Events

Events

We’ve been busy planning our programs for 2023 and hope you will join us at the museum to be entertained and enlightened.

 

Stockton Highway 20 – Our Second Main Street

Presented by Warren Dixon
Sunday, November 12 • 2 p.m.

Images of Stockton along Highway 20 –  Then and Now
Images of Stockton along Highway 20 – Then and Now

Stockton Heritage Museum will host a talk by Warren Dixon detailing the businesses along Highway 20 through the northern edge of Stockton from 1891 to 2023. The Stockton Heritage Museum’s Annual Meeting will take place the same day, beginning at 2 p.m., and the presentation will follow immediately after.

In 1891 Ladies Union Cemetery was organized and located along the south side of Highway 20, and the eastern edge of Stockton. As the Village grew and prospered, many businesses established roots along both sides of Highway 20 through town. Ladies Union Cemetery has been the one constant throughout the 132 year time period. Join us at the museum as Warren takes the audience through the time-line of which businesses were located where and for how long.

Warren is the Secretary and Historian for the Stockton Veterans Memorial committee. He was instrumental in coordinating the collection, organization and ongoing maintenance of database information recorded for over 1,700 Veterans from the Greater Stockton Area. All of these names appear on the Stockton Veterans Memorial located along Highway 20 in Stockton.

Warren has been a member of the Stockton Heritage Museum board since 2014 and currently serves on the executive board. Warren played a significant role in making the Stockton Veterans Memorial database available on the Stockton Heritage Museum website and therefore available to everyone. Under Warren’s guidance, the Stockton Heritage Museum continues to research and expand the Veterans database. The project goal is to develop a broad history of Stockton area veterans; creating a limited biography on many of them that covers their background, military experience, and personal life. This information will provide a glimpse into the lives of the local men and women who have served our country.

During the past nine years Warren has spent many hours conducting research on local Stockton businesses and building history. He has developed and presented six programs on these topics to museum audiences, with the seventh schedule for November 12 at 2 p.m.:
2016 Downtown Stockton Building History
2017 Stockton Grocery Stores
2018 Stockton Timeline of Today’s Businesses
2019 Stockton School History
2020 None – due to Covid closures
2021 The Wheel Stockton Stories (Automobiles & Gasoline Stations)
2022 Stock-Town Agriculture & Railroads (Elevators, Feed Stores, Hardware & Farm Implements)

A native of northwest Illinois and a graduate of Stockton high school Class of 1964, Warren graduated from Northern Illinois University and obtained a CPA certificate in 1970. He retired after working as an accountant in the agriculture field. Warren and his wife Dianne, also a Stockton native, are now living in Stockton after residing in various Midwest locations for 30 years.

 

PAST EVENTS

 

Ken, Sally & Linda’s Excellent Adventure Getting Our Kicks on Route 66

Presented by Ken & Sally Tucker and Linda Semande
Sunday, September 17 • 2 p.m.

Bagdad Cafe
Linda Semande, Sally & Ken Tucker at Bagdad Cafe, Newberry Springs, CA

Stockton Heritage Museum will host a presentation by Ken and Sally Tucker with Linda Semande on their adventures traveling Route 66 during the pandemic in 2021.

The trip was conceived and researched during the winter months of 2021 and began on May 20, 2021. Their journey reveals all the nostalgia, excitement and discovery that only Route 66 can deliver. The travelers flew to California, rented a car, and began the drive from Santa Monica, California through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and finally home to Stockton, Illinois 16 days later June 4. They will share with you historic sites, beautiful architecture, quirky shops, nostalgic motels, stunning landscapes, natural geographic wonders, and the fascinating people they encountered along the way.

After retirement, the three friends joined forces to travel around the United States. Ken and Sally, lifelong Stockton residents, are both retired from Stockton Community School District — Sally as a veteran teacher and Ken in the custodial/ maintenance department. Linda retired from Ford Motor Co in Dearborn, MI and moved back to her hometown of Stockton. The three had traveled to most corners of the United States when they decided to cut cross-county on Route 66. They hope their trip may inspire others to embark on a journey that will delight and help maintain the endearing businesses that made Route 66 a historical treasure.

 

Hollywood Films of the 1970s: A Decade That Changed American Filmmaking

Presented by Alan Wenzel
Wednesday, July 12 • 6 p.m.

1970s Movies

The 1970s was a pivotal decade for Hollywood movies and is remembered for such films as The Godfather, American Graffiti, Jaws, Annie Hall, The Exorcist, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and so many more great movies. After finally catching up to the political, cultural, and social changes of the 1960s, films in this period began a shift away from movies with a message to a different form of movie entertainment.

This program will highlight key, influential movies from that era and identify how, fifty years later, these films are still shaping the movies we are seeing on the big screen.

