Monday, November 2, 2015


 By Museum Staff

The Tazewell County Museum will be closed November 11 in observance of Veterans Day. We take freedom very seriously here at the Museum because without our Military Personnel who put their own safety in harms way to protect our way of life here in America, we would not enjoy the freedoms which we enjoy every day. Thank you to all persons in the Military and our Veterans!

The Museum will also be closed Wednesday November 25th and Thanksgiving day November 26th. We will reopen Monday, November 30th.


Monday, October 5, 2015


The Tazewell County Museum will be taking its fall break effective immediately, and reopen October 17. With all the work being done on the Arcade building its a good time to take a break, said Director Christal Dagit. Parking spaces are at a premium right now, however its a very positive thing with the work on the Arcade building.

Thursday, August 13, 2015


Story and Photo by (TCM) Ed Emmons

Wednesday evening at Kouri's Pub in Pekin IL., the Tazewell County Museum celebrated their 12th Anniversary.

Pictured here are Jerry and Karan Parmele of Mackinaw, IL. enjoying a meal at Kouri's Pub.

Kouri's donated 10% of their sales between 5-9 p.m. to the Museum. Thank you Kouri's!


Monday, August 10, 2015


Story by (TCM) Ed Emmons

Your Tazewell County Museum will be celebrating its 12th Anniversary this Wednesday, August 12th at Kouri's Pub in Pekin from 5 to 9 p.m.

Kouri's will be donating 10% of all sales to the Museum! So come on out Wednesday and not only help out and support your Museum but also enjoy a good meal at Kouri's Pub!

The Museum would like to thank all the corporate sponsors as well as individuals for their continued support. If not for your generosity their would not be a Tazewell County Museum.! Thank you.

Monday, August 3, 2015


Story and Photos by Ed Emmons

Left: Marion Townsend, Rol White, and Shawn Townsend get the Buddha ready to move out of the Museum.

One of the two existing Buddha's from the old downtown Pekin Theater was moved over the weekend from the Tazewell County Museum at Sunset Plaza to the Museum's new location inside the Arcade Building located at #15 S. Capitol St.

It is thought that one Buddha was moved to a restaurant in Champaign IL.  and one ended up stored at Washington Junior High School. It was forgot about until a Janitor stumbled upon it, and the Museum was ask if they wanted it.

Right: Joel Fitzanko and Shawn Townsend move the Buddha onto a trailer for its ride to down town Pekin.

The Buddha is made of Plaster and is extremely fragile.

The Pekin Theater was located at # 21-#29 S. Capitol Streets. It opened on November 27th, 1928, and closed its doors in 1980. It was located about where the City Hall and Tazewell County Jail sit now. The B&F Confectionary was on the corners of S. Capitol and Elizabeth Streets and the Theater sat next to it. Across Elizabeth Street is where the Arcade building is located. So the Buddha is only 1/2 a block from where it sat from 1928 until 1980, when the Theater was torn down to make way for the City Hall and Jail buildings.

Left:  The Pekin Theater Buddha is unloaded in front of the Arcade building in downtown Pekin Sunday by Rol White and Shawn Townsend.

The Buddha will be on display at the Tazewell County Museum for all to see. Hours are Monday and Wednesday from 10 to 2 p.m.

Right: A photo from the Horizon issue of the Pekin Times shows the Pekin Theater next to the B&F Confectionary, which was a restaurant and Greyhound Bus Depot.

Some statistics on the Pekin Theater. It had 1,257 seats inside it. Architect for the design of the Theater was Elmer Behrns. The interior décor was in an oriental style, including ancient Chinese Pogodas and Chinese Goddess figures. Similar to other theaters of the 1920's, the ceiling "stars", delivered the atmospheric style to compliment the oriental style décor. Even the outside roof was fancied in Oriental décor. The Theater was demolished in 1987.  ( Contributing to article: Cinema Treasures Website and writer Mark Lenaway)

Right: Shawn Townsend and Michael Bailey put the Buddha in its place inside the Museum.

Also Sunday the remaining large items were moved from the Sunset Hills Plaza to the downtown Arcade building location.

Left: Joel Fitzanko and Rol White remove a huge bolt from NASA from a display case.

Right: A Piano is moved out of the Museum's Sunset Hills location Sunday by Tom Woodmancy and Shawn Townsend, Ryan, and Michael Bailey.

Marion Townsend of P & M Construction provided trailers and labor for the move.

