Saturday December 2, 2017


11 Oct., '17 LDN: Elkhart to reveal new wall mural to public SUNDAY, Oct. 15th
Elkhart celebrates Route 66 over Labor Day weekend


Elkhart mural, Veteran's Park, Car show - slideshow


Slot car racing, Sidewalk art, and more - slideshow


Elkhart Hill, Gillett Chapel tour - SLIDESHOW

Sat.,  Sept.  2nd

CONTESTS $$ cash prizes


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                           Friday July 28, dinner lecture
Rev. Dr. Malcolm Shotwell will present, “Our Neighbors, the Lincolns: A Clergyman Remember”.  This captivating portrayal of Rev. Dr. Noyes W. Miner, will be presented as a dramatic monologue in the beautiful setting of the Gillett Chapel on Elkhart Hill, followed by dinner in the village at the Wild Hare Café in the Horsefeathers shop.  [Please note the 1890’s Chapel has no bathroom facilities].

The depiction takes place in 1874 when Rev. Dr. Miner, then living in Wisconsin had returned to Springfield for the unveiling of Lincoln’s Tomb in Oak Ridge Cemetery.  As he was a neighbor and close friend, his insights and knowledge of the Lincolns is fascinating.    The Rev. Dr. Miner was pastor of the First Baptist Church in Springfield (Now Central Baptist) from 1855-1869, and the interpretation includes his thoughts on the Lincoln Douglas debate,  a visit to the Lincolns in Washington and more.

Paul Beaver will present “From Swamp to Field”
 Friday June 23, 2017

The Elkhart Historical Society is pleased to announce the return of Paul Beaver to its Dinner Lecture circuit.  Mr. Beaver will present “From Swamp to Field”, on Friday June 23, 2017,  a fascinating discussion of the methods used by the Scully family in the late 1800’s to drain the wetlands in Logan County, which turned what was unusable land into some of the richest most-productive farm ground in the world.  Beaver is no stranger to this subject, having written his master’s thesis about the extensive Scully land holdings, and then in 2003, authoring a book on the topic. His love of history lead to a career of teaching, though officially retired he was honored by Lincoln College as it’s very first Professor Emeritus.


A well respected Lincoln scholar, Paul has participated in many events, committees, discussions and speeches throughout the United States. In 2002 he oversaw the production of “Abraham Lincoln in Logan County” a video filmed in Logan County. Truly a Logan County man from birth through a productive and generous life, Paul’s ability to hold an audience is legendary.   The probability that this lecture will sell out quickly urges a quick response from all that are interested.  Please call 2217 947 2238 to reserve you seat, and once confirmed, please download one of these two forms for your dinner preferences:

Dinner/talk: “Lincoln and Oglesby: The Boys from Kentucky”
... at Wildhare Cafe - 5:30p on Friday MAY 19, 2017 ...

The long-time friendship between Abraham Lincoln and Gov. Richard Oglesby will be discussed at the Elkhart Historical Society’s May dinner lecture, Friday, May 19, 2017 at 5:30p, at the Wild Hare Café in Elkhart, Illinois.   Elkhart native, historian Chuck McCue will present, “Lincoln and Oglesby: The Boys from Kentucky”.

Reservations can be made by calling 217 947 2238 or click on the registration forms below:


McCue’s talk will explore the life paths of two men, born as sons to Kentucky farmers just a few miles and a few years apart, who each grew to have an enormous impact on the legal system and government of Illinois and the nation.   Chuck McCue will recount how their tragedies and successes brought them to the highest levels of state and federal office, both individually and when their paths crossed.   

The primary theme will be the relationship between Abraham Lincoln and Richard J. Oglesby, starting with a chance meeting in Decatur in 1840, and continuing through to 1865, when then-Illinois Governor Oglesby stood at the bedside of his friend who lay dying from an assassin’s bullet.  Even after Lincoln’s death, the bond continued, as Oglesby oversaw the project of building a suitable resting place for our 16th president.

Following a 20 year career in the Air Force, Chuck McCue returned to the area, and re-upped his long-time interest in history, which he credits to his friendships with the late Rick Gehlbach and Jim & Betty Hickey, all of Elkhart.  The exposure to a tremendous amount of historical material as well as conversations with visiting Lincoln experts, he developed a deep respect for our local history that continues to this day.   Upon his return to the area, he became a volunteer docent at the Mt. Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site, and continues to provide tours one Saturday a month and on special occasions.   


The Elkhart Historical Society Announces ...
April Wildflower Walks on Elkhart Hill

The April wildflower walks will be offered twice a day, 10a or 2p and  are scheduled for every Saturday in April starting April 1st for the very earliest
 of the spring ephemerals, such as spring beauties and Dutchmen’s breeches, concluding with the vast sweeps of  Virginia Bluebells.

The final Saturday April 29th, will offer two bird walks, 6A and 4p, with a combination bird and flower walk at 10a.  Private tours for groups of 10 or more can be
requested for other days during the spring bloom. The bird walk will once again be led by 3 fabulous ornithologists, Rhetta  Jack, Dr. Lara Borgerson, and Joe Funk

who all helped to identify over 60 species of birds on last year’s walk.    

