The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

February 21, 2007

Historical Society makes an important contribution

There’s a group of hard-working volunteers that has made it a mission to preserve the past for the Clintonians of today and tomorrow.

They are the volunteers at the Clinton County Historical Society and they have some very special projects under way.

This weekend the society will host an open house for the general public on Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 4 p.m. that will include presentations about railroads and memorabilia.

Most people in Clinton either worked at the railroad, had a relative who did or knew somebody who earned their living there.

The open house will begin with a free verbal appraisal clinic on railroad items from 1:30 to 2 p m. with a limit of two items per person. Plus, there will also be a chance to ask questions and examine seniority records of the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad and find out dates when relatives, friends and neighbors worked for this great Midwestern railroad.

Some items to view at the exhibit will include railroad lanterns, locks and keys. Also featured will be railroad china from dining cars, tablecloths, and the actual cookbooks used on the dining cars. There also will be hundreds of railroad advertising items to view, including metal pinbacks, brass buttons, tie clasps and tokens. There will be thousands of black and white railroad photos of various railroad engines on display.

The presentation will be made by John Rowland, a member of the Chicago Northwestern Historical Society, The Rock Island Railroad Technical Society and the Railroad Collectors Association Inc.

Along with that event, the society also is releasing for sale a CD recording of Lillian Russell’s voice as she sings ”Come Down Ma Evenin’ Star” a song privately recorded by Russell on March 12, 1912.

Clinton County Historical Society member Bill Kramer of Beloit, Wis., bought some records on eBay, which included the recording. A music laboratory in Rockford cleaned up and digitalized the recording. The society paid for the work and now owns the recording, which is being sold at $10 per CD copy.

As you can see, the society members have done a lot of work to bring Clintonians closer to their past. Here’s to their efforts and our thanks for the important contribution they make to our fine city.

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With the Clinton County Justice Coordinating Commission and the Clinton County Board of Supervisors discussing proposals to construct a new jail, do you think the time has come for Clinton County to construct such a facility?

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