A big thanks to all those who worked to get the Museum moved!


Thursday, July 23, 2015


Left: Museum moving Coordinator Joel Fitszanko (yellow shirt) gets help from Ryan Dansaghi moving a antique printing press into the Arcade Building this morning.

Story and Photos by Ed Emmons

The Tazewell County Museum will be in one location once again located in the Arcade building in down town Pekin.

The Museum had moved only its "Special Collections" items to the Arcade building a few months ago, leaving the main Museum located in the Sunset Hills shopping center.

Right: P and M Construction owned by Marion Townsend provided some workers to help with the Museums move to the Arcade Building. Here a cabinet is moved out of the Sunset Hills location.

Left: Workers move items into the Arcade building location.

The Museum will be open on Monday and Wednesday's from 10 to 2 p.m. The location is at #15 S. Capital St. Suite 101, in the Arcade Building across from the Courthouse. You may call 309-840-0177 to arrange tours or have any other questions.


Friday, June 26, 2015


Photos by TCM Ed Emmons

Left: Dr. Manivald Harm and family

Dr. Manivald Harm was honored at this years Mack-Ca-Fest in Mackinaw by the Mackinaw Area Historical Society with a plaque being presented by President Karan Parmele.

Dr. Harm's three sons also attended the interview and presentation. Mike if from the Boston area, Tom is from Minnesota, and Eric is from Florida.

Dr. Harm came from Estonia with his wife Melosina and eldest son Mike, and moved to Mackinaw in 1955.

Dr. Harm was honored with the plaque for his outstanding and dedicated service to the Village of Mackinaw, and surrounding communities.

Right: President of the Mackinaw Area Historical Society Karan Parmele presents a plaque to 94 year old Dr. Manivald Harm at this years Mack-Ca-Fest in Mackinaw Illinois.

Left: Plaque presented to Dr. Manivald Harm.

During his time in Mackinaw and surrounding communities, Dr. Harm delivered many babies, many of whom attended the presentation.

Dr. Harm is still lives in the Mackinaw area still living on his 7 acre home site and is active with the Mackinaw Lions Club, and American Legion, and Young at Heart.

Also included in the festivities was a portrayal of Dr. William O. Powell, by Bruce Walcott. The portrayal told of his background and coming to Mackinaw in the late 1800's. He purchased a drugstore. Dr. Powell was known to be one of the best surgeons in Central Illinois. He was an artist in both China and oil painting and took pride in making and having talents in both theater and was a fine vocalist.

Right: Bruce Walcott portrays Dr. William O. Powell during Mack-Ca-Fest farm days, presented by the Mackinaw Area Historical Society.

He was also well known for his participation in the "Mackinaw Fairs". He was President of the Electric Light Co. Dr. Powell was also the physician for both the Vandalia and Big Four Railroads. He died of a heart attack on January 23, 1906 while on a hunting trip.

Left: Dr. Harm and his sons ride in the Mack-Ca-Fest Parade.

The afternoon started with a question andinterview of Dr. Harm from Dr. Powell (Portrayed by Bruce Walcott).

Right: Dr. Manivald Harm (right), answers question put to him by Dr. Powell, (portrayed by Bruce Walcott)

Left: Crowds watch as the two Dr.'s talk in the uptown park in Mackinaw during Mack-Ca-Fest.


Wednesday, June 10, 2015


Left: Karan Parmele of the Mackinaw Area Historical Society displays items at Veterans Park in June of 2014 as part of Mack-Ca-Fest

Story by TCM

Its time for MACK-CA-FEST once again! The 36th  annual Mack-Ca-Fest farm days festival is going to run this weekend in Mackinaw IL.

In conjunction with Mack-Ca-Fest, the Mackinaw Area Historical Society will be sponsoring a program June 20 at 2 p.m. in the uptown park immediately following the Mack-Ca-Fest Parade. Two doctors will be highlighted with special recognition given to Dr. Manivald Harm who gave 34 years service to Mackinaw and the surrounding towns.

The Mack-Ca-Fest celebration features entertainment, parade, flea market, and many other events. Please bring your own lawn chairs if possible.


Thursday, June 4, 2015


Story and Photo by TCM

Left to Right: Cameron Bettin, Executive Director of the Pekin Park District, Christal Dagit, President of the Tazewell County Museum and Kenny Crawford who is on the  Board of Directors.

