of the Past Antiques, located at 215 N. 5th, for $75 each, for the Museum's building fund for future development of the Museum. It has been learned that Spirits of the Past Antiques is going out of business at the end of June. Subsequently the price for the seats is being reduced from $75 to $25 each. This sale is open to the public. If you would like to own part of Pekin's past, please stop by and talk to Debbie. There are many seats available.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013


     Fred Altman gives 2nd graders from Stark School a tour of the Scott Altman and Astronaut Room Tuesday afternoon

Story and Photos by Ed Emmons ( Museum Website Director )

Monday and Tuesday were both busy days this week at the Museum. On Monday the Museum hosted Delavan Home and Community Education group, which is connected to the Extension Service. Wednesday 2 classes from Jefferson and Stark schools in Pekin.

Left: Tazewell County Museum Director Christal Dagit welcomes and talks to student Tuesday before they begin the Museum tour

The first group that arrived was a 2nd grade class from Jefferson School. The class is taught by Shelly Bastean.

The students started out a 8:50 Tuesday morning and visited many sites during their "Discovering Dirksen Tour". Both Jefferson and Stark students visited the Dirksen Congressional Center, visited "Bean Town", where Mr. Dirksen grew up, The Tazewell County Genealogical Society, The Dirksen Statue in the Mineral Springs Park, Lunch at Mineral Springs Park, Pekin Kiwanis Club, Tazewell County Museum, Glendale Memorial Gardens to view Dirksen's grave marker, and Applebee's to view items displayed on the walls.

     Jan Strubhar a volunteer for the Tazewell Museum gives a tour of the Veterans room

Left: Director Christal Dagit points out some Everette Dirksen items

The second class of the day was from Jefferson School. That class is taught by Marj Oesch. Both classes were accompanied by many parents and relatives.

Volunteers from the Museum who were involved in helping out the tours were, Sharon Altman, Fred Altman, Gayle Gettman ( along with husband Bruce), Jan Strubhar, Karen Blone, and Christal Dagit. Thank you, and thanks to the Classes from both Stark and Jefferson Schools for making the Museum a stopping point.


    Members of the Delavan Home and Community Education group stop for a photo during their tour of the Museum on Monday morning

Members of the Delavan Home and Community Education group, which is connected to the Tazewell County Extension service toured the Museum Monday morning. The group consist of 33 members and its President is Marge Detmers. The group has been around for over 50 years.

Left: Museum volunteer Gayle Gettman (Center) holds one of more than 800 pictures from the Distinguished Gentlemen of Tazewell County file, as Director Christal Dagit explains the process of handling and copying the photos to the group

     Museum volunteer Pat Moser talks with the Delavan Home and Community Education group about the Scott Altman ( Astronaut Room )

      Christal Dagit talks about the Delavan items donated to the Museum

Thanks ladies for touring the Museum and please come back!

Coming soon on the website another Volunteer of the Month!


Thursday, April 25, 2013


     Pekin Public Library Director Jeff Brooks explains to members of the Museum membership meeting group about documents which were housed in the cornerstone at the old Carnegie Library

Story and Photos by Ed Emmons ( Museum Website Director )

The Tazewell County Museum and Educational Center held a membership meeting Wednesday evening in the Community Room at the Pekin Public Library. The meeting started at 6 p.m. and was conducted by Museum President Christal Dagit.

Left: Museum President Christal Dagit speaks to the membership group at the Pekin Public Library

Christal talked about future plans for the Museum, and what criteria would be needed in finding a new home for the Museum. Christal went on to say that the Museum must be located on Government owned property in order to secure grants available to them. She also said that an Associate Board had been formed in order to accomplish this task. She also said that the Museum is looking into holding a banquet to honor their many volunteers.

Christal then went on to read the Board Meeting Minutes of April 9, 2013.

The meeting was brought to order at 10:00 a.m. by Christal Dagit

Secretary's report was approved as read

Treasurer's report

County Historical Commission

A. Civil War-As the search goes on locating the veterans of the War of 1812, it has been discovered that many of their sons and grandsons were in the Civil War.

