On National Museum Day, Saturday, September 22, the Tiskilwa Historical Society will host an “As-Is” Open House at their newly acquired facility, the former American Legion Hall. When restoration is complete, the old hall will serve as an additional display gallery for the Museum on Main’s ever-growing collection. The time and additional details for the Open House will be announced soon.
As of August 21, the former Legion Hall has now been dubbed the “Gallery on Galena,” and work will begin soon to preserve and restore what can be saved and to renovate the rest of the structure. This long-distance annex, which stands at the north end of the school grounds near the railroad tracks, will house two specific displays: an extensive collection of military and American Legion artifacts in the north end and a replicated country schoolroom in the south end of the building.
Princeton Elementary School District Superintendent Tim Smith (left) shakes hands with Tiskilwa Historical Society Vice President Ed Waca following the completion of the transfer of property. The former American Legion Hall building at far right was recently deeded to the society by the American Legion Department of Illinois, with the underlying ground given by Princeton Elementary School District.
The historical society’s efforts to acquire the former Legion Hall began more than a year ago when Don Lawson, past post commander, suggested the society might be able to help save and use the structure, which had stood unused for many years. Since the Tiskilwa Post 346 had disbanded in 2016, the ownership of the building passed to the state organization of the American Legion. Last fall, Adjutant Martin Conaster of the American Legion Department of Illinois agreed to deed the building to the historical society.
The next step was to have the area surveyed and to obtain the underlying property, which belonged to the Princeton Elementary District. On May 21, the Board of Princeton Elementary District 115 voted to deed the underlying land, a triangle-shaped property at the north end of the school grounds, and the society set up a Building Fund.
As donations continue to arrive from individuals and groups, there is enough money to begin work immediately with a new roof as a first priority. Tax-deductible donations to the Building Fund are welcome and may be mailed to T-H-S, P.O. Box 87, Tiskilwa, IL 61368.
Board members Randy Senneff and Ed Waca will serve as general contractors to supervise all projects, beginning with a current check list of eighteen major items. The current wish list is brief: additional school desks to be donated to fill the soon-to-be schoolroom.