A check was presented today to the Pekin Park Foundation from the Tazewell County Museum. Presenting the check were President Christal Dagit, (Board of Directors) Kenny Crawford, and (Board of Directors) Ed Emmons, who took this photo.

The money raised for this venture was gained through fundraising efforts, and Mary Ann Milam from her "Joey" Books for children. Our heart felt thanks to Mary Ann. This will be used by the Park to further the restoration of the Pekin Depot.

Sunday, May 24, 2015


Left: Museum volunteer Barbara Tidaback shows Starke School students about Everette Dirksen items.

Story and Photos by (TCM) Ed Emmons

On May 7, 75 students from Starke School in Pekin toured the Tazewell County Museum in Pekin. This was part of the students day in which they visited several of Everette Dirksen's landmarks in Pekin, including his grave, his home, and other places of significance.

Left: A Starke School students draws her idea of her own planet would look like. Students were ask if they could have a planet of their own what would it be and look like. Some interesting ideas emerged.

Right: One students named Ben came up with the idea of a Pizza Planet.

Left: Museum Director Christal Dagit explains what is in the Astronaut Scott Altman room to Starke Students. Always a favorite with the students.

Also helping with the tours were volunteers, Joel Fitzanko, Ed Emmons, Barbara Tidaback, and Christal Dagit.

If your school would like to tour the Museum, please contact Christal Dagit at 309-840-0177.


Wednesday, April 1, 2015


                  Shirley Minyard picks up her Krispy Kreme Donuts this morning at the Museum

Photo by TCM Ed Emmons

Tazewell County Museum supporters picked up their Krispy Kreme Donut orders at the Tazewell County Museum this morning. The Museum holds this event twice a year as part of a fundraiser. Pictured are from left to right: Museum volunteers Alex, Barbara, and supporter Shirley Minyard.


Sunday, March 29, 2015


Left: Dr. Michael Wiant

The Tazewell County Museum held its Annual meeting March 25, 2015. President Christal Dagit welcomed attendees.

Following dinner she shared the State of the Museum, what has been happening at both sites of the Museum and invited everyone to visit. She emphasized we still need more space.

She introduced Dr. Michael Wiant of Dixon Mounds Museum who gave a very informative talk on a "specific artifact rock" that Christal showed him during their afternoon tour.

He also shared how far the ice fields came down and how Starved Rock was formed plus much more information about our area and the very early Native American population.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


The 2015 annual Tazewell County Museum meeting is scheduled tonight, March 25 at 6 p.m. The meeting will be held at Avanti's in Pekin. Dr. Michael Wiant from Dickson Mounds will be guest speaker for the event.

Sunday, February 22, 2015


Left: Frank and Barbara Tidaback were crowned King and Queen of the Mardi Gras luncheon.

Story and Photos by Ed Emmons (TCM)

The Tazewell County Museum held its first and hopefully annual Mardi Gras luncheon at Avanti's in Pekin recently. Lunch was ordered off the menu with the King cakes being furnished by the Museum.

     Photo of those attending the first Tazewell County Museum Mardi Gras Luncheon event. Those attending were given Mardi Gras beads.

A commemorative photo was taken, King and Queen were crowned, lunch was served and then it was time for King cake for dessert.


Tuesday, February 17, 2015


         The Pekin Chamber of Commerce conducted a ribbon cutting ceremony today for the Tazewell County Museum's "Special Collections" unit, located in the Arcade Building in down town Pekin.

Photos and Story by TCM Website Director Ed Emmons

The Pekin Chamber of Commerce held a ribbon cutting ceremony today at 4:30 p.m. for the Tazewell County Museum's "Special Collections" unit, located in the Arcade Building. Those shown in the photo are from left to right, Jeff Baldi (Coroners Office), Glenda Grashoff, Tammy Hyatt (Senator Dave Koehler's Office), Joel Fitszanko (Museum), Barbara Tidaback (Museum), Museum President Christal Dagit, Linda Giles (Museum), and Tazewell County Board Chairman David Zimmerman.

Although the Museum's "Special Collections" Unit has been open for awhile, President Christal Dagit wanted to wait until things calmed down a little before the official ribbon cutting. After the ribbon cutting, an open house was held with tours of the facility held. Thank you to everyone who came out, including Pekin City Councilman John McCabe.


Tuesday, February 10, 2015


The Museum is once again taking orders for Krispy Kreme donuts. This twice a year event benefits your museum. Donuts will be $8 a dozen and can be ordered now. Pick up date for donuts will be April 1, 2014. To order please contact Karen Blome at (309) 642-1128.

