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part of village history
early streets of New Holland, like those of other small towns, were
mud and dust. Later the village graded the streets and put on an oil
coating. A very important early road was the old stagecoach road, also
known as Edward’s Trace, which ran through New Holland from
Springfield to Peoria. In 1920 and 1921 this road was graveled. The
first concrete highway to go through the village, then called Route
120 but now Route 10, opened in November of 1931.
New Holland Telephone Company was organized in 1904 and sold in 1916
to investors from Lincoln. These new owners bought the Pettit Hotel
and located the switchboard in the front room, allowing the operator
and family to live in the rest of the building. The operator would
answer the telephone, ask for a number and plug wires into the various
circuits. In 1950 all this changed when dial phones were installed.
about the development of the village, with plenty of pictures, is in
the upcoming "New Holland Pictorial History: 1875 - 2000."
street in New Holland in the 1930s shows a busy retail center, with
plenty of folks driving to town to do business.
Looking west, a cream station and harness shop are on the left.]
settlers come to New Holland area
settlers came to the Sheridan Township area much earlier, the village
of New Holland was not laid out and surveyed until 1875. Oliver
Holland and his wife, the former Amanda Huffman, laid out the first
parcel of land, composed of only four blocks, for the present village.
early settlers in the area were Garrett LaForge and his wife,
Catherine Martling LaForge, and Jacob and Anna Niewold, who came from
Holland and who were said to have lived in a hollowed-out cave along
Prairie Creek until they could build a permanent home.
Scully, an Irish landowner, bought 24,400 acres of swampy land in the
Logan County area. By purchasing military land warrants issued to
soldiers who had fought in the Mexican War, he was able to buy land
for $1.25 per acre. About 5,000 acres were in Sheridan Township.
about the early days of New Holland is in the upcoming publication
"New Holland Pictorial History: 1875 - 2000."
here for information about purchasing the book]
Holland group puts town’s history
in words and pictures
book itself has been in the making for at least a year, but the idea
that inspired it was generated 25 years ago. And this month, the
"New Holland Pictorial History: 1875 to 2000" will become a
reality. The book tells the story of the small Logan County town from
its beginning as a tiny settlement on the prairie right up to the year
176-page volume will be available by the time the village celebrates
its Quasquicentennial (125th anniversary) on the weekend of Sept. 29
and 30 and Oct. 1. The book is organized into nine sections: early
years, municipal development, businesses, agriculture, churches and
cemeteries, education, organizations, natural disasters, and
highlight of the book is its 454 pictures, which cover every area of
the town’s history from an 1873 plat of Sheridan township to recent
aerial photes taken from balloons. The education section is thick with
school pictures reaching back many years. There are pictures of New
Holland’s downtown in the early 1900s, when it was a bustling retail
center. There is even a picture of the explosion of the bulk gas plant
in the 1930s.
considerable labor needed to produce this attractive, informative and
accurate history came from a committee of eight New Holland area
women. Joanne Hawes, Lila Conklen, Phyllis Blaum, Mildred Struebing,
Adrienne Chesnut, Pat La Forge, Judy Funderburg and Barbara Semple
have put in many, many hours of research and writing and sent out
many, many pleas to community residents for pictures and information.
been working together on it three days a week, as well as each of us
working separately, since the first of the year," Barbara Semple
began to germinate in 1975, when the village celebrated its
centennial. "We had a slide presentation at the Centennial,"
Hawes remembers. "People collected a lot of pictures and we put
them on slides. We showed the slides at the centennial and then they
were stored in the bank. We had 175 slides, and the people at the bank
suggested we use them somehow for the 125th anniversary."
first idea was to make a video of the slides, Hawes said. Then
somebody saw Paul Gleason’s book, "Lincoln: A Pictorial
History," and the idea jelled. "We should put these in a
[to top of second
column in this article]
New Holland Historical Book Committee worked for a year and a half to
produce the New Holland
Pictorial History: 1875 -
2000. Seated, left to
right, are Barbara Semple, Joanne Hawes, and Lila Conklen.
Standing are Mildred Struebing, Pat LaForge, Judy Funderburg,
Phyllis Blaum and Adrienne Chesnut.]
real work began. "We looked at the slides; then we looked up our
senior citizens and got them to reminisce," Semple said.
Committee members went to the Logan County courthouse to get the
details of their schools’ history and to find land records.
also looked up old newspaper files that had been kept on microfilm.
The Middletown newspapers were available, but New Holland’s were
not. They looked up cemetery records and pored through old Logan
County history books and the records compiled by churches.
businesses, Semple said, "We went up and down the Main Street and
found out what had been in each building through the years." They
talked to business people and to secretaries of area organizations.
