“Back Over There - Elkhart’s Sacrifice in WWI”

Friday, June 14th, dinner lecture

Wildhare Cafe

Elkhart, IL.

       “Remembering  D-Day  at  Normandy  Beach”        by Jim Grimaldi


       The D-Day reenactment on Normandy Beach will be the topic of the dinner lecture offered by the Elkhart Historical Society on Friday September 27.  Jim Grimaldi, who took part in the event as a paratrooper, will show actual video clips and photos of the event, as well as some of the equipment used to celebrate the 75th anniversary.  A far cry from Grimaldi’s normal routine as a criminal lawyer in Lincoln, the event required hundreds of participants, aircraft and many months of preparation.  <-- click here for LDN full-length article



The Elkhart Historical Society is pleased to announce the return of Springfield Author Taylor Pensoneau, who will discuss of his new book, “Falling Star” as the dinner lecture topic for Friday, August 23, 2019.  Although it is fiction, he based it on a true situation he experienced when he was the night beat reporter at the St Louis Post-Dispatch in the early 1960s. The plot revolves around the pursuit by investigative reporter Jake Brosky of the elusive Clarissa Monnet- - a still beautiful but fading movie queen who had written a tell-all manuscript.    Attempts to suppress the manuscript by various powerful groups in Illinois as well as a few of the better known organized crime figures complete the cast of this 1950’s story.

       The lecture will be held at Horsefeather’s Wild Hare Café in Elkhart Illinois, doors open at 5 pm and dinner is served at 5:30p. The meal choices are roasted breast of chicken and strawberry served on a bed of baby salad greens or Swedish meatballs on buttered egg noodles and mushroom gravy.

“the gillett legacy” by marcy brooks

Wildhare Cafe

Elkhart, IL

     Marcy Brooks, good friend of the Elkhart Historical Society, will add additional findings on her research of the Gillett family.  Marcy, who many will remember from her previous talk on the Gillett daughters, will bring new insights from her recent investigations into this fascinating family in her talk, “The Gillett Legacy”.  Brooks who is a familiar speaker, organist and vocalist at the Gillett chapel on the hill now lives in Tennessee where she is active in musical endeavors, writing and life coaching.  Come enjoy a close up look into a family whose patriarch, John Dean Gillett, knew that education was the key to success.

     The event will take place at Horsefeather’s Wild Hare Café, and the doors will open at 5 pm.  The menu will offer a choice of two entrees, baked chicken breast or beef bourguignon, both served with rice carrots, green beans, dessert and beverage. The all-inclusive package price of $40, includes the meal tax, tip and a $10 donation to the Elkhart Historical Society.  Reservations are required, as space is limited and can only be made by calling 217-947-2238 no later than July 10th.

RESERVATION FORM <-- CLICK HERE    or ... pick up your reservation form at Horsefeathers or The Country Bumpkin
  (Wed-Sun 10-3p)

Once you are confirmed, print this form, fill it out and mail it with your check payable to:

The Elkhart Historical Society, P.O. 255, Elkhart, IL  62634

       Prompt payment is appreciated as reservations cannot be held longer than 5 business days without payment. 
Doors open at 5p -Additional parking one block east by Village Hall.

After placing your reservation, you may also fill out a form and submit with your check at either     


WWI historian Paul Osman of Williamsville, who last November gave a stirring talk at the dedication of the Veteran’s Park in Elkhart, is the much-anticipated speaker.  Osman’s knowledge not only of the war, but also members of the Elkhart community who served in it, will take you back to an era that should not be forgotten. Osman has just returned from his 11th trip to the Western Front in France and Belgium.  During this recent trip, he visited the battlefields and graves of several Elkhart WWI soldiers. 

Come celebrate the memory of those who unselfishly gave to the war effort.

The event will take place at Horsefeather’s Wild Hare Café, and the doors will open at 5 pm.  The $40 cost covers a choice of coq au vin or pork tenderloin with wine and mushroom sauce, each served with savory rice, vegetables, dessert and beverage. The cost also includes a contribution to the Elkhart Historical Society. Space is limited thus reservations are

       The Finale of our March celebration of the Irish will be at the Gillett Chapel on Sunday March 24th starting at 2pm.   Celtic and old time Appalachian music will be played by “The Hillbilly Celts”,  featuring Dennis Cline, Joe Readnour,  and Dan Grover.


       Dennis Cline learned to play guitar and was influenced by Mississippian John Hurt’s folk music.  Fifteen years ago, he added playing the claw-hammer style banjo to his many talents.

Joe Readnour is a veteran piper who has played with various groups including the St. Andrew-Springfield Pipe Band for 10 years.  Dan Grover, a singer/songwriter, played both guitar and bass with the  Cactus Ranch Band, and loves to entertain.   These long-time musician friends will bring a lot of music to Elkhart on Sunday March 24.



"From Holland to Elkhart by way of Capetown”
Friday March 8th

   The Elkhart Historical Society announces its March dinner lecture entitled, "From Holland to Elkhart by way of Capetown,” with Peter Niehaus, which will be presented Friday March 8th at the Wild Hare Café in Elkhart, Illinois. Peter’s multi-faceted life began in Holland, one of eight children in the family who lived in a farming community occupied by the Nazis during the war. 

     He will recall events of his life there prior to the family immigrating to South Africa.  Once in South Africa, he completed his education receiving a degree in mechanical engineering, joined the SA navy and was assigned to submarine duty running various missions during the cold war, for a time being stationed in Toulon. As a civilian Peter worked for a Cape Town firm using his engineering skills, later starting his own building and restoration business.


     Dinner will be a sampling of two traditional South African dishes.  Each guest with have a portion of Bobotie and Malay Chicken Curry served with rice and a variety of Sambals which are sauces and relishes that accompany these dishes. Dessert will be trifle served with a splash of sherry or vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. Iced teas and coffee are included.

                                                             Press Release <-- click here

       On Friday, February 8th, The Elkhart Historical Society will offer their first dinner lecture of the 2019 series with the return of Karl Luthin, DVM.  Karl’s lectures always fill quickly due to his extraordinary life experiences and story-telling skills. Well known in the equine veterinarian practice with his daughter Kate and a skilled entrepreneur in gathering equipment, uniforms, tack, horses and rolling stock to supply movies with, Luthin continues to have an exciting life. His knowledge helps to insure the historic accuracy of the equipment or costumes being used.

       Luthin’s talk will cover a variety of venues including stories from many of the different movies in which he has been involved, including reenacting, veterinarian services, props, and problem solving- - such as how to get a horse off the elevated platform in Chicago’s loop. Just ask Karl about his fleet of Conestoga wagons and you will get a taste of the charisma that surrounds this man.

       The program will be held at Horsefeather’s Wild Hare Café, with doors opening at 5:00p.  The cost of $40 per person includes a choice of entrees, Chicken Cordon Bleu or Roast Pork Tenderloin with a wine and mushroom sauce.  Both choices serve d with creamy herbed potatoes, baby carrots and green beans and freshly baked dinner roll and dessert.  The all-inclusive price covers the price of the meal, tip, taxes and a $10 donation to the Elkhart Historical Society for the program. 


click on photos at right to enlarge -->

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