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Thursday, June 3, 2004 01:09 am

Quirky museums near Springfield

J.H. Hawes Grain Elevator Museum, Atlanta
It takes more than a big rock on a ring finger to dazzle the eye — the smaller jewels arranged around it help make an even better impression. So it is with unique museums that surround the capital city. If you’re looking for diversion on roads less traveled, and you have the time, we recommend these curiosities.
ABRAHAM LINCOLN’S LONG NINE MUSEUM Traveling from New Salem to Springfield, Abraham Lincoln often stopped at Col. Matthew Rogers’ general store and post office. Here Lincoln and eight other Illinois lawmakers celebrated the move of the state capital from Vandalia to Springfield. Because the nine legislators averaged more than 6 feet in height, the group became known as the “Long Nine.” The building where they met and where Lincoln once visited with Col. Rogers is now known as the Long Nine Museum and features an audio diorama that describes the meetings of the Long Nine. In the basement of the building is the fireplace that originally sat in Rogers’ home. The Long Nine Museum is located at 200 S. Main St. in Athens, just seven miles east of the New Salem Historic Site. Open June 1-Sept.1, Tue.-Sat. 1 p.m.-5 p.m., and by appointment. 217-636-8755. 

ALLIS-CHALMERS MUSEUM Dale Haymaker of Paris has a treat for those fascinated with the Persian-orange farm equipment. Haymaker’s museum, located on his farm, is devoted to all things Allis-Chalmers. Three buildings make up the museum. One houses a 1950s-era Allis-Chalmers dealership display, filled with hundreds of stock parts, plus minibikes, generators, electric motors, a golf cart, a Terra Tiger, several snowblowers, power units, and lots and lots of memorabilia and literature. A room in a second building features more than 100 Allis-Chalmers toys. A third building holds Haymaker’s collection of 60 Allis-Chalmers tractors, from 1914-1957, including several rare models.
The Allis-Chalmers Museum is located on U.S. Highway 150, about seven miles east of Paris. Open year-round by appointment only. 217-275-3428. 

THE ANDERSON MANSION Built in the late 1850s, the Anderson Mansion now serves as the home of the Macoupin County Historical Society. The home offers miniature displays on the three floors, depicting life in mid-America during the 1800s, military memorabilia, medical practices of the time, and details on Macoupin County history. On the grounds are a blacksmith shop, an old schoolhouse, and a country store. The Anderson Mansion is located at 920 W. Breckenridge St. in Carlinville. Open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Wed. (April-November) and 1-5 p.m. Sun. (June-August). Group tours by appointment. Admission: $3 adults, $1 children. 217-854-2850 or 217-854-8916. 

C.H. MOORE HOMESTEAD AND MUSEUM C.H. Moore was a friend and legal colleague of Abraham Lincoln’s. Originally built in the 1850s, the house was purchased and renamed the Homestead by Moore in 1880. The mansion features a two-story library with a vaulted ceiling and four-season windows. Here Moore shared his extensive collection of more than 7,000 volumes with friends and family. Uniquely designed round bookcases are still in place in the library. In the dining room is a parquet floor consisting of five different woods and surrounded by a brocade border. The basement houses the Kent Museum, which includes a chronicle of the early history of DeWitt County, World War I weapons, Indian artifacts, historical pictures, clothing, and local artifacts. Large farm buildings behind the house hold antique farm equipment and an operational blacksmith shop. The Moore Homestead and Museum is located at 219 E. Woodlawn St. in Clinton, 217-935-6066. Open April-December, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tue.-Sat. www.chmoorehomestead.org. 

HOMESTEAD PRAIRIE FARM Listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1996 and part of the Macon County Conservation District, this site began life in 1850 as a one-room log home. Joseph Trobaugh, a farmer and sawmill operator, bought the property from the original builder, whose identity is now unknown. Trobaugh and his wife, Elizabeth, added to the home. Civil War veteran Emanuel Good and his family were the next to live there. The home is filled with items reflecting the rural lifestyle on the prairie during the years right before the outbreak of the Civil War. Graced by heirloom-variety roses, an herb garden, and an heirloom-vegetable garden, the Homestead is frozen in time. Public programs are offered on the first and third Sundays of the month, June-October. The Homestead Prairie Farm is located at Rock Springs Nature Center, 3939 Nearing Lane in Decatur, 217-423-7708.
J.H. HAWES GRAIN ELEVATOR MUSEUM Built in 1903, the state’s only wooden grain elevator operated until 1976. It was purchased by the city of Atlanta in 1988 and restored in 1993. A museum inside the elevator demonstrates the unique systems used to empty horse-drawn wagons and later unload grain trucks. The museum also includes a brick engine house and a wooden scale house/office. The elevator is open for public tours 1-3 p.m. each Sun., June-August. The J.H. Hawes Grain Elevator Museum is located at 301 S.W. Second St. in Atlanta. www.haweselevator.org, 217-648-2056 or 217-648-5077. 

SOUTHWESTERN FARM AND HOME MUSEUM John Stampe, a retired farmer, built a living memorial to farmers. Inside his museum are items depicting farming in the past and giving visitors insight into rural life. Antiques on display include a grinding stone, reaper, wagon, horse drill, bobsled, and household items. Although Stampe is gone, niece Carol Barnett and her husband, Wayne Barnett, and other volunteers continue to operate the museum and a nearby one-room schoolhouse. The highlight of the site’s year is the Labor Day Weekend Fall Festival and Quilt Show. The Southwestern Farm Museum is located at Shipman Community Park, Route 16 in Shipman. Open when warm weather permits 1-4 p.m. Fri.-Sun. Admission: $2 per adult and $1 per child. 618-836-5840 or 618-836-5924.
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