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One of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s most memorable radio addresses was not in the form of a Fireside Chat, but rather a prayer. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, he said: “My fellow Americans: Last night, when I spoke with you about the fall of Rome, I knew at that moment that troops of the Unite…

In one of my columns, I wrote about Gus Naporra and his paint store downtown. I told of how he was married to Ada “Addie” Lind.

Two important developments for Effingham County were the building of “hard” roads and the automobiles that brought travelers on those new “hard” roads.

There is a mistaken belief that trauma care in Effingham County jump-started abruptly after the creation of the interstate highway systems in the 1960s-70s era.

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In the aftermath of the challenges posed by the Panic of 1893, as the 1893-1894 school year began, a Marion County newspaper editor wrote: “Grand Austin College! What cannot a people do when they try? The people of Effingham have not only freed that noble institution from all debt, but have …

Illinois became a state in 1818 and the county of Effingham came into existence in 1831. As settlers journeyed to this area, they struggled to build homes and make a living. They brought tools and supplies to make a new life, and they also brought their customs and traditions with them.

Early country stores or general stores began in the colonial period of America. Many of the vendors started as roving peddlers with their huckster wagons. When they accumulated enough merchandise and capital, they opened permanent establishments in locations where there was a need and likely…

John Harold (“J.H”, “Jerry “) Griffin was an iconic figure in Effingham County education in the early to late 20th century. He wore many hats: teacher, coach, superintendent, author, community leader. Griffin seemed to be everywhere, gesturing quickly and walking fast.

On July 17, 1891, slightly more than one week after the dedication of Austin College, public excitement about the potential of the school was in the air.

Both the Heart Theater and the Rustic Starlight Drive-In hold special places in my memories. As a kid, I knew nothing of the specifics of each building but I knew that I loved going to the Heart and the Drive-In.

As I was growing up in Paris, Illinois, in the 1950s, our family had the usual things inherited from relatives — furniture, books, pictures, documents, quilts, etc. In the living room was an oak library table. Dad had his small collection of treasured items on top of the table. There was a s…

After the end of World War II, radioactive nightmares disrupted the sleep of Americans. Hiroshima was in the news with horrific photographs of the impact of an atomic bomb and of the long-term medical effects of radiation.

Effingham County always has had more than its share of visionaries; people who can see beyond “what is” to “what can be;” people who recognize the magic of “thinking big.”

I hope that all of you have a “bucket list”. I know that I do. In August, I was able to visit the beaches at Normandy, France, where the D-Day invasion took place. It is a trip I will never forget and it definitely filled a part of my “bucket list”. I share this story of my trip so that you …

The School Sisters of Notre Dame (SSNDs) have a long record of service in the Teutopolis community. The words Notre Dame are derived from Latin, which is the root of the French language, and can be translated to English as Our Lady. The Order's founder had been educated by French Sisters, bu…

In the 1866 two-volume work "The Patriotism of Illinois. A Record of the Civil and Military History of the State in the War for the Union," author T.M. Eddy, wrote:

Any student in the world who was serious about becoming a professional photographer sought out photography colleges in the United States. Some photography schools were located in New York and St. Louis. One that gained worldwide attention was the Illinois College of Photography in Effingham,…

Longtime local physician Henry Taphorn was not an Effingham native. Originally from the Carlyle area, he was born on a farm there on Aug. 1, 1871. He was one of the seven children of John Gerhard Taphorn. John and his wife came to Illinois around 1855 to settle in Clinton County, intending t…

During the early years of Decoration Day (Today we call it Memorial Day) in the last part of the 19th century and the early years of the 20th century, in small towns and large cities, long lines of men in their dark blue dress uniforms adorned with bronze buttons proudly wore their black wid…

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EFFINGHAM — Through the 1949 tragedy of the St. Anthony Hospital fire, significant nationwide changes were made to fire safety at the medical institutions.

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I was in high school when the hospital burned. I lived with my family across the road from the hospital, on St. Anthony Avenue. My name then was Gaddis. I had an older sister and brother. My bedroom was toward the back of the house, so I didn't hear or see it while it was happening. Some of …

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I was born in Lucas Township, Effingham County, Illinois, and was 20 years old at the time of the hospital fire. My parents were William Everett Poe and Mary Ellen (Workman) Poe. In 1949, I was living in Effingham and had worked at the Illinois Glove Factory, although I was not working at th…

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My name is Maxine Dehn. My husband was an attorney; we moved to Effingham earlier in the year of the fire.

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I wasn't in Effingham at the time of the hospital fire, because I was in my second year at St. John's Hospital School of Nursing in Springfield. I worked at St. John's for about a year and a half after graduation in 1952. When the new hospital opened in the spring of 1954, I came back to Eff…

I was 10 years old when the hospital burned. My family lived on Franklin Avenue, so we were just a couple of blocks away. I was very familiar with the hospital grounds. The area west of the hospital building wasn’t developed at that point; it was essentially a vacant lot. My friends and I pl…

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I was born in the old hospital in May of 1946, so I was almost 3 when it burned. My parents didn't talk about it in front of me. There was a worn copy of the April 6, 1949, Effingham Daily News in my mother's keepsake trunk. But it wasn't nearly as interesting as Josephine Hatke's 1930s jewe…

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My name is Anita Sidener and I was at the hospital when it burned. I am 92. My family lived south of Altamont. My husband brought me to the hospital because I was getting ready to have a baby. I already had a 2-year-old daughter at home. At the end of the day, my doctor went home because he …

Seventy-six people died as a result of the St. Anthony Hospital Fire of April 4-5, 1949. Some were active duty employees, while others were off-duty hospital workers sleeping on the third floor. This arrangement was not uncommon in an era where many front-line workers did not have daily acce…

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My parents were Hilary and Shirley Clements, and they were from Granite City and Belleville, Illinois. They left there and came to Effingham to start a new life and raise a family, because there was too much negativity back in their hometowns.

Even the casual visitor to the Effingham County Museum notices the number of displays focused on agriculture. In the first floor corridor, for instance, there is a John Deere plow; in Gallery 5 on the train table, there are scale models showing an early 20th century farm and a more contempor…

Within the artifacts which are part of the Effingham County Museum’s collection are numerous things which give insight into the schools of yesteryear. The visitor can view diplomas, yearbooks, graduation announcements, and other physical reminders of both the similarities and differences bet…

I've loved this two-story house in Watson for a long time. Many years ago I went to Watson Homecoming with my Dad, Richard Loy. Dad ran into Agnes Martin, the sister of one of his classmates from Watson High School, Merle Martin. Dad and Agnes started visiting and reminiscing.

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A local historian looking back at turn of the 20th century is struck by the high number and transitory nature of local health care practitioners. The city of Effingham was home to 15 physicians over the span of 1895 to 1903, but only five of them persisted for the the entire eight years. The…

Visitors to the Effingham County Museum entering from Jefferson Avenue walk between two red granite pillars on the south side of the building. Those pillars, in effect, provide a portal to the county’s past and a physical reminder of Effingham High School’s football heritage.

In this article, I'm taking a look at Jefferson Street in Effingham circa 1898. This would be the block just east of the railroad tracks. The people featured are Gustave Naporra and Dr. John N. Groves. Both owned businesses on Jefferson Street. You will also see pictures of the wallpaper and…

High school classes became available in Teutopolis at St. Joseph's College during the Civil War era, but that institution barred women. Citizens of Teutopolis expressed the need for a co-educational high school in 1916. At first, there was plenty of talk, but not much action.

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