Monday, February 9, 2015


Story by TCM Website Director Ed Emmons

The Tazewell County Museum is hosting a Mardi Gras luncheon at Avanti's in Pekin on February 17, at 11:30 a.m.

Seating is limited, please RSVP as soon as possible to Christal Dagit at (309) 840-0177. Public is invited to attend.

Also on February 17, the Museum is holding a ribbon cutting and open house at 4:30 p.m. for its "Special Collections" located in the Arcade Building, between Court and Elizabeth Streets in downtown Pekin.

Right: Arcade Building located on Capitol Street, between Elizabeth and Court Streets in down town Pekin.

Please come out and support your Tazewell County Museum. Remember if you don't know where you're from how do you know where you're going!


Sunday, January 18, 2015


                                    Museum President Christal Dagit decorates a Mardi Gras tree

Story and Photo by Website Director Ed Emmons
Information taken from

The Tazewell County Museum is celebrating our French History at the Special Collections part of the Museum located on Capitol Street across from the Court House.

The history of a Mardi Gras celebration existed many years before Europeans came to the New World. Some time in the Second Century, during mid-February (usually February 15 according to the Julian calendar), Ancient Romans would observe what they called the Lupercalia, a circus-type festival which was, in many respects, quite similar to the present day Mardi Gras. This festival honored the Roman deity, Lupercus, a pastoral God associated with Faunus or the Satyr. Although Lupercus is derived from the Latin Lupus (meaning "wolf"), the original meaning of the word as it applies to Roman religion has become obscured over the passage of time.When Christianity arrived in Rome, the dignitaries of the early Church decided it would be more prudent to incorporate certain aspects of such rituals into the new faith rather than attempt to abolish them altogether. This granted a Christian interpretation to the ancient custom and the Carnival became a time of abandon and merriment which peceded the Lenten period (a symbolic Christian pentinence of 40 days commencing on Ash Wednesday and ending at Easter). During this time, there would be feasting which lasted several days and participants would indulge in voluntary madness by donning masks, clothing themselves in the likeness of spectres and generally giving themselves up to Bacchus and Venus. All aspects of pleasure were considered to be allowable during the Carnival celebration and today's modern festivites are thought by some to be more reminiscent of the Roman Saturnalia rather than Lupercalia, or be linked to even earlier Pagan festivals.From Rome, the celebration spread to other European countries. In medieval times, a similar-type festivity to that of the present day Mardi Gras was given by monarchs and lords prior to Lent in order to ceremoniously conscript new knights into service and hold feasts in their honor. The landed gentry would also ride through the countryside rewarding peasants with cakes (thought by some to be the origin of the King Cake), coins (perhaps the origin of present day gifts of Mardi Gras doubloons) and other trinkets. In Germany, there still remains a Carnival similar to that of the one held in New Orleans. Known as Fasching, the celebrations begin on Twelfth Night and continue until Shrove Tuesday. To a lesser degree, this festivity is still celebrated in France and Spain. A Carnival season was also celebrated in England until the Nineteenth Century, originating as a type of "renewal" festival that incorporated fertility motifs and ball games which frequently turned into riots between opposing villages, followed by feasts of pancakes and the imbibing of alcohol. The preparing and consumption of pancakes on Shrove Tuesday (also known as "Pancake Day" or "Pancake Tuesday" and occurring annually between February 2 and March 9, depending upon the date of Easter) is a still a tradition in the United Kingdom, where pancake tossing and pancake races (during which a pancake must be tossed a certain number of times) are still popular. One of the most famous of such competitions, which takes place in Olney, Buckinghamshire, is said to date from 1445. It is a race for women only and for those who have lived in the Parish for at least three months. An apron and head-covering are requisite. The course is 415 yards and the pancake must be tossed at least three times during the race. The winner receives a kiss from the Ringer of the Pancake Bell and a prayer book from the local vicar. "Shrove" is derived from the Old English word "shrive," which means to "confess all sins."It is generally accepted that Mardi Gras came to America in 1699 with the French explorer, Sieur d'Iberville. The festival had been celebrated as a major holiday in Paris since the Middle Ages. Iberville sailed into the Gulf of Mexico and, from there, launched an expedition along the Mississippi River. By March 3, 1699, Iberville had set up a camp on the West Bank of the River...about 60 miles South of the present day City of New Orleans in the State of Louisiana. Since that day was the very one on which Mardi Gras was being