The Decatur History Museum at The Culver House is finally a reality! The Historic Decatur Foundation has been hard at work renovating the first floor of The Culver House and will hold an open house during Historic Preservation Week where you can see the debut of the museum. Items from the Dayle Irwin collection will be featured, including many items that were made in Decatur.
Dayle Irwin was a Decatur native and history major who was passionate about Decatur’s history. She worked at the Decatur Library where she was the director of the Local History Room, and she authored four books on local history: Decatur Serving Others: A Pictorial History; Decatur Entertainment: A Pictorial History; A Century of Change, 1896-1996; and The Decatur Club 1883-2003: Our 120th Anniversary. She served on the Board of Directors for the Macon County Historical Society and the Decatur History Foundation. As a result of her community service, she won numerous awards and accolades including the Arthur Ploeger Award from the Historical and Architectural Sites Commission.
The Irwin history collection is vast – everything from pictures and books to items related to banking, agriculture, Fairies Manufacturing, household items, souvenirs, and tools. Many of these items were made in Decatur and include patents.
The Open House will be held on Saturday, May 20th from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm at The Culver House located at 412 W. Prairie Ave.. A donation of $10 is suggested to continue the renovation efforts of The Culver House and to expand the Museum. For more information call 217-433-5274.
About The Culver House:
The Culver House was built in 1888 by Josiah Clokey. It was purchased by John H. Culver in 1898 who lived there until his death in 1943. Florence Culver sold the house in 1950 and it was turned into apartments which were known as the Culver Mansion Apartments. It was sold again in 1977 and condemned in 1989. The Historic Decatur Foundation was able to obtain ownership in 2000 and has been working to restore the grand Queen Anne home, the only house left in Decatur with two turrets.
About John H. Culver:
John H. Culver founded a monument business in Decatur in 1889. He later founded an electric company which eventually became Ameren Illinois. He was a partner in Culver Construction which was owned by his brother, Col. James S. Culver. They did the first reconstruction of Abraham Lincoln’s Tomb, built several Civil War monuments including the Illinois Monument at Vicksburg, and the Illinois monuments at Shiloh and Chickamauga, the Elijah Lovejoy monument in Alton, the Carnegie Library in Springfield, and many other well-known buildings in Springfield.
About the Historic Decatur Foundation:
The Historic Decatur Foundation is a 501(c)(3) dedicated to improving the Decatur area community for the benefit of all its citizens by raising and distributing funds to help renovate and restore historic properties. Their mission is to enhance the desirability and environment of the areas in which the properties are located and further public awareness of historic properties of Decatur and the owners of the properties.