The Illinois State Historical Society
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 6, 2007
2007 Centennial Award recipients receive one complimentary ticket each. Additional tickets are $65 each. No tickets will be mailed—reservations will be held at the door. Reception reservations MUST be received by Sunday, September 23, 2007. Dress: business attire.
Lodging and Parking:
Lodging arrangements and parking are each individual's responsibility. However, the Mansion View motel (529 S. 4th Street), located across the street from the Executive Mansion, has set aside a block of guest rooms for Centennial Awards recipients and Society members at a special rate of $70 (plus tax) per night. To take advantage of this offer you must contact the Mansion View (529 S. 4th Street) no later than September 21, at 217-544-7411. To ensure these rates, make your reservations early and identify yourself as a member of the Illinois State Historical Society.
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Congratulations and welcome to the 2007 Centennial Awards Reception, the Illinois State Historical Society's 23rd annual celebration of excellence, durability, and tenacity in the business and public service communities. On behalf of the Society's directors, advisors, sponsors, and 2,000 members, I am delighted to receive you and your corporation into the Centennial fold, which now numbers more than 1,200 businesses and not-for-profit organizations.
Centennial Award recipients are everywhere in Illinois, from Chicago to Metropolis, Kankakee to Quincy, Galena to Golconda. They include multi-national corporations and mom and pop businesses, banks and libraries, restaurants and rest homes, factories and funeral parlors. The spectrum is as broad and colorful as the Illinois corporate landscape, limited only by human spirit and the entrepreneurial imagination. What unites them is their vision, hard work, and resourcefulness in the marketplace.
The 108-year-old Illinois State Historical Society knows something about longevity. A private not-for-profit educational organization based in Springfield, the Society is proud to recognize your businesses and organizations, which represent not only Illinois' marvelous corporate past but also its bright future.
And we are pleased to welcome you to the Executive Mansion, home to Illinois' governors since 1856, and one of the most beautiful and historic homes in the Midwest.
Be our guest. We hope your time with us is memorable and that your second century as an Illinois corporation is remarkable. We look forward to seeing you again in 2107.
O Centennial Awards Program Committee O
Leah Axelrod, Highland Park
O Illinois State Historical Society Officers & Directors O
President: John Weck, Sycamore
O Illinois State Historical Society Advisory Board O
O Staff O
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Central Trust and Savings Bank of Geneseo, 1907
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Centennial Awards 2007
Central Trust and Savings Bank of Geneseo opened its doors on February 23, 1907, with
Citizens State Bank of Milford opened on September 23, 1907, with a capital of
One hundred years ago this July, citizens of Massac County raised $50,000 in capital and opened City National Bank in a Metropolis storefront. Cyrus P. Treat became the bank's first president
The Daily Southtown newspaper began as the Englewood Economist on September 11, 1906. The first edition was four pages and distributed free to 15,000 readers centered around 63rd and Halsted streets on Chicago's South Side. The original owners, brothers William and James Talcott and a silent partner named Tillinghast, sold the weekly paper in 1918, and it soon merged with two others, expanding circulation both south and west. Thus the Southtown Economist was born. By 1931, the paper had more than 86,000 subscribers and its readership continued to grow in the suburbs. The paper was sold several times over the next several decades, and became part of the Sun-Times News Group soon after moving to Tinley Park in 1997. The Southtown's commitment to being a watchdog for the community remains strong as it enters its second century.
Frank Hill opened his Fisher Produce Company on October 30, 1907. Originally a poultry processing business, Hill employed 25 chicken pluckers, who cleaned the birds and packed them in ice before shipping them by rail to Boston for distribution. Hill incorporated his business in 1927, and soon after the Ralson Purina Company came calling, asking if the Fisher Produce Company was interested in the feed processing industry. Thus began a partnership that has continued for 70 years. During WWII, Fisher Produce Company supplied poultry and eggs to the military and raised as many as 10,000 turkeys annually. After the war, however, the company switched from being a processing plant to a specialized feed and grain mill, serving the needs of farmers in a 100-mile area. Today the company has five employees and works with several private contractors to distribute its feed grain in Champaign, Ford, McLean, and
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The Glen Ellyn Public Library was legally registered with the Illinois Secretary of State on July 23/1907, but its history began a quarter century before that. The first subscription library in the community was
Flexible Steel Lacing Company was founded on March 27, 1907, in Chicago, when George E. Purple, Albert E. Beach, and Philip S. Rinaldo, purchased Olof N. Tevander's patent for a unique leather transmission belt fastener. Perfecting the "Alligator" Lacing design in 1909, the company went on to secure more than 200 additional patents. Today, the Flexible Steel Lacing Company— FLEXCO—is a privately held global corporation engaged in the design and manufacture of mechanical belt fasteners, tools, and accessories for conveyor systems. FLEXCO's products are used in mining, highway construction, hospitals, food processing, agriculture, recycling, and much more. With subsidiaries and manufacturing plants in Europe, Africa, Australia, and the United States, FLEXCO, now with corporate offices now in Downers Grove, has broadened its reach to provide greater service, stronger partnerships, and quality product and technical support throughout the world.
