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Going back to school in Neponset

Help needed for expansion project

Published: Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 3:01 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Feb. 10, 2014 3:04 p.m. CDT

NEPONSET — The Neponset Historical Society Board is seeking help on the development of a “school room” for its museum, located in the former Bertelsen’s Manufacturing Co. building in downtown Neponset.

The board has sent letters to more than 175 Neponset schools alumni and “Friends of Neponset,” near and far, to seek monetary support for the project.

On Friday, spokesperson Verna Cinnamon said the board would like to get the designated school room framed in as soon as possible this winter, which will take some time since the board only has volunteer workers to help with the project.

As stated in its outreach letter, the board has many wonderful school items waiting to be displayed, including “Beebe,” the Greek Goddess of Youth who presided over the south front entrance of the Neponset High School building. Hebe was a gift from the Neponset High School Class of 1925, which also had additional money to help the smaller Class of 1926 buy the “Horse and Indian” statue which was positioned over the north front entrance of the high school for many years.

There are also large murals, display cases, classroom photos, FFA memorabilia and other items in storage which the board is anxiously waiting to display in the museum, the letter stated.

As far as the estimated cost of the school room project, Cinnamon said the board has accumulated a lot of artifacts to use in the room and is using volunteers to help with the construction work project. The board will further discuss the cost estimates as its upcoming meeting, she said.

In its letter to Neponset High School Library and friends of the community, the board stated it will be costly to construct the school room to protect “these special items for many years to come.” The society has recently received a donation from the Howard Carley Memorial Fund that will give a good start toward the schoolroom project, the board stated in its letter.

For those who would be interested in helping with the school room project, they are encouraged to donate to the Neponset Historical Society at P.O. Box 105 Neponset, IL 61345. All contributions are tax deductible.

On Friday, Cinnamon said the Neponset Historical Society museum has already come a long ways, with a reference room completed, as well as a kitchen, living/bedroom, military room, bathroom and the reception office area. The board is also working on a farm room, complete with a focus on the Neponset elevator, with all kinds of artifacts, documents and photos.

Looking at other outreaches of the Neponset Historical Society, the group has installed eight stones designating all the country schools around Neponset. The society is also co-sponsoring another stone which will be installed two miles north of Neponset, designing the first local settlement of Brawby, named for the community’s hometown in England.

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