celebrated in France, Iberville named the site Point du Mardi Gras in honor of the festival. According to some sources, however, the Mardi Gras of New Orleans began in 1827 when a group of students who had recently returned from school in Paris donned strange costumes and danced their way through the streets. The students had first experienced this revelry while taking part in celebrations they had witnessed in Paris. In this version, it is said that the inhabitants of New Orleans were swiftly captured by the enthusiasm of the youths and quickly followed suit. Other sources maintain that the Mardi Gras celebration originated with the arrival of early French settlers to the State of Louisiana. Nevertheless, it is known that from 1827 to 1833, the New Orleans' Mardi Gras celebrations became more elaborate, culminating in an annual Mardi Gras Ball. Although the exact date of the first revelries cannot be determined, the Carnival was well-established by the middle of the Nineteenth Century when the Mystick Krewe of Comus presented its 1857 Torchlight Parade with a theme taken from "Paradise Lost" written by John Milton.In French, "Mardi Gras" literally means "Fat Tuesday," so named because it falls on the day before Ash Wednesday, the last day prior to Lent...a 40-day season of prayer and fasting observed by the Roman Catholic Church (and many other Christian denominations) which ends on Easter Sunday. The origin of "Fat Tuesday" is believed to have come from the ancient Pagan custom of parading a fat ox through the town streets. Such Pagan holidays were filled with excessive eating, drinking and general bawdiness prior to a period of fasting. Since the modern day Carvinal Season is sandwiched between Christmas and Lent, with Christmas Day being December 25 on the Gregorian Calendar as set by the Roman Catholic Church, this means that other Holy Days are "floating" in nature. Easter always falls on a Sunday, but it can be any Sunday from March 23 through April 25, its actual date being the Sunday which follows the first Full Moon after the Spring Equinox. Mardi Gras is always 47 days prior to this alloted Sunday (the 40 days of Lent plus seven Sundays). The beginning of the Carnival Season itself, however, is also fixed...being January 6, which is the Feast of the Ephiphany, otherwise known as Little Christmas or Twelfth Night. Since the date of Mardi Gras thus varies, the length of the Carnival Season also varies accordingly from year-to-year. The origin of the word "Carvinal" is from the Latin for "farewell to the flesh," a time when one is expected to forego earthly pleasures prior to the restrictions of the Lenten Season, and is thought to be derived from the feasts of the Middle Ages known as carnis levamen or "solace of the flesh."In 1833, Bernard Xavier de Marigny de Mandeville, a wealthy plantation owner, solicited a large amount of money in order to help finance an organized Mardi Gras celebration. It was not until 1837, however, that the first Mardi Gras Parade was staged. Two years later, a description of the 1839 Parade noted that it consisted of a single float. Nonetheless, it was considered to be a great success and apparently, the crowd roared hilariously as this somewhat crude float moved through the streets of the city. Since that time, Mardi Gras in New Orleans has been an overwhelming success, continuing to grow with additional organizations participating each year.The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple (symbolic of justice), green (symbolic of faith) and gold (symbolic of power). The accepted story behind the original selection of these colors originates from 1872 when the Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff of Russia visited New Orleans. It is said that the Grand Duke came to the city in pursuit of an actress named Lydia Thompson. During his stay, he was given the honor of selecting the official Mardi Gras colors by the Krewe of Rex...thus, did these colors also become the colors of the House of Romanoff. The 1892 Rex Parade theme ("Symbolism of Colors") first gave meaning to the representation of the official Mardi Gras colors. Interestingly, the colors of Mardi Gras influenced the choice of school colors for the Lousiana arch-rival colleges, Louisiana State University and Tulane University. Whe LSU was deciding on its colors, the stores in New Orleans had stocked-up on fabrics of purple, green and gold for the upcoming Mardi Gras Season. LSU, opting for purple and gold, bought a large quantity of the available cloth. Tulane purchased much of the only remaining (Tulane's colors are green and white).Today, Louisiana's Mardi Gras is celebrated not only in New Orleans, but also in numerous smaller cities and towns around the State and in the neighboring Gulf Coast Region. Similar celebrations are also held in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro...arguably the world's most elaborate Carnival location with its Samba Dromo parades, which annually attract a huge number of tourists from all corners of the globe. Regardless of where the festivals take place, however, all share a common party atmosphere inherently associated with the celebrations.

Krewes And Parades