B. The War of 1812 lapel pins are still for sale for $5.00.

C. Locating the graves of the veterans of the War of 1812 is still ongoing.


A. Donation/Pledge letters for 2013 have not been sent out. We are working on getting new members.

Space Quilt Project-Ken Crawford put a quilt rack up so that the quilts can be put on display.

George Beres-Book articles are more than three-quarters typed by Gayle. They need to be proof read and pictures need to be found to go along with the articles.

Museum Site-Christal is still talking to people.

Building Fund-3 theater seats have been sold and the money will go into the building fund.

Web Site-Ed Emmons had revised the web site.

Newsletters-will be sent out next week.

Native American Report-Plans by the French Heritage Corridor are being made to purchase a Gomo marker for the Illinois History Site.

Veterans Report-The Museum has been given a new Korean War Uniform with medals from Kenny Beck.

Associate Board- is waiting for a meeting date and people willing to serve on the board.

Newsletter-The newsletter will be sent out next week and will include information about pictures that copies will be for sale at the museum.

Parades-Christal will obtain a list of parades in Tazewell County to participate in to increase visibility for the museum.

Karen Blome-Reported that $30.00 worth of books and Indian girl dolls, were sold at the Family and Business Expo.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:55.

Barbara Tidaback


     Pekin Public Library Director Jeff Brooks speaks to Museum membership meeting Wednesday evening at the Library

Pekin Public Library Director Jeff Brooks was the guest speaker at the Museum's membership meeting Wednesday evening. Jeff spoke about the Libraries new strategic plans. He said that in March the Library Board of Trustees approved the Fy2014-2019 Strategic Plan.

The planning committee spent almost a year gathering and analyzing data from various reports and community surveys which helped them chart the direction of the Library for the next five years.

The previous plan which ended a year ago called for, among many other things, increased technology training offering. While we will continue to offer programs and services stemming from our old plan, there was support for our new plan to direct us back to basics, to get better at providing our services, and to do our best to make sure the community learns what is going on at the Library. Finally, making sure that we provide our services in a safe, accessible building that meets the needs of our customers and that will continue to be a goal as long as these issues exist.

So with that background, it is my pleasure to introduce the key components of our FY 2014-2019 Strategic Plan:

Mission Statement

Pekin Public Library serves as the community's information center and gathering place. People have the opportunity to connect, discover, conduct the business of life, and leave enriched and satisfied.

Vision Statement

We want Pekin to be a prosperous community that values civility, knowledge, and connectivity. The community should have a safe, neutral place to interact; take advantage of educational, recreational and cultural opportunities; and discover the resources to achieve personal goals.

Core Strategies

Implement a formal training program to address safety readiness, core competencies, customer service and communication.

Raise early literacy levels in the community.

Develop a marketing plan for traditional, social, and alternative outlets.

Renovate facility and develop/update library grounds.

With those remarks, Jeff took the group upstairs, which used to house the Dirksen Center.

Left: Jeff Brooks, Director of the Pekin Public Library, explains to Museum membership members what is housed upstairs at the Library.

Many people don't even know that the library even has a second floor, where the Dirksen Center was located for many years.

Jeff had laid out items on a table that were in a cornerstone at the old Carnegie Library in Pekin. A woman by the name of Mary C. Gaither wrote Andrew Carnegie to raise money for the Library.

Left: Photo of Mary C. Gaither who wrote letter to Andrew Carnegie

The cornerstone box which was in the old Carnegie Library housed many documents, including deeds, old newspapers, and many other documents which were important to that time period. The box which housed the documents was made by Louis Zinger.

Left: This business card from cornerstone box maker Louis Zinger was in the box.

Other items in the box included 3 old newspapers that used to be in Pekin. Daily Evening Post, dated Feb. 13, 1896, Pekin Free Press, which was in German, and The Pekin Daily Tribune, dated Feb. 1896.