A native of northwest Illinois, Alan is a retired Speech Communications/Film Instructor from Highland Community College in Freeport, Illinois, where, over a thirty-nine year career beginning in 1974, he taught a variety of courses in film, business communication, public speaking, leadership development, argumentation, political communication, and small group behavior. From 1992-2017, Alan served as Director of the Stephenson County Leadership Institute and of the Jo Daviess County Leadership Forum, community leadership development programs offered by Highland.

Alan’s interests include golf, classic films, local history, family genealogy, and current events. Alan co-hosts, along with Ed Finch, a monthly classic film series at Classic Cinemas Lindo Theatre in Freeport, Illinois.

 

History of the Chicago Great Western Railroad in Jo Daviess County, with a focus on Stockton and East Stockton

Presented by Brian and Joyce Ostberg
Sunday, June 11 • 2 p.m.

Great Western depot, Stockton, IL

Brian and Joyce Ostberg started BeHistoric, their YouTube channel devoted to regional history and prehistory, in the autumn of 2020. They have published dozens of videos exploring regional topics related to history, archeology, and geology.

Their presentation at the Stockton Heritage Museum will explore the history of the Chicago Great Western railway through Jo Daviess County, with a particular focus on Stockton, a railroad town which took root during the launch of this historic railway in the late 1880’s, and its smaller sibling, East Stockton, which rose and fell with the railway’s prospects in the early part of the 20th century.

CIVIL WAR LADIES DRESS FROM HEAD TO TOE

Presented by Karen Brose
Sunday, May 7 • 2 p.m.

Join us as Karen shares her knowledge and expertise of the many facets and layers of clothing required for dressing Civil War era women.

Karen started an online costume business in 2000, with a focus on 1800s to early 1900s era clothing. She sold her 5-star rated creations through EBay, an online shop, and at rendezvous events for over 20 years, and employed 3-5 excellent seamstresses to assist her.

She designed a ‘grow with me dress’ for young girls and an affordable dress in five colors for women and young girls that could be adapted for different time lines, and sold with special add-ons (hats, cuffs, aprons, collars and overskirts) to create the looks of different times and occupations such as civil war nurse, pilgrim, maid, prairie homesteader, civil war and colonial woman.

Karen retired several years ago but has graciously agreed to share her dressmaking knowledge and sewing history with us. Wear your comfy clothes and come learn all about what was involved in dressing from head to toe in the Civil War era.

Play That Hot Fiddle: Old Time Radio and the Life of Southern Illinois Swing Fiddler “Pappy” Wade Ray

by Illinois Road Scholar Dennis Stroughmatt
August 7, 2022 — 2 p.m.

Dennis Stroughmatt
Stockton Heritage Museum will host a presentation by Dennis Stroughmatt on the history of fast swing fiddling, old time radio and swing fiddler “Pappy” Wade Ray.

The presentation, “Play That Hot Fiddle: Old Time Radio and the Life of Southern Illinois Swing Fiddler “Pappy” Wade Ray,” will take place on Sunday August 7, 2022 at the Stockton Heritage Museum, 107 West Front Street, Stockton, IL, at 2:00 p.m.

Born in 1916 in southern Indiana from a southeastern Illinois family, the child prodigy fiddler and singer Wade Ray, developed into one of the most endearing entertainers in country and western swing music. Through the medium of radio on shows such as “The Pappy Cheshire Show” on KMOX in St. Louis and the “National Barn Dance” on WLS in Chicago, Wade Ray gained national prestige along side performers such as Patsy Montana and Rex Allen.

Presenting the fast swing fiddling and humorous stories of his mentor Wade Ray, Dennis Stroughmatt will lead audiences through the early years of Old Time Radio and share how music brought America through The Great Depression, WWII, and beyond.

This presentation will also be accompanied by rare video of Wade Ray and personal memorabilia from the Wade Ray collection.

Dennis Stroughmatt is from the Wabash River region of southeastern Illinois. Dennis Stroughmatt was taught to play fiddle by a mixture of tradition bearing stylists including southeast Missouri French Creole fiddlers Roy Boyer and Charlie Pashia in the tradition of their fathers and the southern Illinois Western Swing fiddle legend Wade Ray.

Illinois Humanities is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly [through the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA)], as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by speakers, program participants, or audiences do not necessarily reflect those of the NEH, Illinois Humanities, IACA, our partnering organizations, or our funders.

Stockton Heritage Museum is a not-for-profit entity dedicated to the preservation and teaching of Stockton area history. Visit the museum May-October, on Saturdays, from 10am to 2pm, on Sundays, from 11am to 2 pm, or by appointment. Email us at: info@stocktonheritagemuseum.org

The Bonds of War: A Story of Immigrants and Esprit de Corps in Company C, 96th Illinois Volunteer Infantry

by author, curator, and historian Diane L. Dretske
Saturday, July19, 2022 — 2 p.m.

