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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • Stonefort in gear 2013 reunion

  • This year’s Stonefort Old Soldiers and Sailors Reunion is following a long and rich tradition that stretches back to the late 1890’s.
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    • For fifth year, Depot Museums enhance Stonefort...
      The Stonefort Depot Museums are comprised of the Railroad Depot Museum, Stonefort Community Museum and Hardware Store Museum and is located on U.S. Highway 45 South in the heart of down...
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      For fifth year, Depot Museums enhance Stonefort Reunion
      The Stonefort Depot Museums are comprised of the Railroad Depot Museum, Stonefort Community Museum and Hardware Store Museum and is located on U.S. Highway 45 South in the heart of downtown Stonefort.

      The museum preserves and celebrates the history of this old railroad community and is privately owned and operated by Linda Blackman. The museum shows visitors what the town and railroad depot was like in the past when the railroad was central to life and commerce in Southern Illinois. In addition it gives visitors a glimpse of what an old time hardware store was like before department stores changed the shopping experience forever.

      Linda Blackman has turned the museum into a treasure trove of local historical resources, with everything from voluminous genealogy data to land ownership records, with all the various topics between. Pictures of the area covering its history from the late 1800’s abound on the walls, and on what was once an exterior wall of the depot, initials and dates carved by the children of Stonefort give silent testimony to the town’s rich history. Truly, Blackman is realizing her goal of enriching the area and awakening the wonder and joy of history for all generations.

      To coincide with the Stonefort Reunion, the museum will be holding its fifth Annual Railroad Day Event 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24.

      Railroad historians will be present with special exhibits and Linda Blackman will be there giving tours and answering questions.

      Historians include “Virtual Railroad Engineer” Ralph Maxfield, Saline County railroad expert Hovie D. Stunson and “Railroad Conductor” Ray Zilvitis.

      The operational schedule of the museum is 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday and 1:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday between April 1 and Dec. 1.

      For more information call 618-252-5112.
  • This year’s Stonefort Old Soldiers and Sailors Reunion is following a long and rich tradition that stretches back to the late 1890’s.
    Local history holds that the reunion was organized by a group of local men at a meeting in the house of Fred Johnson on July 4th, 1898. These men wanted to find a special way to honor the soldiers and sailors from our area that had served their country. Thus the Soldiers and Sailors Four-County Reunion was born.
    By the 1900’s under the leadership of Albert Lewis, the reunion began to take the shape that we now know, a three-day event occupying a Thursday, Friday and Saturday in August each year. Many local families came to hold their family reunion on the same weekend and though this custom is not as prevalent as it once was, the reunion still sees several families joining together to renew familial bonds. Over the years the event came to be the centerpiece of the local end-of-summer social schedule, marking one of the last fairs or carnivals of the season in our area and also marking the beginning of a new school year.
    This year’s reunion will feature all the rides and vendors the citizens of Saline County have come to enjoy along with music and dancing each night. The annual Old Timers Dinner will be held at the Stonefort Community Center 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 23. The popular band, Mixed Company will be making a repeat appearance on Friday night, with the Reunion Fundraiser Fish Fry slated for Friday and Saturday night.
    As the reunion grounds begin to fill up with rides and vendors, locals of all ages begin to anticipate the time honored tradition and fun that is the Stonefort Soldiers and Sailors Reunion.
    This year’s reunion schedule is:
    Thursday
    5 p.m. — Youth Gospel Jam
    7 p.m. — Voices of Praise
    Friday
    5 p.m. — Reunion Fundraiser Fish Fry
    7 p.m. — Carrier Mills Top Cats Dancers
    8 p.m. — Band — Mixed Company
    Saturday
    5 p.m. — Beauty Contest
    5 p.m. — Reunion Fundraiser Fish Fry
    7 p.m. — J.C. Cloggers
    8 p.m. — Band — Most Wanted

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