Who knew that the Pekin Times is Pekin's 4th newspaper, I didn't.

                A copy of The Pekin Daily Tribune, dated Feb. 1896

Other items included a photo of Andrew Carnegie:

Left: Photo of Andrew Carnegie

Right: Key to the Old Tazewell County Courthouse

Left: Also included in cornerstone box was this issue of Pekin's Free Street Fair, dated 1899

Right: The upstairs at the Library also is home to old Pekin Directories

Left: Pekin High School year books, which run from the 1940's to current ones.

The Tazewell County Museum wishes to thank Jeff Brooks for his time to speak with the group and the tour which was truly interesting.

Further updates from the Museum are forthcoming on events.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013


     Tazewell County Museum President Christal Dagit and Office Manager Karen Blone sit by the Museum's table at last Saturday's Spring Fling at Herbal Springs located at 2960 Court Street in Sunset Plaza in Pekin

Photos and Story by Ed Emmons ( TCM Website Director )

Saturday, April 20th, the Spring Fling at Herbal Springs was held at the Sunset Plaza location in Pekin. Their were Vendors, speakers, food, raffles, basket auctions, massage and reflexology offered by Herbal Springs. Herbal Springs is owned by Syndi Mullins. The Tazewell County Museum also participated by having a table set up with items sold there, and information about the Museum.

Karen Blone who is the Office Manager at the Museum also is a "Lilly Creek Creations crafter and also  had a table with items, of which 20% of items sold went to the Museum.

     Museum Office Manager Karen Blone sits at her table, Karen is a Lilly Creek  Creations Crafter, and 20% of her sells went to support the Museum

Left: A sign above Karen Blone table

Just a reminder to everyone, Wednesday, April 24th, the Tazewell County Museum will be having their Annual Membership Drive and meeting at the Pekin Public Library. Director Jeff Brooks will be speaking and giving a tour of the Library. We urge all members and members of the public to attend. The Meeting starts at 6 p.m. at the Library.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


Story and Photos by Ed Emmons ( Museum Website Director )

April is Merchant Appreciation month at Schnuck's in Pekin, and Schnuck's is helping the Tazewell County Museum by offering these E Script cards to the public.

These cards are free, and for every purchase made on these cards Schnuck's will donate 3% on all grocery items to the Museum's funds for education.

                                              ANNUAL MEMBERSHIP MEETING

The Pekin Library will be hosting the Museum's Annual Membership Meeting, April 24, at 6 p.m. All members, and the general public is invited to attend. Library Director Jeff Brooks will be giving a talk and a tour of the Library.

                                              ANNUAL MUSEUM GARAGE SALE

The Museum will be holding their annual garage sale in July or August. Anyone wishing to donate items to the Museum should contact Christal Dagit at 309-346-1889. An exact date and time will be announced.

                                              KRISPY KREME FUNDRAISER UPDATE

The Museum announces that they have made a profit of $147 dollars from the latest fundraiser from Krispy Kreme Doughnuts. The next fundraiser for the doughnuts will come prior to Christmas.


As announced previously, the Museum is offering photos of the 800 most Distinguished Gentlemen in Tazewell County. A $10 donation is suggested.  The photos are being kept in acid free folders. Here is example of what the photos will look like.

Left: Tazewell County Museum Director Christal Dagit holds one of the 800 photos in the acid free folder

If you are interested in ordering a photo, please contact Christal at 309-346-1889. These photos are being put out in sets instead of all at once. Here are the names on set one.

The Museum announces that Rosemary Palmer has been appointed to the Tazewell County Museum Board, to replace a member. She is a lifetime member, and a former Board Member.
In the March 2013 Edition of News & Views magazine, their is an article on the Old Pekin Theater, by Debi Bruns who owns Spirit of the Past Antiques. Here is that article.


Thursday, March 14, 2013


     Members of the Tazewell County Home-Makers Extension Association tour the Tazewell County Museum Monday morning. The tour was arranged by Museum member Wilma Pulfer (left).

