The newly renovated Veterans’ Park on Governor Oglesby Street in historic downtown Elkhart will be rededicated on Saturday, November 10, at 11:00 a.m.  The project, spearheaded by Elkhart’s Needs and Goals (NAG) group, has made the park handicap accessible, improved seating, and updated the landscape design. The park will be used by veterans, their families and friends, and provide a place for community events.

         Immediately following the ceremony from 11:30 a.m. - 2 p.m., the Elkhart Public Library, erected in 1904 and located one block north of Veterans’ Park at 121 Bohan Street, will be open with several activities.  “On view will be the library’s World War I K-14 cannon - a unique German weapon to have on American soil - and a display of books from our collection pertaining to US wars, weapons, and ammunition,” says Sarah Wilson, Director, Elkhart Public Library District. The library will also host a cookie reception featuring coffee from the veteran owned and operated Black Rifle Coffee Company.   < click here for more >

Elkhart Veteran’s Park WW 1 ‘Order Arms,’ Doughboy

Dedication was Sat., Nov. 10 <-- click here


< click here for more >

Brian “Fox” Ellis

Friday, Nov. 2, 2018

Wildhare Cafe Dinner Lecture


Elkhart Explores a Different View of Illinois’ Bicentennial

with a Performance of Two Faces of Illinois’ History

< click here for more information >

    Sparks will fly in this recreation of a dramatic debate between our Territorial Governor Ninian Edwards and Potawatomi Chief Gomo on Friday, November 2nd at The Wild Hare Cafe, Elkhart. Doors open at 5pm with dinner starting at 5:30. Tickets are $40 and reservations are required and can be made by calling 217-947-2238. Dinner will consist of Beef or Chicken Pasties Pies served with baked squash, sweet corn and rolls as well as stewed apples topped with whipped cream or ice cream topped with chocolate sauce. The program will be held not far from the place where Edward’s Trace crosses through town. This original performance is part of the official Illinois 200 Bicentennial Celebration.    

Joshua Rhoades - September 21st

Dinner Lecture


Elkhart Explores a Different View of Illinois’ Bicentennial

with a Performance of Two Faces of Illinois’ History

Joshua is a Professional Geologist with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency during the day, but at night turns his attention to the skies as an astrophotographer with a focus on deep-space objects and landscape astrophotos. Joshua uses the camera as a tool to collect photons during long exposures, thereby allowing him to bring to our eyes the objects in our night sky that are...out of sight. Joshua's deep-space and landscape astrophotography has been recognized with first place awards in local visual arts exhibits and has been featured in the magazines "Sky and Telescope" and BBC "Sky at Night."

Operating out of his home and taking advantage of the relatively dark skies of Elkhart, Joshua uses multiple telescopes and specialized cameras and equipment to capture ancient light in his deep-space astrophotographs. During various times of the year, Joshua goes mobile with his equipment, finding inspiration in the beauty of Elkhart and surrounding areas and composing beautiful (and arguably typical) Midwestern scenes beneath the starry sky.

Joshua will be speaking about the processes and techniques used to create deep-space and landscape astrophotographs and will be providing a look at the specialized equipment used, including several different types of telescopes9. Joshua's unique work will be on display for viewing and for sale as he describes and explains the beautiful celestial objects that reside above our heads in the night skies of Elkhart.


Friday, August 31, 2018


Wild Hare Cafe, 104 Governor Oglesby St., Elkhart, Illinois


Dean Williams presents The Making of Historical Film, “Abraham Lincoln in Logan County” offered by the Elkhart Historical Society at the Wild Hare Cafe in Elkhart. The doors will open at 5:00 pm and the dinner will begin promptly at 5:30 pm. This is a special Illinois Bicentennial project celebrating President Abraham Lincoln and the local community. Elkhart Historical Society is partnering with Lincoln College and the Central Illinois Film Commission to update the film, “Surveyor to President: Abraham Lincoln in Logan County.” The film, originally produced in 2003, is being revised to include footage of the new Lincoln Heritage Museum, highlights of the Lincoln/Oglesby connection, and additional information on President Lincoln’s support of the university that was to be built and named for him. The entire footage of the original film was shot in Logan County, and many at sites that are still in existence, and many of the extras are from Logan County as well. The film will be featured at the August 31st dinner lecture in Elkhart, with video copies available to the public for purchase.

   “Brothers Notorious- The Sheltons” Taylor Pensoneau

      Taylor Pensoneau will be the July 27th lecturer offered by the Elkhart Historical Society at the Wild Hare Cafe in Elkhart.

