Hello, everyone.  Welcome to 2019.  Ready for spring yet?  January
 hasn't been kind to us so far.  Outdoor Christmas decorations were
 removed from the mansion on Wednesday, January 9.  That work crew
 consisted of Bill Egelhoff, Ralph Scheldt, Jeff Link, Wally
 Pocklington, and Dan Hauter.  In spite of last weekend's snow the
 historical society was open for business on Wednesday, January 16.
 Yes, we had a stuck vehicle or two but we still had the house, the
 genealogy building, and the blacksmith shop open.  Now we'll see what
 Mother Nature throws our way this coming weekend.  Whatever we get
 we'll survive.  Remember that spring is coming.

 2018 was a good year for MCHS.  Both festivals were successful
 although temperatures in the 90's hindered the Fall Festival.  People
 don't stay as long when they're hot and they don't buy as much food or
 drinks.  Harvest was also in full swing when our Fall Festival rolled
 around.  At least we had no mud!  Our 2018 Christmas Show was one of
 our most successful ever due to mild winter weather.  I hope that you
 got to see the mansion all decorated for Christmas.  Deb Wiles and
 Kendra Mize deserve a tremendous amount of credit for all of their
 long hours and hard work decorating the inside of the house.  Bill
 Egelhoff headed up the work crew that decorated the outside of the
 house.  Thank you to all of the other volunteers who worked so hard to
 make the festivals a success.  It was a lot of hard work but
 definitely worth it.

 The following information is provided to update members, guests, and
 others who are interested in our historical society.

 Board of Directors:
 Dan Hauter, President                 phone:  217-710-8056  e-mail:
 Bill Egelhoff, Vice President        phone:  618-729-3295  e-mail:
 Libby Klocke, Secretary              phone:  217-965-4563  e-mail:
 Jeff Link                                    phone:  217-854-3305
 e-mail:  jefflink70@gmail.com
 Wally Pocklington                      phone:  217-825-4448  e-mail:
 Ralph Scheldt                            phone:  217-370-0485  e-mail:
 Linda Waggoner                         phone:  618-729-9328  e-mail:
 Wes Loveless                            phone:  217-854-9982

 Treasurer:  Dave Hockett,  phone:  217-685-0022,  e-mail:

 Bill Egelhoff's and Linda Waggoner's terms expire this spring.  We're
 looking for members who are interested in being directors.  If
 interested please contact any director.  Candidates for director will
 be nominated and an election held at the annual meeting on March 18.
 New directors will be seated at the monthly board meeting in March and
 new officers will be elected.

 Libby Klocke is our genealogy librarian.  Dave Hockett is our liason
 to the blacksmith shop.  Nancy Mihalek is in charge of the vendors.
 Nancy's phone number is 217-556-4853 and her e-mail address is
nancymihalek@yahoo.com.  Jeff Link, Ralph Scheldt, and Dave McKee are
 in charge of the Red Barn Kitchen.  John Mabus is president of the
 Macoupin Agricultural Antique Association.  His phone number is
 217-556-0406.  Barb McCormick, Janelle Ramey, and Fannie Pocklington
 are in charge of the mansion.  Barb is in charge of scheduling tours
 and events such as weddings.  Janelle Ramey and Fannie Pocklington are
 the editors for our newsletter.


 The MCHS annual meeting will be held on Monday, March 18 at the
 Gillespie Civic Center.  Doors will open at 6:00 PM and the meal will
 start at 6:30 PM.  A short business meeting will be held after the
 meal and then a speaker from Holy Dormition of the Theotokos Orthodox
 Parish in Benld will tell us about the history and present mission of
 the church.  The annual meeting is open to the public.  Please contact
 Dan Hauter to make reservations by March 1.

 The Spring Festival will be May 25 & 26.  The feature tractors for
 both festivals are Ferguson, Massey Harris, Massey Ferguson, and Ford.

 The Fall Festival will be September 21 & 22.

 The Illinois Valley Blacksmith Association Hammer-In will be held on
 November 2 from 9 AM to 4 PM in the blacksmith shop.

 The Christmas Show will be December 6, 7, and 8.

 Our 1st Monday of the month meetings will be held starting on April 1
 and concluding on November 4.  The first Monday in September is Labor
 Day so that meeting will be held on September 9.  These meetings are
 held at 7 PM in the Ruyle Building which is handicap accessible and
 air conditioned.  The meetings are open to the public and include a
 speaker and refreshments.  The board is looking for someone to take
 charge of these meetings.  Please contact any director if interested.
 The October meeting is our annual wiener roast and will be held at the
 blacksmith shop.


