By Samantha Pidde
Herald Staff Writer
SAVANNA, Ill. —
John LeComte does not consider himself a history scholar.
However, he does spend much of his time on the Savanna Historical Society board.
“I think that this is a worthy endeavor; worthy of my time,” he said.
John has lived and practiced law in Savanna, for 40 years. Several years ago, he became involved when a group of people formed to create a museum in the community.
John and his wife, Jean Jones, are friends of Gene Wright, a local retired high school history teacher. Wright created a collection of Civil War mannequins, giving each one a name and story.
“We wanted to create a vehicle to house and show Mr. Wright’s mannequins,” John said.
The Savanna Historical Society formed in 2006 and later purchased the former Allied Furniture building at 406 Main St., Savanna, as home for the Savanna Museum and Cultural Center. A portion of the remodeling process is complete.
While never much of a history buff, John said the museum is of value to the community. He helps out when he can, even volunteering to jack hammer out a portion of the basement.
“The board does a fantastic job at working together and I think we’ve all done a very good job of coming up for a vision for the museum,” John said.
The members have worked on grants for various exhibits and programs. John feels the group uniquely celebrates Savanna.
“So many historical societies become a collection of artifacts,” John said. “We’ve chosen to concentrate more on telling the story of the people of Savanna.”
One exhibit tells stories of the railroad yard in Savanna. The society produced a short movie featuring life on the railroad.
The board recently unpacked and set up an exhibit at the museum. “Lincoln: The Constitution and the Civil War” will be on display until July 26. The board has created publicity and scheduled other presentations for the event.
John is proud to be involved with the society and thinks the community is proud too. He is grateful for support from people in Savanna.
“I think I’ve always felt that some degree of community involvement is very important,” John said. “I don’t think the community grows if the people in the community don’t get involved.”