Jost & Kiefer Printing, Inc., today doing business as JK Creative Printers &
J. Ralph Tobin gave away tiny cow bells when his jewelry and optometry store, Tobin and Canham, opened on the south side of the Old Capitol Plaza in Springfield on April 20, 1907. According to newspaper accounts, more than 2,000 people came by car, by carriage, and even by train in response to the formal engraved invitations to the grand opening. 100 years later, J. Ralph Tobin & Son still attracts crowds—not with cow bells but with quality gems and jewelry. The store is owned and operated by Tobin's descendants, granddaughter Ann Tobin Hart and great grandson R. Evan Hart. An anchor business in downtown Springfield for more than 80 years, Tobin and Son left its long-standing home and moved to The Gables on the capital city's westside in 1994, where this 100-year-old business looks forward to its second century in Springfield.
Jobst Monument and Granite company of Ottawa has been making memorials
The architectural and civil engineering firm of Klinger & Associates, P.C., was established in 1905 by Webster P. Bushnell, a former city engineer in Quincy. Bushnell, who was the drainage engineer for the Sny Levee District, specialized in helping farm communities form drainage districts and improving agriculture yields in bottomlands along the Mississippi and Illinois rivers and their floodplains. That work continued after he formed a partnership with Charles McCann in the 1920s. In 1936, McCann formed a partnership with William H. Klinger, who had assisted in designing the foundation for a new engine in the Hunt Drainage District near Quincy. Klinger took over the business in 1949, and his sons—John W Klinger and Michael D. Klinger represent one-half of the firm today. The principal associates are Stephen R. Wavering and William L. Wells.
The LaSalle County Historical Society was born on January 26, 1907, when 60 local citizens organized a countywide society to promote and preserve their community's history. That very night they adopted a constitution and elected Horace Hull of Ottawa as first president. The Society filed incorporation papers with the Secretary of State in 1924, although it had no formal home. That changed in the 1960s, when the Society obtained a lease on a
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1848 limestone warehouse along the Illinois and Michigan Canal in Utica. The historic building had been scheduled for demolition by the state, but the LaSalle County Historical Society intervened, inviting their neighbors throughout the county to help in the building's restoration. It worked. In 1966, the Society secured ownership of the warehouse and turned it into a museum. It is now one of the landmark gems along the I & M Canal Corridor.
Mercantile Trust and Savings Bank—"the bank that Quincyans built"— was
The Joliet locksmith company Oestreich Sales & Service, Inc., was founded by Theodore "Pete" Oestreich in 1904, although 2007 is considered the business's "official" centennial.
The Pekin Woman's Club met for the first time in 1892 as the Columbian Club, named in honor and anticipation of the World's Columbian Exposition, which opened in Chicago in 1893. The following year the Columbian Club became part of the Illinois Federation of Women's Clubs and officially changed its name. From the beginning this group of ardent women met twice a week in each other's home to explore the worlds of art and architecture, literature, and history. That tradition continues to this day. Although originally established as a "literary club," the club's mission has evolved through the years into a service organization, raising money for local charities, planting trees, and providing scholarships for students. Today the Pekin Woman's Club is 75 members strong and moving forward into its second century.
On February 1, 1906, the Pittsfield city council met in special session above the local drug store to consider a proposition from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie: would the city accept Mr. Carnegie's gift of $7,500 to build a free public library? Although 1/3 of the aldermen voted against the referendum, Pittsfield ultimately accepted Carnegie's grant and the new two-story Pittsfield Public Library, designed by Bloomington architect Paul O. Moratz, was official dedicated on May 9, 1907. Although the community had a subscription library service as early as 1855, the new Carnegie Library opened the door—and the world— to Pike County residents. That was a century ago. Earlier this year the library celebrated its centennial with a citywide celebration and by opening the original cornerstone. Today the centennial library has new windows and a new roof, and a renewed commitment to serving future generations of readers in Pittsfield.