NOTE: Reservations for dining in Elkhart are recommended. Call The Wild Hare Café in Horsefeathers (217) 947-2100, or Talk of the Town Restaurant (217) 947-2770. If lunch option is picked, reservations will be made for you


Friday April 21, 2017 Dinner/talk: “30 years of Restoring Natural Communities in Central Illinois, while walking in the footsteps of the Captain" ... at Wildhare Cafe - 5:30p on Friday April 21, 2017 ...

     by Vernon LaGesse, Ex. Dir. of the Friends of the Sangamon Valley, a charitable membership organization dedicated to the preservation of our natural heritage by acquiring, restoring and protecting ecological significant lands within the Lower Sangamon River Watershed.

       The talk will encompass the fascinating challenges of restoring prairie, timbers and wetlands across Central Illinois for 30 years for various Conservation Groups.  A long time devotee of Captain A.H. Bogardus, he has not only collected items and stories related to Bogardus, but also has restored many of the endangered or threatened  natural areas described by Bogardus’s book,  “Field, Cover and Trap Shooting” written in 1878.

A special Photo Workshop is scheduled  for Friday April 7,  from  9:30a-11:30a, with Gracie Tierney a commercial photographer in Logan County for over 5 years,  who is currntly earning her Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. With this workshop, both beginner to intermediate level photographers will learn to compose beautiful photographs of the wildflowers flowers on Elkhart Hill, and enhance technical skills along the way.

March 24 Dinner Lecture:

“Legacy: Inspiration from the Seven Daughters of John Dean Gillett” . . .

which will highlight the lives of these interesting and influential women who were born at a pivotal time in our nation’s history.  Theirs was a life that included both work and play, and exposed them to Springfield society during the beginnings of the Abraham Lincoln era, he being a good friend of their father as well as his legal counsel.  Gillett, known in many circles as the Cattle King of Illinois, raised his family in the Elkhart area, educating all of his children in the finest schools of the day, thus preparing them for the future. 

     Our presenter is Marcy Brooks, who studied at LCU many years ago, and who now lives in Greeneville TN, where she has established “Destiny Life Skills Institute”.  She is a skilled musician and speaker, and is remembered for playing the organ at our Christmas Candlelight Service in years past, as well as leading various motivational talks in the area.    She has been intrigued by the history of Elkhart for numerous years, and promises to bring an exciting and revealing inside look at the lives of the Gillett women.



Saturday- - March 18, 2017


“Welcome to Hollywood”  with Karl Luthin, DVM at Wildhare Cafe


Friday February 24, 2017


      Karl Luthin has been involved in over 60 movies, either in the capacity of on-site veterinarian, as a re-enactor, or as prop supply this category includes both live and plastic horses, uniforms and horse equipment from wars dating back to the French and Indian War thru WWI.

        It will cover many of his experiences while working on the movie sets in over 60 productions and mini-series.  Multi-faceted Luthin  is often the on-site veterinarian, or re-enactor, frequently providing props, set dressings, and horses, or as an advisor helping to insure the historic accuracy of the equipment or costumes being used.

      Some of the productions he has been involved in are, “Gods and Generals”, “Glory”, The “John Adams” mini-series,  “Into the West”, “Gettysburg”, “Cold Mountain”, and most recently providing a massive amount of props as well as the horse Daniel Day Lewis  rode in the movie  “Lincoln”. Karl will be bringing film clips and slides from many of these movies, as well as movie posters, and the behind-the-scenes stories. 





Safari of African Animals with Peter Niehaus


Join us January 27, 2017 at the Wild Hare Café in Elkhart, Illinois, for our dinner lecture entitled, 

"On Safari With Peter Niehaus: South Africa and its Animals."


Peter Niehaus will share his knowledge of the animals of South Africa. Enjoy a choice of a hearty Tuscan vegetable soup and salad dinner or a traditional dinner with two all-time South African favorites. The full dinner includes a portion of mild Malay Chicken Curry and Beef Bobotie accompanied by rice and the traditional relishes and salads typically served with these dishes.  A warm lemon pudding follows, or as an alternative, vanilla ice cream topped with chocolate sauce.   Iced teas and coffee are included.  


Reservations are required and can be made by calling 217 947 2238, and the deadline for reservations is January 22, 2017. The price of $40 per person for the dinner or $27.50 for the soup and salad includes the meal, tax and tip and $10 to the Elkhart Historical Society.

For more about Peter, go to --> SPEAKER

9 Jan., 2017 LDN:  Elkhart Dinner Lecture to feature Peter Niehaus



                   Virginia Blue Belles                                               Rare White Blue Belles 

  The Elkhart Historical Society is “Going Wild” in April ... Each Saturday in April & early May - by reservation - guided wild flower nature walks will be offered that share the beauty and variety of the ephemeral spring wild flowers on Elkhart Hill. The guides for the flower walks are Gillette Ransom and Susan Jeffers,  a team that has done a lot of research not only on the flowers but much of the folklore and medicinal uses in the past.  The finale includes an 6:00 am or 4:00 pm bird walk, with Ornithologist Rhetta Jack, Lara Borgerson, and Joe Funk all superior birders with fascinating knowledge of the birds not only of Elkhart Hill but in many places around the world.  Come sharpen your skills or learn for the first time.  A walk will be given at 10 am which will combine  birds, wildflowers and lunch, at the Wildhare Cafe. 

Specially-constructed wagon for flower tours

Arlen, Nancy, Maizie Peebles
Trillium medicinal plant
Annual Report Of the Elkhart Historical Society <-- click here