A new Du Quoin history has hit the shelves

The latest historical book on Du Quoin is out, just in time for Christmas.

Judy Smid of the Du Quoin Historical Preservation has spent the last year pulling together, "The Du Quoin State Fairgrounds/The State Fair and the Hayes Family."

It is primarily a collection of fascinating photographs, courtesy of the Bob Morefield, Gene Gallmeister and Bob Green collections, three dynamite repositories of Du Quoin photographic history.

The book also contains a reprint of an article Allen Croessmann wrote for Illinois Heritage magazine, recalling his first Hambletonian when he was 12.

Fred Huff, the former Du Quoin State Fair manager, was invaluable in helping to identify and date photos that had no information, Smid said.

Smid said this latest book is probably around the 12th that the preservation commission has put out on various aspects of Du Quoin area history.

It came about because, "Everybody kept wanting to know more about the fairgrounds," she said. Where possible the book is in color but older photos are reproduced in their original black & white.

Smid thinks even longtime Du Quoin residents - ones who went to every fair, every year - will find things in "The Du Quoin State Fairgrounds" that they didn't know or had long forgotten. for example, there is a rundown of the fair's famous entertainment lineups over the years.

Smid's son, Richard, scanned between 3,000 and 4,000 photos for the book, so the originals could be safely returned to their owners. Jean Bullock, Gene Gallmeister's daughter, gave them access to her father's vast collection.

The books, which cost $30, are a fundraiser for the Du Quoin Historical Preservation Commission. They are being sold in Judy Smid's shop, Favorite Things, at 216 E. Main St. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays.

There is an added charge for mailing a book, which Smid says will be $6 or less.

Smid has ordered 100 copies for the first printing, and when those are sold, she'll order more in order to keep them in stock.

"I hope it brings back good memories for everybody who loves the fair," she said.