Holland woman, Diane Maaks Steffens, had written a history of the town
for her 1975 college thesis, and they used that, too. They found a
copy of a personal memoir written by the late Loren Juhl and had still
time came to look for pictures to go along with the 175 slides, Hawes
said, "We sent out a plea to everyone in town: ‘Please look
at your pictures.’ I’m sure we disrupted many homes. We asked for
school yearbooks. We did not get them all but we got a lot."
found a treasure at a yard sale — a box of school yearbooks that had
belonged to a man who had once been on the school board.
of the committee is still not completed. After the pictures come back
from the printer, the committee will have to sort them out and return
them to their owners.
copies are being printed, Hawes said, and people who want them can
reserve their copy by calling Lila Conklen at 445-2333 or the Union
Planters Bank at 445-2270. Cost is $25 per book, with a $3.50 charge
for shipping and handling if the book must be mailed.
high school days
in New Holland
Miller remembers a lot about the former New Holland Community High
School. He spent a total of 32 years there, four as a student and the
other 28 as an ag teacher. "I probably spent a longer time in
that building than anyone else," he says.
[Donald Miller, ag teacher at New Holland-Middletown
High School for 28 years, displays plaque naming him an Honorary
American Farmer by the National FFA Association in 1988. This is one
of the highest awards given to an adult by the FFA.]
be one of many area residents with ties to New Holland who will be
attending the village’s 125th anniversary celebration the weekend of
Sept. 29 and 30 and Oct. 1.
grew up on a farm near Burtonview and went to grades one through seven
there at Burtonview Grade School, then a one-room school. The school
had from 16 to 18 students and one teacher. The teacher had to do all
the work, fire the furnace, clean up the building and teach all eight
grades, he recalls.
the time you got to the fifth or sixth grade, you knew everything,
because you had to listen to all the other classes recite," he
says. The one-room school didn’t even have indoor plumbing; the
students had to go outdoors and use old-fashioned outhouses, he
to eighth grade at New Holland Grade School, then on to New Holland
Community High School. "There were about 60 kids in high school
in my time. We had one English teacher, one history teacher, a coach
who taught math and physics, a math teacher, a typing and business
teacher, an ag teacher who also taught science, a home economics
teacher, and the principal, who also taught history and civics."
When he graduated from New Holland High School in 1955, there were 18
in his class, one of the larger classes in the school.
class of 1955 has had a class reunion every year since we
graduated," he says. "About eight or 10 of us come. I think
we’re the only class that meets every year."
learned in a one-room rural school and a small-town high school was
good enough to get him into the University of Illinois, where he had
to take examinations for three days straight before he was accepted.
He graduated with a master’s degree in agriculture.
believe there are advantages to small schools," he says. "To
say the little schools are not doing a good job is just not
principal at New Holland died in the spring of 1960, when Miller was
completing his work at Illinois. "The ag teacher took over as
principal, and then they needed an ag teacher. They thought of me, and
I started teaching in the fall of 1960."
[to top of second
column in this article]
New Holland consolidated with Middletown High School, and students
from both towns came to the high school in New Holland. That school
had been built in 1931, after a fire destroyed the downtown building
where high school classes had been before. The new building was
dedicated in January of 1932. It originally had six classrooms, but
in1955 an addition was built, giving it a farm shop, music room and
a new elementary school building was completed near the high school,
and students walked over there for science classes, band and chorus,
and lunch at the new cafeteria, Miller remembers.
heyday, the New Holland-Middletown High School had from 125 to 130
students, and Miller taught "some pretty good-sized ag classes.
We were active in FFA and in judging ag contests in Section 14 of the
state. We had about 12 different schools competing. This included
schools in Logan, Sangamon and Menard counties, along with one school
from Cass County.
always entered the judging contests, grain, beef, swine, sheep and
land use judging. We usually won about two contests a year, and once
we won the land use judging contest 18 years in a row."
an easy contest. A backhoe would dig a hole in the ground six feet
deep, and the students had to get down in the hole, study the soil,
make a soil profile and then map out a management plan for the land.
when I started teaching I knew of lot of my students wouldn’t be
farming," Miller continues. "But most of them would be
involved in ag in some way, maybe as an implement dealer or a seed
corn dealer. An ag background in high school could help them get good
New Holland-Middletown consolidated with Lincoln Community High
School, and Miller went along to teach ag and some science classes. He
retired in 1995 and lives in Lincoln.
really enjoyed it," he says of his teaching career. "The
kids were great kids. I still see some of them and they still call me
"I say, ‘It’s Don
now,’ but they say, "No, it’s always Mr. Miller.’"
Holland welcomes anniversary parade entries
Holland’s 125th anniversary celebration will be the last weekend in
September. There are still openings for the parade. Entries may be
bicycles, vans, floats, children and so on. If you have any questions,
or would like to enter the parade, please call Susie Aper at 445-2418.
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