William Elvis Sloan was an engineering genius. Though he left school after the fourth grade, Sloan developed a superior knowledge of electrical circuits and hydraulics, which led to a total of 64 patents under his name, one of which set the international standard for the plumbing industry. Sloan's Royal Flush Valve was the first and original product of Sloan Valve Company when it was incorporated on October 16, 1906. The first year Sloan opened his business in Chicago, however, he sold only one Royal flush valve. The second year he doubled his sales. A century later there are literally millions of Sloan valves in use around the world. The Royal valve is still the largest selling valve in the Sloan line. In the century the Sloan Valve Company has been around, dozens of competitors have come and gone. Today, only four remain, a testament to William Sloan's business acumen and perseverance. Today the Sloan Valve Company calls Franklin Park home, where it continues to set the standard in the manufacturing of plumbing products.
The Sorosis Chapter Number 39, Order of the Eastern Star, headquartered in Grayslake, Illinois, received its charter from the Grand Chapter in Illinois on October 15, 1896, in Lake County. The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world open to both men and women. Founded on teachings from the Bible and open to people of all monotheistic faiths, the Order is an auxiliary and benevolent service organization of the FreeMasons with approximately 10,000 chapters in 20 countries. The Sorosis Chapter meets monthly in the Masonic Lodge in Grayslake and has more than 200 members. In addition to funding scholarships to students of theology and religious music, the Grayslake Order supports a hospital for the elderly in Macon, Illinois.
It all began on November 13, 1907, in Watseka, Illinois. A small group of highway commissioners and clerks, led by W. Rufus Kendall, organized the first meeting of the Illinois State Association of Highway Commissioners and Town
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Clerks. Their goal? To protect the township form of government from the state legislature and other elected leaders, who threatened to erode its authority. In 1932, supervisors and assessors joined the association, then trustees, and in 1945, the
The charter chapter of Triangle Fraternity, a social and professional brotherhood of engineers, architects, and scientists, was established on April 15, 1907, by a group of undergraduate students at the University of Illinois in Urbana. Originally for Civil Engineering students, the fraternity quickly expanded to include all engineers, architects, and scientists at the U of I. Its mission was to "encourage professional improvement and to promote good fellowship among its members." Today the century-old Triangle Fraternity is a national organization with 32 chapters and more than 25,OOC members, 2,110 of whom are Illinois residents. For several years the fraternity resided in a house at 408 E. Green Street in Champaign, and later built a house at 112 E. Daniel. In early 1960 the Triangle Fraternity constructed a new modern facility on the site, where it carries on its service mission.
United Community Bank, formerly the Farmers' State Bank of Greenfield, was founded on iMarch 29, 1907 and chartered by the State of Illinois on June 10 that same year. Original capital stock was $25,000, divided into 250 shares among 11 directors. Farmers' State Bank and Greenfield survived the Great Depression together, and prospered and expanded in the 1950s and '60s. In 1973, Farmers' State Bank was acquired by United Community Bank (UCB), a cooperative of central and southern Illinois banks whose goal is to delivery excellence in customer service. United Community Bank, with corporate offices in Chatham, Illinois, conducts business in three counties—Sangamon, Greene, and Macoupin—and offers a full range of banking services, from small accounts and commercial loans to Internet banking and insurance products. With branches in Springfield, Chatham, Greenfield, Bunker Hill, Loami, Gillespie, and Pawnee, United Community Bank is poised for growth in its second century.
Rockford's W.A. Whitney Manufacturing Company received its charter on August 7,
Winch Floral Shop of Springfield was incorporated in 1905, but its history begins a quarter century earlier when Morris R. Winch, a former boilermaker, opened a greenhouse in southwest Springfield after losing an eye on the job. Two years later in 1882, a tornado forced him to relocate to a site five miles northwest of town. The business flourished and in 1928, Winch's son, John, opened a retail floral shop in the capital city, while nephew Frank continued to operate the greenhouse. Eleven years later the business moved down the street to 323 E. Monroe, in the heart of the historic district, where it has been for the last 68 years. Following the death of John Sr. in 1949, his son John Jr. took over the business, and today his daughter, Stacey Winch, is president and CEO. For four generations the name Winch has stood for flowers, bouquets, and excellence in Springfield.
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