In Brothers Notorious, Mr. Pensoneau gives attendees the story that traces the Shelton Gang story from its unpretentious beginning in rural southern Illinois Wayne County to the headline-capturing violence at the tale's conclusion.

The Elkhart Historical Society is pleased to bring author D.L. Dennis to the Wild Hare Café for the May 11th dinner lecture entitled, “The Witwer Files”.  The story takes place in a small Midwestern village in the early 1900’s that was terrorized by uncontrolled violence.  Murders and suicides remained unsolved and unstopped as the responsible law enforcement either turned in their badges or disappeared.  Come hear first-hand how the author’s grandfather arrived in the village and what circumstances occurred that changed the course of town’s future in this fascinating story inspired by actual events. Autographed copies of Dennis’s book, “The Witwer Files”, will be available along with his other books. 



  Wild FLOWER WALKS                         BIRD WALKS                    

  Saturday, April 21   10AM  or 4 pm                     

  Saturday, April 28   10AM  or 4 pm                      Saturday, April 28  6 am or 4 pm     

 Saturday,  May 5    10AM  or 4 pm

   RESERVATIONS: (Word format) <-- click here

(pdf format) <-- click here


Wild Hare Cafe


Friday, 13 April,

5:30 pm

William Furry, executive director of the Illinois State Historical Society since 2004; by the ISHS in 2001 as the editor of Illinois Heritage, the popular history magazine of the Society.  


He will be speaking on Jonathan Chapman known to all American school children as Johnny Appleseed. You will be delighted to hear the truth about this fascinating man and his mission.  Mr. Furry will also make available some seedlings from the scion of a grafted original Appleseed tree for the purchase price of $60.00, first come basis with checks payable to ISHS.

Wild Hare Café  Friday, March 16th

       The Elkhart Historical Society announces the return of the ever popular Chuck McCue to the Dinner Lecture podium on Friday March 16th.  In his presentation last spring, “The Boys From Kentucky”, McCue spoke of the relationship between Richard J. Oglesby and Abraham Lincoln - 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. 

       This year, McCue will focus exclusively on Oglesby, whom he considers one of the most interesting figures in Illinois history.   Orphaned at young age, Oglesby was a self-made man who had already been a lawyer, prospector, soldier, shopkeeper and world traveler before turning to politics.   He was the only Illinois governor elected to three non-consecutive terms, and represented the state for one term in the U.S. Senate. This program will go beyond last year’s, including Oglesby’s third gubernatorial election and his time in Elkhart.

       Once retired from the Air Force, Elkhart native and historian McCue chose to volunteer his time as a docent at the Mt. Pulaski Courthouse, as well as recently appearing on both the Springfield Muni and HFTA stages.  He served as Commander of Mt. Pulaski American Legion Ryman-Fuiten Post 447.

The lecture will be held in Horsefeather’s Wild Hare Café on Friday, March 16th at 5:30p (Doors open at 5:00 p) and a traditional dinner of Corned Beef and Cabbage or White Lasagna will be offered.  The cost, which includes a $10 donation to the Elkhart Historical Society,   is $40.  Reservations should be made quickly as space is limited, please call 217 947 2238, once confirmed you may download the reservation form and mail it in with your check.

  The Elkhart Historical Society announces the return of  the ever popular  Karl Luthin, DVM, to the Dinner Lecture podium, Friday January 26, at 5:30pm, at the Wild Hare Café in Horsefeathers Shop, Elkhart Illinois.  Dr. Karl will regale us with the challenges of training horses for the movies.  Luthin’s credentials are numerous from both the professional veterinarian standpoint but also from the aspect of the big screen as a reenactor.  Some of the movies which Luthin has been a part of are: Gods and Generals”, “Glory”, The “John Adams”,  “Into the West” mini series, “Gettysburg”, “Cold Mountain”, and most recently providing a tremendous amount of equipment as well as the horse Daniel Day Lewis  rode in  “Lincoln”.  


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


Friday January 26, 2018



      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. 

The Elkhart Historical Society announces the return of Dr. Dennis Campbell at 5:30 pm on Friday,  February 23rd with his newest dinner lecture entitled “A Walk Back in Time – Peoples of the Past Within Illinois.”  This illustrated dinner lecture at the Wild Hare Café in the Horsefeathers Shop, Elkhart, Illinois, will talk about how Native Americans and Pioneers would have interacted with the environment and how they had to adapt to the land and its resources. He will touch on cultures as far back as 12,000 years ago during the Paleo-Indian time, through the Archaic, Woodland and Mississippian eras, and then to the more recent Kickapoo farmers and Pioneer settlers.

Annual Report Of the Elkhart Historical Society <-- click here