Museum News | Mclean County

This week, I change a bit and I put a letter to the editor of the NEWS of August 19, 1976. The letter is written to the inhabitants of one town, but could easily be applied to others. It was written by Royce E. McDaniel, who served in Madrid, Spain, in the US Air Force.

“To the people of Calhoun: When I wonder what life has meant, I always respond by saying, ‘I remember once …’ or ‘I remember when …’; then I realized that life is mostly made up of memories.

“I remember my trip to Italy referring to old buildings, paintings and chapels, especially St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice, which was built in the 11th century. I remember Adana, Turkey and its people dressing not only in the styles of today but also in the styles of years gone by which made me realize that each age is unique in its own way. I will remember Madrid, Spain, with its beautiful squares, fountains, statues, old Spanish structures and centuries-old bullfighting tradition.

“When I was thinking about the question ‘What is life’, I thought about the house and what Calhoun has meant to me. I remember driving down the main street on a hot summer night and seeing the soft street lights partly obscured by the rows of trees and their fresh green leaves. I see people sitting in their backyards and on their porches enjoying a peaceful and easy way of life. I can almost hear the gentle flowing of the water in Green River and the splash of fish leaping into the cool, moist air.

“I am proud of the fact that Calhoun is growing and developing. Would love to return to a thriving Calhoun. But now I read in the last few issues of NEWS that some changes are underway in Calhoun. Calhoun is not a big metropolis and, in my opinion, must preserve its meaning for those who live there.

“I don’t want to see Calhoun become just another point in the mad rush of the world, where cities and people lose their meaning and identity. Don’t let Calhoun become a town with just the letters CALHOUN on its sign. Make the word something to remember.

“Will big business and money rule Calhoun too?” It can be different and unique, just like other cities and cultures are. A person’s identity lies in his actions, his words and his very soul, and without the soul a person is just an empty shell, even though the mind is still working and blood is still flowing. I ask now, are the traditional and meaningful things of Calhoun destroyed?

“When I finally walk back down the once beautiful Main Street, will I see once significant buildings with souls torn off?” Will I see car parks laid out in a flat and simple way where memorable buildings once stood with proud tradition? Will I see Calhoun or will I see a city without an identity? By all means, Calhoun, is making progress; but please don’t destroy yourself or you will become “just a memory”. “

I found the letter interesting. It’s been 45 years since it was written. So tell me: Has Calhoun changed, as the writer had thought?

Tim Sheppard and I, along with Anita Austill and her husband Sam, represented the McLean County History Museum last Saturday at Calhoun Harvest Day in Myer Creek Park. We enjoyed the beautiful weather and were happy to see a large number of people. We were selling water and talking to people at the museum and the research center. We thank all those who stopped by the kiosk, bought water, deposited donations and those who wanted to know more about the Museum and the Regional Center for Research on the Family!

After harvest day, we noticed that the panels we ordered were installed on the back of the treasure house and museum, and they look great! Now anyone entering from the back of the property knows exactly where to turn. Thanks to aFORDable Signs for their great work!

The Museum and the Treasure House are generally open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays – the Museum from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the Treasure House from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., however, the Treasure House will be closed this Friday. We are located at 540 Main St., Calhoun, and our number is 270-499-5033. Come see us. I wish everyone a great week!

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About Carlos V. Mitchell

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