When curator Diana L. Dretske discovered that the five long-gone Union soldiers in a treasured photograph in the Bess Bower Dunn Museum were not fully identified, it compelled her into a project of recovery and reinterpretation.

Diana Dretske will present on her recently published book, The Bonds of War: A Story of Immigrants and Esprit de Corps in Company C, 96th Illinois Volunteer Infantry (Southern Illinois University Press). The book has been awarded a “Best in Illinois” Certificate of Excellence from the Illinois State Historical Society, and a finalist for the 2021 Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Writing Awards.

The book is a collective biography inspired by a portrait in the collections of the Bess Bower Dunn Museum of five immigrants from Britain and Ireland, who served in the American Civil War. The presentation will include the formation of the 96th Illinois Volunteer Infantry as a joint venture of Jo Daviess County and Lake County, her research to identify the men in the portrait, and the significance of immigrants’ voluntary military service and their desire to be recognized as American citizens.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Diana Dretske is the senior curator and Lake County historian for the Lake County Forest Preserves’ Bess Bower Dunn Museum. She has researched the history of northeastern Illinois for over 30 years, and published three books on Lake County, Illinois. Dretske is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Illinois State Historical Society for her outstanding contributions in promoting, preserving and commemorating Illinois history.

The Happy Invention—The History and Significance of Picture Postcards

by Illinois Road Scholar Katherine Hamilton-Smith
May 1, 2022 — 2 p.m.

Stockton Heritage Museum will host a presentation by Katherine Hamilton-Smith on the history and appeal of postcards.

The presentation, “The History and Significance of Picture Postcards,” will take place on Sunday May 1 at the Stockton Heritage Museum, 107 West Front Street, Stockton, IL, at 2:00 p.m.

The first picture postcards were published for the 1889 Paris Exposition, celebrating the completion of the Eiffel Tower. In America, the first picture postcards were printed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago — making Illinois the birthplace of the American picture postcard. Since those flowery Victorian originals, uncountable billions of postcards of every aspect of life have been printed, depicting: train stations and bandstands; street views and cartoons; ads for products and services; beauties and freaks; social history both whimsical and dark; and everything in between. An early mention of postcards is in the 1870 diary of a Welsh curate, who called them ”a happy invention.”

In 2016, the world’s largest public collection of postcards and related materials, the Curt Teich Postcard Archives, was given to the Newberry Library by the Lake County Forest Preserve District. Katherine Hamilton-Smith, the founding curator of the Teich Archives, presents a look at the documentary power and significance of picture postcards. She touches on the Curt Teich Company of Chicago, the role Illinois played in the history and development of postcards, and on the picture postcard as a cultural icon.

This lavishly illustrated program will run for 50 minutes and allows time for questions and answers.

Illinois Humanities is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly [through the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA)], as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by speakers, program participants, or audiences do not necessarily reflect those of the NEH, Illinois Humanities, IACA, our partnering organizations, or our funders.

Stockton Heritage Museum is a not-for-profit entity dedicated to the preservation and teaching of Stockton area history. Visit the museum May-October, on Saturdays, from 10am to 2pm, on Sundays, from 11am to 2 pm, or by appointment. Email us at: info@stocktonheritagemuseum.org

Take the Cemetery Challenge

October 2020

Cemeteries are fascinating sources for history. Walk the front 4 sections of Ladies Union Cemetery while doing our Cemetery Challenge and learn about important historical figures in Stockton’s past and some of the people who helped put Stockton on the map. Download and print out the lists (PDF format) or pick up a copy at the cemetery. Lists are located in a clear box on the mausoleum steps.

Have fun. Do the challenge over several days and make it your own. Report back on our Facebook page to share photos and let us know how you did!

Casting a Historic Vote: Suffrage for Women in Illinois

by Illinois Road Scholar Jeanne Schultz Angel
October 10, 2021 — 2 p.m.

Stockton Heritage Museum will host a presentation by Jeanne Schultz Angel on the historic suffrage movement in Illinois.

The presentation, “Casting a Historic Vote: Suffrage for Women in Illinois,” will take place on Sunday October 10 at the Stockton Heritage Museum, 107 West Front Street, Stockton, IL, at 2:00 p.m.

Prior to 1920, women were denied the vote in the majority of elections in the United States. The struggle for enfranchisement began with the birth of our nation and was strategized differently in our local, state, and federal elections.

Despite what people today believe to be a straightforward goal, the path to women’s suffrage was infused with sexism and racism and triggered a fear of feminism whose roots are still seen today.

