Will County Historical Society Presentation to New Lenox Genealogical Society
Will CountyHistorical Society Brian Conroy Volunteer, Board Member of WCHS March 8, 2011
Location and Hours of WCHSPresident: Sandy Vasko803 S. State St., Lockport(SW corner of State & 8th)815-838-5080Hours:Wednesday-Sunday: 12-4Closed Mondays, Tuesdays, Major Holidays
The Will County “Given that democracy Historical Society and requires an educated Museum exists so that citizenry, museums, people and and their role in organizations may be expanding and connected to the rich preserving knowledge, history of Will County, are essential to Illinois democratic society.” - History News magazine
History of the WCHS and Museum1837: Original one story building of I & M Canal Commissioners Offices built. Canal in operation from 1848 to 19141848: The Will County Library and Historical Society was formed and use a room in the newly constructed court house until it was needed for court room space in 1850 and society ceased.1870: The historical society of Will County was formed
1877: Victorian residence for commissioner added1876: Museum located in the Joliet Public Library in 2 upper floors of the new Cagwin Bank (213 N. Chicago)May 23, 1931: Joliet Herald edition stated that the last meeting of the year for the Will County Historical Society located in the Joliet Library was held.
1930-1945: Teachers from JTHS displayed collections in a four room setting. When the 4 rooms were needed for additional classrooms the museum was forced to close, artifacts were scattered and stored in a variety of places and methods.1964: The holders of much of this revived the WCHS and was incorporated and chartered on June 16.
1968: Acquisition of I & M officeApril 16, 1970: Museum opens. Rose and Guy Buccifero took charge of committees and work teams and Rose became its first director and remained in that position until her death in 2006.1972: Museum list on National Register of Historic Places
Heritage VillageReplaced by Lincoln Landing for 2009 BicentennialWill be relocated to 2nd street and I & M CanalFunds being raised to reestablish the Heritage Village
Will County in the Civil War (traveling exhibit)Starting in the Will County office building April 8Travel around Will County for next four years to museums, libraries, etc.
TopicsI & M Canal RevengeCities EntertainmentTownships TransportationChurches ImmigrationWar (Rev, CW, Blackhawk) BuildingsBeer MurderSchools Economy City services
Archives40,000 + documents DeedsI & M Canal records Land recordsObituaries PhotographsCounty and Court records NewspapersWestfal German National Misc. correspondence bank recordsPlat mapsChattel mortgages
CollectionBuggyLincoln tomb mock upWestfal German National Bank safe, door, officeExhibits
In Conclusion...Always looking for visitors, volunteers, membersLocation in downtown Lockport makes for an ideal day tripMassive source of genealogical/historical records (More I & M records than in Springfield)Nearby museums: – Gaylord Building (Public Landing Restaurant) – Illinois State Museum (Art gallery) – Fox Museum