Elgin Area Historical Society
According to Elgin Historian, E. C. Alft in his book A History of Elgin History the Elgin Area Historical Society held its first official meeting at Larsen Junior High School on January 18, 1961, in February the Society passed a constitution, by-laws and elected of officers. The Founder of the Elgin Area Historical Society was local author and historian Madeline Sadler Waggoner. Mrs. Waggoner was a well respected author and historian. The society in the early years installed a plaque to the”Old Cem” at Channing Street school, displayed artifacts at Gail Borden Library, published The Story of Elgin’s First Twenty-Five Years and also collected objects important to Elgin history.
In January of 1981, Elgin City Council agreed to lease the building known as Old Main to the Elgin Area Historical Society for a token rental of $1 per year. The building itself was in need of much repair due to neglect and a damaging fire in 1978. The Society was able to raise $312,000 in three years to pay for some restoration costs. The total renovation cost came to $1,000,000. Many contributors were critical to the restoration of the building including many volunteers, the City of Elgin, Gifford Park Association, Society members, the Golden K Kiwanis Club and various state and federal grants.
The maintenance of the building is done by the City of Elgin while the artifact collection and museum exhibits are cared for by the museum staff and society members. Click here to learn more about becoming a member of the Elgin Area Historical Society.