Photos and Story by Ed Emmons (TCM Website Director)

Members of the  Tazewell County Home-Makers Extension Association toured the Museum Monday morning. The group is best known for advising farmers on the latest agricultural advances. The service also has taught generations of home-makers about making preserves and awarded 4-H members for raising goats or making the best quilt.

Left: The cover of a Tazewell County Homemakers Extension Association scrapbook kept by members.

The Association gives classroom materials to teachers, helps children socialize and learn in 4-H, advises poor families on nutrition and stretching their dollars.

Right: Museum volunteer Jan Strubhar conducts a tour of the Museum to the Homemakers Extension Association members.

Left: Tazewell County Museum President Christal Dagit talks about the exhibits in the Scott Altman room to the HEA.

The Tazewell County Museum conducts tours for any size group. In the past we have given tours to Senior citizens, group homes, Boy and Girl Scouts, and more. If your organization would like a tour of the Museum and learn all about Tazewell County, please contact the Museum at 309-347-8375, or 309-346-1889.

                                                     UPCOMING EVENTS

Herbal Springs at Sunset Plaza in Pekin will be having an open house on April 20, 2013, from 10-3 p.m. The Museum will have a booth there selling books, War of 1812 pins and donuts.

Distinguished Men of Tazewell County from the 1860's to 1900's. The Museum has around 800 photos kept in acid free file folders on loan from the Tazewell County Court House. Any one wishing to order a copy of a photo please contact the Museum.Gayle Gettman from the Museum has scanned in these photos. More news on this later.

     Tazewell County Museum President Christal Dagit holds one of the acid free file folders containing one of about 800 photos of Distinguished Men of Tazewell County. This photo is one of William Blenkiron.

Left: A photo of William Blenkiron, one of Tazewell Counties Distinguished Men

The War of 1812 work continues. So far 120 veterans of that war have been found in Tazewell County.

Don't forget to order your Krispy Kreme Donuts! Now taking orders! Donuts are $6.00 and coffee is $9.00. Orders must be in by Monday March 25th. Please call 309-642-1128, or 309-346-1889 to place an order.

Pickup will be Wednesday March 27th AT THE MUSEUM, from 10 to 2 p.m. A door prize drawing will be at 2 p.m. Need not be present to win.


Wednesday, February 13, 2013


     Pekin Theater seats are on display and for sale at Spirits of  The Past Antiques in Pekin, located at 215 N. 5th Street.

Story and Photos by Ed Emmons (TCM Website Director)

President of the Tazewell County Museum Christal Dagit has announced that the Museum is putting around 80 or so Old Pekin Theater seats up for sale to the public, so that money can be put into the Museum's building fund for the future development of the Museum.

Christal was contacted by Bill Homel of the Artistic Community Theater when they closed down in the old Pekin Mall to donate the seats to the Museum, so that we could preserve some of them, with the understanding that if we did not have a use for all of them that at some point we could dispose of them if we no longer had a use for them.

     This sign sits on the sits at Spirit of the Past Antiques located at 215 N. 5th in Pekin.

The Museum has has them in storage for over 8 years and we decided that in the best interest of the museum, we would maintain and hold some of them as historical artifacts. We have 2 sets of seats to show in the future, from the old Theater that was built in 1925 in the oriental style. We continue to enjoy the figurine (statue) and other artifacts of our old theater.

It was decided to sell the remaining seats as a historic reminder of Pekin's past to our citizens so that others could enjoy them rather than keep them in storage. The sale of these seats will enable the museum to place the proceeds in the Tazewell County Museum Building Fund for our future development. Debi Brun, of Spirit of the Past Antiques has offered to help us with the sales and donations. Our thanks to her and her continued support of the Tazewell County Museum. The seats will be sold for $75 a piece.

                  This the design on the end rows of the seats. Only 5 or 6 of these are available.

                                                  Spirits of the Past Antiques