The 1906 Narodni Sin was built in
Edwardsville to preserve the native language and traditions of Czech
immigrants who had settled in the area since 1851. The first
Czechoslovak Protective Society was founded in St. Louis in 1854,
and Jan Kalal opened an Edwardsville chapter in 1875. The lure of
coal mining drew so many Czechs to the area that in 1881 a two-story
building was purchased for a lodge, but that was soon outgrown as
well. Society members raised funds to buy property and construct a
new building, which was dedicated in 1906. The Edwardsville Narodni
Sin was used as a sort of ethnic YMCA, with physical fitness and
cultural activities, meeting space, and educational areas.
Society membership declined as coal
mines closed, resulting in the sale of the building in 1971.
However, it was purchased by the granddaughter of the Narodni Sin's
builder, who has renovated the structure and opened it for
The article was written by Jacob Baska,
IHPA publications intern.
The amazing success story of John
Deere, a Vermont blacksmith who moved to Illinois with only $73 in
his pocket and established the world's largest agricultural
equipment firm, is the subject of another article.
Taking an old saw blade, Deere
fashioned it into a steel plow, tested it at a nearby farm and found
the device worked like a charm. He began to produce more of these
steel plows in 1837. In 1840 he made 40 plows selling for $10 each;
six years later, his business produced 1,000 plows, and Deere found
it necessary to move to Moline to accommodate the rapidly expanding
industry he started.
He was elected mayor of Moline in 1873.
Never forgetting his humble beginnings, Deere made many charitable
contributions later in life.
Deere's home and shop in Grand Detour
and his home in Moline may still be visited, and the company he
started now sells green and yellow farm machines to more than 160
The article was written by Andrew
Cheatham, IHPA publications intern.
is a bimonthly IHPA publication that features historically
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