While wealthy women advocates played a vital role in the suffrage movement, they were not the only ones seeking enfranchisement. From attorney Ellen Martin, the first woman to vote in Illinois, to Ida B. Wells, a woman who did not let racism stop her voice, women’s suffrage has been a battle hard fought by a diverse group of activists in Illinois.

This program will run 60-70 minutes and allows time for questions and answers.

“Casting a Historic Vote: Suffrage for Women in Illinois,” will take place on Sunday October 10 at the Stockton Heritage Museum, 107 West Front Street, Stockton, IL, at 2:00 p.m. The event is free and open to all audiences.

Angel was accepted to the Illinois Humanities Council “Road Scholar Speaker Bureau” in 2013 to speak about the anti-slavery movement and suffrage in Illinois. In September 2019, Angel joined the staff at Naper Settlement as the Director of Learning Experiences & Historic Resources. Established in 1969, Naper Settlement is a 13-acre outdoor history museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums that consists of a collection of thirty historical buildings and structures from the Naperville, Illinois area.

Illinois Humanities is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly [through the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA)], as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations and corporations. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed by speakers, program participants, or audiences do not necessarily reflect those of the NEH, Illinois Humanities, IACA, our partnering organizations, or our funders.

Stockton Heritage Museum is a not-for-profit entity dedicated to the preservation and teaching of Stockton area history. Visit the museum May-October, on Saturdays, from 10am to 2pm, on Sundays, from 11am to 2 pm, or by appointment. Email us at: info@stocktonheritagemuseum.org

ON THE AIR: My Life and 41+ Years in Small Market Radio

by Chris Knauer aka Chris O’Brian
September 19, 2021—2 p.m.

See On Air personality Chris Knauer at the Stockton Heritage Museum on September 19th at 2 p.m.

Stockton Heritage Museum will host “ON THE AIR: My Life and 41+ Years in Small Market Radio” presented by Christopher L. Knauer, aka Chris O’Brian.

After a life long career in broadcasting, Chris turned author and spent five years writing a book about his small-town up-bringing, college years, military service, and his lengthy tenure behind the microphone.

Join us for insider insights on Chris’ career at seven radio stations and one TV station in three states. Chris will share the successes and struggles experienced along the way, both in his career and life.

There will be a Q & A session at the end of the presentation. Autographed copies of the book will be for sale at the event.

The presentation, “ON THE AIR: My Life and 41+ Years in Small Market Radio,” takes place on Sunday September 19, 2021
at the Stockton Heritage Museum, 107 West Front Street, Stockton, IL, at 2:00 p.m.

For the safety of all, we are requiring all attendees, even those vaccinated, to wear a mask while in the museum.

This Land is Your Land: The Folksongs of Woody Guthrie

AUGUST 8, 2021
An Illinois Road Scholar presentation by BUCKY HALKER

Bucky Halker
See performer Bucky Halker at the Stockton Heritage Museum on August 8, 2021.

Stockton Heritage Museum will host a presentation by Bucky Halker—a songwriter, performer, and historian with 15 albums to his credit, including Wisconsin 2-13-63, a two-CD project of original songs, Anywhere But Utah: Songs of Joe Hill (2015), a musical tribute to martyred labor songwriter Joe Hill (1879-1915), and The Ghost of Woody Guthrie (2012), an original music tribute to the legendary folksinger.

Halker has been described as “a missionary, spreading the words and redefining folk music in new and vital and exciting ways” by the Chicago Tribune.

The presentation, “This Land is Your Land: The Folksongs of Woody Guthrie,” will take place on Sunday August 8
at the Stockton Heritage Museum, 107 West Front Street, Stockton, IL, at 2:30 p.m.

Woody Guthrie (1912-1967) is America’s most legendary folksong writer. His music continues to uplift and excite musicians and audiences around the world. Inspired by Guthrie’s most famous song, This Land Is Your Land features the performance (guitar and vocal) of several Guthrie songs, as well as commentary on the time period and each song. The program also places Guthrie and his music in a larger historical context while also offering details on his life.

Halker, a Ph.D. in American History, has lectured and published extensively on music in America and has toured Europe regularly since 1990. He is the author of For Democracy, Workers, and God: Labor Song-Poems and Labor Pro-test, 1865-1895 (University of Illinois Press) and the scholar-producer for the five-volume Folksongs of Illinois CD series. Bucky received the prestigious Archie Green Fellowship from the Library of Congress – American Folklife Center in 2012 and served as guest professor at Carl von Ossietzky University in Germany in 2016.

This program will run 60-70 minutes and allows time for questions and answers.

Fully vaccinated attendees do not need to wear a mask. For the safety of all, unvaccinated attendees are required to wear a mask.

Past Events Photo Gallery