 Our mansion is on the Register of Historic Places, it serves as our
 "trademark", and the original part of the house is approaching 150
 years old.  It needs help.  On January 9 board members walked around
 the mansion and chose a starting point for restoration.  The south
 porch is in poor shape.  For those who don't know, the porch was once
 just a regular, although fancy, front porch.  The upper floor of the
 porch was added because one of the Anderson daughters had
 tuberculosis, it was believed at the time that exposure to sunlight
 would help cure TB, so the sun porch was added to allow the daughter
 to spend time, indoors, in the sunlight.  The porch needs a complete
 restoration.  Father Time and Mother Nature have done their damage.
 One need only walk to the porch and take a close look.  Look up at all
 the rotted wood gutters and and trim.  The porch is only the starting
 point.  Rot has occurred all over the exterior of the house.  The
 windows, wood gutters, and trim need to be replaced.  This is a multi
 year project and we must start this year or watch our beloved house
 deteriorate further.  We put a new furnace in the house a few years
 ago and this cost approximately $18,000.  The Red Barn kitchen was
 renovated, largely with volunteer labor and donations from local
 businesses, at low cost.   In 2018 we spent approximately $7500.
 putting a new metal roof on the Red Barn pavilion and repairing damage
 to the trusses from a leaky roof.  A new roof was put on the church
 about three years ago because of storm damage.  The cost of replacing
 the deteriorated portions of the mansion will be much more than what
 we've done to date.  Obviously the height and size of the mansion is a
 factor.  Eventually the mansion will need a new roof and this is a
 project that will need to be hired out.  Volunteer labor can only do
 so much, then we'll have to rely on professionals to do the work.  For
 this reason we need to start raising money to fund this renovation
 project.  The board members have discussed making a public appeal for
 funding, using our Facebook page to solicit donations, and seeking out
 grants.  We have requested a $25. donation per session from
 professional photographers taking pictures on our grounds and we
 discussed raising dues.  The board members will keep members and the
 public informed of our progress.


 The granary, the little red building opposite the general store, is
 one of the few original buildings on the property.  It is elevated
 above ground level on piers.  The building needs to be raised and the
 piers redone.  The Conklin house is vacant and the board has decided
 not to rent it again.  Currently we are using it for storage.  The
 house is very old, possibly as old as the mansion.  It has at least
 one hand hewed beam in it.  It could be renovated as a historic
 farmhouse and opened during festivals.  But it, too, needs major work.
 The wooden barn behind the Conklin house has fallen in and needs to be
 demolished.  We plan to continue to use the two metal additions to the
 barn for storage.


 The projects mentioned above are in addition to ongoing maintenance.
 Charlie Fritz, Jim Foster, and Dave Elliott do a fantastic job of
 keeping our grounds mowed and trimmed and picking up fallen limbs.
 The board purchased a new John Deere zero turn, commercial grade mower
 a few years ago and this mower has served us well and should continue
 to do so for several more years.  The other mower is an older John
 Deere commercial mower that was purchased used and is needing more and
 more repairs.  Eventually it will need to be replaced at an estimated
 cost of $9000. to $10,000.   Looking at the acres of lawn that must be
 mowed regularly it's easy to understand why we need two commercial
 grade mowers.

 Our historical society owns about 27 acres and a number of buildings.
 The board members and volunteers work all year long to keep up with
 the maintenance needs.  Tasks range from filling potholes on our
 driveways to patching roofs to fixing the occasional broken window.
 We have plumbing and electrical issues, doors and drawers that don't
 open or close like they should, trees that need trimmed or taken down,
 brush to cut, and mechanical issues.  A number of people work very
 hard to prepare for and clean up after festivals and the Christmas
 Show.  The list goes on and on.  The board members and volunteers are
 very conscious about cost and work hard to keep expenses down.  We
 hire work done only when we can't do it ourselves.


 We have beautiful grounds and buildings.  We're looking at increased
 costs to maintain our assets.  Increased fundraising is the key to our
 continuing progress as a vibrant organization.  We hope that our
 members and the public will agree that it's worth the cost to renovate
 our mansion and maintain the rest of our buildings and grounds.  Your
 input on how to increase our fundraising and our income from festivals
 is welcome.

 Looking forward to seeing everyone at our annual meeting.

 Dan Hauter, President.Type your paragraph here.