Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

April 17, 2013

Historian donates part of collection to museum

Bill Grimes
Effingham Daily News

---- — Longtime local historian Phil Lewis is donating a number of items to the Effingham County Cultural Center and Museum Association.

At the group's annual meeting Thursday, Lewis talked about each item, adding anecdotal information about some of the items.

Donated items include a 1945 Illinois Central railroad guidebook, a Railroad Equipment Register from 1959, a first aid kit from the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad, magazine ads spotlighting Studebaker, Dr. Pepper, World War II rationing and the Pullman Sleeping Car Company.

Other items included programs from the 1933 Century of Progress Exposition in Chicago, the 1939 World's Fair in New York and the Chicago Railroad Fair of 1939-40.

Lewis also presented the association with framed checks from the bank of Eversman, Wood & Engbring, founders of what is now Midland States Bank; a certificate signed by temperance advocate Ada Kepley for her Band of Hope youth group; and a number of photos of the old Effingham County Courthouse, which has been converted into a museum and cultural center.

Lewis admitted a "disorder" that many people at the meeting may share.

"I have a collecting problem," he said. "Over the past decade, I have been collecting for this group.

"It's the thrill of the hunt," he added.

Lewis also presented the group with a three-ring binder providing instruction for volunteer docents. The binder includes stories about prominent historical figures, as well as thumbnail sketchers of each community along the National Road in Illinois.

In action taken Thursday, the group unanimously agreed to retain board members Dr. Henry Poterucha and Dr. Ruben Boyajian to three-year terms.

The group also agreed to hold work days May 4 and 11. The May 4 date will enable volunteers to clean the museum basement, while a smaller group on the second date will be needed to eradicate mold from the basement.